Blog Archives

Stress Can Lead To Alzheimer’s

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Stress is bad news for any number of reasons, from depression to high blood pressure. Now new research suggests that stress may lead to amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) — the most common form of mild cognitive impairment, an early stage of Alzheimer’s.

Articles discussing the study, as well as the study itself, have been linked in Risk Factors:

Can high stress raise your risk of Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s Risk Might Increase With Stress

Original article:
Influence of Perceived Stress on Incident Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment: Results From the Einstein Aging Study. [Abstract free; Full text: paywall]

Category: Announcements

Gambling To Fight Off Dementia

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Some gambling games take considerable mental activity to play. That lies behind the use of gambling (albeit not for money) at some Japanese senior day care centers. The idea is that the mental activities of a ‘casino’ stimulates the brain and helps to prevent or suppress the development of dementia. Perhaps the ultimate mental exercise? A link to the article has been posted in Mental Exercise:

Gambling away dementia? Japan’s seniors turn to chance to stay sharp

Category: Announcements

A Promising Chemical For Alzheimer’s In Mice

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An early-stage animal study with mice in South Korea has shown that a chemical, called EPPS, can break down characteristic Alzheimer’s plaques in the brains of mice. The result was that treatments with EPPS improved the performance of Alzheimer’s mice in tests of memory and learning compared to untreated mice. While promising, it will take years of work for this to lead to a possible treatment in human beings.

Links to an article about the research, and the research study itself, have been posted in Neurology & Neuroplasticity:

Chemical Appears to Restore Memory and Clear Alzheimer’s Protein in Mice

Original article:
EPPS rescues hippocampus-dependent cognitive deficits in APP/PS1 mice by disaggregation of amyloid-β oligomers and plaques

Category: Announcements

Humor, Sarcasm, & Dementia : What Changes Say (or Not)

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A study from University College London of 48 dementia patients suggests that an increasingly warped sense of humor may be an early warning sign of impending frontotemporal dementia, which is one of the more rare forms of dementia and affects the area of the brain involved with personality and behavior. Looking back over nine years leading to the dementia diagnosis, family and friends felt the patients had developed a dark sense of humor, coupled with a tendency to prefer slapstick to satire.

Somewhat in contrast, a study at the University of Aberdeen of 116 people, 36 of whom were over 65, tended to show that the older people were equally skilled at interpreting normal conversations as the other participants, but that the over-65 group was somewhat less skilled at interpreting conversations involving sarcasm.

Links to articles about the dementia/humor study, and the study itself, have been posted in Diagnosis & Tests:

Change in sense of humor ‘a sign of impending dementia’

Changes in humour an early sign of dementia

Original article:
Altered Sense of Humor in Dementia

A link to an article about the study concerning age and sarcasm, as well as the study itself, have been posted in Aging:

Vitally important news: over-65s don’t get sarcasm

Original article:
Older adults have difficulty in decoding sarcasm.

Category: Announcements

Strong Legs (& The Rest) Lead To A Strong Brain

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A gold-standard study from Kings College, London, notably extends the many previous studies linking physical exercise with improved cognitive aging. The study utilized 324 pairs of healthy female twins (average age at study start was 55 with a range of 43-73), and extended for 10 years, with a subset of identical twins followed up at 12 years. Since the thigh muscle is the largest muscle in the human body, the power it could develop was taken as a proxy for the overall muscular fitness of the body. The study found a striking relationship between leg power (representing overall fitness) and both 10-year cognitive change and total grey matter. The study conclusion reads:

Leg power predicts both cognitive ageing and global brain structure, despite controlling for common genetics and early life environment shared by twins. Interventions targeted to improve leg power in the long term may help reach a universal goal of healthy cognitive aging

Links to three articles about the study, as well as the study itself, have been filed in both Aging and Health > Physical Exercise:

Fitter legs linked to a ‘fitter’ brain

Brawn and Brains

Fitter legs linked to a ‘fitter’ brain [Kings College article]

Original article:
Kicking Back Cognitive Ageing: Leg Power Predicts Cognitive Ageing after Ten Years in Older Female Twins

Category: Announcements

Deeper Brain Plasticity: Changing Neurons

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Brain plasticity is generally understood to mean that networks of neurons can reorganize themselves under a variety of conditions. A new study from Harvard Stem Cell Institute shows that individual neurons themselves may turn from one form of neuron into another in a living animal brain. Moreover, “neighboring neurons recognize the reprogrammed cells as different and adapt by changing how they communicate with them.” Articles about the study and the study itself have been linked in Neuro-Psych as listed here:

Neurons reprogrammed in animals

Neurons Can Be Changed from One Type Into Another from Within the Brain

Instructing Perisomatic Inhibition by Direct Lineage Reprogramming of Neocortical Projection Neurons

Category: Announcements

Risk for Alzheimer’s May Be Doubled By Common Prostate Cancer Treatment

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A new study of 16,000+ men being treated for prostate cancer demonstrated that those who got any kind of androgen deprivation therapy had nearly twice the risk of developing Alzheimer’s over the next 2 ½ years as men getting other treatments. The result, based on the men’s medical records, is only a correlation, and not proof of causality, but is prompting cancer researchers to look more closely.

Links to the study and to articles about the study have been posted in Risk Factors:

Common Prostate Cancer Treatment May Double Risk for Alzheimer’s

Common prostate cancer treatment may double Alzheimer’s risk

Original article:
Androgen Deprivation Therapy and Future Alzheimer’s Disease Risk [Abstract free; Full text: Paywall]

Category: Announcements

Caregivers & Coping: Two New Articles

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We’ve posted two worthwhile new articles in
Caregivers and Coping Stories:

Dementia is not an individual’s disease, it’s something that can tear families apart

Alzheimer’s is a young(er) person’s disease — so get to work

Category: Announcements

How Synapses Die in Alzheimer’s

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Synapses are the connections between neurons. Without synapses, neurons are pretty much good for nothing. This study demonstrates how a molecule (NCAM2) essential to synaptic connections is broken down by the molecule called beta-amyloid, which is the main component of the plaques that build up in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.

Links to the study together with articles about it have been posted in

Neurology & Neuroplasticity:

Synapse Discovery Could Lead to New Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease

Study: Synapse discovery could lead to new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease

Original article:
Aβ-dependent reduction of NCAM2-mediated synaptic adhesion contributes to synapse loss in Alzheimer’s disease

Category: Announcements

Coffee Might Save Your Life

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An increasing number of studies have revealed beneficial effects of coffee, but this November 2015 study is really striking: it might reduce your chances of dying. In a very large study of 250,000 people (200,000 women and 50,000 men), Harvard Medical School researchers found that nonsmoking coffee-drinkers who drank somewhere between under a cup of coffee or up to three cups a day had 6% to 8% lower risk of dying than non coffee drinkers. And those who drank from three to five cups or more had 15% and 12% lower death rates. This was true of both caffeinated coffee and decaf. The findings showed that coffee drinkers were about 10% less likely to die of heart disease, and that they were also between 9% and 37% less likely to die of neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and dementia. [On the worldwide longevity list, Sweden is tied in third place. In Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, the characters are always sitting down for a cup of coffee. Maybe there’s a connection?]

Links to an article about the study, as well as the the study itself, are posted on both the Health/Diet and Alzheimers/Amelioration/Prevention/Caffeine
pages.

The article about the study is:
Coffee could literally be a lifesaver,

while the study itself is at:
Association of Coffee Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in Three Large Prospective Cohorts.

Category: Announcements