Posted by WBHI on Sep 6, 2012 in Think Twice
by Global Times:
Researchers in Shanghai have found that although women live longer than men, their brains age faster, local media reported Thursday.
A team of scientists from the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Sciences determined that women’s cognitive abilities decline faster than men’s as the former grow older, according to a report in the Oriental Morning Post. They also found that women suffer Alzheimer’s disease at a higher rate. Their findings were published in the journal Aging Cell in August.
Posted by WBHI on Sep 4, 2012 in Think Ahead
by Health Canal:
People whose blood sugar is on the high end of the normal range may be at greater risk of brain shrinkage that occurs with aging and diseases such as dementia, according to new research published in the September 4, 2012, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
“Numerous studies have shown a link between type 2 diabetes and brain shrinkage and dementia, but we haven’t known much about whether people with blood sugar on the high end of normal experience these same effects,” said study author Nicolas Cherbuin, PhD, with Australian National University in Canberra.
Posted by WBHI on Aug 18, 2012 in Sooner Than You Think
by Randy Rieland for Innovations:
We know so much more about our brains than we once did. Some would suggest too much.
Because neuroscience, once a subject confined to academia and research labs, now belongs to all of us. Every day, it seems, there’s a story in the mainstream media about a study providing fresh insights on how our brain functions or what we do to make it perform better or worse. Scientists can caution all they want that this is a maddeningly complex subject, but in our search to understand why we do the things we do, we more often look for overly simple answers deep inside our heads.
by Molly Docherty for New Scientist:
The brain drain is real. There is a network of previously unrecognised vessels that rid the brain of unwanted extracellular fluids and other substances, including amyloid-beta – a peptide that accumulates in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s. The new discovery looks set to add to our understanding of the disease.
Jeffrey Iliff at the University of Rochester Medical Center, New York, and his colleagues, were intrigued by the fact that there are no obvious lymphatic vessels in the brain. Among other things, the lymphatic system removes waste interstitial fluids from body tissue.
“It seemed strange that such an important and active organ wouldn’t have a specialised waste-removal system,” says Iliff.
Posted by WBHI on Aug 14, 2012 in Think About It
by Linda Sickler for Savannah Now:
Growing older is interesting.
So says Judith Horstman, the author of “The Scientific American Healthy Aging Brain: The Neuroscience of Making the Most of Your Mature Mind.”
“In the beginning of the book, I say aging is not a disease — it’s what happens if we’re lucky to live long enough,” she says. “It’s a reward.” In fact, a Gallup poll of more than 300,000 people found that many say they are happier in their early 70s than any other time except their early 20s, and most say they don’t regret their lives, Horstman says. “The myth of unhappy old people is untrue,” she says.
“Being healthy and flexible is a big part of that,” Horstman says. “If you stop changing, you’re dead.”
Many people dread aging because of fears of dementia and other brain disorders. Fortunately, in most cases, the outlook is much brighter.
Posted by WBHI on Aug 12, 2012 in Think About It
by Stephanie Pappas for Live Science:
Certain brain regions in people with major depression are smaller and less dense than those of their healthy counterparts. Now, researchers have traced the genetic reasons for this shrinkage.
A series of genes linked to the function of synapses, or the gaps between brain cells crucial for cell-to-cell communication, can be controlled by a single genetic “switch” that appears to be overproduced in the brains of people with depression, a new study finds.
“We show that circuits normally involved in emotion, as well as cognition, are disrupted when this single transcription factor is activated,” study researcher Ronald Duman, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University, said in a statement.
Transcription factors are proteins that help control which genetic instructions from DNA will be copied, or transcribed, as part of the process of building the body’s proteins.
Posted by WBHI on Aug 8, 2012 in Think Twice
by Laura Hoopes for Nature:
Sonia Pressman Fuentes sent me a link to an article about women’s brains in aging and it was not good news.
In an article July 30 in the Washington Post, illustrated with an off-putting drawing of a brain in a frying pan, Michael Slezak discussed a newly released study on brains in aging people. Mehmet Somel and collaborators at UC Berkeley looked at the transcriptome, the collection of RNAs, in the brains from 55 people. They looked at 13000 RNAs in four different brain sections.
This collection is not comprehensive, either in terms of the messenger RNAs examined or in terms of brain regions that might be important in aging. There is a pattern of how this transcriptome changes with age, some messenger RNAs increasing and others decreasing. What they predicted was that, since women live longer, their patterns would change to the “old” messenger RNA levels slower than men’s. But their results showed just the opposite.
Posted by WBHI on Aug 2, 2012 in Think About It
by Barbara Bronson Gray for U.S. News:
It’s been said that music soothes the savage beast, but if you’re the one playing the instrument it might benefit your brain.
A growing body of evidence suggests that learning to play an instrument and continuing to practice and play it may offer mental benefits throughout life. Hearing has also been shown to be positively affected by making music.
The latest study, published in the July issue of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, shows that musical instrument training may reduce the effects of mental decline associated with aging. The research found that older adults who learned music in childhood and continued to play an instrument for at least 10 years outperformed others in tests of memory and cognitive ability.
It also revealed that sustaining musical activity during advanced age may enhance thinking ability, neutralizing any negative impact of age and even lack of education. It’s unclear, however, whether starting an instrument in adulthood provides any mental advantages.
Posted by WBHI on Jul 18, 2012 in Think About It
by Science Daily:
Metabolic syndrome, a term used to describe a combination of risk factors that often lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes, seems to be linked to lower blood flow to the brain, according to research by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
Dr. Barbara Bendlin, researcher for the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and an assistant professor of medicine (geriatrics) at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, said study participants with multiple risk factors connected to metabolic syndrome, including abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol averaged 15 percent less blood flow to the brain than those in a control group, according to results of brain scans to measure cerebral blood flow.
“We thought the cerebral blood flow measurements of the metabolic syndrome group would be lower, but it was striking how much lower it was,” said Bendlin.
Posted by WBHI on Jun 6, 2012 in Think About It
by Bloomberg News:
People with a history of depression respond differently than others to feeling guilty, brain scans show, a finding that may begin to explain how the emotions are processed by the brain.
Patients who had recovered from depression were more likely to show activation in areas of the brain associated with guilt, even when primed with scenarios where someone else was at fault, according to a recent study in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
A century ago, Sigmund Freud proposed that excessive guilt was part of depression. This recent study may point to how the brain experiences guilt and depression, said Roland Zahn, a study author and senior lecturer at the University of Manchester in the U.K. Though the study doesn’t say whether added sensitivity to guilt causes depression, the imaging may lead to new ways to diagnose vulnerability.