Folate Metabolites Linked To Increased Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Juergen Hahn PhD, Professor and Department Head Department of Biomedical Engineerin Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Prof., Hahn

Juergen Hahn PhD, Professor and
Department Head Department of Biomedical Engineerin
Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Recent estimates indicate that if a mother has previously had a child with autism spectrum disorder, the risk of having a second child with ASD is ~18.7% whereas the risk of ASD in the general population is ~1.7%.

This work investigated if there is a difference in metabolites of the folate one carbon metabolism and the transulfuration pathway between the mothers that have had a child with ASD and those that have not. Furthermore, we investigated if there is a difference among the mothers who have had a child with autism spectrum disorder based upon if the child that they were pregnant with will have an ASD diagnosis by age 3. This part required follow up with the mothers three years later.

The main findings are that there are statistically significant differences in the metabolites between the mothers who have previously had a child with autism spectrum disorder, who have an 18.7% probability of having another child with ASD, and those who have not, who have an 1.7% probability of having a child with autism spectrum disorder.

However, we did not find differences among the mothers based upon if the child will be diagnosed with ASD at age 3.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Based upon the measurements it is not possible to determine during a pregnancy if a child will be diagnosed with ASD by age 3. However, differences in the folate-dependent transmethylation and transsulfuration metabolites are indicative of the risk level (High Risk of 18.7% vs. Low Risk of 1.7%) of the mother for having a child with autism spectrum disorder.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: This study has not been replicated and we also had to make a number of assumptions which are listed in the paper. These points should be looked at in future research. My recommendation would be to replicate the comparison between mothers who have had a child with .autism spectrum disorder and those who have not and focus on recruiting an approximately equal number of mothers for each group and try to match the two groups by age and ethnicity.

Citation:

Maternal metabolic profile predicts high or low risk of an autism pregnancy outcome

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Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Volume 56, December 2018, Pages 72-82

Sep 22, 2018 @ 3:18 pm

The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.

 

Amyloid Targeting Therapy More Likely To Be Effective Early in Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Christina Elliott PhD Postdoctoral Researcher Department of Old Age Psychiatry King’s College London

Dr. Elliott

Dr Christina Elliott PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher
Department of Old Age Psychiatry
King’s College London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Amyloid-beta (Aβ) and its precursor protein, APP have been long implicated in pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease but how they contribute to disease is not fully understood.  This has been further compounded by numerous failed clinical trials which attempted to target Aβ therapeutically.

In Alzheimer’s Disease there is an overproduction of Aβ, which can disrupt how neurons communicate at structures called synapses.  It is thought that progressive synapse loss underpins cognitive impairments commonly seen in Alzheimer Disease patients such as memory loss.

Our previous work highlighted a central role of the signalling pathway Wnt signalling in Aβ mediated synapse loss through the induction of dickkopf-1 (Dkk1), a well-known modulator of Wnt signalling.

The aim of this study was to further investigate the molecular mechanisms of Aβ mediated synapse loss and explore whether this is connected to the overproduction of Aβ.  By dissecting out the key signalling events involved we hoped this would allow us to identify drugs which could be putative therapeutics for Alzheimer’ Disease.   Continue reading

Using Tau PET Scan to Distinguish Alzheimer Disease from Other Neurodegenerative Disorders

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
PET scanner Wikipedia imageRik Ossenkoppele
PhD
Lund University & VU University Medical Center
Oskar Hansson – Lund University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: [18F]flortaucipir is a relatively novel PET tracer that can be used to detect tau pathology in the living human brain. Previous studies have shown a robust signal in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, but in patients with other types of dementia the signal was more variable.

We aimed to assess the ability of [18F]flortaucipir PET to distinguish Alzheimer’s disease from other neurodegenerative disease in more than 700 study participants. T

he main finding was that [18F]flortaucipir discriminated Alzheimer’s disease patients from patients with other neurodegenerative diseases with high accuracy. Furthermore, [18F]flortaucipir PET outperformed established MRI markers and showed higher specificity than amyloid-β PET.  Continue reading

Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Reduce Anxiety

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“omega 3” by Khaldaa Photographer is licensed under CC BY 2.0Yutaka MATSUOKA, MD, PhD

Division Chief of Health Care Research,
Behavioral Sciences and Survivorship Research Group,
Center for Public Health Sciences,
National Cancer Center Japan

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Anxiety is the most commonly experienced psychiatric symptom. We have now two major treatment options that include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and pharmacotherapy.  However, CBT is time-consuming, costly, and limited in availability. And there is concern over potential side effects in pharmacotherapy. Evidence-based and safer treatment options are required. Omega-3 fatty acids have potential preventive and therapeutic effects on depression and anxiety. Clinical and preclinical studies support the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids as a treatment for anxiety disorders. Despite the largely positive findings of these trials, the clinical application of the findings is unfortunately limited by their small sample size.

