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November 7, 2007, 5:01 AM CT

Grape, wine and Alzheimer's disease

Grape, wine and Alzheimer's disease
With National Alzheimers Awareness Month upon us, attention continues to focus on new approaches to cognitive health in an aging population. Now, research with grape polyphenols presented today at Neuroscience 2007 in San Diego shows promise for maintaining long-term cognitive health. The scientists will now focus on grape polyphenols and Alzheimers disease (AD) at the newly established Center for Research in Alternative and Complementary Medicine in Alzheimers disease research at Mount Sinai School of Medicine (MSSM).

Two recent population studies associated moderate red wine and 100 percent fruit juice consumption with lowering the risk of AD dementia (wine) or delay in AD onset (juice). Adding further weight to those studies is the research presented by Dr. Lap Ho at Neuroscience 2007, which demonstrated the potentially protective effect of Concord grape juice and Cabernet Sauvignon polyphenols to slow beta-amyloid neuropathology.

A characteristic hallmark of Alzheimers disease-type neuropathology is the accumulation of beta-amyloid peptides and their formation into plaques in the brain. Dr. Ho at MSSM observed that polyphenol extracts from Cabernet Sauvignon and Concord grape juice reduced the generation and accumulation of beta-amyloid peptides in experimental models of Alzheimers disease.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


November 6, 2007, 10:29 PM CT

Research Links Diet to Cognitive Decline and Dementia

Research Links Diet to Cognitive Decline and Dementia
Research has shown convincing evidence that dietary patterns practiced during adulthood are important contributors to age-related cognitive decline and dementia risk. An article published in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences highlights information on the benefits of diets high in fruit, vegetables, cereals and fish and low in saturated fats in reducing dementia risk.

Adults with diabetes are particularly sensitive to the foods they eat with respect to cognitive function. Specifically, an adult with diabetes will experience a decline in memory function after a meal, particularly if simple carbohydrate foods are consumed. While the precise physiological mechanisms underlying these dietary influences are not completely understood, the modulation of brain insulin levels likely contributes.

This deficit can be prevented through healthful food choices at meals. The findings suggest that weight maintenance reduces the risk of developing obesity-associated disorders, such as hypertension and high cholesterol, and is an important component of preserving cognitive health.

The work shows another benefit of maintaining healthful eating practices with aging - the same ones proposed by most diabetes and heart & stroke foundations. "This type of information should be able to empower the individual, knowing that he/she can be actively engaged in activities and lifestyles that should support cognitive health with aging," says Carol Greenwood, author of the study.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 5, 2007, 8:42 PM CT

Breaking a sweat means less pounds later

Breaking a sweat means less pounds later
Don't slack off on exercise if you want to avoid packing on the pounds as you age.

A consistently high level of physical activity from young adulthood into middle age increases the odds of maintaining a stable weight and lessens the amount of weight gained over time, as per a new analysis from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.

People who reported at least 30 minutes of vigorous activity a day such as jogging, bicycling or swimming were more than twice as likely to maintain a stable Body Mass Index (BMI) over 20 years. BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. But even highly active people who gained weight, gained 14 pounds less over 20 years than those with consistently low activity.

Eventhough activity is commonly recommended as a way to prevent weight gain, this is one of the first studies to examine the relationship between activity and weight by looking at patterns of exercise over a long period of time.

Scientists examined data from over 2,600 participants in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study to determine if high activity patterns over time were linked to maintaining a stable BMI. Participants in CARDIA, who were 18 to 30 years old when the study began, have been tracked for 20 years.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 5, 2007, 8:31 PM CT

Breastfeeding boost IQ in infants

Breastfeeding boost IQ in infants
Breastfeeding boosts infants IQs, but only if the babies have a genetic variant that enhances their metabolism of breast milk, a Yale researcher and collaborators report today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

It is this genetic variant in FADS2, a gene involved in the control of fatty acid pathways, that may help the children make better use of the breast milk and promote the brain development that is linked to a higher IQ score, said Julia Kim-Cohen, assistant professor of psychology and a member of the research team.

Children who do not carry the helpful genetic variant have normal average IQ scores, Kim-Cohen said. Being breastfed for them is not linked to an IQ advantage.

