Can Coffee Protect Against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"coffee cappuccino art maple leaf via quattrone" by skeddy in NYC is licensed under CC BY 2.0Donald Weaver, PhD, MD, FRCPC, FCAHS
Senior Scientist and Director, Research Institute
Krembil Research Institute
University Health Network
Toronto, Canada

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

Response: First, we are seeking novel molecules that might have usefulness in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  Since Mother Nature is a superb chemist, natural products are an ideal place to start looking for possible therapeutics.  There is a long history (penicillin, digitalis …) of drugs identified from natural product sources.  Moreover, in earlier work by us, we have shown that other natural products extracted from maple syrup have possible therapeutic efficacy against AD.

Therefore, it was logical for us to look at extracts of coffee.  We see similarities between maple syrup and coffee.  In both of these natural products, the plant derived material (i.e. the coffee bean, or sap from maple syrup) is initially boiled or roasted prior to its use; thus, it is not a direct simple plant product, but one that has been heated (boiled or roasted).  We suspect that the heating process “does more chemistry” enabling the generation of new molecules from the plant derived materials.  In our study we show that a class of compounds (phenylindanes) from roasted coffee has the ability to inhibit the misfolding of two proteins (beta-amyloid, tau) whose misfolding and aggregation (“clumping”) is implicated in the disease process of AD.

Second, as described below, there is already epidemiological evidence that coffee consumption may offer some protective effects against Alzheimer’s disease  and Parkinson’s disease (PD), so by looking at the constituents of coffee for chemicals that might block the clumping of beta-amyloid and/or tau, was an attempt to seek a molecular link explaining the epidemiology.    Continue reading

Panel of Salivary RNA Biomarkers Could Identify Autism

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Steven D. Hicks, M.D.,Ph.D Department of Pediatrics Penn State College of Medicine Hershey, PA

Dr. Hicks

Steven D. Hicks, M.D.,Ph.D
Department of Pediatrics
Penn State College of Medicine
Hershey, PA

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

Response: Since autism has both genetic and environmental underpinnings, my colleagues and I suspected that transcriptional elements (e.g. regulatory RNA molecules) might be different in the saliva of children with autism compared to peers without autism. We used a non-biased approach to analyze saliva from 372 children, and allowed machine learning techniques to inform which RNA elements best predicted autism status. To our surprise, microbial RNA levels and human RNA levels were equally powerful in predicting which children had autism. This may be because some children with autism eat restricted diets, resist tooth brushing, or put foreign objects in their mouths. The end result was a panel of 32 RNAs (20 human and 12 bacterial) that identified autism with 87% accuracy. Interestingly, when we tested the panel in a completely separate set of 84 children (including children from a different geographic region) the accuracy remained 88%. 

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TBI: U.S. Territory Veterans Have Greater Mortality Risk Than Mainland Vets

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Clara E. Dismuke-Greer, PhD
Health Equity and Rural Outreach Innovation Center
Ralph H. Johnson Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Charleston, SC 29401

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

Response: The background for this study is that previous research we had published had shown that Hispanic U.S. Veterans diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) had higher risk of mortality than non-Hispanic White U.S. Veterans, even after accounting for the effects of comorbidities as well as socio-demographics. This study sought to investigate further this apparent racial/ethnic disparity.

Using a 10 year cohort followed for up to 14 years, and adjusting for TBI severity as well as comorbidities, socio-demographics and military factors, when we included location (urban vs. rural vs. highly rural vs. U.S. Territory (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, America Samoa and Mariana Islands), as well as race/ethnicity, we found that the racial/ethnic disparity disappeared, and that it was location which became statistically significant.

Our main findings were that Veterans diagnosed with TBI residing in U.S. Territories have lower survival and higher risk of mortality relative to Veterans residing on the U.S. Mainland , even after statistical adjustment for the factors listed above.

