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.
Afraid of Alzheimer’s? Start now to build up your brain.
by Valerie Nahmad Schimel for Miami Herald
Want to stay cognizant? Drive safely? Remember things? It’s all about brain health.
“Everybody ages, but it’s about healthy aging,’’ says Dr. Claes Wahlestedt, professor of psychiatry and associate dean for therapeutic innovation at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
“Dementia is extraordinarily common in the 70, 80s and 90s. Good brain health is the ability to think clearly and to continue to live your life as you have before.”
The bad news? Researchers are still unsure of exactly what causes cognitive impairment. Diagnosis is often late and treatments remain elusive. “Alzheimer’s is our main nemesis,” says Wahlestedt, who notes that dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are milder forms of deteriorating brain health.
The good news? Our understanding of the diseases and how to prevent them is evolving rapidly.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 12, 2012 in Think It Over, Think Twice
by Amanda L. Chan for The Huffington Post
There may be more than one factor responsible for “chemo brain” — the term used for memory and attention impairments often experienced after undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, according to a small new study.
Researchers from the University of Missouri found that women who had breast cancer surgery but had not yet undergone chemotherapy also experienced similar memory problems.
And importantly, the women who were most likely to experience these problems were also the ones who were more stressed or didn’t cope with their stress in a direct way, researchers found. Their research is published in the Journal for Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings.
“It appeared that passive coping strategies, such as denial, disengagement and helplessness, contributed to this relationship.” Stephanie Reid-Arndt, chair of the Health psychology Department at the University of Missouri, said in a statement. “This suggests lacking proactive ways to deal with stress can contribute to patients’ experience of cognitive difficulties.”
by Shirley S. Wang for The Wall Street Journal
Scientists are increasingly finding that depression and other psychological disorders can be as much diseases of the body as of the mind.
People with long-term psychological stress, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder tend to develop earlier and more serious forms of physical illnesses that usually hit people in older age, such as stroke, dementia, heart disease and diabetes. Recent research points to what might be happening on the cellular level that could account for this.
Scientists are finding that the same changes to chromosomes that happen as people age can also be found in people experiencing major stress and depression.
The phenomenon, known as “accelerated aging,” is beginning to reshape the field’s understanding of stress and depression not merely as psychological conditions but as body-wide illnesses in which mood may be just the most obvious symptom.
“As we learn more…we will begin to think less of depression as a ‘mental illness’ or even a ‘brain disease,’ but as a systemic illness,” says Owen Wolkowitz, a psychiatry professor at the University of California, San Francisco, who along with colleagues has conducted research in the field.
by Deborah Brauser for Medscape News
Cognitively intact elderly patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) may have low levels of amyloid beta 42 (Aß-42), a biomarker that has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), new research suggests.
In a small study of older adult volunteers who had no mild cognitive impairment (MCI), those with MDD had significantly lower cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of Aß-42 than those without depression.
In addition, levels of F2-isoprostane, considered a biomarker of oxidative stress, were higher for the participants with MDD.
“Current treatments for depression are not very satisfactory,” said lead author Nunzio Pomara, MD, director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Division of the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research in Orangeburg, New York, and professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine.
“That’s why, in my opinion, it’s important to explore novel mechanisms which would underlie the development of depression in humans,” said Dr. Pomara. He noted that this study was an “interesting first step” and that if its findings bear out in further research, it may lead to the development of better therapeutic interventions.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 1, 2012 in Think About It
by Rita Watson for The Examiner
With recent studies focusing more attention on memory loss, there is concern among Baby Boomers. However, some hopeful news has been emerging on the important topic of brain amyloid (protein deposits).
ScienceDaily (Mar. 30, 2012) noted in reporting about amyloid beta in the brain of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease that although “there may not be a consensus as to whether the deposition contributes to the disease or is a consequence of the disease, there is agreement that it is not favored thermodynamically, meaning that something else is promoting the process.”
Interview with Dr. Knopman, Mayo Clinic
In an earlier interview with David Knopman, M.D., who is co-investigator at the Mayo Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and a professor of neurology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, he talked with me about amyloids and how amyloid imaging will change our view of what Alzheimer’s disease means when it is used to detect brain amyloid in people who have normal memory and thinking.
Posted by WBHI on Mar 26, 2012 in Think It Over
by Medical XPress
Repeated stress triggers the production and accumulation of insoluble tau protein aggregates inside the brain cells of mice, say researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine in a new study published in the March 26 Online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The aggregates are similar to neurofibrillary tangles or NFTs, modified protein structures that are one of the physiological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. Lead author Robert A. Rissman, PhD, assistant professor of neurosciences, said the findings may at least partly explain why clinical studies have found a strong link between people prone to stress and development of sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which accounts for up to 95 percent of all AD cases in humans.
“In the mouse models, we found that repeated episodes of emotional stress, which has been demonstrated to be comparable to what humans might experience in ordinary life, resulted in the phosphorylation and altered solubility of tau proteins in neurons,” Rissman said. “These events are critical in the development of NFT pathology in Alzheimer’s disease.”
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 12, 2012 in Think It Over
Here’s how it happens and what to do about it, according to medical experts.
by Leslie Barker Garcia for The Star Tribune
After her husband passed away, Sandi Bond Chapman said she “could feel it immediately.”
“For a year, I couldn’t think,” said Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas. “I couldn’t write a coherent word. I couldn’t do anything. … Stress is one of the best brain robbers we have.”
This isn’t merely figurative. According to a recently released Yale University study, stress causes the brain to shrink. So next time you’re stressed to the gills and cannot focus, think or remember the ingredients for the meatloaf you make every week, you can legitimately blame stress.
“It’s a short, easy story, actually,” said neuroscientist and author David Eagleman. “Stress is underpinned by particular hormones that circulate through the body and the brain. Those stress hormones are very bad for brain tissue. They eat away at brain tissue.
“What’s new to be stressed about is that stress is literally chewing miniature holes in your brain.”
Posted by WBHI on Mar 11, 2012 in Think It Over
by Dawn Greenwald for The Alamogordo Daily News
Do you suffer from brain fog or a notable decrease in the ability to focus with clarity during daily tasks? There are many factors that can cause these symptoms, but stress is a primary factor that can both cause and intensify them.
Whether there is stress in the work place, personal or family relationships, from sickness, environmental toxins, poor diet, sleep, or when stress is prolonged for an extended length of time, it can cause a disruption of mental focus, cognition faculties and memory.
Stress initiates a series of chemical releases and reactions. A flood of hormones and neurotransmitters create both the stimulation of some cell and body functions and the inhibition of others.
If this imbalance continues, and the body is caught in a long-term stress response, the cumulative effect can damage, and even kill, brain cells.