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July 6, 2010, 7:18 AM CT

Protein associated with Alzheimer's disease

Protein associated with Alzheimer's disease
Higher concentrations of clusterin, a protein in the blood plasma, may be linked to the development, severity and progression of Alzheimer's disease, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Individuals with Alzheimer's disease display several findings in their blood and cerebrospinal fluid that may reflect neuropathological changes, as per background information in the article. For instance, in cerebrospinal fluid, individuals with Alzheimer's disease have lower levels of amyloid-beta peptides and higher levels of total and phosphorylated tau concentration, which reflect the formation of hallmark plaques and tangles in the brain. Similarly, numerous articles have suggested that levels of certain metabolites and proteins in the plasma might represent responses to brain changes in Alzheimer's disease, but none have been replicated.

Madhav Thambisetty, M.D., Ph.D., of Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, and his colleagues used a combined proteomic and neuro-imaging approach to identify plasma proteins linked to Alzheimer's disease pathology. Participants in two studiessome with Alzheimer's disease, some with its precursor mild cognitive impairment and some with no dementiaunderwent standardized clinical evaluations and brain imaging scans. Their blood plasma was then assessed for proteins that appears to be linked to Alzheimer's disease.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 6, 2010, 7:06 AM CT

Music for stroke rehabilitation

Music for stroke rehabilitation
Music treatment provided by trained music therapists may help to improve movement in stroke patients, as per a new Cochrane Systematic Review. A few small trials also suggest a wider role for music in recovery from brain injury.

More than 20 million people suffer strokes each year. A number of patients acquire brain injuries that affect their movement and language abilities, which results in significant loss of quality of life. Music therapists are trained in techniques that stimulate brain functions and aim to improve outcomes for patients. One common technique is rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS), which relies on the connections between rhythm and movement. Music of a particular tempo is used to stimulate movement in the patient.

Seven small studies, which together involved 184 people, were included in the review. Four focused specifically on stroke patients, with three of these using RAS as the therapy technique. RAS treatment improved walking speed by an average of 14 metres per minute in comparison to standard movement treatment, and helped patients take longer steps. In one trial, RAS also improved arm movements, as measured by elbow extension angle.

"This review shows encouraging results for the effects of music treatment in stroke patients," said lead researcher Joke Bradt of the Arts and Quality of Life Research Center at Temple University in Philadelphia, US. "As most of the studies we looked at used rhythm-based methods, we suggest that rhythm appears to be a primary factor in music treatment approaches to treating stroke."........

Posted by: Jennifer      Read more         Source


July 2, 2010, 7:18 AM CT

Brain atrophy responsible for depression in MS

Brain atrophy responsible for depression in MS
Adding to all that ails people managing their multiple sclerosis is depression ― for which MS sufferers have a lifetime risk as high as 50 percent.

Yet despite its prevalence, the cause of this depression is not understood. It's not correlation to how severe one's MS is, and it can occur at any stage of the disease. That suggests it is not simply a psychological reaction that comes from dealing with the burden of a serious neurologic disorder.

Now, in the first such study in living humans, scientists at UCLA suggest a cause, and it's not psychological, but physical: atrophy of a specific region of the hippocampus, a critical part of the brain involved in mood and memory, among other functions.

Reporting in the early online edition of the journal Biological Psychiatry, senior study author Dr. Nancy Sicotte, a UCLA associate professor of neurology, Stefan Gold, main author and a postdoctoral fellow in the UCLA Multiple Sclerosis Program, and his colleagues used high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging to identify three key sub-regions of the hippocampus that were found to be smaller in people with MS when compared with the brains of healthy individuals.

The scientists also found a relationship between this atrophy and hyperactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a complex set of interactions among three glands. The HPA axis is part of the neuroendocrine system that controls reactions to stress and regulates a number of physiological processes. It's thought that this dysregulation may play a role in the atrophy of the hippocampus and the development of depression.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 1, 2010, 7:07 AM CT

A good night's sleep will help you remember

A good night's sleep will help you remember
Sleep enhances our ability to remember to do something in the future.
When it comes to executing items on tomorrow's to-do list, it's best to think it over, then "sleep on it," say psychology experts at Washington University in St. Louis.

