Posted by WBHI on Apr 30, 2012 in Sooner Than You Think
UC Davis researchers have found novel compounds that disrupt the formation of amyloid, the clumps of protein in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease believed to be important in causing the disease’s characteristic mental decline. The so-called “spin-labeled fluorene compounds” are an important new target for researchers and physicians focused on diagnosing, treating and studying the disease.
The study, published today in the online journal PLoS ONE, is entitled “The influence of spin-labeled fluorene compounds on the assembly and toxicity of the Aβ peptide.”
“We have found these small molecules to have significant beneficial effects on cultured neurons, from protecting against toxic compounds that form in neurons to reducing inflammatory factors,” said John C. Voss, professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine at the UC Davis School of Medicine and the principal investigator of the study. “As a result, they have great potential as a therapeutic agent to prevent or delay injury in individuals in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease, before significant damage to the brain occurs.”
Posted by WBHI on Apr 30, 2012 in Think Twice
by Andrew M. Seaman for Reuters:
Women suddenly thrust into “surgical menopause” by hysterectomy don’t have more severe mood symptoms than women going through gradual, natural menopause, a new study suggests.
Researchers who followed nearly 2,000 middle-aged women for 10 years found that those who had hysterectomies, with or without ovary removal, were as likely as women who went through natural menopause to experience depression or anxiety — and for all women, those symptoms declined steadily within a few years.
“At least among women in midlife… mood symptoms don’t seem to be a worry to take into consideration when making treatment decisions around hysterectomy and oophorectomy,” said the study’s lead author Carolyn Gibson, a researcher in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh.
Although past studies have shown a link between hysterectomy and risk for depression, Gibson and her fellow researchers say it’s still hard to tell whether the procedure is to blame.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 30, 2012 in Think Twice
by Anne Kingston for Macleans
New research on pain, medical devices and even PMS reveals big holes in our knowledge of the female body.
In 2004, Barbara Colbourn began experiencing pain in her legs when walking. The 61-year-old London, Ont., office manager tried to ignore the discomfort at first. Six months later, she went to her doctor, who diagnosed peripheral artery disease, or PAD. Colbourn had never heard of it—and was shocked to learn it was a chronic disease caused by atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, of the legs, feet or arms that puts people at higher risk of stroke, heart attack and death.
When she was asked to participate in a 24-week international treatment trial organized by London clinical trials nurse Marge Lovell, a PAD awareness advocate, she agreed. Like many women over 60, Colbourn’s health concerns were fixated on breast cancer and heart disease. “Hardening of the arteries was something my grandma had,” she says.
Now 69, Colbourn takes baby aspirin and a cholesterol-lowering drug and exercises daily to prevent the disease’s progression and stave off invasive surgery. There were warning signs she ignored, she says. She had to give up curling in her 50s because her feet were always cold. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think it could be serious.”
Posted by WBHI on Apr 28, 2012 in Think About It, Think Ahead
With Dr. Gary Small by Antonia Zerbisias for The Star
Q: Everybody thinks the moment they forget something, they’re getting Alzheimer’s. What’s that about?
A: There’s a lot of concern and anxiety about it. But the reality is that our brains age throughout life and, in fact, the science tells us that at age 45 we can measure cognitive and memory decline in the average person. There’s a steady gradual decline that continues.
One of the reasons that Gigi and I were motivated to write this book was to explain to people the truth about their brain aging and memory decline rather than living in fear that it’s Alzheimer’s dementia every moment.
Q: What’s the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia?
A: The best way to define dementia is that it’s a cognitive impairment severe enough that you need help from others, that you really can’t be independent anymore.
People can get dementia from many different causes. You can have it from small strokes, you can have a reversible dementia as a drug side effect or a thyroid imbalance.
by Salynn Boyles for WebMD
Social, Mental, and Physical Engagements Help Maintain Memory
Newly minted octogenarian Burt Garrett says he doesn’t actively work to keep his mind and memory sharp, but a new research review suggests that he’s doing a lot of things right. Days before his 80th birthday earlier this month, Garrett drove from his home outside Athens, Ga., to the Georgia coast, and then — on a whim — crossed the state into the Florida Panhandle to bicycle along the shore at St. George Island State Park.
The roughly 1,000 mile, three-day trip was not unusual for Garrett, who also plays golf, likes to hike, and says there aren’t enough hours in the day to do the things he wants to do. ”I stay pretty busy,” he tells WebMD. “Other than trying to stay in decent physical shape, I don’t really work at it. Crossword puzzles frustrate me and I’ve never gotten into Sudoku.”