Improvement in anxiety symptoms were associated with omega-3 fatty acids treatment compared with controls. The anxiolytic effects of omega-3 fatty acids were also stronger in patients with clinical conditions than in subclinical populations.  Continue reading

Depression May Increase Risk of Developing an Autoimmune Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Andrea L. Roberts, MPH, PhD Research Associate, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Roberts

Andrea L. Roberts, MPH, PhD
Research Associate, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: There is some evidence that depression may increase risk of autoimmune diseases. For example, among people with autoimmune diseases, more people have depression than in the general population. Also, people who have autoimmune diseases who also have depression have more severe disease symptoms.

Continue reading

Alzheimer’s Disease: Peptide Found in Sea Anemones May Prevent Neuron Destruction

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Elena LeychenkoElena Leychenko is a senior research associate at PIBOC (G.B. Elyakov Pacific Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry which is the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences), assistant professor, and lecturer at the chair of bioorganic chemistry and biotechnology of the School of Natural Sciences
Far Eastern Federal University 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Sea anemones are the main object for study in the laboratory for peptide chemistry of PIBOC. These marine dwellers are very interesting for scientists because of a wide range of biologically active compounds, which are the main components of their venom. The development of modern research methods allows us to receive both major and minor components of that poison, and to study their medical properties. Interestingly, inhibitors of Kunitz-type proteinases, which are also content in sea anemones, can be used as anti-inflammatory compounds. In particular, in complex therapy, it could be applied in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Continue reading

Larger Number of Benzodiazepine Pills in Initial Prescription Associated With Long Term Use

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lauren B. Gerlach, D.O. Clinical Lecturer Department of Psychiatry University of Michigan

Dr. Gerlach

Lauren B. Gerlach, D.O.
Clinical Lecturer
Department of Psychiatry
University of Michigan

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? 

Response: In this study we used data from the Supporting Seniors Receiving Treatment and Intervention or SUSTAIN program. The program provides a supplement to a Pennsylvania medication coverage program for low-income older adults. It provides behavioral health and case management services by phone across the state. This included detailed interviews to screen for mental health issues including anxiety, depression, sleep issues, and pain, as well as analysis of prescription records and other clinical data.

Among older adults prescribed a new benzodiazepine prescription by a non-psychiatric provider, we determined how many then went on to long-term use of the medication and what patient and clinical characteristics predicted long-term use over the following year.

Continue reading

Age, Sex and Genetics Can Identify Groups at Higher Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ruth Frikke-Schmidt, Professor, Chief Physician, MD, DMSc, PhD Department of Clinical Biochemistry Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej & Deputy Head Department of Clinical Medicine Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences University of Copenhagen

Dr. Frikke-Schmidt

Ruth Frikke-Schmidt, Professor, Chief Physician, MD, DMSc, PhD
Department of Clinical Biochemistry
Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej &
Deputy Head
Department of Clinical Medicine
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
University of Copenhagen

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

 

Response: Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are devastating, neurodegenerative disorders affecting more than 47 million people in 2015, a number projected to triple by 2050 (1,2). Available curative treatments are lacking, and no useful risk prediction tools exist. The potential for prevention is however substantial, emphasized by the recently observed incidence decline in Western societies, likely caused by improved treatment and prevention of vascular risk factors (1,3,4). Population growth and aging, will however triple dementia prevalence by 2050, if no action is taken. Acting now with ambitious preventive interventions, delaying onset of disease by five years, is estimated to halve the prevalence globally (1,5).

Despite important preventive efforts over the last decades – resulting in decreased smoking, lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels in the general population – physical inactivity, overweight, and diabetes remain threats for our health care system, and in particular for cardiovascular disease and dementia. Intensifying preventive efforts in general is thus of crucial importance, and especially for those patients at highest risk who most likely will benefit the most from early and targeted prevention. Risk stratification and specific treatment goals according to the estimated absolute 10-year risk, has been implemented in cardiovascular disease for years (6,7). There is an un-met need for similar strategies in dementia, underscored by the publication of several randomized multicomponent trials that seem to improve or maintain brain function in at-risk elderly people from the general population (8-10) Continue reading

10% of US Kids Diagnosed with ADHD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Wei Bao, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Epidemiology College of Public Health University of Iowa

Dr. Wei Bao

Wei Bao, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Epidemiology
College of Public Health
University of Iowa

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: ADHD is common in children, with the rate of 5% as said in the American Psychiatric Association states in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition.