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More Postnatal Depression with Baby Boys?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Sarah Myers PhDDr Sarah Myers PhD

Honorary Research Associate
UCL Department of Anthropology

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

Response: Postnatal or postpartum depression is unfortunately common after giving birth; a figure often quoted is 15%, but some studies have found much higher numbers. Postnatal depression is associated with a range of poorer outcomes for mothers and their infants, and the financial costs of treating maternal mental ill health put health services under considerable strain. Studies have found that providing additional emotional support to at risk mothers, for instance via peer support programmes or regular phone calls with health visitors, can reduce the likelihood of them developing the condition. Therefore, it is really important that we understand the full range of risk factors that put women at greater risk of becoming depressed after giving birth.

There is increasing evidence for a link between inflammation and depression, with factors that trigger an inflammatory immune response also increasing the likelihood of depressive symptoms. The opens up the possibility of finding new risk factors for postnatal depression based on known associations with inflammation.

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Prenatal Heavy Cannabis Exposure May Diminish Cognitive Functioning Into Adulthood

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ryan J. McLaughlin, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Integrative Physiology & Neuroscience College of Veterinary Medicine Washington State University Pullman, WA 99164-7620

Dr. McLaughlin

Ryan J. McLaughlin, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Integrative Physiology & Neuroscience
College of Veterinary Medicine
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-7620

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

Response: The use of cannabis during pregnancy is a growing health concern, yet the long-term cognitive ramifications for developing offspring remain largely unknown. Human studies exploring the long-term effects of maternal cannabis use have been sparse for several reasons, including the length and cost of such studies, as well as the fact that experimentally assigning mothers to smoke cannabis during pregnancy is obviously ethically impractical. Animal models of maternal cannabis use have been advantageous in this respect, but they have been limited by the drugs used (synthetic cannabinoids vs. THC vs. cannabis plant) and the way that they are administered. In our study, we used a more translationally relevant animal model of maternal cannabis use that exposes pregnant rat dams to whole plant cannabis extracts using the intra-pulmonary route of administration that is most common to human users. Our preliminary data indicate that twice-daily exposure to a high-dose cannabis extract during pregnancy may produce deficits in cognitive flexibility in adult rat offspring. Importantly, these rats did not experience general learning deficits, as they performed comparably to non-exposed offspring when required to follow a cue in their environment that dictate reinforcer delivery. Instead, deficits were observed only when rats were required to disregard this previous cue-based strategy and adopt a new egocentric spatial strategy in order to continue receiving the sugar reinforcers.

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Girls Recover From Concussions More Slowly Than Boys

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Andrée-Anne Ledoux, PhD Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Ledoux

Andrée-Anne Ledoux, PhD
Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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

Response: The natural recovery processes from a pediatric concussion remains poorly characterized throughout childhood. Children’s brains go through many phases of growth during development and sex differences exist. Therefore a 6-year-old child may not have the same recovery trajectory as an adolescent because of biopsychosocial differences. Thus, this study explored symptom improvement after concussion while considering these two key demographic factors. Understanding symptom improvement at different stages of development is important in order to provide the best possible care.

The study examined data from 2,716 children and adolescents who had presented at nine emergency departments across Canada and were diagnosed with concussion. We examined the natural progression of self-reported symptom recovery following pediatric concussion over the initial three months after injury. Participants in the study were aged 5 to 18 years old with acute concussion, enrolled from August 1, 2013, to May 31, 2015. We examined different age cohorts – 5 to 7 years of age, 8 to 12 years of age, and 13 to 18 years of age, and investigated how sex is associated with recovery.

