Posted by WBHI on Apr 23, 2012 in Sooner Than You Think
by UC San Diego Health System
Without p-tau protein present, impact of amyloid is “not significantly different from zero”
According to a new study, the neuron-killing pathology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which begins before clinical symptoms appear, requires the presence of both amyloid-beta (a-beta) plaque deposits and elevated levels of an altered protein called p-tau.
Without both, progressive clinical decline associated with AD in cognitively healthy older individuals is “not significantly different from zero,” reports a team of scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine in the April 23 online issue of theArchives of Neurology.
“I think this is the biggest contribution of our work,” said Rahul S. Desikan, MD, PhD, research fellow and resident radiologist in the UC San Diego Department of Radiology and first author of the study. “A number of planned clinical trials – and the majority of Alzheimer’s studies – focus predominantly on a-beta. Our results highlight the importance of also looking at p-tau, particularly in trials investigating therapies to remove a-beta. Older, non-demented individuals who have elevated a-beta levels, but normal p-tau levels, may not progress to Alzheimer’s, while older individuals with elevated levels of both will likely develop the disease.”
Posted by WBHI on Apr 23, 2012 in Think Outside The Box
by Stone Hearth News
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an incurable, progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting over five million people worldwide, and is the leading cause of dementia in the elderly. Currently, intravenous human immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatment is being explored in multiple off-label uses other than immunotherapy, including AD. Several clinical studies assessing the tolerability and efficacy of IVIG in Alzheimer’s disease subjects are in progress with inconsistent outcomes.
Recent studies conducted by Dr. Giulio Maria Pasinetti, Saunders Family Chair and Professor in Neurology and Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, suggests that the divergent outcomes in Alzheimer’s disease clinical studies of IVIG may be due to differences in temporal administration and administered dosages.
Dr. Pasinetti and his team of investigators recently found that prolonged administration of human immunoglobulin in models of Alzheimer’s disease, using a dose of immunoglobulin ~5-20-fold less than equivalent doses used in Alzheimer’s disease patients, is effective at attenuating Alzheimer’s disease-type cognitive dysfunction while promoting synaptic plasticity.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 23, 2012 in Helpful Thinking
by Glenn Ruffenach for Smart Money
Increasingly, my friends and I — most of us in our mid- to late 50s — are starting to see the same thing: elderly parents who are grappling with memory loss and finding it difficult to manage their finances. And most of us, I’m learning, are making the same mistake: We’re waiting too long to act.
The numbers are scary: One in eight Americans age 65 and over and 43 percent of individuals 85 and over have Alzheimer’s disease. Every 69 seconds, on average, someone in the U.S. develops the illness. But financial advisers and accountants, when asked about their experiences with clients who have memory loss, invariably raise the same concern: Elderly parents and adult children alike are too slow to seek or provide help in the early stages of decline.
“Denial is a big part of it,” says Ron Kelemen, a certified financial planner with the H Group in Salem, Ore., who has seen the problem firsthand. Parents, hoping to stay independent, typically are quick to minimize difficulties; adult children, hesitant about meddling, may ignore red flags. The consequences, says Kathleen Michon, an attorney and editor at Nolo, a provider of legal information and products, can be dire: closed accounts, damaged credit, money lost to scam artists — even foreclosure.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 22, 2012 in Think About It
by Paula Spencer Scott for caring.com
Short-term memory loss is one of the most noticeable signs of Alzheimer’s disease. But the disease process usually begins before symptoms are noticed. To assess someone’s risk of becoming one of the more than 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s, it’s helpful to understand the risk factors that increase the odds of developing the condition.
What is Alzheimer’s, and who’s at risk?
Although certain basic lifestyle changes can help delay the onset of the disease in some people, the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease isn’t yet understood. Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurodegenerative brain disorder: Normal brain cell function is gradually destroyed, leading to irreversible declines in memory, cognition, and behavior. But what causes things to go awry remains unknown. It may be that Alzheimer’s has several causes or that the interplay between genetic makeup and certain risk factors determines who’s affected.
by Kelly for Brain Health
Scientists have found that exercise triggers neurogenesis, slowing and even reversing the brain’s physical decay. Neurogenesis is the creation of new brain cells. This is particularly important because as we age, the brain, like all muscles and organs decline with underuse and age. Begining in our late 20′s most of us will lose 1% annually of the volume of the hippocampus, the brain’s center for learning and memory. Let’s not do the math. It’s too depressing. Instead let’s focus on the good news about the brain.
According to a recent New York Times article, “Using sophisticated technologies to examine the workings of individual neurons — and the makeup of brain matter itself — scientists discovered that exercise appears to build a brain that resists physical shrinkage and enhance cognitive flexibility. Exercise, the latest neuroscience suggests, does more to bolster thinking than thinking does.”