In this study, we showed that the rate of diagnosed ADHD in US children and adolescents aged 4 to 17 years was 10.2% in 2015-2016, up from 6.1% in 1997-1998. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? 

Response:  Simply saying, a common condition becomes even common. Now, one in ten US kids have ADHD.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

  • First, continue to monitor the trend through health survey and surveillance program.
  • Second, figure out the reasons for the increase, especially, identify potentially modifiable environmental risk factors for ADHD, because that may lead to an effective prevention.
  • Third, provide adequate resources for the diagnosis and treatment of affected individuals in the future.

No disclosures 

Citation:

Xu G, Strathearn L, Liu B, Yang B, Bao W. Twenty-Year Trends in Diagnosed Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Among US Children and Adolescents, 1997-2016. JAMA Network Open. 2018;1(4):e181471. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.1471

Sep 5, 2018 @ 12:55 pm

The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.

 

CDC Guidelines for Diagnosis and Management of Mild Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Matt Breiding, PhD Team Lead, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. Breiding

Matt Breiding, PhD
Team Lead, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention
Center for Disease Control and Prevention

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body, a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) can lead to short- or long-term problems that can affect how a child thinks, acts, feels, and learns. CDC’s Pediatric mTBI Guideline is based on the most comprehensive review of the science on pediatric mTBI diagnosis and management to date—covering 25 years of research.

The guideline consists of 19 sets of clinical recommendations that cover diagnosis, prognosis, and management and treatment. These recommendations are applicable to healthcare providers who care for pediatric patients with mTBI in all practice settings and outline actions healthcare providers can take to improve the health of their patients with this injury.

The CDC Pediatric mTBI Guideline outlines specific actions healthcare providers can take to help young patients and includes 5 key recommendations.  Specifically, they recommend that physicians:

  1. Refrain from routinely imaging pediatric patients to diagnose mTBI.
  2. Use validated, age-appropriate symptom scales to diagnose mTBI.
  3. Assess for risk factors for prolonged recovery, including: history of mTBI or other brain injury, severe symptom presentation immediately after the injury, and personal characteristics and family history (such as learning difficulties and family and social stressors).
  4. Provide patients with instructions on returning to activity customized to their symptoms.
  5. Counsel patients to return gradually to non-sports activities after no more than a 2-3 days of rest.

Continue reading

Does Methylphenidate (Ritalin) Cause Psychotic Symptoms in ADHD ?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Erica Ramstad Pre-graduate research student hos Psychiatric Research Unit, Department of Children and Youth Psychiatry Copenhagen Area DenmarkErica Ramstad MD
Physician, Psychiatric Research Unit
Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Department
Region Zealand, Denmark

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Methylphenidate is the first-choice drug treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which affects around 5.3% children and adolescents worldwide. For 50 years, psychotic symptoms have occasionally been reported in relation to methylphenidate treatment – however, it has not been established whether the symptoms occur as an adverse event to the treatment.

We performed a systematic review on the topic. The data we included in our study are a subset and an update of data from the most comprehensive systematic reviews of methylphenidate to date. Despite this, we could not confirm or refute whether psychotic symptoms occur as an adverse event. The data are too sparse, and the quality of evidence is too low.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Methylphenidate treatment may cause psychotic symptoms in 1.1% to 2.5% of children and adolescents with ADHD. Physicians, patients and their caregivers should be aware of this possible adverse event. However, concerns about this rare possible adverse event should of course be balanced against the potential beneficial effects of methylphenidate on ADHD symptoms, general behaviour and quality of life.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: In future studies, psychotic symptoms should be assessed concurrently with other possible adverse events and beneficial effects of methylphenidate treatment of ADHD in children and adolescents. Psychotic symptoms, the severity and implication for the child/adolescent ought to be assessed by clinical interviews. Of course, high-quality, long-term randomized placebo-controlled trials are on the top of the wish list, but long-term placebo administration is ethically questionable, and therefore also non-randomized studies may be of great importance.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: This study was funded by the Region Zealand Research Foundation, Denmark; Psychiatric Research Unit, Region Zealand, Slagelse, Denmark; the Copenhagen Trial Unit, the Centre for Clinical Intervention Research, Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark. For conflicts of interest please see the original article (p. 16).

