Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, End of Life Care, Gender Differences, JAMA / 16.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50851" align="alignleft" width="142"]Dr. Nathan Stall, MD Geriatrician and Research fellow Women’s College Research Institute Dr. Stall[/caption] Dr. Nathan Stall, MD Geriatrician and Research fellow Women’s College Research Institute   [caption id="attachment_50852" align="alignleft" width="133"]Dr. Paula Rochon, MD, MPH, FRCPC Periatrician and Vice-President of Research Women’s College Hospital Dr. Rochon[/caption]     Dr. Paula Rochon, MD, MPH, FRCPC Periatrician and Vice-President of Research Women’s College Hospital     MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The advanced stages of the dementia are characterized by profound memory impairment, an inability to recognize family, minimal verbal communication, loss of ambulatory abilities, and an inability to perform basic activities of daily living. Nursing homes become a common site of care for people living with advanced dementia, who have a median survival of 1.3 years. In the advanced stages of the disease, the focus of care should generally be on maximizing quality of life. Our study examined the frequency and sex-based differences in burdensome interventions received by nursing home residents with advanced dementia at the very end of life. Burdensome interventions include a variety of treatment and procedures that are often avoidable, may not improve comfort, and are frequently distressing to residents and their families. We found that in the last 30 days of life, nearly one in 10 nursing home residents visited an emergency department, more than one in five were hospitalized, and one in seven died in an acute care setting. In addition, almost one in 10 residents received life-threatening critical care; more than one in four were physically restrained; and more than one in three received antibiotics.
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Nutrition, Red Meat / 08.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50601" align="alignleft" width="200"]Jyrki Virtanen, PhD Assistant professor of nutritional epidemiology (tenure track) University of Eastern Finland Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition Kuopio, Finland Dr. Virtanen[/caption] Jyrki Virtanen, PhD Assistant professor of nutritional epidemiology University of Eastern Finland Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition Kuopio, Finland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: We have previously found in this same eastern Finnish male study population that higher egg intake was associated with lower risk of developing dementia and with better performance in tests assessing cognitive capacity. Eggs are a major source of choline, especially phosphatidylcholine, and choline (which is an essential nutrient) is necessary for the formation of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter. Earlier studies have linked choline intake with better cognitive processing but there was no information whether choline intake would also be associated with lower risk of developing dementia. So the purpose of our current study was to investigate whether higher choline intake would associate with better cognitive performance and with lower risk of dementia, which would support our previous findings with egg intake. And in the current study we did find that especially higher phosphatidylcholine intake was associated with a lower risk of developing dementia and also with better performance in tests measuring memory and linguistic abilities of the men in the study.
Aging, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Gender Differences, Hormone Therapy, JAMA, Menopause, Weight Research / 05.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50128" align="alignleft" width="144"]Rachel Zsido PhD student Department of Neurology  International Max Planck  Rachel Zsido[/caption] Rachel Zsido PhD student Department of Neurology International Max Planck MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We integrated measures of brain network structure, visceral adipose tissue (VAT), serum estradiol levels, and cognitive performance from 974 participants in order to shed light on potential mechanisms underlying cognitive health. We believe it is imperative to assess sex-specific risk trajectories in brain aging and cognitive decline, especially given the known sex differences in both VAT accumulation patterns and estradiol fluctuations across the lifespan. Thus, we aimed to answer three questions in men and in women: 1) Does visceral adipose tissue exacerbate the association between age and brain network structure, 2) Does estradiol mitigate the negative association between VAT and brain network structure, and 3) What does this imply for healthy cognitive aging in men and women? 
Author Interviews, CDC, Cognitive Issues, Infections, Vaccine Studies / 24.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_49954" align="alignleft" width="122"]Arindam Nandi  PhD Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy Dr. Nandi[/caption] Arindam Nandi  PhD Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: The motivation for this study comes from a small but growing body of evidence on the potential long-term benefits of vaccines. The recent resurgence of measles outbreaks in several countries which had previously eliminated the virus makes our study additionally relevant. There have been over 1,000 measles cases reported across 28 states in the US so far in 2019, which is the largest number of cases the country has seen in almost 3 decades. Similarly high number of cases have been reported in several European countries in recent years. This study reiterates the importance of vaccination and proves the long-term benefits of the measles vaccine in low- and middle-income countries, which account for a large proportion of global measles cases.
