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November 7, 2006, 7:48 PM CT

One Millisecond After Head Hits Car Windshield

One Millisecond After Head Hits Car Windshield
Research by a Sandia National Laboratories engineer and a University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center neurologist shows that brain injury may occur within one millisecond after a human head is thrust into a windshield as a result of a car accident.

This happens previous to any overall motion of the head following impact with the windshield and is a new concept to consider for doctors interested in traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Paul Taylor of Sandia's Multiscale Computational Materials Methods Department and Corey Ford, neurologist at UNM's Department of Neurology and MIND Imaging Center, made the discovery after modeling early-time wave interactions in the human head following impact with a windshield, one scenario leading to the onset of TBI.

Sandia is a National Nuclear Security Administration laboratory.

TBI is linked to loss of functional capability of the brain to perform cognitive and memory tasks, process information, and perform a variety of motor and coordination functions. More than five million people in the U.S. live with disabilities linked to TBI.

"In the past not a lot of attention was paid to modeling early-time events during TBI," Taylor says. "People would - for example - be in a car accident where they hit their head on a windshield, feel rattled, go to an emergency room, and then be released. We were interested in why people with head injuries of similar severity often have very different outcomes in memory function or returning to work".........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


November 3, 2006, 4:44 AM CT

Strong Link Between Uric Acid And Hypertension

Strong Link Between Uric Acid And Hypertension
New research shows that higher levels of uric acid are strongly linked to hypertension in blacks, suggesting that a simple blood test could predict risk and that therapys to lower uric acid may be a novel way to reduce hypertension-related complications in this population.

"The novel angle of our study is that the association between uric acid and high blood pressure is much stronger in blacks, a group that disproportionately suffers from kidney disease, stroke and other complications of hypertension," said Philip B. Mellen, M.D., M.S., assistant professor internal medicine, and lead investigator.

The results are reported online in Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association.

Uric acid levels are influenced by dietary factors, such as high levels of protein, and by the breakdown of the body's cells. Most uric acid is eliminated in urine. However, if excess uric acid is being produced or if the kidneys cannot remove enough of it, levels build up in the blood.

Very high levels of uric acid cause gout, but recent animal and human studies suggest that modest elevations of uric acid are one cause of hypertension. Currently, studies are under way to evaluate whether lowering uric acid prevents hypertension.

"If these studies show that lowering uric acid is an effective therapy, our research suggests that it may be particularly appropriate for blacks," said Mellen.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


November 2, 2006, 9:13 PM CT

Computer with Brain Connections

Computer with Brain Connections
Fundamental theories regarding consciousness, emotion and quality of life in sufferers of paralysis from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as 'Lou Gerhig's disease') are being challenged based on new research on brain-computer interaction. ALS is a progressive disease that destroys neurons affecting movement. The study appears in the latest issue of Psychophysiology. The article reviews the usefulness of currently available brain-computer -interfaces (BCI), which use brain activity to communicate through external devices, such as computers.

The research focuses on a condition called the completely locked-in state (CLIS, a total lack of muscle control). In a CLIS situation, intentional thoughts and imagery can rarely be acted upon physically and, therefore, are rarely followed by a stimulus. The research suggests that as the disease progresses and the probability for an external event to function as a link between response and consequence becomes progressively smaller, it may eventually vanish altogether.

Scientists have observed that by implementing a BCI before the CLIS state occurs, a patient can be taught to communicate through an electronic device with great regularity. The continued interaction between thought, response and consequence is believed to slow the destruction of the nervous system.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


November 2, 2006, 8:48 PM CT

Alzheimer's Drug Shows Promise

Alzheimer's Drug Shows Promise
The only drugs currently available for Alzheimer's patients are those that alleviate symptoms, but a team of scientists led by Paul Aisen, MD, director of the Memory Disorders program at Georgetown University Medical Center, is testing a new class of drugs that actually target the molecule believed to cause the disease. Aisen and his colleagues report that a compound called tramiprosate reduced levels of a marker for the progression of Alzheimer's disease in a Phase II clinical trial in the November 1 electronic version of Neurology.