Citation: Scandinavian Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology. VOLUME 6 , ISSUE 1 , ISSN (Online) 2245-8875, DOI: 10.21307/sjcapp-2018-003, July 2018 © 2018.

Aug 25, 2018 @ 6:13 pm

The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.

Accelerated Aging Seen on Brain Imaging with Schizophrenia and Cannabis Use

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Daniel G. Amen MD Amen Clinics, Inc., Founder Costa Mesa, CA

Dr. Daniel Amen

Dr. Daniel G. Amen MD
Amen Clinics, Inc., Founder
Costa Mesa, CA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In the largest known brain imaging study, scientists evaluated 62,454 brain SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) scans of more than 30,000 individuals from 9 months old to 105 years of age to investigate factors that accelerate brain aging.

SPECT was used to determine aging trajectories in the brain and which common brain disorders predict abnormally accelerated aging. It examined these functional neuroimaging scans from a large multi-site psychiatric clinic from patients who had many different psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  Researchers studied 128 brain regions to predict the chronological age of the patient.

Older age predicted from the scan compared to the actual chronological age was interpreted as accelerated aging.  The study found that a number of brain disorders and behaviors predicted accelerated aging, especially schizophrenia, which showed an average of 4 years of premature aging, cannabis abuse (2.8 years of accelerated aging), bipolar disorder (1.6 years accelerated aging), ADHD (1.4 years accelerated aging) and alcohol abuse (0.6 years accelerated aging).  Interestingly, the researchers did not observe accelerated aging in depression and aging, which they hypothesize may be due to different types of brain patterns for these disorders.

Continue reading

Bridge Symptoms in Adolescence Linked To Adult Anxiety Disorders

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Alexandra Rouquette MD PhD Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population... French Institute of Health and Medical Research Paris

Dr. Rouquette

Dr Alexandra Rouquette MD PhD
Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population…
French Institute of Health and Medical Research
Paris

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

 Response: There is a growing number of clues in the literature that suggest that the onset of adult psychopathologic disorders can be traced back to behavioral or emotional symptoms observed in childhood or adolescence. Targeting early childhood symptoms might thus be effective in preventing future mental disorders. However, these interventions are challenging to implement because we lack knowledge on which specific childhood symptoms have predictive associations with adult psychopathologic disorders. In our study, we used a novel methodologic approach, the network perspective, in which symptoms are conceptualized as distinct entities that can causally influence each other, be self-reinforcing and are thus part of causal chains which can culminate in disorders.

We investigated longitudinally the network structure among a broad range of emotional and behavioral symptoms (symptoms of attention deficit, symptoms of hyperactivity, disruptive symptoms, internalizing symptoms, prosocial symptoms) collected in elementary school girls (6-10 years) included in the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Kindergarten Children. We showed that symptoms “irritable”, “blames others”, “not liked by other children”, “often cries”, and “solitary” retained a distinctive position in the network because most of the direct relationships between the disruptive and internalizing symptom clusters transited through them. These symptoms have been termed bridge symptoms in the network perspective, as they constitute pathways that can connect different disorders.

We then investigated the relationships between this emotional and behavioral symptoms network in childhood and the occurrence of anxiety disorders at age 15 and 22 years. Importantly, the bridge symptoms (particularly “not liked by other children” and “irritable”) exhibited the strongest relationships with future anxiety disorders. Continue reading

Children Need Both Naps and Overnight Sleep to Process Emotional Memories

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Rebecca Spencer PhD Associate Professor Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences University of Massachusetts

Dr. Rebecca Spencer

Dr. Rebecca Spencer PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
University of Massachusetts

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We know that in young adults, sleep contributes to emotion processing. We wondered if naps work similarly for preschool children.  To look at this, we had children learn an emotional memory task and then either take a nap or stay awake.  We then tested their memory after that interval and again the next day.

We found that when children napped, they had better memory for those items the next day than if they did not nap.  That the naps seem to support memory (even if in a delayed fashion) seems consistent with the observation of parents and preschool teachers that children are often emotionally dysregulated if they do not nap.