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Gender Differences / 24.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tom Chang PhD, BS, MIT Associate Professor of Finance and Business Economics Marshall School of Business MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There have been many studies showing that women prefer higher indoor temperatures than men, however nobody looked at the effect of temperature on performance. We show that the battle for the thermostat is not just about the comfort. It is much more – in our experiment, women’s cognitive functioning is the best at high temperatures, whereas men’s at low temperatures. Significantly, the positive effect of increased temperatures on women’s performance is much stronger than the negative effect on men. The most surprising was that the effect of temperature on women is so strong. For instance, at low temperatures, men outperform women in a simple math task. However, when we increase the temperature, women become better and better (1.76% increase of solved tasks with each 1 Celsius increase), and at high temperatures women and men perform on the same level – the gender difference disappears. 
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Cognitive Issues, Technology / 22.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_49309" align="alignleft" width="165"]Dr.. Mahncke Dr. Mahncke[/caption] Dr. Henry W. Mahncke PhD Research neuroscientist CEO of Posit Science Corporation  MedicalResearch.com: What makes this study newsworthy?  Response: Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) is a complex condition to treat. Patients can report many symptoms (e.g., cognitive deficits, depression, anxiety, stress, fatigue, pain, sleep difficulties, disorientation, emotional issues). Prior to this study, conducted at five military and veterans’ medical centers, there has been no highly-scalable intervention to treat the cognitive deficits associated with mTBI. This study showed that a plasticity-based, computerized, brain-training app can drive statistically and clinically significant gains in overall cognitive performance. Given the number of service members and vets with persistent cognitive deficits from TBIs, that’s a big deal.
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Memory, University Texas / 16.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_48608" align="alignleft" width="160"]Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman PhDFounder and Chief Director, Center for BrainHealth,Co-Leader, The BrainHealth ProjectUniversity of Texas, Dallas Dr. Chapman[/caption] Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman PhD Founder and Chief Director, Center for BrainHealth, Co-Leader, The BrainHealth Project University of Texas, Dallas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Finding effective treatments to reverse or slow rates of cognitive decline for those at risk for developing dementia is one of the most important and urgent challenges of the 21st century. Brain stimulation is gaining attention as a viable intervention to increase neuroplasticity when used in isolation or when combined with cognitive training regimens. Given the growing evidence that certain cognitive training protocols, such as SMART, benefit people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), a population that is vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease, we were interested in exploring whether we could further increase the gains from cognitive training (i.e., SMART) when the training was preceded by brain stimulation using tDCS. 
Aging, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Lifestyle & Health / 13.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Carla R. Schubert, MS Researcher,  EpiSense Research Program Dept. of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences School of Medicine and Public Health University of Wisconsin Madison, WI  53726-2336  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Mildlife is an important time-period for health later in life and also when declines in sensory and cognitive functions may begin to occur. Hearing, vision and smell impairments have been associated with cognitive impairments in older adults and with worse cognitive function in middle-aged adults.  These associations may be reflecting the close integration of sensory and cognitive systems as both require good brain function.
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Environmental Risks, Pediatrics, Toxin Research / 12.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_48515" align="alignleft" width="200"]Edson R. Severnini PhDAssistant Professor Of Economics And Public PolicyCarnegie Mellon University Dr. Severnini[/caption] Edson R. Severnini PhD Assistant Professor Of Economics And Public Policy Carnegie Mellon University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Although lead has been banned from gasoline, paint, and other substances in the United States and many other countries around the world, the legacy of lead use is a critical environmental and public health issue. Surface soil contamination, in particular, has been long recognized as an important pathway of human lead exposure, and is now a worldwide health concern. This study estimates the causal effects of exposure to lead in topsoil on cognitive ability among 5-year-old children. We draw on individual level data from the 2000 U.S. Census, and USGS data on lead in topsoil covering a broad set of counties across the United States. We find that higher lead in topsoil increases considerably the probability of 5-year-old boys experiencing cognitive difficulties such as learning, remembering, concentrating, or making decisions. Living in counties with topsoil lead concentration above the national median roughly doubles the probability of 5-year-old boys having cognitive difficulties. This harmful effect does not seem to extend to 5-year-old girls, potentially due to the natural protection of estrogen. 
