Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Mental Health Research / 16.08.2013

[caption id="attachment_1458" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr. Ramon Trullas Research Professor CSIC Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona Dr. Ramon Trullas
(left rear)[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ramon Trullas Research Professor CSIC Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: The findings reported in this manuscript that we consider can be underscored are: 1) Asymptomatic subjects at risk of developing sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD), as well as symptomatic patients diagnosed with probable sporadic AD show a low concentration of circulating cell free mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). 2) Pre-symptomatic subjects carrying pathogenic PSEN1 gene mutations which cause early onset familial AD, also exhibit low mtDNA content in CSF. 3) Reduced mtDNA content in CSF occurs in preclinical PSEN1 mutation carriers at least one decade before patients are expected to manifest clinical signs of dementia and well before any alteration in currently known AD biomarkers. 4)  Low mtDNA content in CSF distinguishes patients diagnosed with AD from either controls or patients with fronto-temporal lobar degeneration. These findings indicate that the amount of circulating cell-free mtDNA content in CSF may be a novel biomarker for the early detection of AD in the preclinical stage of AD. Moreover, the observation that low mtDNA content in the CSF is associated with both sporadic and familial forms of AD suggests that, independently of the etiology, regulation of mtDNA content is a converging factor in the pathophysiology of AD.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Nature / 16.08.2013

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Steve Estus PhD Dept. of Physiology University of Kentucky Office: Room 332 Sanders-Brown Building 800 S. Limestone Street Lexington, KY 40536-0230 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: We report evidence for the function of a Alzheimer's genetic  risk factor.  This protective allele of the polymorphism decreases the splicing efficiency of exon 2 in CD33, a receptor protein that regulates microglial activation.  Loss of exon 2 appears to produce a dormant CD33 protein, resulting in increased microglial phagocytosis activity.  Overall, these findings confirm and extend recent papers in Neuron and Nature Neuroscience  (discussed further in our report) that described decreased CD33 activity with the protective SNP allele.
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, UT Southwestern / 07.08.2013

Carol S. North, MD, MPE  The Nancy and Ray L. Hunt Chair in Crisis Psychiatry Director, Program in Trauma and Disaster, VA North Texas Health Care System 4500 S. Lancaster Rd., Dallas, TX 75216 Professor of Psychiatry and Surgery/Division of Emergency Medicine UT Southwestern Medical Center 6363 Forest Park Rd. Dallas, TX 75390-8828MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Carol S. North, MD, MPE The Nancy and Ray L. Hunt Chair in Crisis Psychiatry Director, Program in Trauma and Disaster, VA North Texas Health Care System 4500 S. Lancaster Rd., Dallas, TX 75216 Professor of Psychiatry and Surgery/Division of Emergency Medicine UT Southwestern Medical Center 6363 Forest Park Rd. Dallas, TX 75390-8828 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: In post-disaster settings, a systematic framework of case identification, triage, and mental health interventions can guide overall mental health response and should be integrated into emergency medicine and trauma care responses.
Duke, Mental Health Research, Ophthalmology / 08.06.2013

From: Duke University

Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy 2020 West Main Street, Suite 201 Box 104410 Durham, North Carolina 27708

TITLE: Retinal Vessel Caliber and Lifelong Neuropsychological Functioning An international research team from the USA, UK, Singapore and New Zealand reports that the size of the blood vessels in the back of the eye can indicate the health of the brain of people approaching midlife (age 38 years), years before age-related declines in brain functioning. PUBLICATION SOURCE: Psychological Science, advance online publication date, May 2013.   BACKGROUND:
  • Young people who score low on IQ tests, tend to be at higher risk for diseases in later life, and even tend to die younger.
  • One plausible explanation for this link is that intelligence tests assess brain health.
  • Digital retinal imaging is a relatively new and non-invasive method to visualize the small blood vessels in the retina, at the back of the eye. The small vessels in the eye may reflect the conditions of the vessels inside the brain because both eye and brain vessels share similar size, structure and function. Thus, retinal imaging can provide a window to study the health of the brain in living humans.
  • We studied the link between retinal vessel width and intelligence tests scores in the representative Dunedin birth cohort of 1000 New Zealanders born in 1972-73, and followed for 38 years with repeated assessments.
  • Using a digital fundus camera, which can photograph the interior surface of the eye, we were able to assess the size of the small blood-vessels in the retina, namely, the arterioles and venules (the small branches of the arteries and veins). We also administered intelligence tests in childhood and adulthood.
THE FINDING:
  • We found that study members who presented with wider venules had poorer intelligence tests scores at midlife (age 38 years). This finding held up independently of potential factors that may explain this link, such as low socio-economic status, smoking, or diabetes.
  • Moreover, wider venules in the eye were linked with lower childhood IQ that had been tested 25 years earlier.
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Depression, Mental Health Research, UT Southwestern / 04.06.2013

