Tag Archive : brain health

/ brain health

Research shows that white blood cells in the human brain are regulated by a protein called CD33 — a finding with important implications in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study by University of Alberta chemists.

“Immune cells in the brain, called microglia, play a critical role in Alzheimer’s disease,” explained Matthew Macauley, assistant professor in theDepartment of Chemistry and co-author on the paper. “They can be harmful or protective. Swaying microglia from a harmful to protective state could be the key to treating the disease.”

Scientists have identified the CD33 protein as a factor that may decrease a person’s likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease. Less than 10 percent of the population have a version of CD33 that makes them less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease. “The fact that CD33 is found on microglia suggests that immune cells can protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease under the right circumstances,” said Abhishek Bhattacherjee, first author and postdoctoral fellow in the Macauley lab.

Full story at Science Daily

The brains of middle-age adults may be aging prematurely if they have obesity or other factors linked to cardiovascular disease, new research has found.

Almost one-quarter of adults have metabolic syndrome, a set of factors that in combination amplify a person’s risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other illnesses. In the new research, participants were considered metabolically unhealthy if they had two or more such factors: high blood pressure; high blood sugar; high blood triglyceride levels; or low levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol – or if they took medicine for diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol.

Researchers used magnetic resonance imaging and tests of thinking skills to evaluate more than 2,100 women and men ages 37 to 55. Compared with the healthiest participants, those who were metabolically unhealthy, obese or both showed evidence of brain decline.

Full story at US News

Young adults who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may be more likely to experience a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or major stroke event by middle age, raising the risk as much as other better-known risk factors, according to new research published in Stroke, a journal of the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association.

“Stroke has a devastating impact on young patients and their families, many of whom struggle to cope with long-term disability, depression and economic loss during their most productive years,” said Lindsey Rosman, Ph.D., lead author of the study and assistant professor of medicine in the division of cardiology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. “Ten to 14% of ischemic strokes occur in adults ages 18 to 45, and we don’t really have a good understanding of the risk factors for stroke in this age group.”

While PTSD has previously been shown to increase the risk of heart disease and stroke in older adults, this is the first study to demonstrate a link between trauma-induced stress disorders and the risk of TIA and stroke in young and middle-aged adults, an age group that has experienced a striking increase in stroke events over the past decade.

Full story at Science Daily

A RECENT COLUMBIA University study builds on previous research linking aerobic exercise to cognitive function and cortical thickness improvement in middle-aged and older adults. Here’s a look at what the findings could mean for you.

Can you imagine living through chronic neurological disease and dysfunction that prevents you from learning, reasoning, behaving appropriately or even remembering basic information? These are examples of cognitive functions, which are the sophisticated mental processes by which we’re able to carry out daily tasks and navigate the world around us. The way we learn things, how we remember them, problem-solving and paying attention to details can deteriorate with mild cognitive impairment and can be destroyed with more aggressive forms of dementia. Our cognitive abilities can also decline with age.

Full story at US News

The strong link between brain health and heart health is reinforced in a new study. The research showed that as cardiovascular health falters, so too does thinking and memory.

In one of the largest and longest studies of its kind to date, researchers studied a group of nearly 8,000 people in the United Kingdom. The participants were over 49 years of age and their health was tracked from 2002 to 2017.

Everyone in the study had relatively healthy hearts and brains at the beginning of the research. People with a history of stroke, heart attack, angina, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease were excluded.

Full story at US News

Researchers are finding new evidence that exercise — even low-intensity, casual physical activity — can boost brain health in the short- and long-term.

Evidence that exercise can benefit the brain and help maintain cognitive function — including memory — is accumulating.

One study, for instance, suggests that engaging even in low-level phyisical activities, such as doing household chores, can help reduce the risk of cognitive impairment in older adults.

Now, a team led by Michelle Voss — from the University of Iowa in Iowa City — has found evidence in support of the notion that the benefits of just one workout can predict the benefits of frequent physical activity in the long run.

Full story at Medical News Today

The old saying, “TV rots your brain,” could have some validity for folks as they age.

In a new study, middle-aged people who watched television for more than 3.5 hours a day experienced a decline in their ability to remember words and language over the next six years, British researchers found.

What’s worse, it appears that the more TV you watch, the more your verbal memory will deteriorate, researchers said.

“Overall, our results suggests that adults over the age of 50 should try and ensure television viewing is balanced with other contrasting activities,” said lead researcher Daisy Fancourt. She’s a senior research fellow at University College London.

Full story at US News

I never wanted to be a concussion expert. I know some of the world’s leading authorities on head injuries and I’m certainly not one of them, but “expert” is a relative term. My expertise comes from personal experience.

During my two decades behind the wheel as a full-time Nascar driver, I suffered more than a dozen concussions. For a long time, I managed to keep most of them a secret, but then my symptoms got too severe to keep up the charade and I was forced to get help. My battle with head injuries has given me a wealth of firsthand knowledge of the causes, symptoms, and types of concussions, and their treatments.

Racers get every injury you can think of, from broken legs to cracked collarbones. But it was concussions, not fractures, that forced me to retire as a full-time Nascar driver in 2017. Twice I was pushed out of the driver’s seat because of concussion-related symptoms, missing two major races in 2012 and an entire half-season in 2016.

Full story at the New York Times

Individual regions of the brain have to team up to get things done. And like in any team, the key to working together is communication.

Duke researchers used brain imaging to identify how patterns of brain connectivity — the ability of different brain regions to talk to each other — can affect a person’s likelihood of developing common forms of mental illness.

Surprisingly, they found that brain regions that help process what we see may play a key role in mental health. The results show that a person’s risk of mental illness broadly increases when the visual cortex has trouble communicating with brain networks responsible for focus and introspection.

Full story at Science Daily

UNSW researchers have identified a promising new avenue to explore in the search for stroke treatments, after translating findings from Alzheimer’s disease.

The study published in Nature Communications finds that mice deficient in tau, a protein within brain cells (neurons), are significantly protected from excitotoxic brain damage after experimental stroke.

Stroke is a major cause of death and disability, and there is only a short window for therapeutic intervention, aimed at restoring blood flow to the brain before neurons are irreversibly damaged.

Full story at Science Daily