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Education, Social Issues / 04.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_47767" align="alignleft" width="128"]Marja Aartsen, PhDResearch professor at NOVA - Norwegian Social Research / OsloMetOslo Metropolitan University Dr. Aartsen[/caption] Marja Aartsen, PhD Research professor at NOVA Norwegian Social Research / OsloMet Oslo Metropolitan University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our study is part of a larger project “Life course influences on health trajectories at older age” conducted at the University of Geneva, of which dr. Stéphane Cullati is the principle investigator (see for more information on the project https://cigev.unige.ch/index.php?cID=887). The aim of that research project is to examine in what way retrospective life course precursors from childhood to late adulthood have long-term impacts on current health trajectories at older age. A number of studies in this project are now published among which our study on childhood conditions and cognitive functioning and cognitive decline in later life. In our research, we were particularly interested in the origins of cognitive decline in later life.  Studies among children show that the childhood is an important phase in the development of the brain. Growing up in environments in which people are cognitively stimulated stimulates the brain to develop more complex neuronal networks and larger brain reserves, which may compensate for the neuronal losses that occur when people get older. This effect is long visible, even at old age as a number of important studies recently provided quite solid evidence for the beneficial effect of advantaged childhood conditions on level of cognitive functioning in later life. However, not many studies investigated the relation between childhood conditions and the speed of cognitive decline in later life. Those that did found inconsistent results. We reasoned that part of the inconsistencies in study findings might stem from differences in the analytical approach (not sensitive enough), too little cognitive change because of a short follow-up, too young people, or too small sample (all causing too little power to find statistically significant effects) or differences in the measurement of the childhood conditions. To overcome these potential limitations, we used a large study sample with long follow-up, used a multidimensional measurement of childhood condition, and applied a powerful analytical technique. 
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Heart Disease, JAMA, Stroke / 04.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_47709" align="alignleft" width="200"]Sarah Parish, MSc, DPhil Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology MRC Population Health Research Unit Nuffield Department of Population Health University of Oxford Dr. Parish[/caption] Sarah Parish, MSc, DPhil Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology MRC Population Health Research Unit Nuffield Department of Population Health University of Oxford MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Acquiring reliable randomized evidence of the effects of cardiovascular interventions on cognitive decline is a priority. In this secondary analysis of 3 randomized intervention trials of cardiovascular event prevention, including 45 029 participants undergoing cognitive testing, we estimated the association of the avoidance of vascular events with differences in cognitive function in order to understand whether reports of non-significant results exclude worthwhile benefit. 
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Cognitive Issues, JAMA / 25.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_47146" align="alignleft" width="153"]Dr-Jeff Douglas Williamson Dr. Williamson[/caption] Jeff D. Williamson, MD Geriatric Medicine - Sticht Center Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: A growing amount of epidemiologic research has suggested that higher blood pressure is associated with higher risk for dementia, including Alzheimer’s dementia. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: More than 9,300 ambulatory, community dwelling persons over age 50, 30% of whom were over the age of 75, were randomly assigned to a blood pressure goal of 120 vs 140.  Persons in the 120 group had a 19% lower risk for developing MCI an transitional stage between normal and dementia (P<.008).  There was a 17% lower risk for developing dementia but this only achieved a p value = 0.10.  The combined risk for both MCI and dementia was 15% lower in the 120 group (p<0.04).  The dementia outcome was the primary outcome but all the outcomes were pre-specified in the protocol at the beginning of the trial.  Unfortunately the blood pressure intervention was stopped after only 3.3 years due to CVD and mortality benefit and this may well have influenced the ability to reach the expected number of dementia cases. 
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues / 23.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bryan D. James, PhD Assistant Professor Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center Chicago, IL 60612  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: It has long been reported by patients, their family members, and physicians that many older adults experience long-term declines in their memory and thinking abilities after hospitalization. Studies have recently begun to confirm these reports by following older patients for years after hospitalization and repeatedly testing their cognitive abilities. A number of questions have yet to be answered, including which types of hospitalizations are most strongly related to cognitive decline. In this study, we sought to answer whether going to the hospital for elective procedures was as risky to the cognitive health of older adults as urgent or emergency (that is, non-elective) hospitalizations.
ALS, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cognitive Issues, JAMA, Multiple Sclerosis / 08.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_46832" align="alignleft" width="200"]Michael Fralick, MD, FRCPC, SM, PhD (Cand) Clinical Associate, General Internal Medicine, St Michael’s Hospital Phillipson Scholar, Clinician Scientist Program, University of Toronto  PhD Candidate, IHPME, University of Toronto Affiliated Faculty, Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law, Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard University Dr. Fralick[/caption] Michael Fralick, MD, FRCPC, SM, PhD (Cand) Clinical Associate, General Internal Medicine St Michael’s Hospital Phillipson Scholar, Clinician Scientist Program, University of Toronto PhD Candidate, IHPME, University of Toronto Affiliated Faculty, Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law, Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This medication is a pill that combines two ingredients: dextromethorphan (the active ingredient in cough syrup) and quinidine (used to increase the concentration of dextromethorphan). The medication was primarily studied and evaluated in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)   or (multiple sclerosis) MS, but anecdotal evidence suggested it was being prescribed to patients with dementia. We used data from two nationwide healthcare databases to understand how the medication was being used in routine care.