Exercise, it appears, reverses physical decay of the brain, much as it does with muscles. Until recently it was generally accepted that humans were born with a certain number of brain cells and would never generate more. We now know better.
by Emily Dugan for The Independent
They already guide blind and disabled people; now dogs are to be trained to help people with dementia. The duties of these “guide dogs for the mind” will include reminding their owners to take medication, as well as encouraging them to eat, drink and sleep at regular intervals.
The dementia dogs will be trained to respond to sound triggers in the home that prompt them to perform tasks. These could include delivering a bite-proof bag of medicine with a note inside reminding the patient to take it, or waking them up in the morning.
The idea was developed by design students at the Glasgow School of Art and will now be put into practice by Alzheimer’s Scotland and Dogs for the Disabled. Labradors and retrievers were used to develop the project, and four will begin training soon in Banbury.
The first dogs will be assigned to four Scottish couples in September, where one of the partners is in the early stages of dementia. Some 670,000 people in Britain have dementia and one in three over 65s will develop the condition. By 2021 this is expected to rise to one million.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 21, 2012 in Sooner Than You Think
by Washington University School of Medicine
Scientist studying the way Alzheimer’s takes root in the brain have identified important new similarities between a mouse model and human Alzheimer’s.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that brain plaques in mice are associated with disruption of the ability of brain regions to network with each other. This decline parallels earlier results from human studies, suggesting that what scientists learn about Alzheimer’s effects on brain networks in the mice will likely be transferable to human disease research.
The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, is among the first to precisely quantify the effects of Alzheimer’s disease plaques on brain networks in an animal model. Until now, scientists studying Alzheimer’s in animals have generally been limited to assessments of structural brain damage and analyses of brain cell activity levels.
“Precise measurement of changes in brain networks are critical to understanding Alzheimer’s and will likely be important in models of other neurodegenerative disorders,” says senior author David M. Holtzman, MD, the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and head of the Department of Neurology. “For example, we can now test whether blocking Alzheimer’s plaques from building up in the mouse brain prevents disruptions in brain networks.”
They also spend less in the hospital after neurosurgery, study finds
by U.S. News
Men are twice as likely as women to have complications after brain or spinal surgery, and also spend more time in the hospital after the operation, a new study finds.
The findings suggest that a patient’s gender, along with other factors, should be taken into account to provide the best possible estimates of risk for patients scheduled for neurosurgery, the University of Michigan Medical School researchers said.
The researchers analyzed data on more than 900 people who had brain or spinal surgery between 2006 and 2009. The overall complication rates within 30 days after surgery were 18.6 percent for brain surgery patients and 10.8 percent for spinal surgery patients.
The complication rate for men was 20.3 percent, compared to 11.3 percent for women. The rate for men remained twice that of women even after the researchers adjusted for other factors such as age, tobacco and alcohol use, and health problems such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and diabetes.
by Susan Donaldson James for ABC New
Debby calls her 26-year-old daughter Beth three times a day – and might add a few daily texts on top of that.
Mother and daughter, both of whom live in Denver, are close, much more so than when Beth was a teenager. “We talk about health, work, food, shopping – just touching base,” said Debby, 60, who was shy about using her last name. “I am just checking to see if she’s alive.”
A study published this week in the journal of Scientific Reports, suggests that as women age, they shift their focus of intimacy from their husbands to adult daughters — even as their husbands continue to retain their wives as their closest confidantes.
Researchers from Britain’s Oxford University and Boston’s Northeastern University did an analysis of two billion cell phone calls and a half billion text messages from a mobile telephone carrier in a European country over a seven-month period. The contact most frequently called was considered the “best friend.”
The study said that in early adulthood, men and women focus most on their romantic partner. With women, that continues until about age 27. But when they reach their 40s, they shift attention away from the spouse to the daughter. And that relationship strengthens over time, peaking at about age 60.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 20, 2012 in Think It Over
by John Phillip for Natural News
Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by an initial loss of short term memory and the ability to form rational and permanent thoughts. Protein tangles known as tau aggregates strangle neural synapses, blocking the vital flow of neurotransmitter and electrical signals necessary to form memories and personality. Once considered a disease of the aging, this form of dementia is increasing at a startling rate in younger individuals, largely due to a processed and refined food diet, environmental factors and long-term chronic stress.
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have published the result of a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, explaining the mechanism behind continual exposure to stressors so common in our rapid-paced lifestyle, and the unnatural accumulation of insoluble tau protein aggregates in brain tissue.
They explain that neurofibrillary tangles are one of the physical hallmark signs of Alzheimer’s disease, and have been shown to contribute to disease progression in people under chronic stress conditions during the course of past studies.