Our study represents the largest study to evaluate symptom improvement trajectories in concussed pediatric population. Continue reading

Medications Commonly Used During Pregnancy Not Associated With Higher Autism Rates

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Magdalena Janecka PhD Department of Psychiatry Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dr. Janecka

Magdalena Janecka PhD
Department of Psychiatry
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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

Response: Our paper explored the association between maternal use of medication during pregnancy and the rates of autism in a large cohort from Israel. This followed on from a number of earlier studies reporting that the use of certain medications – for example antidepressants – during pregnancy is associated with higher rates of autism in children. However, rather than test the effects of any particular drug, or a set of drugs aggregated based on maternal condition, our large dataset allowed us to group all medications prescribed to pregnant women based on their drug target, and in the subsequent analyses focus on over 50 groups that included drugs with neurotransmitter-relevant targets – for example agonists and antagonists of their receptors.

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Critical Illness: Haloperidol and Ziprasidone for Treatment of Delirium

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Brenda Truman Pun, DNP, RN Program Clinical Manager Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Dr. Truman Pun

Brenda Truman Pun, DNP, RN
Program Clinical Manager
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

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

Response: Delirium is a serious problem in Intensive Care Units around the world. Approximately 80% of mechanically ventilated patients develop delirium, acute confusion, while in the ICU. Once thought to be a benign side effect of the ICU environment, research now shows that delirium is linked to a myriad of negative outcomes for patients which include longer ICU and Hospital stays, prolonged time on the ventilator, increased cost, long-term cognitive impairment and even mortality. For a half a century clinicians have been using haloperidol, an typical antipsychotic, to treat delirium in the ICU. However, there has never been evidence to support the use of haloperidol or its pharmacologic cousins, the atypical antipsychotics, to treat delirium. These drugs have serious side effects that include heart arrhythmias, muscle spasms, restlessness and are associated with increased mortality when given for prolonged periods in the outpatient settings leading to a black box warning for their use in this setting.

The MIND-USA study was a double blind placebo controlled trial which evaluated the efficacy and safety of antipsychotics (i.e., haloperidol and ziprasidone) in the treatment delirium in adult ICU patients.   Continue reading

Serum Neurofilament Biomarker Helps Determine if Brain Function Will Recover After Cardiac Arrest

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Marion Moseby-Knappe

Dr. Moseby-Knappe

Marion Moseby-Knappe, MD
Neurologist and Researcher
Center for Cardiac Arrest at Lund University and
Skane University Hospital
Lund, Sweden

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

Response: Our research focuses on improving methods for examining unconscious patients treated on intensive care units after cardiac arrest. If a patient does not wake up within the first days after cardiac arrest, physicians need to evaluate how likely it is that the patient will awaken at all and to which extent there is brain injury.

According to European and American guidelines, decisions on further medical treatment of cardiac arrest patients should always be based on a combination of examinations and not only one single method. Various methods are combined when assessing the patient such as examining different neurologic reflexes, head scans (computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging), other specialist examinations (electroencephalogram or somatosensory evoked potentials) or blood markers.

Our research focuses on patients included in the largest cardiac arrest trial to date, the Targeted Temperature Management after Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (TTM) Trial.

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Phase 3 Study of Novel, Once-Daily, Antipsychotic Drug Candidate for Schizophrenia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jelena Kunovac, M.D., M.S. Founder and Chief Executive Chief Medical Officer Altea Research Las Vegas, Nevada

Dr. Kunovac

Jelena Kunovac, M.D., M.S.
Founder and Chief Executive
Chief Medical Officer
Altea Research
Las Vegas, Nevada

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

Response: We conducted the study to confirm that the addition of samidorphan to olanzapine does not have an effect on the antipsychotic efficacy of olanzapine in subjects with an acute exacerbation of schizophrenia.

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Nationwide Children’s: Multiyear Study of Head Impact During Football Seasons Launched

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sean C. Rose, MD Pediatric sports neurologist and co-director Complex Concussion Clinic Nationwide Children’s Hospital Assistant professor of Pediatrics The Ohio State UniversitySean C. Rose, MD
Pediatric sports neurologist and co-director
Complex Concussion Clinic
Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Assistant professor of Pediatrics
The Ohio State University

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

Response: The link between sub-concussive head impacts and declines in neurocognitive function has been reported by some studies, yet refuted by others.  There is very little evidence that has been collected in children as they are sustaining these head impacts.