Continue reading

Cardiovascular Risk Factors Also Linked to Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cécilia Samieri, PhD Université de Bordeaux, INSERM Bordeaux Population Health Research Center Bordeaux, France

Dr. Samieri

Cécilia Samieri, PhD
Université de Bordeaux, INSERM
Bordeaux Population Health Research Center
Bordeaux, France

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Previous research has demonstrated that heart diseases and brain diseases share common risk factors. Favorable health factors (optimal levels of BMI, blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol) and behaviors (non smoking, physical activity and diet at optimal levels), which are known to protect the heart, have also been associated with a lower risk of age-related brain diseases (eg, dementia) and lower rate of cognitive decline in some epidemiological studies. However, studies have been controversial and importantly, very limited research has considered risk factors simultaneously. This may be an explanation for the lack of established consensus for recommendations aimed at dementia prevention.

This study adds to previous knowledge by evaluating cardiovascular health factors and behaviors simultaneously in relation to cognitive decline and the risk of dementia in older age. We used the American Heart Association 7-item tool to promote primordial prevention, which aims to prevent the developement of risk factors in a first place as a prevention strategy against cardiovascular diseases.

We found that each additional favorable health factor/behavior was associated with a 10% lower risk to develop dementia in the following decade.

These findings support the promotion if cardiovascular health to prevent the development of risk factors associated with dementia.  

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: When considering cardiovascular health, each additional improvement of the level of one or several health factors/behaviors is associated with a lower risk opf dementia and less cognitive decline.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Evaluate the change in risk factors over time as well was possible differential weighting of the factors in relation to dementia risk. 

Citation:

Samieri C, Perier M, Gaye B, et al. Association of Cardiovascular Health Level in Older Age With Cognitive Decline and Incident Dementia. JAMA. 2018;320(7):657–664. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.11499

Aug 21, 2018 @ 5:49 pm 

The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.

 

Understanding How Energy Drinks Plus Alcohol May Increase Risky Behavior

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Energy drink” by joelklal is licensed under CC BY 2.0Barbara D. Fontana

Laboratory of Experimental Neuropsychobiology,
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Natural and Exact Sciences Center
Graduate Program in Biological Sciences
Toxicological Biochemistry, Federal University of Santa Maria,
Santa Maria, Brazil 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Our research group has been working with taurine and alcohol association for a long time. The background for this study is around increased consumption of molecules present in energy drinks frequently used as mixers for alcoholic beverages. Taurine is one of the most abundant molecules found in energetic drinks and has a neuromodulatory role in brain. In this context, we explore the effects of taurine associated to alcohol. Thus, as result we observed that this association exacerbate risky choices and reduces social cohesion in zebrafish, having a negative impact in social and fear-related behavior.

Continue reading

Brain Imaging Reveals How Prolonged Intermittent Cannabis Can Induce Memory Deficits

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Italia V. Rolle, PhD and Dr. Tim McAfee, MD Office on Smoking and Health National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion CDC

Ana Maria Sebastião, PhD
Professor of Pharmacology and Neurosciences
Director Institute of Pharmacology and Neurosciences, Faculty of Medicine and
Francisco Mouro, PhD
Unit of Neurosciences, Institute of Molecular Medicine
University of Lisbon, Portugal

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: There is pressing need to comprehend how cannabinoid exposure impacts brain functioning. While cannabinoid-related research has increased exponentially in the last decade, the mechanisms through which cannabinoids affect brain functioning are still elusive. Specifically, we need to know how prolonged cannabinoid exposure affects important cognitive processes, such as memory, and also find the roots of those effects. This is particularly relevant considering that several countries have already approved cannabis-based medicines.

In this sense, our work sheds new light into the mechanisms underlaying the memory-deficits provoked by a continuous exposure to a cannabinoid drug. More precisely, using brain imaging techniques, we found that long-term exposure to a synthetic cannabinoid drug impairs the ability of key brain regions involved in learning and memory to communicate with each other. Our data points to the necessity of considering cannabinoid actions in a broader perspective, including brain circuitry and communication.  Continue reading

Unique Oral Microbiome Signature Detected in Children With Autism

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
quadrant biosciencesSteven D. Hicks, MD PhD
Penn State College of Medicine
Department of Pediatrics
Division of Academic General Pediatrics
Hershey, PA, 17033‐0850

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: ​Previous studies have shown that disrupting the community of bacteria in the gut can lead to autism-like behavior in animals. In humans interventions aimed at improving the intestinal microbiome have also led to changes in autism behavior. Here, we examined whether autism-related changes in microbial activity extended to the mouth and throat. We were interested in this site because it provides the initial interface between host immunity and microbe exposure.

