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August 11, 2009, 11:13 PM CT

Oxygen treatment hastens memory loss

Oxygen treatment hastens memory loss
A 65-year-old women goes into the hospital for routine hip surgery. Six months later, she develops memory loss and is later diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. Just a coincidence? Scientists at the University of South Florida and Vanderbilt University don't think so. They suspect that the culprit precipitating Alzheimer's disease in the elderly women appears to be a routine administration of high concentrations of oxygen for several hours during, or following, surgery a hypothesis borne out in a recent animal model study.

Dr. Gary Arendash of the Florida Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at USF and Dr. L. Jackson Roberts II at Vanderbilt University used mice genetically altered to develop abnormal levels of the protein beta amyloid, which deposits in the brain as plaques and eventually leads to Alzheimer's-like memory loss as the mice age. They observed that young adult Alzheimer's mice exposed to 100-percent oxygen during several 3-hour sessions demonstrated substantial memory loss not otherwise present at their age. Young adult Alzheimer's mice exposed to normal air had no measurable memory loss, and neither did normal mice without any genetic predisposition for Alzheimer's disease.

The authors suggest that people genetically predisposed to Alzheimer's disease or with excessive amounts of beta amyloid in their brains are at increased risk of developing the disease earlier if they receive high concentrations of oxygen, known as hyperoxia. Their study is published online this month in NeuroReport........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


August 4, 2009, 8:22 AM CT

High cholesterol in midlife raises risk of late-life dementia

High cholesterol in midlife raises risk of late-life dementia
Elevated cholesterol levels in midlife even levels considered only borderline elevated increase significantly the risk of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia during the later part of life, as per a newly released study by scientists at Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research and the University of Kuopio in Finland. The study appears in the journal Dementia & Geriatric Cognitive Disorders

The four-decade study of 9,844 men and women observed that having high cholesterol in midlife (240 or higher milligrams per deciliter of blood) increases, by 66 percent, the risk for Alzheimer's disease during the later part of life. Even borderline cholesterol levels (200 239 mg/dL) in midlife raised risk for late-life vascular dementia by nearly the same amount: 52 percent. Vascular dementia, the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's disease, is a group of dementia syndromes caused by conditions affecting the blood supply to the brain. Researchers are still trying to pinpoint the genetic factors and lifestyle causes for Alzheimer's disease.

By measuring cholesterol levels in 1964 to 1973 based on the 2002 Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines (the current practice standard) when the Kaiser Permanente Northern California members were 40 to 45 years old, then following the participants for 40 years, this study is the largest long-term study with the most diverse population to examine the midlife cholesterol levels and late-life dementia. It is also the first study to look at borderline high cholesterol levels and vascular dementia, rather than just Alzheimer's disease.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


August 4, 2009, 8:06 AM CT

Brain difference in psychopaths identified

Brain difference in psychopaths identified
Professor Declan Murphy and his colleagues Dr Michael Craig and Dr Marco Catani from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London have found differences in the brain which may provide a biological explanation for psychopathy. The results of their study are outlined in the paper 'Altered connections on the road to psychopathy', published in Molecular Psychiatry

The research investigated the brain biology of psychopaths with convictions that included attempted murder, manslaughter, multiple rape with strangulation and false imprisonment. Using a powerful imaging technique (DT-MRI) the scientists have highlighted biological differences in the brain which may underpin these types of behaviour and provide a more comprehensive understanding of criminal psychopathy.

Dr Michael Craig said: 'If replicated by larger studies the significance of these findings cannot be underestimated. The suggestion of a clear structural deficit in the brains of psychopaths has profound implications for clinicians, research researchers and the criminal justice system.'.

While psychopathy is strongly linked to serious criminal behaviour (eg rape and murder) and repeat offending, the biological basis of psychopathy remains poorly understood. Also some researchers stress mainly social reasons to explain antisocial behaviours. To date, nobody has investigated the 'connectivity' between the specific brain regions implicated in psychopathy.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 31, 2009, 0:16 AM CT

Got migraines?

Got migraines?
Migraine headaches are a drain not only on the estimated 30 million Americans who suffer from them, but on the economy, too. Because pain and other symptoms caused by migraine headaches can be quite severe, it is projected that nearly $13 billion is spent every year in headache therapy and loss of time from work, which no one can afford these days. But as per a newly released study in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), there is hope for severe and frequent migraine sufferers who can't find relief in conventional remedies.