We initiated a multi-year study of youth football players to provide a more in-depth look at the question.  We measured head impacts using helmet sensors during the 2016 football season.  112 players age 9-18 completed a battery of neurocognitive tests before and after the football season.

We found that neither the total burden of head impacts nor the intensity of individual impacts were associated with changes in testing performance from pre to post-season.

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No Benefit, More Complications with Hypothermia after Traumatic Brain Injury

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jamie Cooper AO BMBS MD FRACP FCICM FAHMS Professor of Intensive Care Medicine Monash University Deputy Director & Head of Research,  Intensive Care & Hyperbaric Medicine The Alfred, Melbourne

Prof. Cooper

Jamie Cooper AO
BMBS MD FRACP FCICM FAHMS
Professor of Intensive Care Medicine
Monash University
Deputy Director & Head of Research,
Intensive Care & Hyperbaric Medicine
The Alfred, Melbourne

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

Response: 50-60 million people each year suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) . When the injury is severe only one half are able to live independently afterwards.

Cooling the brain (hypothermia) is often used in intensive care units for decades to  decrease inflammation and brain swelling and hopefully to improve outcomes, but clinical staff have had uncertainty whether benefits outweigh complications.

We conducted the largest randomised trial of hypothermia in TBI, in 500 patients, in 6 countries, called POLAR. We started cooling by ambulance staff, to give hypothermia the best chance to benefit patients. We continued for 3-7 days in hospital ind ICU. We measured functional outcomes at 6 months.

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Do Antipsychotics Shorten Duration of Delirium in ICU Patients?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Eugene Wesley Ely, M.D. Dr. E. Wesley Ely is a Professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine with subspecialty training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.

Dr. Ely
Photo: Anne Rayner, VU

Eugene Wesley Ely, M.D.
Dr. E. Wesley Ely is a Professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine with subspecialty training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. 

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

Response: Critically ill patients are not benefitting from antipsychotic medications that have been used to treat delirium in intensive care units (ICUs) for more than four decades, according to a study released today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Each year, more than 7 million hospitalized patients in the United States experience delirium, making them disoriented, withdrawn, drowsy or difficult to wake.

The large, multi-site MIND USA (Modifying the INcidence of Delirium) study sought to answer whether typical and atypical antipsychotics — haloperidol or ziprasidone —affected delirium, survival, length of stay or safety.

Researchers screened nearly 21,000 patients at 16 U.S. medical centers. Of the 1,183 patients on mechanical ventilation or in shock, 566 became delirious and were randomized into groups receiving either intravenous haloperidol, ziprasidone or placebo (saline).

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Brain Change in Addiction as Learning, Not Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marc Lewis, Ph.D. Klingelbeekseweg Arnhem The Netherlands

Prof. Lewis

Marc Lewis, Ph.D.
Klingelbeekseweg Arnhem
The Netherlands

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

Response: According to the brain disease model, addiction is a chronic disease brought about by changes in brain systems that mediate the experience and anticipation of reward and higher-order systems underlying judgment and cognitive control. Its proponents propose that these changes are driven by exposure to drugs of abuse or alcohol. The brain disease model is the most prevalent model of addiction in the Western world.

The disease model’s narrow focus on the neurobiological substrates of addiction has diverted attention (and funding) from alternative models. Alternatives to the brain disease model highlight the social-environmental factors that contribute to addiction and the learning processes that translate these factors into negative outcomes. Learning models propose that addiction, though obviously disadvantageous, is a natural, context-sensitive response to challenging environmental contingencies, not a disease.

