Tag Archive : Mental Health

/ Mental Health

A drug that provides the benefits obtained from medicinal cannabis without the “high” or other side effects may help to unlock a new treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

The drug — HU-308 — lessens devastating involuntary movements called dyskinesias, a side effect from years of treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

The research, published today in Neurobiology of Disease, has been conducted by the Centre for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine (CNRM) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and the Applied Medical Research Institute of St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney.

The study shows that in mice HU-308 is as effective as amantadine, the only available treatment for dyskinesias. Furthermore, the combination of HU-308 with amantadine is more effective than either drug used alone.

Full story at Science Daily

Obesity in middle age is associated with an increased risk of dementia later in life, according to a study of more than 1 million women in the United Kingdom.

Those who were obese in their mid-50s had 21% greater risk of being diagnosed with dementia 15 or more years later, compared with women who had a healthy weight, a team of British and international researchers found.

The study adds to the “ever-expanding body of data that says what you do with yourself in midlife — and really even earlier — affects your risk for dementia as you age,” said Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach at the Alzheimer’s Association in Chicago. He was not part of the research.

Full story at US News

A leukemia drug may have cleared another hurdle as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

But critics say it’s still not clear whether the drug, nilotinib (brand name Tasigna), is truly safe or effective for this use.

In a study of 75 people with Parkinson’s, nilotinib appeared to improve quality of life and boost the chemical dopamine, a team from Georgetown University Medical Center reported Monday in JAMA Neurology.

“We are seeing signals that this may be a potential treatment for our Parkinson’s disease patients,” says Dr. Fernando Pagan, director of the medical center’s movement disorders program.

Full story at NPR

Playing cards and board games like chess, bingo and Scrabble might be the mental workout you need to keep your wits as you age, Scottish researchers suggest.

People in their 70s who regularly play board games score higher on tests of memory and thinking skills than those who don’t. And 70-somethings who step up their game-playing are more likely to maintain thinking skills as they age, researchers say.

“Playing board, card and word games may protect people from cognitive decline, but this study wasn’t an intervention, so we can’t say that for sure,” said lead researcher Drew Altschul, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Edinburgh. “But it, at very least, is fun, inexpensive, and it certainly won’t hurt you.”

Full story at US News

Nearly 13 million Americans will have dementia by 2040 — nearly twice as many as today, a new report says.

The number of women with dementia is expected to rise from 4.7 million next year to 8.5 million in 2040. The number of men with dementia is projected to increase from 2.6 million to 4.5 million.

Over the next 20 years, the economic impact of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia will be more than $2 trillion. Women will shoulder more than 80% of those costs, according to a report released Tuesday at the 2019 Milken Institute Future of Health Summit, in Washington, D.C.

“Longer life spans are perhaps one of the greatest success stories of our modern public health system,” said lead author Nora Super, senior director of the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging.

Full story at US News

A proof-of-concept brain imaging study suggests that exercising four or five times a week may delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in people who already have toxic buildups of beta-amyloid protein.

The new research is a 1-year randomized controlled trial led by Prof. Rong Zhang. The team published their findings in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Prof. Zhang is affiliated with the departments of neurology, neurotherapeutics, and internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, in Dallas.

Full story at Medical News Today

Researchers in Japan have found that the structure of Parkinson’s disease-associated protein aggregates can tell us, for the first time, about their movement through the brain. These new findings indicate that Parkinson’s disease is a kind of amyloidosis, which has implications for its diagnosis and treatment.

Lewy bodies, primarily composed of α-synuclein proteins (α-syn), are the neuropathological hallmark of Parkinson’s disease. However, we don’t yet fully understand how or why they appear in the brain. Using state-of-the-art imaging techniques, researchers at Osaka University have found that Lewy bodies in Parkinson’s disease brains contain α-syn protein aggregates (called amyloid fibrils) that can propagate through the brain. These findings, published this week in PNAS, support the new idea that Parkinson’s disease is a kind of amyloidosis, which is a group of rare diseases caused by abnormal protein accumulation.

“Our work follows on from in vitro findings that aggregates of α-synuclein that can propagate through the brain have a cross-β structure,” says lead author of the study Dr Hideki Mochizuki. “Our study is the first to find that aggregates in Parkinson’s disease brains also have this cross-β structure. This could mean that Parkinson’s disease is a kind of amyloidosis that features the accumulation of amyloid fibrils of α-synuclein.”

Full story at Science Daily

A new method for permanently marking cells infected with chikungunya virus could reveal how the virus continues to cause joint pain for months to years after the initial infection, according to a study published August 29 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Deborah Lenschow of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues. According to the authors, uncovering the mechanisms for long-term disease could aid in the development of treatments and preventative measures for this incapacitating, virally induced chronic arthritis.

Chikungunya virus is spread by mosquitoes and causes severe joint and muscle pain. Approximately 30 to 60 percent of people infected with the virus continue to experience joint pain for months to years after the initial infection. However, the cause of this persistent joint pain is unclear, as replicating virus cannot be detected during the chronic phase. To address this question, Lenschow and colleagues developed a reporter system to permanently mark cells infected by chikungunya virus.

Using this system, they show in mice that marked cells surviving chikungunya virus infection are a mixture of muscle and skin cells that are present for at least 112 days after initial virus inoculation. Treatment of mice with an antibody that blocks chikungunya virus infection reduces the number of marked cells in the muscle and skin. Moreover, surviving marked cells contain most of the persistent chikungunya virus RNA. Taken together, the findings provide further evidence for musculoskeletal cells as targets of chikungunya virus infection in the acute and chronic stages of disease. According to the authors, this reporter system represents a useful tool for identifying and isolating cells that harbor chronic viral RNA in order to study the mechanisms underlying chronic disease.

Full story at Science Daily

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AND dementia are becoming an increasingly big part of the health care conversation in America as the population ages and more people develop these cognitive ailments. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 5 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease today, a figure that’s anticipated to nearly triple to 14 million by 2060.

For many people, once dementia has progressed to a certain level, they may need more care than family members can provide and may need to be placed in a long-term care facility– either an assisted living community or a nursing home.

Some of these facilities provide amazing care and support of older adults dealing with cognitive decline or dementia. Others may not. And if you’re considering placing a loved one into an assisted living facility that offers dementia care, there are a few factors you should consider when evaluating whether a specific community is the right one.

Full story at US News

University of California, Irvine researchers have made it possible to learn how key human brain cells respond to Alzheimer’s, vaulting a major obstacle in the quest to understand and one day vanquish it. By developing a way for human brain immune cells known as microglia to grow and function in mice, scientists now have an unprecedented view of crucial mechanisms contributing to the disease.

The team, led by Mathew Blurton-Jones, associate professor of neurobiology & behavior, said the breakthrough also holds promise for investigating many other neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s, traumatic brain injury, and stroke. The details of their study have just been published in the journal Neuron.

The scientists dedicated four years to devising the new rodent model, which is considered “chimeric.” The word, stemming from the mythical Greek monster Chimera that was part goat, lion and serpent, describes an organism containing at least two different sets of DNA.

Full story at Science Daily