By examining nearly 350 children with autism, typical development, or developmental delay (without autism) we identified 12 groups of oral bacteria with unique activity patterns in children with autism. Interestingly, microbial activity (measured by RNA sequencing) also differed between children with autism and gastrointestinal (GI) disturbances and peers with autism but no GI disturbance. Levels of several microbes also displayed correlations with measures of autism behaviors. We utilized microbial activity patterns to create diagnostic panels that displayed accuracy for distinguishing children with autism from peers with typical development (79.5% accuracy) or developmental delay (76.5% accuracy). 

Continue reading

Benzodiazepines Linked to Modest Increased Risk of Alzheimer’s

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
MedicalResearch.comVesa Tapiainen, MD
School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland
Research Centre for Comparative Effectiveness and Patient Safety
University of Eastern Finland Kuopio, Finland

 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Alzheimer’s disease is a non-curable dementing disease and a major health concern and thus, identification of potential modifiable risk factors, such as benzodiazepines, is important. Benzodiazepines and related drugs are commonly used among older people as every fourth older people use them.

Benzodiazepines and related drugs were associated with modestly increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. A dose-response relationship was observed with higher cumulative dose and longer use periods being associated with higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The risk associated with larger cumulative doses was partly explained by more common use of other psychotropics among these persons.  Continue reading

Study Identifies Gene Mechanism Linked to Fear and Aggression

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof. Carmen Sandi Director, Brain Mind Institute Laboratory of Behavioral Genetics Brain Mind Institute Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne Lausanne, Switzerland 

Prof. Sandi

Prof. Carmen Sandi
Director, Brain Mind Institute
Laboratory of Behavioral Genetics
Brain Mind Institute
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
Lausanne, Switzerland 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We are interested in understanding how the brain regulates social behaviors and aggression, both in healthy individuals and individuals with psychiatric disorders. In our recent publication in Molecular Psychiatry, we investigated the impact of an alteration in a gene, St8sia2, that plays important roles during early brain development. Alterations in this gene have been linked with schizophrenia, autism and bipolar disorder, and individuals with these disorders frequently present high aggressiveness. In addition, expression of this gene in the brain can be altered by stressful insults during very early life and development.

Our study shows that genetic and environmental conditions linked to a reduction in the expression of this neuroplasticity gene during early life can lead to impaired fear learning and associated pathological aggression. We could further reveal that deficits in St8sia2 expression lead to a dysfunction in a receptor in the amygdala (a brain region critically involved in emotionality and fear learning), the GluN2B subunit of NMDA Receptors.

This allowed us to target this receptor with D-cycloserine, a drug that facilitates NMDA receptor function. This treatment, when given acutely, ameliorated the capacity to learn from adversity and reduced individuals’ aggressiveness.  Continue reading

Obesity Links PTSD and Diabetes Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jeff Scherrer, Ph.D. Associate professor; Research director Department of Family and Community Medicine Saint Louis University Center for Health Outcomes Research

Dr. Scherrer

Jeff Scherrer, Ph.D.
Associate professor; Research director
Department of Family and Community Medicine
Saint Louis University Center for Health Outcomes Research 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The rationale for this study comes from evidence that patients with PTSD are more likely to be obese than persons without PTSD and have more difficulty losing weight.

Given the obesity epidemic and substantial role of obesity in risk of type 2 diabetes, we sought to determine if obesity accounted for the existing evidence that PTSD is a risk factor for incident type 2 diabetes.  Other studies have adjusted for obesity or BMI in models that control for obesity/BMI and other confounders simultaneously which prohibits measuring the independent role of obesity on the ass Continue reading

Parents’ Religiosity May Influence Suicidal Risk in Children

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Priya Wickramaratne PhD Associate Professor of Clinical Biostatistics (in Psychiatry) Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons Columbia University New York State Psychiatric Institute New York

Dr. Wickramaratne

Priya Wickramaratne PhD
Associate Professor of Clinical
Biostatistics (in Psychiatry)
Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons
Columbia University
New York State Psychiatric Institute
New York

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Approximately 12% of adolescents in the United States report having thoughts about attempting suicide. Moreover, suicide is a primary cause of death among females 15 to 19 years of age. Religious and spiritual beliefs have received little attention in previous research examining risk and protective factors of child and adolescent suicide. This study used data from a three-generation study of 214 children and adolescents from 112 nuclear families whose parents were at high or low risk for major depressive disorder to study the association of children and parent’s religious beliefs with risk of suicidal behavior in the children.