"Nearly one out of four households, including 18 percent of women, suffer from migraines and a number of patients are not only eager, but desperate to stop the pain," said ASPS Member Surgeon and study author Bahman Guyuron, MD, professor and chairman, department of plastic surgery, University Hospitals Case Medical Center. "In this study, we've shown that surgical therapy of migraine headaches is safe, effective, and that this reasonably short operation can have a colossal impact on the patients' quality of life all while eliminating signs of aging for some patients, too."

For nearly a decade, scientists have been testing the concept that migraines are caused when a person's trigeminal nerve branches are irritated. When the muscles around these branches are incapacitated, the headaches stop, which is why some patients have found relief from the 'freezing' effect of Botox therapys. However, as per this study, removal of these muscles or 'triggers,' offers an easily attainable and permanent fix.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 29, 2009, 11:10 PM CT

Is that a good prognosis brain cancer?

Is that a good prognosis brain cancer?
This brain scan shows the wavy borders of a dying tumor in white at right. Dying cells leak fluid, causing swelling and water movement linked to a good response to Avastin therapy.
UCLA scientists have uncovered a new way to scan brain tumors and predict which ones will be shrunk by the drug Avastin -- before the patient ever starts therapy. By linking high water movement in tumors to positive drug response, the UCLA team predicted with 70 percent accuracy which patients' tumors were the least likely to grow six months after treatment.

Bronnie McNabb, 57, considers himself lucky. When his aggressive brain cancer returned after chemotherapy and radiation, his UCLA doctor prescribed the off-label use of Avastin, a drug shown to quell cancers in the breast, colon and lung.

One month later, McNabb's tumors had shrunk by 95 percent. Subsequent brain scans show no trace of his cancer at all. The former marathon runner, ordained minister and father of two says he hasn't felt this good since his diagnosis last winter.

In welcome news for patients like McNabb, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Avastin last month for the therapy of brain cancer. The powerful drug shrinks tumors by choking off their blood supply. Half of patients don't respond to the treatment, though, exposing them to unnecessary side effects and medicine costing up to $10,000 per month.

Now UCLA researchers have uncovered a new way to image tumors and forecast which patients, like McNabb, are most likely to benefit from Avastin before starting a single dose of therapy. The findings appear in this month's issue of the journal Radiology........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 27, 2009, 11:02 PM CT

How the pathology of Parkinson's disease spreads?

How the pathology of Parkinson's disease spreads?
Accumulation of the synaptic protein alpha-synuclein, resulting in the formation of aggregates called Lewy bodies in the brain, is a hallmark of Parkinson's and other related neurodegenerative diseases. This pathology appears to spread throughout the brain as the disease progresses. Now, scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea, have described how this mechanism works. Their findings the first to show neuron-to-neuron transmission of alpha-synuclein will appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on July 29.

"The discovery of cell-to-cell transmission of this protein may explain how alpha-synuclein aggregates can pass to new, healthy cells," said first author Paula Desplats, project scientist in UC San Diego's Department of Neurosciences. "We demonstrated how alpha-synuclein is taken up by neighboring cells, including grafted neuronal precursor cells, a mechanism that may cause Lewy bodies to spread to different brain structures." .

This insight will impact research into stem cell treatment for Parkinson's disease. "Our findings indicate that the stem cells used to replace lost or damaged cells in the brains of Parkinson's disease patients are also susceptible to degeneration," said Eliezer Masliah, MD, professor of neurosciences and pathology at UC San Diego School of Medicine. "Knowledge of the molecular basis of the intercellular transmission of alpha-synuclein may result in improved stem-cell based therapies with long-lasting benefits, by preventing the grafted cells to uptake α-synuclein or by making them more efficient in clearing the accumulated alpha-synuclein."........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 24, 2009, 0:01 AM CT

Blood pressure drugs might protect against dementia

Blood pressure drugs might protect against dementia
A particular class of medicine used to treat hypertension could protect elderly adults against memory decline and other impairments in cognitive function, as per a newly published study from Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Research suggests that some of the drugs classified as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, specifically those types of ACE inhibitors that affect the brain by crossing the blood-brain barrier, may reduce inflammation that could contribute to the development of Alzheimer's disease, a major cause of dementia.

The study appears in the current issue of Archives of Internal Medicine

"Hypertension is an important risk factor for Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia," said Kaycee Sink, M.D., M.A.S., main author of the study, geriatrician and an assistant professor of internal medicine gerontology. "Our study observed that all blood pressure medications may not be equal when it comes to reducing the risk of dementia in patients with hypertension".

