Many Years Young

A community for people who want to remain as healthy as possible as we age.

Cerebrovascular disease linked to Alzheimer's

(Rush University Medical Center) While strokes are known to increase risk for dementia, much less is known about diseases of large and small blood vessels in the brain, separate from stroke, and how they relate to dementia. Diseased blood vessels in the brain itself, which commonly is found in elderly people, may contribute more significantly to Alzheimer's disease dementia than was previously believed, according to new study...
"Cerebral vessel pathology might be an under-recognized risk factor for Alzheimer's disease dementia," the researchers wrote.
The study found that the worse the brain vessel diseases, the higher the chance of having dementia, which is usually attributed to Alzheimer's disease. The increase was 20 to 30 percent for each level of worsening severity. The study also found that atherosclerosis and arteriolosclerosis are associated with lower levels of thinking abilities, including in memory and other thinking skills, and these associations were present in persons with and without dementia.
Community: The Alzheimer’s Association has information on how to minimize damage to the brain’s blood vessels.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Reversal of memory loss from Alzheimer's disease in 10 patients

(Buck Institute for Research on Aging) Results from quantitative MRI and neuropsychological testing show unprecedented improvements in ten patients with early Alzheimer's disease (AD) or its precursors following treatment with a programmatic and personalized therapy. Results from an approach dubbed metabolic enhancement for neurodegeneration are now available online…
The study, which comes jointly from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the UCLA Easton Laboratories for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, is the first to objectively show that memory loss in patients can be reversed, and improvement sustained, using a complex, 36-point therapeutic personalized program that involves comprehensive changes in diet, brain stimulation, exercise, optimization of sleep, specific pharmaceuticals and vitamins, and multiple additional steps that affect brain chemistry.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Complex jobs and social ties appears to help ward off Alzheimer's, new research shows

(Washington Post) Work that involves complex thinking and interaction with other people seems to help protect against the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease, according to research presented Sunday at the Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference in Toronto.
Two studies looked at how complex work and social engagement counteract the effects of unhealthy diet and cerebrovascular disease on cognition. One found that while a “Western” diet (characterized by red and processed meats, white bread, potatoes, pre-packaged foods, and sweets) is associated with cognitive decline, people who ate such food could offset the negative effects and experienced less cognitive decline if they also had a mentally stimulating lifestyle.
Occupations that afforded the highest levels of protections included lawyer, teacher, social worker, engineer and doctor; the fewest protections were seen among people who held jobs such as laborer, cashier, grocery shelf stocker, and machine operator.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Marijuana Compounds Show Promise In Protecting Brain Cells From Alzheimer's

(Forbes) Some potentially good news about cannabis compounds is wafting from the Salk Institute labs in San Diego. Researchers discovered that the main psychoactive compound in marijuana—tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—and a few other active compounds remove amyloid beta proteins from lab-grown neurons. Amyloid is the toxic protein known to accumulate in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. The compounds also significantly reduced cellular inflammation, an underlying factor in the disease’s progression…
“Although other studies have offered evidence that cannabinoids might be neuroprotective against the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, we believe our study is the first to demonstrate that cannabinoids affect both inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation in nerve cells,” said Professor David Schubert, senior author of the study, in a Salk Institute press release.
The brain produces its own cannabis-like molecules, endocannabinoids, which play a signaling role between cells, but also seem to protect nerve cells from inflammatory amyloid damage. THC in cannabis activates the same receptors as the body’s endocannabinoids.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Can This Brain Exercise Put Off Dementia?