"Everyone wants to figure out how to create an Alzheimer's treatment that attacks the amyloid peptide, which is considered to be the molecular cause of the disease," said Aisen. "This is the most advanced anti-amyloid treatment that exists-it has the potential for slowing down progression of the disease".

Aisen and his team are currently in the midst of Phase III clinical trials on tramiprosate (manufactured by Neurochem, for which Aisen is a scientific advisor, as ALZHEMED-) and hope to have results by early next summer. Media should call 202-687-5100 to schedule an interview with Aisen or to be connected with another Georgetown expert on the topic.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


November 2, 2006, 8:43 PM CT

Towards Cure For Multiple Sclerosis

Towards Cure For Multiple Sclerosis
A breakthrough finding on the mechanism of myelin formation by Jonah Chan, assistant professor of cell and neurobiology at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, could have a major impact on the therapy of diseases such as multiple sclerosis and demyelination as a result of spinal cord injuries.

Myelin, the white matter that coats all nerves, allows long-distance communication in the nervous system. "It plays a vital role in the overall health and function of the nervous system, and its degeneration plays a role in many diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, peripheral neuropathies, and even in spinal cord injury," Chan explained.

The study, "The Polarity Protein Par-3 Directly Interacts with p75NTR to Regulate Myelination", appears in the Nov. 3 issue of Science. Chan, who works at the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, collaborated on the study with Michel Cayouette and scientists at the Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montreal in Canada.

At a basic level, the nervous system functions like a collection of wires that transmit electrical signals encoding our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Just as an electrical wire needs insulation, myelin is wrapped around axons - the wire-like extensions of neurons that make up nerve fibers. The sheath helps to propagate the electrical signal and maximize the efficiency and velocity of these signals in our brain and body.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


November 2, 2006, 5:22 AM CT

MRI Study To Prevent Brain Damage

MRI Study To Prevent Brain Damage
A stroke victim arrives in the emergency room and, within minutes, the doctor must make a decision: Should drugs be administered to open up the blocked blood vessel and prevent further brain damage? Or is this patient at high risk for suffering a brain hemorrhage if the blocked vessel is opened?

Greg Albers, MD, director of the Stanford Stroke Center, and his team report in the recent issue of Annals of Neurology that new magnetic resonance imaging techniques can discriminate between stroke patients who are likely to benefit from a stroke medicine - even when administered beyond the currently approved three-hour time window - and those for whom therapy is unlikely to be beneficial and may cause harm.

For years, Albers, professor of neurology and neurological sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine, has been using new MRI techniques to visualize the damage from stroke while it is actually happening. His goal is to differentiate brain tissue that is potentially salvageable from tissue that is already irreversibly injured by a stroke. As his group accumulated MRI scans of stroke patients, they noticed patterns that seemed to identify which patients were most likely to benefit from opening up blocked blood vessels.

"One of the criticisms was that these detailed brain images looked beautiful and interesting, but there was no proof that they should be used to influence therapy or that they would result in improved outcomes," said Albers. "How do you know that these MRI patterns can predict whether the treatment is likely to be beneficial?".........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


November 2, 2006, 5:02 AM CT

Serotonin Child Abuse Link

Serotonin Child Abuse Link
A research team observed that when baby rhesus monkeys endured high rates of maternal rejection and mild abuse in their first month of life, their brains often produced less serotonin, a chemical that transmits impulses in the brain. Low levels of serotonin are linked to anxiety and depression and impulsive aggression in both humans and monkeys.

Abused females who became abusive mothers in adulthood had lower serotonin in their brains than abused females who did not become abusive parents, the research showed.

Because the biological make up of humans and monkeys is quite similar, the findings from the monkey research could be valuable in understanding human child abuse, said Dario Maestripieri, Associate Professor in Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago.

"This research could have important implications for humans because we do not fully understand why some abused children become abusive parents and others don't," Maestripieri said. The research suggests that therapys with drugs that increase brain serotonin early in an abused child's life could reduce the likelihood that the child will grow up to become abusive, Maestripieri said.