Dementia is the broad term used to describe conditions in the brain that cause loss of brain function. There are several different causes of dementia, but Alzheimer's disease and strokes are two of the most common. People with dementia begin to lose their memory and may not be able to think well enough to do normal activities, such as getting dressed or eating, may lose their ability to solve problems or control their emotions, may experience personality changes and/or appears to become agitated or see things that are not there.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 14, 2009, 7:41 AM CT

Memory test and PET scans detect early signs of Alzheimer's

Memory test and PET scans detect early signs of Alzheimer's
A large study of patients with mild cognitive impairment revealed that results from cognitive tests and brain scans can work as an early warning system for the subsequent development of Alzheimer's disease.

The research observed that among 85 participants in the study with mild cognitive impairment, those with low scores on a memory recall test and low glucose metabolism in particular brain regions, as detected through positron emission tomography (PET), had a 15-fold greater risk of developing Alzheimer's disease within two years, compared with the others in the study.

The results, reported by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, on Tuesday, July 14, at the Alzheimer's Association 2009 International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease in Vienna, Austria, are a major step forward in the march toward earlier diagnoses of the debilitating disease.

"Not all people with mild cognitive impairment go on to develop Alzheimer's, so it would be extremely useful to be able to identify those who are at greater risk of converting using a clinical test or biological measurement," said the study's main author, Susan Landau, a post-doctoral fellow at UC Berkeley's Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

"The field, in general, is moving toward ways to select people during earlier stages of Alzheimer's disease, including those who show no outward signs of cognitive impairment," said Dr. William Jagust, a faculty member of UC Berkeley's Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute and principal investigator of the study. "By the time a patient is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, there is commonly little one can do to stop or reverse the decline. Scientists are trying to determine whether treating patients before severe symptoms appear will be more effective, and that requires better diagnostic tools than what is currently available".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 12, 2009, 8:46 AM CT

New Alzheimer's disease treatment promising

New Alzheimer's disease treatment promising
Scientists at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have observed that a compound called NIC5-15, might be a safe and effective therapy to stabilize cognitive performance in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. The two investigators, Giulio Maria Pasinetti, M.D., Ph.D. , and Hillel Grossman, M.D., presented Phase IIA preliminary clinical findings at the Alzheimer's Association 2009 International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease (ICAD) in Vienna on Sunday, July 12.

NIC5-15's potential to preserve cognitive performance will be further reviewed in a Phase IIB clinical trial. Early evidence suggests that NIC5-15 is a safe and tolerable natural compound that may reduce the progression of Alzheimer's disease-related dementia by preventing the formation of beta-amyloid plaque, a waxy substance that accumulates between brain cells and impacts cognitive function.

"With Alzheimer's disease affecting 5.2 million Americans, another 5 million with early-state disease, and nearly a half million new cases reported annually, therapys like NIC5-15 would make a significant difference in the lives of a number of Alzheimer's patients," said Dr. Pasinetti, Professor of Psychiatry, Professor of Neuroscience and Professor of Geriatrics and Adult Development, in the Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "We are hopeful that the follow up clinical study will support this preliminary evidence".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 11, 2009, 1:14 PM CT

MRI may help accurately diagnose dementia patients

MRI may help accurately diagnose dementia patients
A new Mayo Clinic study may help physicians differentially diagnose three common neurodegenerative disorders in the future. The study will be presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease on July 11 in Vienna.

In this study, Mayo Clinic scientists developed a framework for MRI-based differential diagnosis of three common neurodegenerative disorders: Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, and Lewy body disease using Structural MRI. Currently, examination of the brain at autopsy is the only way to confirm with certainty that a patient had a specific form of dementia. The framework, which is called "STructural Abnormality iNDex" or STAND-Map, shows promise in accurately diagnosing dementia patients while they are alive. The rationale is that if each neurodegenerative disorder can be linked to a unique pattern of atrophy specific on MRI, then it appears to be possible to differentially diagnose new patients. The study looked at 90 patients from the Mayo Clinic database who were confirmed to have only a single dementia pathology and also underwent an MRI at the time of clinical diagnosis of dementia. Using the STAND-Map framework, scientists predicted an accurate pathological diagnosis 75 to 80 percent of the time.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
The drug Ativan is better than Valium or Dilantin for controlling severe epileptic seizures, according to a new review of studies.Ativan, or lorazepam, and Valium, or diazepam, are both benzodiazepines, the currently preferred class of drugs for treating severe epileptic seizures. Dilantin, or phenytoin, is an anticonvulsant long used for the treatment of epileptic seizures.

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