Posted by WBHI on Nov 6, 2012 in Think Ahead
by Anna Hodgekiss for The Daily Mail:
A form of Alzheimer’s disease has been found in some teenagers – more than 20 years before symptoms even develop, according to a new study.
Research on a group of young adults found about 30 per cent have a mutation of a gene called presenilin 1 (PSEN1), which makes them more likely to develop Alzheimer’s at an unusually young age.
Although the inherited form of the disease is rare, the researchers say it offers them a critical opportunity to look for early signs of the disease before clinical symptoms appear. Disappointing results in recent drug trials of prospective Alzheimer’s treatments is thought to be down to timing – once the symptoms of the disease are apparent, damage to the nervous system may already be too extensive for drug treatments to have their greatest impact.
As a result, if scientists could identify signs that an individual is likely to get Alzheimer’s before symptoms appear, this could lead to more effective clinical trials, and result in advances in prevention of the disease. In the new study, published in the journal Lancet Neurology, the researchers performed brain imaging, blood tests and analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) on 44 adults aged 18 to 26.
Posted by WBHI on Oct 25, 2012 in Think Ahead, Think Twice
by Anna Hodgekiss for The Daily Mail:
Just two glasses of wine a day could be harmful to the brain, new research suggests.
Even moderate drinking can decrease the production of adult brain cells by as much as 40 per cent, researchers from Rutgers Unviersity in the US have found.
The researchers said the findings showed there is a fine line between moderate and binge drinking. Lead author Megan Anderson said: ‘Moderate drinking can become binge drinking without the person realising it.
‘In the short term there may not be any noticeable motor skills or overall functioning problems, but in the long term this type of behaviour could have an adverse effect on learning and memory.’
Posted by WBHI on Sep 26, 2012 in Sooner Than You Think
by The Press Association:
Scientists are to launch a major study of little-known proteins they believe are a contributing factor to diseases such as dementia and multiple sclerosis.
The team of biologists at the University of Portsmouth have been awarded £600,000 to research the impact on the ageing of the brain and cognitive decline.
The study will focus on a protein known as Kir4.1 which is a key element in controlling special cells in the brain and spinal cord which form myelin, a substance which insulates the brain’s wiring. They discovered that the protein is critical in ensuring these cells, known as oligodendrocytes, function well.
The researchers already know that myelin acts as the insulating layer around nerve cells and is essential for rapid conduction of information and when it is damaged this interferes with messages between the brain and other parts of the body.
Posted by WBHI on Sep 11, 2012 in Think About It
by Jon Bardin for Los Angeles Times:
In what could lead to a new group of targets for the treatment of memory loss disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, scientists have identified a group of molecules that appear to be required for the transition from a short-term to a long-term memory.
The molecules, called nuclear receptors, belong to a class of proteins called transcription factors that play a central role in gene expression. The proteins bind to DNA and help regulate which genes are expressed at a given time.
Previous research had suggested that nuclear receptors were somehow involved in memory formation, and the new study confirms that the loss of these proteins prevents long-term memories from forming.
by Janice Wood for Psych Central
A study suggests a potential new therapy for improving memory and interrupting the progression of cognitive impairment that often leads to Alzheimer’s disease.
The focus of the study was “excess brain activity” commonly associated with conditions that cause mild cognitive decline and memory loss, and are linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s, according to lead author Michela Gallagher, Ph.D., a professor of psychological and brain sciences in the Johns Hopkins University’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.
Previously, it had been thought that this hyperactivity in the hippocampus was the brain’s attempt to compensate for a weakness in forming new memories, she said. Instead, the researchers found that this excess activity contributes to conditions such as amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), in which patients’ memories are worse than would be expected in healthy people the same age.
“In the case of aMCI, it has been suggested that the increased hippocampal activation may serve a beneficial function by recruiting additional neural ‘resources’ to compensate for those that are lost,” she said. “However, animal studies have raised the alternative view that this excess activation may be contributing to memory impairment.”
Posted by WBHI on May 3, 2012 in Great Minds Think Alike
by Todd Neale for MedPage Today
The combination of exercising and using a computer — although presumably not at the same time — may protect older adults against mild cognitive impairment, a case-control study showed.
Older individuals who reported getting any amount of moderate exercise and using a computer at any point in the previous year were 64% less likely to have mild cognitive impairment compared with those who reported neither activity (OR 0.36, 95% CI 0.20 to 0.68), according to Yonas Geda, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., and colleagues.
There was a significant additive interaction between physical activity and computer use (P=0.01), the researchers reported in the May issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Physical activity and various mentally stimulating activities, including computer use, have been associated with a reduced risk of having mild cognitive impairment, but no studies had explored the combined impact.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 15, 2012 in Sooner Than You Think
by University of California
Two research studies, co-led by UC Davis neurologist Charles DeCarli and conducted by an international team that included more than 80 scientists at 71 institutions in eight countries, has advanced understanding of the genetic components of Alzheimer’s disease and of brain development. Both studies appear in the April 15 edition of the journal Nature Genetics.
The first study, based on a genetic analysis of more than 9,000 people, has found that certain versions of four genes may speed shrinkage of a brain region involved in making new memories. The brain area, known as the hippocampus, normally shrinks with age, but if the process speeds up, it could increase vulnerability to Alzheimer’s disease, the research suggests.
The second paper identifies two genes associated with intracranial volume — the space within the skull occupied by the brain when the brain is fully developed in a person’s lifespan, usually around age 20.
Posted by WBHI on Mar 16, 2012 in Think It Over
When it comes to the aging mind and forgetfulness you might consider: is it Alzheimer’s or can it be something that is managed, or even cured? You have to rule out depression.
by Marcie Fraser for YNN
Because symptoms of Alzheimer’s and depression are very similar, a wrong diagnosis can be costly.
“Chronic depression can cause a structure in your brain to shrink, and that structure is called the hippocampus and that structure is responsible for new learning and remembering,” said psychologist Dr. Shannon Gould.
While depression can be treated and often cured, Alzheimer’s can only be managed. An early diagnosis means early treatment. Neuropsychological evaluations can help determine if it’s dementia or depression.
Posted by WBHI on Mar 13, 2012 in Think Ahead
Dementia Has Many Of Same Causes As Heart Disease
by David S. Martin for CNN
Late-life dementia has a lot in common with heart disease — and many of the same causes, according to an article published Tuesday in Nature Reviews Neurology.
Like heart disease, the cognitive impairment that accompanies aging is usually the result of a combination of lifestyle and other factors, the article says. Diabetes, obesity, untreated hypertension, sedentary lifestyle and stress are all linked to both heart disease and dementia.
Other factors linked to dementia: untreated obstructive sleep apnea, clinical depression, bipolar disorder, vitamin B12 deficiency, post traumatic stress disorder, head trauma, brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen, and the ApoE, or Alzheimer’s, gene.
Lead author Dr. Majd Fotuhi says the latest research shows dementia can be delayed, stopped and sometimes even reversed with lifestyle changes.
Posted by WBHI on Mar 4, 2012 in Think Outside The Box
by Shambhu Agrawal for Health Enclave
Wonder where you kept your car keys? Or where you left your cell phone lying in your apartment? Good news is you can train your brain to remember these things more effectively.
New research published in the online journal Hippocampus suggests a memory training strategy can help people function better in their daily life by better remembering small details. The training works by re-engaging the Hippocampus, part of the brain that forms new memory.
This is good news particularly for people with Mild-Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine along with Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center were involved in devising training programs for MCI patients for a long time now. Though their techniques in this particular study are nothing new and are already known to benefit healthy people, no study before ascertained their validity in case of people with MCI.