Maestripieri is lead author of a paper reporting the research, "Early Maternal Rejection Affects the Development of Monoaminergic Systems and Adult Abusive Parenting in Rhesus Macaques" reported in the current issue of Behavioral Neuroscience.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 31, 2006, 4:01 AM CT

Topiramates Increases Risk Of Kidney Stones

Topiramates Increases Risk Of Kidney Stones Drs. Khashayar Sakhaee (left), chief of mineral metabolism, and Dion Graybeal.
Credit: UT Southwestern Medical Cente
Topiramate (Topamax), a drug usually prescribed to treat seizures and migraine headaches, can increase the propensity of calcium phosphate kidney stones, scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

A study - the largest cross-sectional examination of how the long-term use of topiramate affects kidney-stone formation - appears in the recent issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

Several case reports have described an association between topiramate and the development of kidney stones, but this complication had not been well recognized and physicians have not informed patients about the risk, the UT Southwestern scientists said. More important, the mechanism of stone formation was largely unknown previously.

"The wide-spread and escalating use of topiramate emphasizes the importance of considering the long-term impact of this drug on kidney-stone formation," said Dr. Khashayar Sakhaee, senior author of the study and chief of mineral metabolism at UT Southwestern.

More than 29 million Americans suffer from migraines, with women being affected three times more often than men, as per the National Headache Foundation.

"Topiramate is probably one of the most usually prescribed and most effective neurological medications right now," said Dr. Dion Graybeal, assistant professor of neurology and an author of the study.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


October 27, 2006, 9:09 PM CT

Study Shows Cognitive Decline Is Often Undetected

Study Shows Cognitive Decline Is Often Undetected
A number of patients over the age of 65 who are hospitalized with an acute illness experience a subtle change in their cognitive ability that often goes undiagnosed, untreated and underreported. As a result, a patient's ability to make decisions about his or her medical therapy may be negatively impacted.

These findings by Sharon Inouye, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Aging Brain Center at Hebrew SeniorLife and Professor of Medicine, Division of Gerontology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, identified symptoms, such as disorientation, forgetfulness and an inability to follow directions, that may go undetected except by those individuals such as family members who know the patient well enough to notice the changes. A report of Dr. Inouye's findings, "Recoverable Cognitive Dysfunction at Hospital Admission in Older Persons," will appear in the recent issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine (JGIM).

"Acute illness can represent a life-altering event for an older person, yet the impact of acute illness on cognitive functioning has not been systematically examined," Dr. Inouye said. "Understanding a patient's cognitive functioning is also necessary for developing effective and appropriate discharge planning."

As per Dr. Inouye's paper, no prior studies exist that establish just how much change in cognitive function regularly occurs in older patients or how it impacts their care. The subtle cognitive decline that she examined is referred to as recoverable cognitive dysfunction (RCD) and is determined by the results of a questionnaire called the.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 27, 2006, 4:28 AM CT

Hypertension On The Spotlight

Hypertension On The Spotlight
There may be as a number of as 70 million Americans with prehypertension. If these people can be treated pharmacologically to avoid or delay progression to clinical hypertension, there would be significant benefits to them and the overall health of the population. The recent TROPHY study seems to lead to that conclusion. However, two editorials reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of High blood pressure emphatically argue that the study is flawed and the conclusions reached are misleading.

Persons with prehypertension, generally defined as having a systolic blood pressure in the range of 120-139 mm Hg or a diastolic blood pressure of 80-89, will commonly develop high blood pressure at the rate of about 10% per year. The recent Trial of Preventing High blood pressure (TROPHY) examined whether treating patients with candesartan for two years resulted in a sustained reduction in the occurence rate of hypertension after the drug was discontinued. The TROPHY study concluded that the therapy significantly reduced the risk of incident high blood pressure over the four year study.

As per Stephen Persell, MD, MPH, TROPHY results are likely invalid. He and co-author David W. Baker, MD, MPH, both of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, argue that the study used an unusual definition of incident high blood pressure which could not accurately discriminate whether the drug had a sustained effect. They demonstrate that because blood pressure readings taken during active therapy were combined with readings taken after therapy had ended, a difference between therapy and placebo could appear even if blood pressures were identical after the therapy had ended. They also analyze how the results could be misleading due to the methods used to calculate the mean blood pressures.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         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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