People like Garrett who remain physically, socially, and mentally engaged as they grow older just may have found the secret to successful aging, according to the new review, published this week in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences.
by Brenda Goodman for WebMD
Eating berries at least once a week may protect the brain from age-related memory loss, a large new study shows.
The study included more than 16,000 women who are taking part in the Nurses’ Health Study. Researchers have been keeping tabs on the women’s diets since 1980. Between 1995 and 2001, researchers also measured the mental function of women who were over 70 and had not had a stroke.
Mental functioning was measured during three telephone interviews that were spaced about two years apart. In the interviews, researchers asked the women to recall details from a paragraph they’d just heard, for example, or to remember the order of words or numbers in a list.
When researchers compared women who ate the most blueberries and strawberries to those who ate the fewest, they found that those who ate the most had a slower rate of developing memory problems. The difference was equal to about two-and-a-half years of aging.
“This is pretty compelling evidence to suggest that berries do appear to have memory benefits,” says researcher Elizabeth E. Devore, ScD, instructor in medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 25, 2012 in Sooner Than You Think
by Pauline Anderson for Medscape News
Misdiagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) based on positron emission tomography (PET) scan readings appears to be a troubling problem that could get worse as more amyloid-specific tracers become available.
A new study found that almost two thirds of patients were misdiagnosed or had inconclusive data on the basis of interpretation of their PET scan in a community setting.
“We concluded that since this is such a large percentage of people who are misdiagnosed based upon their PET scans that we should caution clinicians to weigh the risks versus the benefits before ordering PET scans,” said Sheena M. Shipley, BS, Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver. She presented the data here at the American Academy of Neurology’s 64th Annual Meeting.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-PET in 2004 for the diagnostic evaluation of dementia. Previous studies had shown that this test can assist in the differential diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia and AD.
The research to date has shown varying diagnostic accuracy for PET, said Shipley.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 25, 2012 in Think It Over
by Stephanie Pappas for Fox News:
Cocaine may speed up the aging of the brain, according to new research that finds that people who are addicted to the drug lose twice the brain volume each year as non-drug users.
As the brain ages, it inevitably loses gray matter, the part of brain tissue made up of neuron cell bodies. Loss of gray matter is linked with many of the signs of old age, including memory problems and other declining cognitive abilities, said study researcher Karen Ersche, a neuroscientist at the University of Cambridge.
Middle-age cocaine-dependent people show many of the signs of aging, including cognitive decline, Ersche told LiveScience. To look at the underlying cause, she and her colleagues used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure gray matter volume in 60 adults with cocaine dependence and 60 adults without substance-use troubles who were similar to the cocaine-abusing volunteers in age, gender and verbal IQ.
They found that cocaine-dependent adults showed twice the gray matter loss as their healthy counterparts: 3.08 milliliters per year in cocaine users versus 1.69 milliliters per year in people without substance abuse.
by Alan Mozes for U.S. News
Study found women’s mental functioning ‘significantly’ improved after 6 months of classes.
Elderly women noticing the first signs of memory decline might ward off full-blown dementia by engaging in routine strength training, new research suggests.
But while supervised weight-lifting seemed to boost mental functioning among those struggling with incipient memory loss, aerobics-based activity programs did not confer a similar mental health benefit, the study team found.
“Most studies have looked at aerobic training, but this study compares both aerobic and strength training,” explained study co-author Teresa Liu-Ambrose, an assistant professor in the department of physical therapy at the University of British Columbia. “And among people who don’t yet have dementia but are already at a high risk in terms of mild memory and executive function impairment, our study shows that strength training, but not aerobics training, does have benefits for cognition.”
by Michael Smith for MedPage Today
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration, though not common, does exist in elderly patients and has different characteristics than the presenile-onset disease, researchers reported.
Over a 25-year period, so-called elderly FTLD accounted for 3.2% of dementia cases among older patients seen at a regional neuroscience center in England, according to Atik Baborie, MD, of the Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Liverpool, England, and colleagues.
These patients were more likely to have memory loss and hippocampal sclerosis than patients with the presenile disease and less likely to have atrophy of the frontal and temporal lobes, Baborie and colleagues reported online in Archives of Neurology.
The condition appeared to be clinically under-recognized and should be considered when patients present with an “atypical Alzheimer disease” phenotype, the researchers argued.
While FTLD is a common cause of dementia in the presenile period, its role in older patients has not been clear, Baborie and colleagues noted. Indeed, they added, one of the diagnostic features that has been cited is an age at onset of less than 65.