Posted by WBHI on Feb 12, 2013 in Think It Over
by Nick Tate for NewsMax Heath:
Brain injuries caused by high blood pressure and stroke are greater risk factors for memory loss and other mental difficulties in seniors than amyloid plaques in the brain that long have been tied to Alzheimer’s disease, a new study shows.
Scientists with the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the University of California-Davis found hypertension and stroke can damage blood vessels in the brain that lead to cognitive impairments.
The study, published online in the journal JAMA Neurology, indicates such brain injuries are by far the greatest factor that that can affect higher-level thinking and memory. “The more vascular brain injury the participants had, the worse their memory and the worse their executive function – their ability to organize and problem solve,” said Bruce Reed, associate director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.
Posted by WBHI on Dec 22, 2012 in Think Ahead
by Janice Wood for Psych Central:
When trying to determine the root cause of a person’s dementia, using an MRI can effectively screen patients for Alzheimer’s disease or Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD), according to a new study by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Using an MRI-based algorithm differentiated cases 75 percent of the time, according to the study, which was published in Neurology.
Researchers note the non-invasive approach reported in their study can track progression of the disease over time more easily and cost-effectively than other tests, particularly in clinical trials testing new therapies.
Researchers used the MRIs to predict the ratio of two biomarkers for the diseases — the proteins total tau and beta-amyloid — in the cerebrospinal fluid.
Posted by WBHI on May 30, 2012 in Think Ahead
by Michelle Henderson for Nine News:
Powerful new imaging technology will play a role in the largest-ever disease prevention trial in Australia.
The ASPREE (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) study is investigating the risks and benefits of aspirin in healthy people over 70. The study involving 15,000 Australians and 4,000 people from the US hopes to discover whether a daily low dose of aspirin could help elderly people live well for longer.
New imaging technology at Monash Biomedical Imaging, which officially opened in Melbourne on Wednesday, will be used to undertake a second study associated with the larger trial. Prof John McNeil, head of the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University, said the technology now available would help researchers understand how aspirin works on the brain and carotid arteries.
Posted by WBHI on May 23, 2012 in Think About It
by David Krotz for Berkeley Lab:
For the past five years, volunteers from the City of Berkeley and surrounding areas have come to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to participate in an ongoing study that’s changing what scientists know about Alzheimer’s disease.
The volunteers, most over the age of 70, undergo what can best be described as a brain checkup. They’re asked to solve puzzles and memorize lists of words. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans image the structure of their brains in exquisite detail. Functional MRI scans allow scientists to watch portions of their brains light up as they form memories. And Positron emission tomography (PET) scans measure any accumulation of beta-amyloid, a destructive protein that’s a hallmark of Alzheimer’s.
The goal of the Berkeley Aging Cohort Study is to reveal how our brains change as we age. The scientists also compare their findings with brain scans of Alzheimer’s patients. They’ve noticed something odd—and perhaps a little hopeful. Some volunteers have the same level of beta-amyloid deposition as an Azheimer’s patient. Yet they show no signs of the disease.
Why is this? How can two people, the same age and with the same signs of the disease, take such different paths?
Posted by WBHI on Apr 10, 2012 in Think Outside The Box
by University of California, San Francisco
A new technique for analyzing brain images offers the possibility of using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to predict the rate of progression and physical path of many degenerative brain diseases, report scientists at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco.
The technique, developed by SFVAMC scientists in collaboration with a team led by Bruce Miller, MD, clinical director of the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, also supports mounting evidence that dementias spread through the brain along specific neuronal pathways in the same manner as prion diseases.
The scientists employed new computer modeling techniques to realistically predict the physical progression of Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) using images of 14 healthy brains.
The models were based on whole-brain tractography, an MRI technique that maps the neural pathways, or “communication wires,” that connect different areas of the brain. The spread of disease along those pathways, as predicted by the models, closely matched actual MRI images of brain degeneration in 18 Alzheimer’s patients and 18 FTD patients.
Posted by WBHI on Mar 30, 2012 in Sooner Than You Think
by Zee News
Researchers have produced the first atlas of the surface of the human brain based upon genetic information.