(Wall Street Journal) One particular type of mental exercise may succeed at doing what nothing else has before: putting off dementia.
A new, 10-year study showed that speed training—computer exercises that get users to visually process information more quickly—beat out memory and reasoning exercises, two other popular brain-training techniques. Researchers found that a total of 11 to 14 hours of speed training has the potential to cut by as much as 48% the risk of developing dementia 10 years later.
The results of the study, called Active, for Advanced Cognitive Training in Vital Elderly, were presented Sunday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Toronto, the world’s largest gathering of Alzheimer’s researchers. The study is believed to be the first to demonstrate that a behavioral intervention can reduce the incidence of dementia.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Diabetes drugs could also treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease, experts reveal

(Daily Express) DRUGS used to treat diabetes could also be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, and vice versa, according to new research from the University of Aberdeen…
The study report said Alzheimer’s Disease and type 2 diabetes are so closely related that drugs currently used to control glucose levels in diabetes may also alleviate the symptoms and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
The paper, published in the journal Diabetologia, found for the first time that dementia-related complications within the brain can also lead to changes in how the body handles glucose and ultimately diabetes. 
This is contrary to what was previously thought - that diabetes begins with a malfunction in the pancreas or a high fat, high sugar diet.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Antibiotics weaken Alzheimer's disease progression through changes in the gut microbiome

(University of Chicago Medical Center) Long-term treatment with broad spectrum antibiotics decreased levels of amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, and activated inflammatory microglial cells in the brains of mice in a new study by neuroscientists from the University of Chicago.
The study … also showed significant changes in the gut microbiome after antibiotic treatment, suggesting the composition and diversity of bacteria in the gut play an important role in regulating immune system activity that impacts progression of Alzheimer's disease.
"We're exploring very new territory in how the gut influences brain health," said Sangram Sisodia, PhD, Thomas Reynolds Sr. Family Professor of Neurosciences at the University of Chicago and senior author of the study. "This is an area that people who work with neurodegenerative diseases are going to be increasingly interested in, because it could have an influence down the road on treatments."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Progress in world's first Alzheimer's vaccine

(Flinders University) researchers in the U.S. and Australia have made a breakthrough discovery in the international quest to discover a new and potentially effective vaccine targeting the pathological proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common cause of dementia in the elderly.
In research findings…, Flinders University experts, as part of a high-level U.S. research team at the Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM) and University of California, Irvine (UCI), have made a successful vaccine formulation that targets the abnormal beta-amyloid and tau proteins that signal Alzheimer's disease…
Using a combination of anti-amyloid-beta and anti-tau vaccines with powerful and safe adjuvant technology called Advax developed by Vaxine Pty Ltd "shows promise for both preventive and therapeutic approaches in AD," Professor David Cribbs told Bloomberg news agency in the U.S.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Researchers discover molecule for potential Alzheimer's vaccine

(Fox News) A team of researchers have discovered a new molecule that they say may be a major step towards the creation of an Alzheimer’s vaccine.
The molecule, known as monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL), has shown evidence of stimulating the brain’s natural immune defense against the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, according to a team of researchers from Laval University in Quebec and pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)…
[W]hen MPL was tested in mice with Alzheimer’s-like symptoms, the findings … showed that weekly injections over 12 weeks reduced the number of plaques in the brain by 80 percent. Additionally, researchers saw the mice’s cognitive function improve over the course of the study.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Any Kind of Sex Can Spread Zika, CDC Says in Updated Guidance

(NBC News) Any kind of sex can spread the Zika virus, federal health officials said
Several recent new cases show that just about any kind of sexual contact can spread the virus, the CDC said. "Sexual exposure includes vaginal sex, anal sex, oral sex, or other activities that might expose a sex partner to genital secretions," it says in the new guidance.
"All other couples in which a partner (male or female) has been in an area with Zika can also reduce the risk of sexual transmission by using condoms or abstaining from sex. Sex includes vaginal, anal and oral sex, and may also include the sharing of sex toys."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Three-Drug Combinations Could Help Counter Antibiotic Resistance, Biologists Report