In this review I examine addiction within a learning framework that incorporates the brain changes seen in addiction without reference to pathology or disease.  Continue reading

Is Pregnancy a “Stress Test” for Future Dementia Risk?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Pregnancy 1" by operalynn is licensed under CC BY 2.0Heather Boyd, Ph.D.
Senior researcher
Department of Epidemiology Research
Copenhagen Denmark

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

Response: We have known for a while that women who have had preeclampsia report different types of cognitive impairment (difficulties with short-term memory, attention deficits) in the years and decades after their pregnancies, and there are a few imaging studies suggesting that these women may have more white matter lesions in the brain and more signs of brain atrophy than women with uncomplicated pregnancies. We also know that women who have had preeclampsia are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease in the years and decades after delivery. Taken together, it was not a great leap to hypothesize that women with a history of preeclampsia might also be at increased risk of dementia later in life. However, the existing epidemiological data were unconvincing, possibly because it takes a great deal of power (a very large study population) to study links between two conditions that often occur decades apart.

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Aortic Stiffness is Associated with Increased Risk of Dementia in Older Adults

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rachel H. Mackey, PhD, MPH, FAHA Assistant Professor of Epidemiology Graduate School of Public Health University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Mackey

Rachel H. Mackey, PhD, MPH, FAHA
Assistant Professor of Epidemiology
Graduate School of Public Health
University of Pittsburgh

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

Response: “Hardening,” or stiffening, of the arteries is a risk factor for heart attacks and other cardiovascular disease. Arterial stiffness can be measured by pulse wave velocity (PWV), because the pulse pressure wave travels faster in stiffer arteries. Stiffer arteries transmit increased pulsatile blood flow to the brain and are linked with markers of silent, or subclinical, brain disease, which are related to increased risk of dementia. However, it was not clear whether arterial stiffening would predict risk of dementia, especially in older adults, who often have existing subclinical brain disease. Therefore, a University of Pittsburgh team, led by Chendi Cui, M.S, doctoral student, and Rachel Mackey, PhD, MPH, FAHA, assistant professor of epidemiology at Pitt Public Health, analyzed the association between arterial stiffness and 15-year risk of dementia among 356 older adults, with an average age of 78. Study participants were part of the Cardiovascular Health Study Cognition Study (CHS‐CS), a long‐term study to identify dementia risk factors, led by coauthors Oscar Lopez MD and Lewis Kuller, MD, DrPH. In 1996-2000, study participants had had arterial stiffness measured by pulse wave velocity (PWV), brain imaging by MRI, and had annual follow-up visits for cognitive status.

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Girls More Likely To Develop Post-Concussive Symptoms After Head Injury

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Ewing-Cobbs PhD Professor in the Department of Pediatrics McGovern Medical School University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Harriet and Joe Foster Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience

Dr. Ewing-Cobbs

Dr. Linda Ewing-Cobbs PhD
Professor in the Department of Pediatrics
McGovern Medical School
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Harriet and Joe Foster Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience

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

Response: Children may have long-lasting psychological and physical symptoms after an injury. Post-concussive symptoms (PCS) are nonspecific cognitive, physical, and mood symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, headache, and irritability. These symptoms occur in approximately 15 to 30% children after mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). Although PCS often resolve within one month, some children experience symptoms for longer periods of time.

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Mild Cognitive Decline 2-6 Months After Heart Valve Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with

Mark Oldham, M.D. Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Medical Director, PRIME Medicine Proactive Integration of Mental Health Care in Medicine University of Rochester Medical Center

Dr. Oldham

Mark Oldham, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Medical Director, PRIME Medicine
Proactive Integration of Mental Health Care in Medicine
University of Rochester Medical Center

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

Response: Patients who have undergone coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery and, specifically, those who have been placed on cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) have received attention for the potential effects of such procedures on brain health. Heart valve surgery patients have received far less attention, which often leaves clinicians to extrapolate the data from CABG cohorts to their patients preparing to undergo valve surgery. However, there are many reasons why this is far less than ideal, especially as the CABG literature increasingly points to person- and procedure-specific factors as the determinants of postoperative cognitive outcomes.