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 Four Brain-Guided Dimensions of Psychopathology: Mood, Psychosis, Fear, and Disruptive Behavior

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Theodore Satterthwaite MD Assistant professor in the department of Psychiatry, and Cedric Xia, a MD-PhD candidate Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Unlike other branches of modern medicine, psychiatry still solely replies on patient reports and physician observations for clinical decision-making. Without biologically-based tests, the diagnostic categories for mental health do not carve nature at its joint. This is evident in the high levels of co-morbidity across disorders and heterogeneity within disorders. Through this research, we studied a large sample of adolescents who completed MRI-based functional imaging, and used recently-developed machine learning techniques to uncover specific abnormalities that are highly predictive of a wide variety of psychiatric symptoms. Essentially, we tried to find brain patterns that were predictive of different types of psychiatric symptoms. We discovered four such brain-guided dimensions of psychopathology: mood, psychosis, fear, and disruptive behavior. While each of these dimensions exhibits a unique pattern of brain connectivity, a common feature of brain anomaly is shared across the dimensions. Notably, in all linked dimensions, the default mode network and fronto-parietal network, two brain regions that usually become increasingly distinct as the brain matures, were abnormally connected. This loss of normal brain network segregation supports the hypothesis that many psychiatric illnesses may be disorders of brain development. MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? Response: This study shows that we can start to use the brain to guide our understanding of psychiatric disorders in a way that’s fundamentally different than grouping symptoms into clinical diagnostic categories. By moving away from clinical labels developed decades ago, we can begin to let the biology speak for itself. Our ultimate hope is that understanding the biology of mental illnesses will allow us to develop better treatments for our patients. MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? Response: This study demonstrates the importance of incorporating vast amounts of biological data to study mental illness across clinical diagnostic boundaries. Moving forward, we hope to integrate genomic data in order to describe pathways from genes to brain to symptoms, which could ultimately be the basis for novel treatments for mental illness. MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? Response: Future breakthroughs in brain science to understand mental illness requires large amount of data. While the current study takes advantage of one of the largest samples of youth, the size (n=999) remains dwarfed by the complexity of the brain. The neuroscience community is actively working towards collecting higher quality data in even larger samples, so we can validate and build upon the findings. Citation: Cedric Huchuan Xia, Zongming Ma, Rastko Ciric, Shi Gu, Richard F. Betzel, Antonia N. Kaczkurkin, Monica E. Calkins, Philip A. Cook, Angel García de la Garza, Simon N. Vandekar, Zaixu Cui, Tyler M. Moore, David R. Roalf, Kosha Ruparel, Daniel H. Wolf, Christos Davatzikos, Ruben C. Gur, Raquel E. Gur, Russell T. Shinohara, Danielle S. Bassett, Theodore D. Satterthwaite. Linked dimensions of psychopathology and connectivity in functional brain networks. Nature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05317-y  <span class="last-modified-timestamp">Aug 8, 2018 @ 1:10 am</span> The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.
Dr. Theodore Satterthwaite MD
Assistant professor in the department of Psychiatry, and
Cedric Xia, a MD-PhD candidate
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Unlike other branches of modern medicine, psychiatry still solely replies on patient reports and physician observations for clinical decision-making. Without biologically-based tests, the diagnostic categories for mental health do not carve nature at its joint. This is evident in the high levels of co-morbidity across disorders and heterogeneity within disorders.

Through this research, we studied a large sample of adolescents who completed MRI-based functional imaging, and used recently-developed machine learning techniques to uncover specific abnormalities that are highly predictive of a wide variety of psychiatric symptoms. Essentially, we tried to find brain patterns that were predictive of different types of psychiatric symptoms. We discovered four such brain-guided dimensions of psychopathology: mood, psychosis, fear, and disruptive behavior.

While each of these dimensions exhibits a unique pattern of brain connectivity, a common feature of brain anomaly is shared across the dimensions. Notably, in all linked dimensions, the default mode network and fronto-parietal network, two brain regions that usually become increasingly distinct as the brain matures, were abnormally connected. This loss of normal brain network segregation supports the hypothesis that many psychiatric illnesses may be disorders of brain development. Continue reading

Testosterone May Be Link Between PCOS and Autism

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Adriana Cherskov Autism Research Centre Department of Psychiatry University of Cambridge Cambridge

Ms. Cherskov

Adriana Cherskov
Autism Research Centre
Department of Psychiatry
University of Cambridge
Cambridge

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Autism is a condition that affects social interaction, communication, and may be accompanied by unusually narrow interests or difficulties adjusting to unexpected change. Signs of autism are usually present in childhood and the condition affects about 1-2% of the population. At the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge, our research team is interested in understanding some of the environmental triggers of autism. Previously, our research group has shown that autistic children have elevated levels of “sex steroid” hormones (including testosterone) before they are born.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a relatively common condition, affecting about one in ten women, which is primarily characterized by increased levels of the sex-steroid hormone testosterone and its precursors. These mothers may also have higher testosterone levels than usual during pregnancy, which may exposure their unborn baby to more of this hormone. Additionally, they may have genetic factors increasing sex steroid hormones that can be passed down to their children. Our research team sought to examine whether women with PCOS therefore may have an increased chance of having a child with autism.