People who sleep after processing and storing a memory carry out their intentions much better than people who try to execute their plan before getting to sleep. The scientists have shown that sleep enhances our ability to remember to do something in the future, a skill known as prospective memory.

Moreover, scientists studying the relationship between memory and sleep say that our ability to carry out our intentions is not so much a function of how firmly that intention has been embedded in our memories. Rather, the trigger that helps carry out our intentions is commonly a place, situation or circumstance - some context encountered the next day - that sparks the recall of an intended action.

These are the key findings from a study published online this month in Psychological Science of the relationship between memory and sleep. Scientists Michael Scullin, doctoral candidate in psychology, and his adviser, Mark McDaniel, PhD, professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences, are focusing on "prospective memory" - things we intend to do - as opposed to "retrospective memory" - things that have happened in the past.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


June 29, 2010, 7:25 AM CT

A Pacemaker for Your Brain

A Pacemaker for Your Brain
By stimulating certain areas of the brain, researchers can alleviate the effects of disorders such as depression or Parkinson's disease. That's the good news. But because controlling that stimulation currently lacks precision, over-stimulation is a serious concern - losing some of its therapeutic benefits for the patient over time.

Now a Tel Aviv University team, part of a European consortium, is delving deep into human behavior, neurophysiology and engineering to create a chip that can help doctors wire computer applications and sensors to the brain. The chip will provide deep brain stimulation precisely where and when it's needed.

Prof. Matti Mintz of Tel Aviv University's Psychobiology Research Unit in its Department of Psychology is focusing on the behavioral-physiological aspects of the research. He and the rest of the international research team are working toward a chip that could help treat some diseases of the mind in just a few years. The platform, says Prof. Mintz, is flexible enough to provide a basis for a variety of clinical experiments, and tools which can be programmed for specific disorders. For example, the chip could restore lost functions of the brain after a traumatic brain injury from a car accident or stroke.

Reversing strokes, depression and aging........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


June 24, 2010, 11:07 PM CT

Antihypertensive against Alzheimer's disease

Antihypertensive against Alzheimer's disease
Scientists at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have observed that the drug carvedilol, currently prescribed for the therapy of hypertension, may lessen the degenerative impact of Alzheimer's disease and promote healthy memory functions. The new findings appear in two studies in the current issues of Neurobiology of Aging and the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

"These studies are certainly very exciting, and suggest for the first time that certain antihypertensive drugs already available to the public may independently influence memory functions while reducing degenerative pathological features of the Alzheimer's disease brain," said study author Giulio Maria Pasinetti, MD, PhD, Saunders Family Professor of Neurology and Director of the Center of Excellence for Novel Approaches to Neurotherapeutics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Dr. Pasinetti's team found for the first time that carvedilol, a blood pressure lowering agent, is capable of exerting activities that significantly reduce Alzheimer's disease-type brain and memory degeneration. This benefit was achieved without blood pressure lowering activity in mice genetically modified to develop Alzheimer's disease brain degeneration and memory impairment. These data were published in Neurobiology of Aging.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


June 24, 2010, 10:52 PM CT

Addiction: a loss of plasticity of the brain?

Addiction: a loss of plasticity of the brain?
Why is it that only some drug users become addicts? This is the question that has been addressed by the teams of Pier Vincenzo Piazza and Olivier Manzoni, at the Neurocentre Magendie in Bordeaux (Inserm unit 862). These scientists have just discovered that the transition to addiction could result from a persistent impairment of synaptic plasticity in a key structure of the brain. This is the first demonstration that a correlation exists between synaptic plasticity and the transition to addiction. The results from the teams at Neurocentre Magendie call into question the hitherto held idea that addiction results from pathological cerebral modifications which develop gradually with drug usage. Their results show that addiction may, instead, come from a form of anaplasticity, i.e. from incapacity of addicted individuals to counteract the pathological modifications caused by the drug to all users.

This research is reported in the journal Science on 25 June 2010.