The atlas reveals that the cerebral cortex – the sheet of neural tissue enveloping the brain – is roughly divided into genetic divisions that differ from other brain maps based on physiology or function. The genetic atlas provides scientists with a new tool for studying and explaining how the brain works, particularly the involvement of genes.
“Genetics are important to understanding all kinds of biological phenomena,” said William S. Kremen, PhD, professor of psychiatry at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and co-senior author with Anders M. Dale, PhD, professor of radiology, neurosciences, and psychiatry, also at the UC San Diego School of Medicine.
“If we can understand the genetic underpinnings of the brain, we can get a better idea of how it develops and works, information we can then use to ultimately improve treatments for diseases and disorders,” said Chi-Hua Chen, PhD, first author and a postdoctoral fellow in the UC San Diego Department of Psychiatry.
Posted by WBHI on Feb 25, 2012 in Think About It
by Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation
Two new studies show how scientists are increasingly using brain scans to diagnose Alzheimer’s at an early stage, years before symptoms like memory loss and difficulty in thinking become evident. Early diagnosis can be important, since the brain changes that cause Alzheimer’s can begin to take their toll a decade or more before the disease is suspected and treatment may be most effective at this early stage.
Current Alzheimer’s medications may ease some of the symptoms of the disease but do nothing to stop its downward progression. Doctors would like to develop so-called “disease-modifying drugs” that may slow or halt the course of Alzheimer’s, and it may be particularly important to test them on patients at the earliest stages of the disease, before damage to the brain becomes extensive and irreversible. Early diagnosis also allows more time for patients to consider entering clinical trials and gives families better opportunities to plan for the future.
Both studies used a type of brain scan called magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, that provides 3-D pictures of the brain. The first study, published in Neurology, from the American Academy of Neurology, confirmed that areas of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s may start shrinking a decade before the disease is diagnosed.
Posted by WBHI on Jan 26, 2012 in Think About It
by Dementia Today
Cerebrovascular disease is the progressive change in our blood vessels (vasculature) in the brain (cerebrum). The most common vascular change associated with age is the accumulation of cholesterol and other substances in the blood vessel walls. This results in the thickening and hardening of the walls, as well as narrowing of the vessels, which can result in a reduction or even a complete stopping of blood flow to brain regions supplied by the affected artery.
When this occurs suddenly, the result is a stroke, with symptoms ranging from weakness to incoordination to abnormal sensations, depending on the location of the injury in the brain. In some cases, a sudden loss of cognitive function (such as language, memory, complex visual processing or organizational skills) can occur.
Posted by WBHI on Jan 25, 2012 in Think It Over, Think Twice
by Susan Donaldson James for ABC News
Audrey Gruss knows the devastation of depression — her mother suffered from the enigmatic mood disorder most of her adult life, misdiagnosed, over-medicated and even treated with electroconvulsive “shock” therapy during the 1960 and 70s.
“None of the doctors ever told us what was happening,” said Gruss. “We were embarrassed, ashamed and frightened.”
When her mother died in 2005, Gruss vowed to find out why doctors couldn’t “do more to make her whole.”
In 2006, Gruss founded the Hope for Depression Research Foundation, named for her mother, and dedicated to using the psychology of emotion and neuroscience to better diagnose — and perhaps one day cure — the disorder.
And now, research funded by Hope has for the first time been able to use brain imaging to link the lack of maternal attachment to depression, a disorder that strikes more than 1 in 20 Americans over the age of 12.
Posted by WBHI on Jan 23, 2012 in Think About It
Changes in Brain Chemistry Linked With Lower Scores on Memory, Language Tests
by Dementia Today
Specialized scans can identify changes in the brains of people at risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to new research. In the study, researchers used a special MRI scan and a special PET scan in people in their 70s and 80s who were aging normally to help identify those who had brain changes thought to be linked with Alzheimer’s disease.
The scans looked for amyloid-beta plaques, one of the early changes linked with the disease, and for biochemical changes, says researcher Kejal Kantarci, MD, associate professor of radiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
About a third had high levels of plaques, she found. Those who had high levels of plaques on the PET scan also tended to have the biochemical changes found on the MRI.