We used anonymized health records from a large database of GP records in the UK and included 8,588 women with PCOS and their first-born children in the study as well as 41,127 women without PCOS as controls. We found that after adjusting for factors such as maternal mental health conditions or metabolic conditions, women with PCOS had a 2.3% change of having an autistic child, compared with 1.7% change for mothers without PCOS. We would like to stress, however, that the increased risk for women with PCOS is still very small, and the likelihood of having an autistic child is still very low.

As part of this research, we have also conducted two other studies, where we found that women with PCOS themselves were twice as likely to have autism and that women with autism were also twice as likely to have PCOS. These findings suggest a common pathway between autism and PCOS which will be important to explore in future research.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: As mentioned earlier, our findings indicate women with PCOS have an increased chance of having a child with autism, but this increase is still very small, and the chance of having a child with autism is still very low even in this population (2.3% compared with 1.7%). As a result, the main take-away from our research is that we have found further evidence for the role of prenatal testosterone as one of many players in the development of autism and a potentially common pathway between autism and PCOS.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: This link will help us in the future to understand the cause of both conditions. In this study we were not able to measure testosterone or sex steroid levels in women or their children, and this will be an important step in determining whether it is the sex-steroid hormones themselves, another downstream factor (such as insulin levels which are affected in PCOS), or genetics at the root of this association. Ultimately, both autism and PCOS are very complex conditions with many causative factors. The association we find here is likely just one of these players for both conditions, but it paves the path for future research.

In the future, this research may also help doctors and patients make decisions about treatment, as women with autism at high risk of developing PCOS may be able to start treatment or lifestyle changes early, which can improve PCOS management and quality of life. Alternatively, we underline again that the small increased likelihood of women with PCOS having a child with autism should not cause additional stress or worry in this population, since there are many factors involved in developing autism which will require further research to understand fully. 

Citation: Adriana Cherskov, Alexa Pohl, Carrie Allison, Heping Zhang, Rupert A. Payne, Simon Baron-Cohen. Polycystic ovary syndrome and autism: A test of the prenatal sex steroid theory. Translational Psychiatry, 2018; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41398-018-0186-7

Aug 5, 2018 @ 10:24 pm 

The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.

 

Forgetting To Do Things? Try Acting in Advance

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Antonina Pereira - CPsychol, PhD, FHEA, AFBPsS Head of Department of Psychology & Counselling University of Chichester Chichester, West Sussex UK

Dr. Pereira

Dr Antonina Pereira – CPsychol, PhD, FHEA, AFBPsS
Head of Department of Psychology & Counselling
University of Chichester
Chichester, West Sussex UK

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Prospective memory (PM) is the ability to remember to perform future activities, such as remembering to take medication or remembering to attend an appointment. Prospective memory tasks pervade our daily lives, and PM failures, although sometimes merely annoying (e.g., forgetting an umbrella at home on a rainy day), can have serious and even life-threatening consequences (e.g., forgetting to turn off the stove).

The fulfilment of such delayed intended actions can indeed be an early indicator of Alzheimer’s disease, with prospective memory failures representing one of the most prominent memory concerns in older adulthood and a fundamental requirement for independent living across the lifespan.

We aimed to address this issue by exploring the potential benefits of a purposefully designed technique, encoded enactment, where participants were encouraged to act through the activity they must remember to do.

This particular study was the fruit of an international research collaboration led by the University of Chichester and including members from Radboud University Nijmegen, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon.

Our team has explored the potential benefits of this specific encoding strategy for healthy younger adults, healthy older adults as well as for patients with mild cognitive impairment.

Results were very encouraging: All age groups reported improvement in prospective memory, but this was particularly evident in older patients with mild cognitive impairment, that is, potentially in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study suggests that encouraging people in this category to adopt enactment as a means to enhance prospective memory could result in them leading independent, autonomous lives for longer.

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