The voluntary consumption of drugs is a behaviour found in a number of species of animal. However, it had long been considered that addiction, defined as compulsive and pathological drug consumption, is a behaviour specific to the human species and its social structure. In 2004, the team of Pier Vincenzo Piazza showed that the behaviours which define addiction in humans, also appear in some rats which will self administer cocaine*. Addiction exhibits astonishing similarities in men and rodents, in particular the fact that only a small number of consumers (humans or rodents) develop a drug addiction. The study of drug dependent behaviour in this mammal model thus opened the way to the study of the biology of addiction.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


June 23, 2010, 7:23 AM CT

REM sleep deprivation and migraine

REM sleep deprivation and migraine
Reporting at the American Headache Society's 52nd Annual Scientific Meeting in Los Angeles this week, new research shows that sleep deprivation leads to changes in the levels of key proteins that facilitate events involved in the underlying pathology of migraine.

Paul L. Dunham, Ph.D. and his team at Missouri State University's Center for Biomedical & Life Sciences sought to understand the mechanisms by which sleep disturbance increases the risk of migraine and may even trigger migraine.

"Prior clinical data support a relationship between sleep quality and migraine," said Dr. Durham, "so we used an established model of sleep deprivation to measure levels of proteins that lower the activation threshold of peripheral and central nerves involved in pain transmission during migraine. We observed that REM sleep deprivation caused increased expression of the proteins p38, PKA, and P2X3, which are known to play an important role in initiating and sustaining chronic pain".

"So little is known about the biological mechanisms that underlie how certain factors trigger a migraine attack," said David Dodick, M.D., president of the AHS. "This is important work and this Missouri State team should be applauded for beginning to shed light on an area desperately in need of investigation".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


June 14, 2010, 10:13 PM CT

Apple juice improves behavior in Alzheimer's patients

Apple juice improves behavior in Alzheimer's patients
Apple juice can be a useful supplement for calming the declining moods that are part of the normal progression of moderate-to-severe Alzheimer's Disease (AD), as per a research studyin American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias (AJADD), published by SAGE.

In the AJADD study, after institutionalized AD patients consumed two 4-oz glasses of apple juice a day for a month, their caregivers reported no change in the patients' Dementia Rating Scale or their day-to-day abilities. What did change, however, was the behavioral and psychotic symptoms linked to their dementia (as quantified by the Neuropsychiatric Inventory), with approximately 27% improvement, mostly in the areas correlation to anxiety, agitation, and delusion.

Typically alzheimer's disease is characterized by a progressive loss of memory, decline in cognitive function, behavioral changes, and the loss in ability to do daily activities, all of which causes a significant caregiver burden and increased health care costs. While pharmacological therapys can provide temporary reduction in AD symptoms, they're costly and cannot prevent the ultimate decline in cognitive and behavioral function. That's why the authors considered it important to discover any possible nutritional interventions.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


June 9, 2010, 6:51 AM CT

Healthy diet could slow Alzheimer's disease

Healthy diet could slow Alzheimer's disease
Patients in the early to moderate stages of Alzheimer's Disease could have their cognitive impairment slowed or even reversed by switching to a healthier diet, as per scientists at Temple University.

In a prior study [http://www.temple.edu/newsroom/2009_2010/12/stories/alzheimers.htm], scientists led by Domenico Pratic, an associate professor of pharmacology in Temple's School of Medicine, demonstrated that a diet rich in methionine could increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease. Methionine is an amino acid typically found in red meats, fish, beans, eggs, garlic, lentils, onions, yogurt and seeds.

"The question we asked now as a follow-up is if, for whatever reason, you had made bad choices in your diet, is there a chance you can slow down or even reverse the disease or is it too late that there is nothing you could do," said Pratic.

As in the prior study, the scientists fed one group of mice a diet high in methionine and another group a regular, healthy diet. After three months, they split the group receiving the methionine-rich diet into two, with one group continuing the amino-heavy diet while the second switched to the healthy diet for an additional two months.

"At the end of the study, when we looked at these mice, what we found very surprisingly was that switching to a more healthy diet reversed the cognitive impairment that had built up over the first three months of eating the methionine-rich diet," said Pratic. "This improvement was linked to less amyloid plaques another sign of the disease in their brains.........

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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