Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues / 12.04.2014

Ioannis Tarnanas M.Sc Senior Researcher Gerontechnology and Rehabilitation Research Group, ARTORG Centre for Biomedical Engineering, University of Bern, 3010 Bern, SwitzerlandMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ioannis Tarnanas M.Sc Senior Researcher Gerontechnology and Rehabilitation Research Group, ARTORG Centre for Biomedical Engineering, University of Bern, 3010 Bern, Switzerland MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: We examined 75 healthy older people and 134 patients with mild cognitive impairment. Our aim was to collect neuropsychological, neurophysiological, neuroimaging and behavioural data by means of a virtual reality serious game, in order to model the profile of the patients who will progress to dementia within the next 2-4 years. We found that the prediction based on the performance at the virtual reality based computerized assessment instrument is comparable to that of more established and widely accepted biomarkers, such as ERP and MRI. This can be explained by the cognitive fidelity and richness of behavioural data collected with virtual reality based measures, which directly reflect neurocognitive processes affected at a very early stage. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Medical Imaging, NIH / 07.04.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: dr_Aalex_d_leowAlex Leow, MD PhD Psychiatric Institute Chicago, IL 60612 and   Tony J. Simon, PhD University of California, Davis MIND Institute Sacramento, CA 95817Tony J. Simon, PhD University of California, Davis MIND Institute Sacramento, CA 95817 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common inherited cause of intellectual disabilities and the most prevalent known single-gene cause of autism in males. The fragile X mental retardation 1 gene (FMR1) can be mutated with expanded numbers of CGG trinucleotide repeats in the 5’ untranslated region on the Xq27.3 site of the X chromosome. Normally, unaffected individuals have fewer than 45 CGG repeats in FMR1. When the size of the CGG repeat exceeds 200 FMR1 is silenced and the mutation is categorized as full, generating the FXS phenotype. If the expansion is between 55–200 repeats, then the individual is generally classified as a fragile X premutation carrier (fXPC). An estimated 40% of male and 8-16% of female premutation carriers later develop Fragile X-Associated Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome (FXTAS), which is a late-onset (usually 50-70 years old) neurodegenerative disorder. We recruited 46 neurologically symptomless young to middle aged carriers of the FMR1 gene mutation. They were age and gender matched with 42 unaffected control individuals without the gene mutation. Both groups were evaluated by cognitive testing as well as novel neuroimaging techniques termed “brain connectomics,” based on diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) whole-brain tractography.  A connectome is a comprehensive map, like a wiring diagram, of neural connections in the brain. Our study is the first-ever connectome study to compare fXPCs and controls. In short, brain connectomics enable scientists for the first time to study the global organizational properties of the human brain by applying cutting edge computational techniques, based on graph theory, to these comprehensive maps of neural connections (i.e., the brain graphs). Our main finding was that, in neurologically symptomless male carriers  we detected a correlation between brain graphs’ efficiency in processing information and the number of CGG repeats in the mutated region of FMR1 (we estimated that each additional CGG repeat that in these males represents an effective increase of ~1.5 years  of “brain aging”). The correlation may prove to be an effective marker of early brain aging in otherwise neurologically symptomless premutation carriers. The study also further confirmed previous findings of smaller brain stem volumes in male fXPCS than in male controls. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Exercise - Fitness, Neurology / 07.04.2014

David R. Jacobs Jr, PhD Divisions of Epidemiology School of Public Health University of Minnesota, MinneapolisMedicalResearch.com Interview with: David R. Jacobs Jr, PhD Divisions of Epidemiology School of Public Health University of Minnesota, Minneapolis MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of this study? Dr. Jacobs: Vigorous activity is what is well understood to improve cardiorespiratory fitness. People with high fitness are likely (based on this study) to a) Lose fitness more slowly as they age and b) To maintain sharper "thinking skills" into late middle age. I think the message of this study is primarily for the people in the low to mid range of fitness in young adulthood.  Thus, of more importance to the general population, if the people with low to moderate fitness simply do things, be engaged in family, job, community, move around, they would  be able to do better on a treadmill test such as we used.  Because those who lost less fitness over average age 25 to average age 45 had higher thinking skills at age 50, people who start moving around are likely to reap the benefit of less loss of thinking skills by average age 50. (more…)
Alcohol, Cognitive Issues, Neurology / 25.03.2014

