Mar 112011
 
The Liver and Alzheimer's

Readers, Two recent papers* have shed light on the role of the liver in modulating beta-amyloid levels in the brain, and potentially the course of Alzheimer’s disease. First, researchers at the University of California, Irvine discovered that markedly depleted amounts of an omega-3 fatty acid in brain tissue samples from Alzheimer’s patients may be due to the liver’s inability to produce the complex fat. Low levels of docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, have been associated with [...]

Mar 012011
 
Depressive Symptoms in Women Aged 65 Years and Older Associated with MCI and Dementia

Dear Readers, As I discussed in an earlier blog post this month, the association between behavior and/or personality traits to developing dementia is a growing topic of interest that I am asked to discuss frequently. Depression, in particular, arouses a lot of interest, as many studies have shown an association between depression and poor physical, social and cognitive functioning. The latest study from the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS) examined whether depressive symptoms in post [...]

Feb 102011
 

Dear Readers, I often am asked about whether behavioral or personality “traits” are related to cognitive functioning. Specifically, can they “predict” if someone will transition from mild memory trouble ( i.e. Mild Cognitive impairment-MCI) to dementia? Part of this question was addressed in a recent article by Chan and colleagues in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Participants in this study came from an ongoing epidemiological survey on MCI and dementia conducted in Hong Kong. In [...]

Jan 312011
 
Updates in the World of Alzheimer’s Disease Research

Dear Readers, There are two notable updates in this week’s blog. First, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Advisory Committee decided that it could not recommend approval of Amyvid™ (florbetapir) at this time based on the currently available data (13-3); but, voted unanimously (16-0) to recommend approval of Amyvid conditional on specialized training being instituted for the medical professionals who would administer it. They must train readers in a consistent technique, and then re-evaluate [...]

Jan 252011
 
A New Method to Test for Alzheimer's Disease?

Using a new technology that relies on thousands of synthetic molecules to fish for disease-specific antibodies, researchers have developed a potential method for detecting Alzheimer’s disease with a simple blood test. The same methodology might lead to blood tests for many important diseases, according to the report published by Thomas Kodadek’s group at the Scripps Research Institute in the January 7th issue of the journal Cell. The new method relies on the notion that many [...]

Jan 142011
 
The Amyloid Plateau

Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, report in last month’s issue of the journal Brain, on the postmortem examination of the first-ever person with Alzheimer’s to be followed prospectively by positron emission tomography using Pittsburgh Compound B (PIB-PET), which allows visualization of amyloid plaques. They analyzed the brain of a woman with Alzheimer’s who had volunteered for the first PET-PIB scan ever performed. She received an additional PIB scan two years later, and [...]

Dec 152010
 
HDL Cholesterol and Alzheimer’s Disease

According to researchers at Columbia University, people with high levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” form) are 60 percent less likely to develop AD. The researchers followed 1,130 seniors with no history of memory loss or dementia and measured their cholesterol levels every 18 months for four years. When the researchers compared the cholesterol levels of study participants with and without Alzheimer’s, they found that those with the highest HDL counts, greater than 55 mg/dL, [...]

Nov 032010
 

Dear Readers, About 750,000 people in the United States develop sepsis each year. Known in lay terms as blood poisoning, sepsis occurs when the bloodstream is overwhelmed with bacteria, usually in response to the body’s attempt to fight severe infection. Sepsis is a leading cause of death in hospital ICUs, and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to this life-threatening blood infection. The thinking had been that once the crisis is over, older people who survive [...]

Sep 302010
 

As we move forward in our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease, insights are constantly emerging from many different fronts. The disease is quite complex, and facts discerned by each new discovery must be assembled into an ever evolving theory. Sometimes, results that initially seem to be at odds with previous findings turn out to be integral to a clearer understanding of the disease. In the field of Alzheimer research, there have been [...]

Sep 222010
 
Brain Atrophy and B Vitamins

Brain atrophy involves the loss of neurons. Some degree of atrophy and subsequent brain shrinkage is common with old age, even in people who are cognitively healthy. However, this atrophy is accelerated in people with mild cognitive impairment and even faster in those who ultimately progress from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s disease. Many factors have been implicated in affecting the rate of brain atrophy, one of which is high levels of an amino acid [...]

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