The study included scientists from Kings College, London, Duke University, and the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.

The intelligence quotient (IQ) has long been at the heart of debates about nature versus nurture. Twin studies document both strong genetic influences and nongenetic environmental influences on IQ, especially for young children.

This study looked at how long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAS), which are present in human milk but not in cows milk or most infant formulas, are metabolized. LC-PUFAS in breast milk, the authors said, is believed to enhance cognitive development because the fatty acids are mandatory for efficient neurotransmission and are involved in neuronal growth and regeneration.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 5, 2007, 8:23 PM CT

Children with gene show reduced cognitive function

Children with gene show reduced cognitive function
Children who possess a gene known to increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease already show signs of reduced cognitive function, an Oregon Health & Science University study has observed.

Researchers in the OHSU School of Medicine discovered that 7- to 10-year-olds with a member of a family of genes implicated in development, nerve cell regeneration and neuroprotection display reduced spatial learning and memory, linked to later-life cognitive impairments.

Results of the study, presented today at Neuroscience 2007, the 37th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, suggest that changes predisposing a person to Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia might occur much sooner in the brain than previously thought.

"One of our questions has been is this a risk that only happens with age, or is it already - early on - the cause of differences in performance," said co-author of study Jacob Raber, Ph.D., associate professor of behavioral neuroscience and neurology in the OHSU School of Medicine. "This study suggests there already are cognitive differences very early on in life."

The results also mean therapeutic interventions that delay the effects of cognitive decline may be possible at a much younger age, Raber says.

Prior studies have shown that a member of the apolipoprotein E gene family, apoE4, increases a person's risk of age-related cognitive decline and cognitive injury from such "environmental" challenges as brain trauma. Mice expressing human apoE4 developed progressive, age-dependent impairments in spatial learning and memory.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 4, 2007, 9:19 PM CT

The need for speed in stroke treatment

The need for speed in stroke treatment
Every 45 seconds, an American suffers a stroke. Every minute one of those individuals goes without therapy, more brain cells die. And every hour that passes before victims get to the hospital, the less likely they are to be eligible for the most effective therapy.

But despite all this, 69 percent of stroke victims don¡¯t reach the hospital in the first three hours after their stroke symptoms begin, as per a new study led by the University of Michigan Stroke Program and reported in the journal Stroke.

That delay keeps a number of patients from receiving tPA, the only approved therapy for stroke caused by blood clots in the brain. If it¡¯s given intravenously within the first three hours of the start of a stroke, or injected directly into the brain within six hours, tPA can break up clots and stop or slow the damage caused by strokes.

But in the new study, only 44 percent of patients experiencing full-blown clot-based strokes got to the hospital even within six hours of the start of their symptoms ¨C and 36 percent didn¡¯t get there until more than 12 hours had passed. The study was conducted between 2000 and 2005 in Corpus Christi, Texas ¨C an area with no major university hospitals, making it a ¡ degree real world¡± snapshot of stroke care in America.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


November 4, 2007, 8:00 PM CT

Older adults not more distractible

Older adults not more distractible
Despite prior research suggesting that elderly adults are more distractible, new research shows they are no more distractible than younger adults when asked to focus their attention on their sense of sight or sound, or when asked to switch their attention from one sense to the other.

The research, performed at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, focused on the effects of age on multisensory attention, or the way the senses work together. It is part of the PROMISE (Processing of Multiple Individual Senses in the Elderly) study, funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and was presented today at the 37th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, Calif.

Attention works in two main ways, as per Christina E. Hugenschmidt, a Ph.D. candidate at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, who presented the results. It speeds up the brain's processing of what you want to pay attention to, and slows down the processing of what you want to ignore.

"Most research has focused on distractors that occur in one sense at a time, like ignoring only certain red signs or recognizing one sound that is different in a series of sounds," said Hugenschmidt. "However, we all know that distractions can come across sensory systems as well. We often do things automatically to minimize this multisensory distraction, like turning down the radio in the car to concentrate on finding an address."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 31, 2007, 8:22 PM CT

Opium and marijuana research go underground

Opium and marijuana research go underground
The worlds leading expert on the opium poppy has joined forces with scientists working on another infamous drug-producing plant cannabis in hopes of finding new uses for the much-maligned sources of heroin and marijuana.