(University of California - Los Angeles) A study by UCLA life scientists could be a major step toward combating drug-resistant infections.
The research … found that combinations of three different antibiotics can often overcome bacteria's resistance to antibiotics, even when none of the three antibiotics on their own -- or even two of the three together -- is effective.
The researchers grew E. coli bacteria in a laboratory and treated the samples with combinations of one, two and three antibiotics from a group of 14 drugs. The biologists studied how effectively every single possible combination of drugs worked to kill the bacteria.
Some combinations killed 100 percent of the bacteria, including 94 of the 364 three-drug groupings the researchers tested. According to said Pamela Yeh, the paper's senior author and a UCLA assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, the success rate might have been even greater if the researchers tested higher doses of the drugs.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

These Bacterium-Mimicking Microbots May Be The Future Of Medicine

(Tech Times) A common feature of sci-fi is the usage of nanomachines — small machines/robots whose dimensions are measured nanometer — in order to provide various benefits to the human body. Thanks to a recently-published research paper, there is now strong evidence that suggests such machines — albeit not necessarily as small — won't be a thing of fiction for much longer.
Researchers … have designed a prototype shape-shifting robot that imitates a bacterium whose tail folds away upon entering the bloodstream…
[T]he paper detalls that there is now a way to create robots equipped with the means to transport drugs to specific locations throughout the body via the bloodstream, as well as to provide the help needed when in the middle of difficult operations.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

AP Exclusive: Pricy drugs overwhelm Medicare safeguard

(AP) A safeguard for Medicare beneficiaries has become a way for drugmakers to get paid billions of dollars for pricey medications at taxpayer expense, government numbers show.
The cost of Medicare's "catastrophic" prescription coverage jumped by 85 percent in three years, from $27.7 billion in 2013 to $51.3 billion in 2015, according to the program's number-crunching Office of the Actuary. 
Out of some 2,750 drugs covered by Medicare's Part D benefit, two pills for hepatitis C infection — Harvoni and Sovaldi — accounted for nearly $7.5 billion in catastrophic drug costs in 2015.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Meet Graham, a 'human' designed to survive a car crash

(CNN) To up your chances of surviving a car accident, it would help if your ultra-thick ribcage were lined with sacs that served as natural airbags and if your face were flattened, your skull much larger, your skin thicker and your knees able to move in all directions.
There's only one "human" in the world who possesses all these unnatural characteristics and more.
Meet Graham.
He's an interactive, life-size sculpture with a grotesque human look who's part of a road safety campaign for the Transport Accident Commission of Victoria, Australia. Melbourne artist Patricia Piccinini constructed him primarily from silicone and human hair.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Be proactive to promote heart health

(Steven Anton, M.D.) Those who are in the high-risk categories for heart disease need to be especially diligent in eliminating behaviors that are detrimental to heart health. This includes people with a family history of heart disease as well as those who are obese, smokers, diabetic and those who have high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
Given the prevalence of heart disease, however, everyone should adhere to these heart-healthy tips:
·         Get your lipids (cholesterol) and blood pressure regularly checked, as your doctor recommends. Those at high risk who have multiple risk factors or symptoms may want to consult with a cardiologist.
·         Eliminate as much saturated fat and trans fat from your diet as you can.
·         Eat a diet rich in whole foods such as vegetables, fruit, beans and fish.
·         Limit your sodium intake to help lower or prevent hypertension.
·         Follow an exercise regime that’s suitable for your age and risk factors. There’s no need to be a serious athlete; 30 minutes of aerobic exercise – even walking – four to five times a week will be fine for most people.
In addition to being proactive in supporting the health of your heart, it’s equally important not to ignore potential symptoms of heart trouble such as indigestion, chest discomfort, excessive fatigue and shortness of breath with exertion.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Heart health via nutrition