Author Interviews, Autism, Cognitive Issues, JAMA / 04.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_46784" align="alignleft" width="158"]Tjasa Velikonja, PhD Department of Psychiatry The Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, New York Dr. Velikonja[/caption] Tjasa Velikonja, PhD Department of Psychiatry The Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Autism is a lifelong condition, and challenges associated with autism persist from childhood into adulthood. Despite this, research and treatment have been largely dedicated to children. Because of that, we had very little understanding of what areas – what cognitive domains - are most severely impacted in adults with autism. Importantly, the lack of such information also limits treatment development in this area. What is known already is that adults with autism display deficits in social cognition (which refers to the role that cognitive processes play in our social interactions). Although our meta-analysis supported these theories, it also highlighted several other challenges in cognitive processing, such as deficits in processing speed and verbal learning and memory. And these impairments were observed in adults with autism without an overall intellectual disability.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Cognitive Issues, OBGYNE / 05.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45711" align="alignleft" width="133"]Ryan J. McLaughlin, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Integrative Physiology & Neuroscience College of Veterinary Medicine Washington State University Pullman, WA 99164-7620 Dr. McLaughlin[/caption] 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.
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, NEJM, Vanderbilt / 31.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45592" align="alignleft" width="160"]Brenda Truman Pun, DNP, RN Program Clinical Manager Vanderbilt University Medical Center Dr. Truman Pun[/caption] 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.  
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Genetic Research, Heart Disease / 23.10.2018

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.
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Geriatrics, JAMA, Surgical Research / 17.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with [caption id="attachment_45334" align="alignleft" width="133"]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[/caption] 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.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Cognitive Issues, Memory / 18.08.2018

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. 
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Memory / 05.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_43717" align="alignleft" width="110"]Dr Antonina Pereira - CPsychol, PhD, FHEA, AFBPsS Head of Department of Psychology & Counselling University of Chichester Chichester, West Sussex UK Dr. Pereira[/caption] 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.
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, JAMA, Social Issues / 18.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Dorina Cadar Research Associate in Dementia Psychobiology Group Department of Behavioural Science and Health University College London London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Dementia is one of the most feared medical conditions, which represents a significant global challenge to health and social care. Education may serve different roles in the development of dementia: it is a proxy for early life experiences and (parental) socioeconomic status, it is related to future employment prospects, income and wealth, determines occupational exposures and characteristics of adult life (e.g., job complexity, work stress, environmental exposures) and it provides lifelong skills for optimal mental abilities and mastery. However, given that education is typically completed many decades before dementia onset, other individual and area-based components of socioeconomic status, such as wealth, income and area deprivation may provide a more accurate indication of current socioeconomic resources.  Also, at older ages, accumulated wealth represents a more robust measure of socioeconomic resources than income or occupation alone.
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Mental Health Research / 16.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41743" align="alignleft" width="133"]Dr. Eero Vuoksimaa PhD Institute for Molecular Medicine University of Helsinski Finland Dr. Vuoksimaa[/caption] Dr. Eero Vuoksimaa PhD Institute for Molecular Medicine University of Helsinski Finland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are many previous reports indicating a positive association between height and cognitive ability but the underlying mechanisms behind this correlation are not well known. We used a mediation model to test if this association is explained by brain size as measured with cortical grey matter size. We found that total cortical surface mediated the relationship between height and cognitive ability.
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, OBGYNE, Sugar / 02.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Soda” by Jannes Pockele is licensed under CC BY 2.0Juliana F. W. Cohen, ScM, ScD Department of Health Sciences Merrimack College North Andover MA 01845. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Sugar consumption among Americans is above recommended limits and this excess intake may have important health implications. This study examined the associations of pregnancy and offspring sugar consumption, as well as sugar-sweetened beverages, other beverages (diet soda, juice), and fruit consumption with child cognition. This study found that when pregnant women or their children consumed greater quantities of sugar, as well as when women consumed diet soda during pregnancy, this was associated with poorer childhood cognition.  However, children’s fruit consumption was associated with higher cognitive scores.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Epilepsy / 12.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Britta Haenisch, PhD Pharmacoepidemiology in Neurodegenerative Disorders German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, DZNE  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) have been shown to affect cognition by suppressing neuronal excitability and increasing inhibitory neurotransmission. Previous studies suggested that AEDs may be associated with cognitive adverse effects. Therefore, we evaluated the association between AED use and incident dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We utilized large longitudinal datasets from Finnish health registers and from German health insurance data. The case-control analyses was adjusted for several potential confounders like comorbidities and polypharmacy. The inclusion of a lag time between . Antiepileptic drugs use and dementia diagnosis allowed minimization of protopathic bias. Our study provides an association between regular prescription of  antiepileptic drugs with known cognitive adverse effects and the occurrence of dementia and AD in patients aged 65 years and older. 