Osvaldo P. Almeida, MD, PhD, FRANZCP, FFPOA Professor & Winthrop Chair of Geriatric Psychiatry | School of Psychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences | University of Western Australia. Director of Research | Western Australian Centre for Health & Ageing | Centre for Medical Research | Western Australian Institute for Medical Research. Consultant | Department of Psychiatry | Royal Perth Hospital. Australia.MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Osvaldo P. Almeida, MD, PhD, FRANZCP, FFPOA Professor & Winthrop Chair of Geriatric Psychiatry | School of Psychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences | University of Western Australia. Consultant | Department of Psychiatry | Royal Perth Hospital. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of this study? Prof. Almeida: This study used the principles of Mendelian randomisation to clarify whether alcohol use is a direct cause of cognitive impairment in later life. The rationale behind this approach is that the genetic variation associated with lower risk of alcohol abuse or dependence should also be associated with lower risk of cognitive impairment if alcohol misuse is a direct cause cognitive impairment. We found no evidence for such an association. (more…)
Cognitive Issues, JAMA, Mayo Clinic, Medical Research Centers, Pulmonary Disease / 19.03.2014

Michelle M. Mielke, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Health Sciences Research, Division of Epidemiology Department of Neurology Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN 55905MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michelle M. Mielke, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Health Sciences Research, Division of Epidemiology Department of Neurology Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN 55905 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Mielke: Using a population-based sample of cognitively normal individuals, aged 70-89 at baseline, we found that a medical-record confirmed diagnosis of COPD was associated with an increased risk of mild cognitive impairment, specifically non-amnestic mild cognitive impairment.  The risk of mild cognitive impairment increased with a longer duration of COPD such that individuals who had COPD for more than 5 years had a 2.5-fold increased risk of developing non-amnestic mild cognitive impairment. (more…)
Cognitive Issues, General Medicine, PLoS, University of Pittsburgh / 15.03.2014

Dr Tobias Teichert Assistant Professor of Psychiatry University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 15261MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Tobias Teichert Assistant Professor of Psychiatry University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 15261 MedicalResearch.com:  What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Teichert:  "Our study provided three main findings: First, we measured how long it takes subjects to allocate attention to a relevant target and how effectively they can block out the distractors. We found that after 120 msec selective attention is fully engaged and completely blocks out the distractor. Based on this finding, we predicted that subjects should be able to improve decision accuracy by delaying decision onset, and that this should be more effective than simply prolonging the whole decision process. Most importantly, we found that subjects indeed use this more effective way of improving decision onset: On average, subjects delayed decision onset by about 50 msec when we asked them be as accurate as possible. The good news is that people seem to use this more optimal mechanism automatically, without being told to do so and without being aware of what they do. The bad news is that we don’t seem to be using this skill quite as effectively as we could. In our case, subjects could have improved accuracy even further by delaying decision onset by an additional 50 ms. However, taken together, our findings show that decision onset is to some degree under cognitive control, and that we might be able to devise training strategies to harness its full potential” (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, JAMA, Mayo Clinic, Thyroid Disease / 31.12.2013

Ajay K Parsaik, MD, MS Department of Psychiatry and Behavior Sciences The University of Texas Medical School, Houston Department of Neurology and Mayo Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MinnesotaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ajay K Parsaik, MD, MS Department of Psychiatry and Behavior Sciences The University of Texas Medical School, Houston Department of Neurology and Mayo Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Parsaik: Main findings of our study are that clinical and subclinical hypothyroidism is not associated with mild cognitive impairment in an elderly population after accounting for possible confounding factors and interactions. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues / 21.12.2013

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Alan B. Zonderman PhD Cognition Section Laboratory of Personality and Cognition, NIA Gerontology Research Center Baltimore, MD 21224-6825 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Zonderman: In a prospective population-based 5-year follow-up study the authors examined the rate at which participants converted from mild cognitive impairment to dementia or reverted from mild cognitive impairment to normal cognitive performance.  As has been common, they found elevated risk for dementia associated with mild cognitive impairment, but also found elevated risk for dementia among those who reverted (temporarily) to normal cognitive performance. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Mayo Clinic / 20.12.2013

Dr. Ronald C. Petersen M.D., Ph.D. Division of Epidemiology Department of Health Sciences Research; Department of Neurology Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MNMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ronald C. Petersen M.D., Ph.D. Division of Epidemiology Department of Health Sciences Research; Department of Neurology Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Petersen: The diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment increases the likelihood of developing dementia. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Erasmus, Statins / 25.11.2013

Prof Ype Elgersma PhD Professor, Neuroscience Neuroscience Institute, Erasmus University Rotterdam Rotterdam, NetherlandsMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof Ype Elgersma PhD Professor, Neuroscience Neuroscience Institute, Erasmus University Rotterdam Rotterdam, Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: Research in genetic mouse models suggested that inhibition of HMG-CoA-reductase by statins might ameliorate the cognitive and behavioral phenotype of children with Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), an autosomal dominant disorder. In a 12-month randomized placebo-controlled study including 84 children with NF1, we found that simvastatin, an inhibitor of the HMG-CoA-reductase pathway had no effect on full-scale intelligence, attention problems or internalizing behavioral problems, or on any of the secondary outcome measures. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues / 24.11.2013