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Strong Genetic Component to Psychotic-Like Experiences with Cannabis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Nicole Karcher, PhD
Post-doctoral scholar with the NIMH Training in Clinical Sciences fellowship
Department of Psychiatry
Washington University School of Medicine  

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

Response: For over fifteen years, researchers have debated the role that cannabis use plays in the development of both psychotic disorders as well as subthreshold psychotic symptoms, such as psychotic-like experiences (PLEs). There is still a lack of consensus regarding the nature of the association between cannabis use and psychosis risk, with some research finding evidence for genetic overlap, while other research finds evidence for potentially causal pathways.

The current study examined data from twins and siblings from two different samples, the U.S.-based Human Connectome Project and the Australian Twin Registry, with a total of 4,674 participants. Overall, psychotic-like experiences were associated with three separate cannabis use variables [frequent (≥100 times) use, a Cannabis Use Disorder diagnosis, and current cannabis use]. Furthermore, the current research found evidence for both shared genetic and individual-specific contributions to the association between PLEs and these three cannabis use variables. More specifically, while the association between cannabis use and psychotic-like experiences was largely attributable to shared genetic factors, cannabis users were more likely to endorse PLEs in comparison to the relative who used cannabis less.  Continue reading

AI: Deep Learning Algorithms Can Detect Critical Head CT Findings

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Qure-ai.jpgSasank Chilamkurthy

AI Scientist,
Qure.ai

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

Response: Head CT scan is one of the most commonly used imaging protocols besides chest x-ray. They are used for patients with symptoms suggesting stroke, rise in intracranial pressure or head trauma. These manifest in findings like intracranial haemorrhage, midline shift or fracture.

Scans with these critical findings need to be read immediately. But radiologists evaluate the scans on first-come-first-serve basis or based on stat/routine markers set by clinicians. If the scans with critical findings are somehow pushed to the top of radiologists’ work list, it could substantially decrease time to diagnosis and therefore decrease mortality and morbidity associated with stroke/head trauma.

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ADHD May Offer an Edge To Creative Endeavors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Holly White, PhD Research Scientist Basic and Applied Cognition Laboratory Department of Psychology University of Michigan

Dr. White

Holly White, PhD
Research Scientist
Basic and Applied Cognition Laboratory
Department of Psychology
University of Michigan

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

Response: This study was inspired by my previous findings of higher originality and creative achievement among adults with ADHD, as well as my personal observations of individuals with ADHD choosing non-traditional approaches to problem solving. College students with ADHD sometimes ignore task instructions and examples, and while this may lead to errors, it may also lead to extraordinarily unique answers and solutions. I was curious as to whether this tendency of ADHD individuals to think in an unconventional and expansive manner might lead to resistance to conformity during creative tasks.

In the present study, college students with ADHD were less likely to copy experimenter-provided task examples, compared to non-ADHD peers, on a product label invention task. ADHD participants were also less likely to create imaginary fruits that resembled typical Earth fruit, compared to non-ADHD participants. Students with ADHD were less likely to conform to pre-existing prototypes of fruit and therefore invented more original creations.

Individuals with ADHD may be more flexible in tasks which require creating something new, and less likely to rely on examples and previous knowledge. As a result, the creative products of individuals with ADHD may be more innovative, relative to creations of non-ADHD peers.  Continue reading

Significant Variability in Brain Scans of Patients With Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Thomas Wolfers PhD Donders Center for Cognitive Neuroimaging Kapittelweg 29 6525EN Nijmegen  The Netherlands

Dr. Wolfers

Thomas Wolfers PhD
Donders Center for Cognitive Neuroimaging
Kapittelweg 29
6525EN Nijmegen
The Netherlands

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

Response: Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are severe and complex mental disorders. Currently, the most common approach in characterizing disorders biologically is by comparing patient groups with groups of healthy individuals.