(Chicago Sun-Times) [Interview with Dr. Stephen Devries:] In my practice at Northwestern and, previous to that, running the University of Illinois at Chicago’s outpatient heart center and cardiac ultrasound lab for over 15 years, I saw very successful business people. They often came to me to prevent a recurrence after a cardiac crisis. I encouraged them to monitor their health with the same rigor they brought to their businesses.
When they did, magic happened. I saw them realize they were not invulnerable, and they began to lose weight, start exercising and start to take charge of their health.
I also saw their blood pressure and blood-sugar levels go down and saw them reduce or completely get off medication…
Small changes can make a very powerful difference. Walking for 30 minutes after a meal — even at a leisurely pace of 1.2 miles per hour — can cut the amount of sugar absorbed by 50 percent. Similarly, even small dietary changes yield substantial health improvements.
But there is no one best diet. There are many ways to eat healthy. I encourage a focus on well-accepted dietary principles — including cutting out sodas, adding a veggie to every meal and replacing meat with fish or a vegetable source of protein.
It’s important to have people realize that every incremental step is incredibly important.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Reduce Risk of Fatal Heart Attack

(Live Science) Eating fish, nuts, seeds and plants with omega-3 fatty acids may significantly lower your risk of dying from a heart attack, according to the most thorough study to date on this contested nutritional topic.
Previous research on fish oil supplements and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids has shown mixed results, with some studies revealing heart-healthy benefits and others finding no benefit at all.
The latest research … was the largest of its kind to measure the actual levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the participants' blood, as opposed to relying on questionnaires in which people report what they eat.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Cutting Sugar Rapidly Improves Heart Health Markers

(Well, New York Times) Obese children who cut sugar from their diets saw improvements in markers of heart disease after just nine days, a study … found
After nine days, the researchers found a 33 percent drop in triglycerides, a type of fat tied to heart disease; a 49 percent reduction in a protein called apoC-III that is tied to high triglyceride levels; and dramatic reductions in small, dense LDL cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease.
Though this study is small and short-term, it builds on this group’s previous research implicating added sugars as a contributor to metabolic disorders and heart disease.
“Sugar calories are not like other carbohydrate calories,” said Dr. Robert Lustig, a co-author of the study and professor of pediatrics at Benioff Children’s Hospital at the University of California, San Francisco. “Without changing total carbohydrate, or fat, or protein, we were able to accomplish this enormous improvement in their cardiovascular risk factors,” unrelated to weight loss, he said.
Community: The same could be true for us older folks, as well.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

How stress affects your heart

(The Telegraph) When your body senses danger, it triggers a stress response that starts in your brain’s hypothalamus gland, which sends signals to the adrenals (two glands that sit on top of the kidneys) to release stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenalin and noradrenalin. These raise blood pressure and give your body a hit of glucose to help you outrun the immediate danger.
“Cortisol and other stress hormones are important because they prime our bodies to react to threat,” says Dr Valeria Mondelli, senior lecturer in psychological medicine at King’s College London. “But when our cortisol is too high for too long, it can lead to physical and mental health problems in many areas of our bodies.”…
During the stress response, your breathing increases and heart beats faster in an effort to pump more oxygen and blood to your muscles, preparing it for fight or flight. Stress hormones also cause your blood vessels to constrict and raise your blood pressure. Indeed, earlier this month German researchers found that those who were constantly exposed to traffic noise were at higher risk of heart attack because of the increased stress noise pollution put on their bodies.
But there’s more to it than the consequences of an increased heartbeat, says Dr Mondelli. “Elevated stress hormones over time lead to inflammation that damages the internal lining of the blood vessels which can facilitate the production of artherosclerotic plaques that clog up the arteries, increasing risk of heart attack,” she explains
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

New App Will Help Lower Blood Pressure

(BU Today, Boston University) You might think that a cell phone could only drive blood pressure up, not down, but a team from the BU School of Medicine is studying a smartphone app they hope will lower high blood pressure by helping people control their weight.
“We got the idea of rebuilding the DASH diet using mobile technology,” says Devin Mann…
The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension) diet, developed in 1992 by Thomas Moore … and a team of researchers from five academic institutions is designed to offer a healthy diet for the general public, and can offer an alternative to low doses of blood pressure medication… [T]he DASH diet was judged the best diet plan six years in a row by U.S. News & World Report. Designed to lower blood pressure, it is also effective for weight reduction, lowering cholesterol, and managing or preventing diabetes.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]