Dr. Soo Borson, M.D. Professor Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of MedicineMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Soo Borson, M.D. Professor Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine   MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Borson:  We developed a new short screen to help clinicians and health care systems identify dementia patients and their caregivers who have unmet needs for dementia care services - extra help from primary care providers or clinical specialists skilled in understanding and managing problems related to dementia, working with caregivers to alleviate stress and burden, and locating community-based support services. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Mediterranean Diet / 22.11.2013

samantha_gardenerMedicalResearch.com: Samantha Gardener PhD Student Senior Research Assistant for DIAN and AIBL Studies McCusker Alzheimer's Research Foundation 2/142 Stirling Hwy 
NEDLANDS 6009
Western Australia MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of your study? Answer: Our research indicates that consuming larger quantities of foods included in a western dietary pattern is associated with greater cognitive decline in visuospatial functioning after 36 months. Foods included in the western dietary pattern are red and processed meats, high fat dairy products, chips, refined grains, potatoes, sweets and condiments. Visuospatial functioning is an area which includes distance and depth perception, reproducing drawings and using components to construct objects or shapes. In contrast, adherence to the Mediterranean diet, a healthy eating pattern is associated with less decline in executive function. Foods included in the Mediterranean diet are vegetables, fruits and fish. Examples of executive function include planning and organising, problem solving and time management. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Cognitive Issues, Lancet / 12.11.2013

prof_david_menonMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof David K Menon MD PhD FRCP FRCA FFICM FMedSci Head, Division of Anaesthesia, University of Cambridge 
Consultant, Neurosciences Critical Care Unit 
BOC Professor, Royal College of Anaesthetists Professorial Fellow, Queens' College, Cambridge Senior Investigator, National Institute for Health Research Box 93, Addenbrooke's Hospital, 
Cambridge CB2 2QQ, UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for your study? Dr. Menon: We have known for some time that a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) results in a significant (between 2 and 10 fold) increase in the likelihood of getting dementia in later life.  On possible mechanistic explanation for this comes from the finding that about a third of individuals who died of TBI, regardless of age, are found at autopsy to have deposits of β-amyloid in the brain, often Aβ42, which is the same variant of amyloid seen in the brain of patients who have Alzheimer’s Disease. However, such detection after death has made it impossible to examine the linkage of such early amyloid deposition to late dementia.  More recently, imaging with positron emission tomography (PET) and Pittsburgh compound B (PIB) has been used to image amyloid deposits in Alzheimer’s  Disease.  However, the technique had not been validated in traumatic brain injury. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Genetic Research, Memory / 11.10.2013

Dr. Rebecca Todd Assistant Professor University of British Columbia Department of Psychology Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability 4342A-2260 West Mall Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Rebecca Todd Assistant Professor University of British Columbia Department of Psychology Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability 4342A-2260 West Mall Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: What we found, in essence, is that some individuals are genetically predisposed to see the world more darkly than others. We find that a common gene variant is linked to perceiving emotional events --especially negative ones --¬ more vividly than others. This gene variant has been previously linked (by other researchers) to emotional memory and the likelihood of experiencing intrusive, or “flashback” memories following traumatic experience. Our findings suggest that in healthy young adults this enhanced emotional memory may be because individuals are more likely to perceive what’s emotionally relevant in the first place. We've all heard of rose colored glasses, but this is more like gene-colored glasses, tinted a bit darkly. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Johns Hopkins, Mental Health Research / 07.10.2013

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Seth S. Martin, MD Division of Cardiology, Johns Hopkins Hospital 600 North Wolfe Street Baltimore, Maryland 21287 Johns Hopkins Hospital Baltimore, MD 21287. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Martin: Our systematic review identified 16 studies for qualitative synthesis and 11 for quantitative synthesis. In individuals without baseline cognitive dysfunction, statins did not adversely affect memory when used in the short-term (<1 year). Long-term cognition studies including 23,433 patients with a mean exposure duration of 3 to 24.9 years showed a 29% relative reduction in incident dementia related to statin use (hazard ratio, 0.71; 95% CI 0.61-0.82) and a 2% absolute risk reduction (number needed to treat for 6.2 years: 50). (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, PNAS / 02.10.2013

Agnieszka Anna Tymula Lecturer (Assistant Professor) School of Economics The University of Sydney NSW 2006, AustraliaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Agnieszka Anna Tymula Lecturer (Assistant Professor) School of Economics The University of Sydney NSW 2006, Australia MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: We found that individual risk preferences as well as consistency and rationality in choice change with age. Just like cognitive abilities, the ability to make consistent and rational decisions considerably declines in older adulthood. Tolerance to risk in the domain of gains follows an inverted U-shaped pattern along the life span, with older adults (65+ y. o.) and adolescents being more risk averse than young or midlife adults. Interestingly, in the domain of losses, older adults are willing to accept significantly more risks than adolescents, young and midlife adults. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, PLoS / 02.10.2013