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, JAMA, Pediatrics / 26.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40257" align="alignleft" width="149"]Sabrina Twilhaar, MS, PhD candidate Child Study Group, sectie Klinische Neuropsychologie Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Sabrina Twilhaar[/caption] Sabrina Twilhaar, MS, PhD candidate Child Study Group, sectie Klinische Neuropsychologie Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: It is well-known that preterm birth has negative consequences for cognitive development. During the early 1990s important progress in neonatal health care resulted in a considerable increase in the survival of preterm infants. Earlier meta-analyses showed large differences in intelligence between very preterm and full-term born children. However, these meta-analyses included mostly studies on children born before 1990. Because of the advances in neonatal health care since that time, it was important to update our knowledge on the outcomes of more recently born preterm infants. We combined the results of 71 studies, together including 7752 very preterm and 5155 full-term born children, and found a difference in intelligence between very preterm and full-term children that was still large. Interestingly, despite advancing neonatal health care, we also found no indication of improvement in the cognitive outcomes of very preterm born children during the period from 1990 to 2008. In addition, we searched for factors that increase the risk for poor cognitive outcomes in these children and we found that children with a chronic lung disease that is amongst others caused by mechanical ventilation of the immature lungs are even more at risk for poor cognitive outcomes.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Lancet / 21.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “undefined” by Iñaki Queralt is licensed under CC BY 2.0Michaël Schwarzinger, MD, PhD Translational Health Economics Network (THEN) Paris MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The association of heavy drinking with dementia has been known for decades. For instance, there is about no Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome without heavy drinking and the syndrome was described in 1890. But this type of dementia is very rare. Also, heavy drinking is knowingly associated with multiple risk factors for dementia onset such as hypertension or diabetes. But heavy drinkers generally refuse to participate to cohort studies and declaration of alcohol use among participants is generally biased downward... So the study rationale is very strong, but supporting empirical evidence is quite scarce. This nationwide study included all 31+ million adults discharged from hospitals over 6 years, i.e., 50% of the French population before 65 years old and 80% above that age. Of 1.1+ million adults diagnosed with dementia, one in twenty had an early-onset (before 65 years old). Heavy drinking was recorded in most (56%) early-onset dementia cases: two-third in men; one-third in women. In addition, the association of heavy drinking with dementia goes far beyond 65 years old, both directly (>3 times higher risk for dementia onset after controlling for more than 30 known risk factors for dementia) and indirectly as heavy drinking was associated with all other independent risk factors for dementia onset. Accordingly, heavy drinking had the largest effect on dementia risk of all independent modifiable risk factors such as hypertension or diabetes. The effects were found whatever dementia case definition or population studies.
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Geriatrics, Kidney Disease, Salt-Sodium / 11.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39968" align="alignleft" width="150"]Dr. Kristen L. Nowak PhD Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Aurora, CO 80045 Dr. Nowak[/caption] Dr. Kristen L. Nowak PhD Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Aurora, CO 80045 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Subtle impairments in cognition are common with aging, even in the absence of clinically apparent dementia. Mild hyponatremia is a common finding in older adults; however, the association of lower serum sodium with cognition in older adults is currently uncertain. We hypothesized that lower normal serum sodium would be associated with prevalent cognitive impairment and the risk of cognitive decline over time in asymptomatic, community-dwelling older men.
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Environmental Risks / 07.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39875" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr. Lily Yan MD PhD Department of Psychology & Neuroscience Program Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 48824  Dr. Lily Yan[/caption] Dr. Lily Yan MD PhD Department of Psychology & Neuroscience Program Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 48824  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
  • The effects of light on cognitive function have been well-documented in human studies, with brighter illumination associated with better cognitive performance. However, the underlying neural mechanisms are not well understood.
  • In this study, we explored the mechanisms of how light modulates spatial learning and memory, using diurnal Nile grass rats. In contrast to most laboratory animals that are active at night and fall asleep following light exposure, these animals are active during the day, thus an ideal model for understanding the effects of light on humans.
  • When the animals were housed in dim light during the day, mimicking the cloudy days or typical indoor lighting, the animals had a ~30% reduction in the dendritic spines, which make the connection between brain cells, within the hippocampus, a brain region critical for learning and memory. Animals housed in dim light also performed poorly in a water maze, compared to those housed in bright light.
  • When the animals that had been in dim light were then housed in bright light for 4 weeks, the connections in their hippocampus and performance in the water maze recovered fully.