Peter Facchini, professor of Biological Sciences and Canada Research Chair in Plant Biotechnology, has received a $650,000 NSERC Strategic Project Grant to create new varieties of opium poppy and cannabis that can be used for medicinal and industrial purposes, but will have no value as illicit drugs. And his work is taking him where few Canadians have gone before: Deep underground into the countrys ultra high-security medicinal marijuana growth facility.

Its certainly unusual for a plant biochemist to work in a copper mine hundreds of metres underground, Facchini said. This is a really great project that involves two of the worlds most important medicinal plants and is clearly unique in the plant biology field.

Facchini and a new team of U of C postdoctoral scientists have teamed up with Saskatoon-based Prairie Plant Systems Inc., the National Research Council Plant Biotechnology Institute, the Alberta Research Council and the University of Saskatchewan to create and study mutant varieties of opium poppy and cannabis in an unused portion of a copper and zinc mine near Flin Flon, Manitoba. Prairie Plant Systems produces medicinal marijuana under contract with Health Canada in this state-of-the-art facility.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 31, 2007, 7:54 PM CT

Can your perspective influence your motivation?

Can your perspective influence your motivation?
Students, athletes and performing artists are often advised to imagine themselves performing successfully. That strategy is believed to motivate them for future exams, games, and shows. But is that motivation influenced by what perspective they take when imagining their performance? Research published by SAGE in the recent issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin explores that question.

The three studies explored in the article looked at two ways to visualize future performances first person (watching oneself through ones own eyes) and third person (watching oneself from the perspective of another person). The authors, Noelia A. Vasquez, at York University (Canada) and Roger Buehler, at Wilfrid Laurier University (Canada), observed that the third person perspective resulted in greater motivation to succeed at the task, particularly when people imagined themselves performing well. The increased third person perspective appears to assign greater meaning to the task.

Mental imagery is usually used as a preparation strategy in a wide range of performance domains (school, sports, performing arts, public speaking, licensure exams as well less institutionalized future performances, such as bringing up a difficult issue with a boss, or resisting temptations such as food or cigarettes), commented the authors. These studies suggest that if someone needs a motivational boost to prepare, they may be well advised to envision themselves from the perspective of their audience.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 29, 2007, 10:16 PM CT

Smoking increases risk of psoriasis

Smoking increases risk of psoriasis
Another disease can be added to the list of smoking-related disorders -- psoriasis. Scientists have observed that smoking increases the risk of developing psoriasis, heavier smoking increases the risk further, and the risk decreases only slowly after quitting. Investigators from the Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, the Harvard School of Public Health, all in Boston, USA, and Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada, have published the results in the November 2007 issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

This study is the largest prospective assessment of multiple markers of smoking status, duration, and intensity in relation to the risk of psoriasis. Using data from the Nurses Health Study II (NHS II), an ongoing longitudinal study of 116,608 female registered nurses from 15 states between the ages of 25 and 42 years at baseline who completed and returned an initial questionnaire in 1989, the scientists documented 887 incident cases of psoriasis during the 14 years of follow-up. Lifetime smoking exposure was measured in pack-years, equal to smoking 20 cigarettes per day for one year.

Compared with women who never smoked, the risk of psoriasis was 37% higher among past smokers and 78% higher among current smokers. Pack-years were linked to a graded increase in the risk for psoriasis. Compared with never smokers; the risk was 20% higher for 1-10 pack-years, 60% higher for 11-20 pack-years, and more than two times higher for +21 pack-years. The significant trends persisted with smoking duration in both current and past smokers. Furthermore, exposure to passive smoke during pregnancy or childhood was linked to an increased risk of psoriasis. The risk of psoriasis among former smokers decreases nearly to that of never smokers 20 years after cessation.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Adolescents who suffer physical injuries are vulnerable to emotional distress in the months following their hospitalization, yet almost 40 percent of hospitalized adolescents interviewed for a new study had no source for the follow-up medical care that could diagnose and treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress. These young trauma survivors are at risk for high levels of post-traumatic stress and depressive symptoms, as well as high levels of alcohol use, according to research by researchers at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center.

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