Professor of Neuroscience Programme Director for BSc and MSci Pharmacology degrees School of Physiology & Pharmacology Medical and Veterinary Sciences University Walk University of Bristol Bristol, BS8 1TD.Neil V. Marrion, PhD Professor of Neuroscience Programme Director for BSc and MSci Pharmacology degrees School of Physiology & Pharmacology Medical and Veterinary Sciences University Walk University of Bristol Bristol, BS8 1TD. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Marrion: We tested pravastatin and atorvostatin (two commonly prescribed statins) in rat learning and memory models.  Rats were treated daily with pravastatin (brand name - Pravachol) or atorvostatin (brand name - Lipitor) for 18 days. The rodents were tested in a simple learning task before, during and after treatment, where they had to learn where to find a food reward. On the last day of treatment and following one week withdrawal, the rats were also tested in a task which measures their ability to recognise a previously encountered object (recognition memory). The study’s findings showed that pravastatin tended to impair learning over the last few days of treatment although this effect was fully reversed once treatment ceased. However, in the novel object discrimination task, pravastatin impaired object recognition memory.  While no effects were observed for atorvostatin in either task. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues / 30.09.2013

Teppo Särkämö PhD Institute of Behavioural Sciences PL 9 (Siltavuorenpenger 1A), 363 FI-00014, HELSINGIN YLIOPISTO FinlandMedicalResearch.com: Teppo Särkämö PhD Institute of Behavioural Sciences PL 9 (Siltavuorenpenger 1A), 363 FI-00014, HELSINGIN YLIOPISTO Finland MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: We found that caregiver-implemented musical leisure activities, such as singing and music listening, are beneficial for elderly persons with mild-moderate dementia (PWD). Compared to standard care, regular singing and music listening improved mood, orientation level, episodic memory and to a lesser extent, also attention and executive function and general cognition. Singing also enhanced verbal working memory and caregiver well-being, whereas music listening had a positive effect on quality of life. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues / 22.09.2013

Argonde van Harten From the Alzheimer Center School for Mental Health and Neurosciences, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, the Netherlands.MedicalResearch.com Interview Invitation Argonde van Harten From the Alzheimer Center School for Mental Health and Neurosciences, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, the Netherlands. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: We found cerebrospinal fluid biomarker evidence of preclinical Alzheimer's disease (AD) predicted cognitive decline in patients with subjective complaints. These patients have cognitive complaints, but are cognitively normal at baseline. Preclinical AD predicted decline in memory performance, executive functions and global cognition over time. Most patients, however, had no evidence of preclinical AD and their cogntive functions generally remained stable over two years. Their memory performance improved. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Mayo Clinic, Parkinson's, PLoS / 19.09.2013

Michelle M. Mielke, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Health Sciences Research Division of Epidemiology Mayo Clinic 200 First Street SW Rochester, MN 55905MedicalResearch.com: Interview with: Michelle M. Mielke, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Health Sciences Research Division of Epidemiology Mayo Clinic 200 First Street SW Rochester, MN 55905 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Mielke: Among Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients, plasma levels of ceramides and monohexylceramides were higher in patients with cognitive impairment or dementia compared to patients who were cognitively normal.  Levels of these lipids were also higher in the combined group of PD patients compared to non-PD controls but the number of controls were small. (more…)
CMAJ, Cognitive Issues, General Medicine, Hospital Readmissions, Outcomes & Safety / 19.09.2013

Mark W. Ketterer, PhD, ABPP Senior Bioscientific Staff Henry Ford Hospital/A2 Detroit, MI 48202 Clinical Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurosciences Department of Psychiatry Wayne State UniversityMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mark W. Ketterer, PhD, ABPP Senior Bioscientific Staff Henry Ford Hospital/A2 Detroit, MI 48202 Clinical Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurosciences Department of Psychiatry Wayne State University MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study: Dr. Ketterer:  A survey of 84 patients admitted to Henry Ford Hospital found 54% to have Moderate-Severe Cognitive Impairment (CI). (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Diabetes, Genetic Research / 11.09.2013

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ramit Ravona-Springer M.D., Psychiatrist Director of Memory Clinic, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: In a cohort of elderly, cognitively normal type 2 diabetes (T2D) subjects, those with Haptoglobin (Hp) 1-1 genotype present lower cognitive performance compared to Hp 2 carriers (Hp 1-2 and Hp 2-2). The contribution of cardiovascular risk factors to cognition was significantly higher in subjects with Hp1-1 genotype compared to Hp 2 carriers. (more…)