Posted by WBHI on Jun 29, 2012 in Think It Over
by Alice G. Walton for Forbes:
It’s a good thing that Obamacare has passed, because it looks like more and more of us are going to need it. Alzheimer’s disease is projected to affect 80 million people in the next 20 years, and we’re only in our infancy of understanding the cause(s) of this most common form of dementia. Recent years, however, have brought to light some interesting and startling links, and researchers are beginning to understand more about how the disease spreads through the brain, and indeed how it may begin.
And while there are probably several origins, one of the triggers may be, alarmingly, something many of us experience: Stressful life events.
A new study from Britain will look further into the connection between chronic stress and the development of dementia. The concept that lifetime stressors could trigger the development of the disease, or at least facilitate the leap from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to full-blown dementia, has gained momentum in recent years, and researchers are starting to devote more resources to exploring the relationship more fully.
Posted by WBHI on Jun 27, 2012 in Think About It
by Janice Wood for Psych Central:
The spread of Alzheimer’s disease through the brain leaves dead neurons and forgotten thoughts in its wake. But researchers haven’t figured out how the disease spread.
Through experiments using stained neurons, a research team at Linköping University in Sweden has been able to demonstrate the process of neurons being invaded by diseased proteins that are then passed on to nearby cells.
“The spread of Alzheimer’s, which can be studied in the brains of diseased patients, always follows the same pattern. But until now, how and why this happens has not been understood,” says Martin Hallbeck, M.D., associate professor of pathology, who led the research team.
The disease starts in the entorhinal cortex — a part of the cerebral cortex — and then spreads to the hippocampus, two areas important for memory. Gradually, pathological changes take place in more and more areas of the brain, while the patient becomes even sicker, the researcher notes.
Posted by WBHI on Jun 26, 2012 in Sooner Than You Think
by Medical XPress:
Scientists from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland in collaboration with the University of Eastern Finland have recently discovered a serum biochemical signature which predicts progression to Alzheimer’s disease months or even years before the first symptoms of the disease occur.
The goal of the new collaboration between VTT and GE Healthcare is to validate this biomarker in a large patient cohort as well as to discover novel biomarker candidates.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a growing challenge to the health care systems and economies of developed countries with millions of patients suffering from this disease and increasing numbers of new cases diagnosed annually with the increasing ageing of populations.
Early detection of prodromal AD is vital both for assessing the efficacy of potential AD therapeutic agents as well as new disease modifying therapies are most likely to be effective when initiated during the early stages of disease.
Posted by WBHI on Jun 25, 2012 in Think Twice, Wishful Thinking
by Market Watch for The Wall Street Journal:
Scientists at The Brain Institute at the University of Utah unveil potential cognitive-enhancing effects in healthy adult women.
Healthy, middle-aged women taking supplements of citicoline, a naturally occurring brain health nutrient, saw improved attention, focus and recall, according to a peer-reviewed study conducted by University of Utah scientists. The study was published Wednesday in Food and Nutrition Sciences.
The double blind, placebo-controlled study composed of 60 healthy women between 40 and 60 years of age. After 28 days of citicoline administration, the study participants taking 250 mg indicated improved performance on cognitive function tests, and those taking 500 mg showed improvement and made significantly fewer errors on the tests compared to those in the placebo group.
Posted by WBHI on Jun 25, 2012 in Come To Think Of It
by The Alzheimer’s Association:
Mixed dementia is a condition in which abnormalities characteristic of more than one type of dementia occur simultaneously. Physicians may also call mixed dementia “Dementia – multifactorial.”
In the most common form of mixed dementia, the abnormal protein deposits associated with Alzheimer’s disease coexist with blood vessel problems linked to vascular dementia. Alzheimer’s brain changes also often coexist with Lewy bodies. In some cases, a person may have brain changes linked to all three conditions — Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies.
by Medical XPress:
Women with moderate to severe depression had substantial improvement in their symptoms of depression after they received treatment for their vitamin D deficiency, a new study finds. The case report series to be presented at The Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting in Houston.
Because the women did not change their antidepressant medications or other environmental factors that relate to depression, the authors concluded that correction of the patients’ underlying shortage of vitamin D might be responsible for the beneficial effect on depression.
“Vitamin D may have an as-yet-unproven effect on mood, and its deficiency may exacerbate depression,” said Sonal Pathak, MD, an endocrinologist at Bayhealth Medical Center in Dover, Del. “If this association is confirmed, it may improve how we treat depression.”
Posted by WBHI on Jun 25, 2012 in Think It Over
by Michelle Roberts for BBC News:
UK experts are to begin a study to find out if stress can trigger dementia.
The investigation, funded by the Alzheimer’s Society, will monitor 140 people with mild cognitive impairment or “pre-dementia” and look at how stress affects their condition.
The researchers will take blood and saliva samples at six-monthly intervals over the 18 months of the study to measure biological markers of stress. They hope their work will reveal ways to prevent dementia. The results could offer clues to new treatments or better ways of managing the condition, they say.
People who have mild cognitive impairment are at an increased risk of going on to develop dementia – although some will remain stable and others may improve. And past work suggests mid-life stress may increase a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
by News Medical:
Scientists at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin have succeeded in recommending a new type of therapeutic approach to dementia. The study published in the journal Neurology shows that immune reactions against the body’s own nerve cells can be the cause of advanced dementia and an appropriate immune suppressive therapy can develop with significant effectiveness.
Dementia burdens society with high costs, and those affected by it and their family members carry a tremendous psychosocial burden. Dementia is increasingly perceived as a sword of Damocles over an aging society due to its often unclear origin, difficult prevention and unsatisfactory therapies.
Together with a workgroup and cooperation partners in Germany and the US, Dr. Harald Prüβ, physician at the Klinik für Neurologie of the Charité, was able to prove that dementia is also caused by the immune system. As an accessory symptom of an autoimmune disease, dementia can thus be treated. This approach to diagnostic criteria has been overlooked until now.
by Dr. Douglas Fields for Huffington Post:
Dementia and osteoporosis are two of the most common health conditions affecting older women; interestingly, a new study finds a strong link between the two. Loss of bone density, which can be measured easily by X-ray, strongly correlates with cognitive decline in postmenopausal women. The findings also suggest that similar studies should be conducted in men.
Menopause is not normally associated with changes in memory or cognitive performance, but estrogen deficiency can cause cognitive impairment, and low estrogen level is also a risk factor for weak bones and osteoporosis. Women who have had both ovaries removed before the age of 45 are at significantly-increased risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. Studies suggest that women suffer Alzheimer’s disease at up to three times the rate of men. Forgetfulness is the mildest form of cognitive decline in postmenopausal women, but 10-15 percent of women diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment will develop Alzheimer’s disease.
by David Perlman for San Francisco Chronicle:
The mysterious proteins called prions, which build up in the human brain to cause Alzheimer’s and other dementias, are also linked to post-traumatic stress disorder in combat veterans and in the brain damage of athletes like football players who have suffered repeated concussions, UCSF researchers report.
These conclusions from a long, and at times controversial, research quest come from Nobel Prize-winning UCSF neurologist Stanley B. Prusiner and his colleagues at the medical center’s Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease in Mission Bay, where a difficult search for compounds that might block the prions is about to begin.
The brain diseases caused by prions include Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and other varied disorders known collectively as the frontotemporal dementias, Prusiner said. Among those, he said, are the dementias suffered by some contact sport athletes, as well as “soldiers from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.”