The aggregated proteins strewn about the brain are the hallmark of one of the most common neurodegenerative disorders: Alzheimer's disease. But while these irregular, gunky proteins, called amyloid-β, are believed to contribute to the deterioration of memory and cognitive ability in Alzheimer's patients, no one knows how they lead to these symptoms, and the severity of the dementia doesn't directly depend on the amount of amyloid-β plaques found in diseased brains.
As the average life span becomes longer, dementia becomes more common. Swedish scientist Laura Fratiglioni has shown that everyone can minimize his or her risk of being affected. Factors from blood pressure and weight to the degree of physical and mental activity can influence cognitive functioning as one gets older.
Middle-age men and women who have cardiovascular issues, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, may not only be at risk for heart disease, but for an increased risk of developing early cognitive and memory problems as well. That's according to a study released Feb. 21 that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 63rd Annual Meeting in Honolulu April 9 to April 16, 2011.
A new University of Colorado Boulder study indicates an ancient form of complementary medicine may be effective in helping to treat people with mild traumatic brain injury, a finding that may have implications for some U.S. war veterans returning home.
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified a signaling pathway in the brain that's sufficient to induce cellular leptin resistance, a problem that decreases the body's ability to "hear" that it is full and should stop eating.
If you tend to have trouble picking up the latest dance moves or learning to play a new piano piece, there might be an explanation. A new study published online on March 3rd in Current Biology, shows that people who are fast to learn a simple sequence of finger motions are also those whose brains show large changes in a particular chemical messenger following electrical stimulation.
The numbers are, well, depressing: More than 2 million people age 65 and older suffer from depression, including 50 percent of those living in nursing homes. The suicide rate among white men over 85 is the highest in the country -- six times the national rate. And we're not getting any younger. In the next 35 years, the number of Americans over 65 will double and the number of those over 85 will triple.
A low dose of insulin has been found to suppress the expression in the blood of four precursor proteins involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease, according to new clinical research by University at Buffalo endocrinologists. The research, published in March online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, suggests that insulin could have a powerful, new role to play in fighting Alzheimer's disease.
A study of the salamander brain has led researchers at Karolinska Institutet to discover a hitherto unknown function of the neurotransmitter dopamine. In an article published in the scientific journal Cell Stem Cell they show how in acting as a kind of switch for stem cells, dopamine controls the formation of new neurons in the adult brain.
Research conducted at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital's Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine in Dallas suggests that it's never too late for women to reap the benefits of moderate aerobic exercise. In a 3-month study of 16 women age 60 and older, brisk walking for 30-50 minutes three or four times per week improved blood flow through to the brain as much as 15%.
Scientists are reporting an in-depth analysis of how the caffeine in coffee, tea, and other foods seems to protect against conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and heart disease on the most fundamental levels.
According to a new study, being overweight or obese during middle age may increase the risk of certain dementias. The research is published in the May 3, 2011, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.