We employed a fundamentally different approach and investigated how much the brains of individual patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder differ from one another. For this purpose, we selected brain scans from healthy individuals to model a norm reflecting the healthy range, subsequently we compared the brain scans of patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder to this norm on the level of the individual.

The main outcome was that individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder differ substantially from one another, thus, considering only the ‘average patient’ has little to say about what might be occurring in the brain of an individual patient. Continue reading

Critical Illness Linked To Brain Changes Associated with Cognitive Decline

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Keenan Walker, PhD Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine  Baltimore

Dr. Walker

Keenan Walker, PhD
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore

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

Response: This study was conducted in response to anecdotal accounts and scientific evidence which suggests that major medical conditions, such as critical illness and severe infections, can have a long-term neurological effect on some individuals.

There are quite a few studies to date which have found that critical illnesses, such as severe sepsis, are associated with long-term cognitive impairment. Based on this evidence, we wanted to figure out to what degree critical illness and major infection may affect later brain structure and to determine whether the structural changes associated with these events were similar to those observed in Alzheimer’s disease.

Our main finding was that individuals who had one or more critical illness or major infection major infection during the decades leading up to older adulthood were more likely to have smaller brain volumes in brain regions most vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease.

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Children with Emotional and Behavioral Issues May Benefit From Drumming Lessons

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Marcus Smith PhD Reader in Sport and Exercise Physiology University of Chichester Co-founder, Clem Burke Drumming ProjectDr. Marcus Smith PhD

Reader in Sport and Exercise Physiology
University of Chichester
Co-founder, Clem Burke Drumming Project

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

Response: The research group first started to examine rock drumming from a scientific perspective in 1999 through collaboration with Clem Burke, drummer with the iconic band ‘Blondie’. In 2008 the Clem Burke Drumming Project (CBDP) was formed (visit clemburkedrummingproject.org for further information) where academics from different disciplines came together to not only explore the physiological demands of rock drumming but also the potential use of rock drumming as an intervention in research studies. Rock drumming is attractive to the scientist in that it is a unique activity that requires the coordination of multiple limbs to produce the required drumming pattern. Inherent demands relating to timing, tempo and volume must also be met. Therefore, the ability to manipulate these facets of drumming performance in a research setting is very appealing. In relation to potential research populations drumming has a universal fascination regardless of age, gender, culture, language competency and ethnicity. Anecdotal evidence suggests that drumming is a ‘cool’ activity that has a unique ‘language currency’ in terms of stimulating communication within and between those who can and cannot play the drums.

The impetus for our research study came from parents of autistic children contacting us to express their belief that drumming was having a positive effect on their child’s physical and psychological behaviour. A review of the literature showed a range of anecdotal evidence in support of such statements (Freidman 2000) and an increase in empirical drumming based research being undertaken (Bungay 2010). More recent studies have reported psychosocial benefits such as enhanced communication (Maschi et al. 2010; 2012), emotional processing and tension reduction (Flores et al. 2016; Maschi et al. 2010; 2012), group cohesion and connectedness (Blackett et al. 2005), concentration, psychomotor coordination and posture (Chen et al. 2017). The majority of this work was undertaken with adolescents with very little work focused on younger age groups. Continue reading

Almost 2 Million Children Suffer Traumatic Brain Injury Each Year

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Juliet Haarbauer-Krupa, PhD Senior Health Scientist Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention CDC

Dr. Haarbauer-Krupa

Juliet Haarbauer-Krupa, PhD
Senior Health Scientist
Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention
CDC

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

  • Traumatic brain injury in children results in a large number of emergency department visits each year and can result in long term difficulties
  • The purpose of this study was to estimate lifetime prevalence of TBI in children based on a nationally representative sample of U.S. parents/adults and to describe the association between TBI and other childhood health conditions.
  • CDC researchers examined the National Survey of Children’s Health, a cross-sectional telephone survey of U.S. households, to provide a national estimate of TBI in children.

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