MedicalResearch.com eInterview with: John Hart, M.D. Medical Science Director at the Center for BrainHealth Jane and Bud Smith Distinguished Chair Cecil Green Distinguished Chair The University of Texas at DallasJohn Hart, M.D. Medical Science Director at the Center for BrainHealth Jane and Bud Smith Distinguished Chair Cecil Green Distinguished Chair The University of Texas at Dallas MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Hart: Football players often sustain numerous concussive and subconcussive impacts—head impacts that do not elicit neurologic symptoms that may lead to white matter damage. We evaluated a population of retired NFL players in order to study the relationship between white matter integrity and the manifestation of depressive symptoms. We identified, for the first time, a correlation between depression and white matter abnormalities in former players with a remote history of concussion using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Our data demonstrated a significant association between white matter integrity, as measured by DTI Fractional Anisotropy (FA), and the presence as well as severity of depressive symptoms in retired NFL athletes with a history of concussive or subconcussive impacts. We also found that dysfunction of the anterior aspect of the corpus callosum (forceps minor) and its projections to the frontal lobe can identify those with depression with 100% sensitivity and 95% specificity.
Author Interviews, Memory, Mental Health Research / 04.06.2013

Dr Sunjeev Kamboj Lecturer in Clinical Psychology Co-ordinator for International DClinPsy Trainees http://www.ucl.ac.uk/clinical-psychology/index.htm MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Kamboj: Using a fairly standard approach for this type of research, we measured the frequency of intrusive memories in normal, healthy women after they watched a series of video clips containing distressing scenes. We also measured baseline levels of progesterone and estrogen. We tested three groups of women who, while similar in all respects such age, education level, as well as how they responded to the film, differed in terms of the stage of the menstrual cycle they were in. Our key finding was that women in the 'early luteal phase' - which occurs in the third week of the cycle - had three times as many intrusive memories about the video than women in the first two weeks or fourth week of the cycle.
ADHD, Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 30.05.2013

Kathryn L. Humphreys, M.A., Ed.M.  Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student UCLA Department of Psychology 1285 Franz Hall, Box 951563 Los Angeles, CA 90095MedicalResearch.com eInterview with Kathryn L. Humphreys, M.A., Ed.M. Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student UCLA Department of Psychology 1285 Franz Hall, Box 951563 Los Angeles, CA 90095 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Response: Our primary question was to answer whether the use of stimulant medication in the treatment of ADHD was associated with increased or decreased risk for a variety of substance use (ever tried) and substance use disorder (abuse or dependence) outcomes (alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, nicotine, and non-specific drug use). Prior research from individual studies of children have provided mixed evidence (i.e., some found medication increased later risk, some found medication decreased risk, and still others found no difference in risk). We examined available longitudinal studies (i.e., medication treatment preceded measurement of substance outcome) together using meta-analysis, a technique that aggregates findings from a number of studies, in order to examine this question in a much larger sample of individuals. Our main finding was that children with ADHD who received medication treatment did not differ in risk for lifetime substance use or abuse or dependence compared to those children with ADHD who did not receive medication treatment.
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Sleep Disorders, University of Pennsylvania / 18.05.2013

MedicalResearch.com eInterview with: Linden Oliver, MA, Clinical Research Coordinator University of Pennsylvania Behavioral Sleep Medicine Research Program Philadelphia, Pa MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: We found that less sleep is associated with greater suicide risk in those with insomnia. Specifically, we looked at suicide risk in people with insomnia, and also asked how much sleep they got in the past month. In those with some suicide risk, the likelihood of being high risk (versus low risk) decreased by 72% for every hour of sleep that person reported getting at night.
Author Interviews, JAMA, Medical Imaging, Mental Health Research, MRI / 26.04.2013

Medical Research.com eInterview with: Prof. Jean Decety PhD  Irving B. Harris Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry The University of Chicago 5848 S. University Ave. Chicago, IL 6063Prof. Jean Decety PhD Irving B. Harris Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry The University of Chicago 5848 S. University Ave. Chicago, IL 60637 - USA Faculty Web page: http://psychology.uchicago.edu/people/faculty/jdecety.shtml SCNL Web page: www.scnl.org Child NeuroSuite: www.childneurosuite.org MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Decety: In our study, psychopaths exhibited significantly less activation in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, lateral orbitofrontal cortex, and brainstem relative to controls, but surprisingly showed greater activation in the insula.  The major difference in brain response between psychopaths compared to controls during the perception of others in pain was the lack of engagement of regions in the brainstem, orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC).
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, UCSF / 26.04.2013

MedicalResearch.com eInterview with Dr. David Perry UCSF School of Medicine Clinical Fellow in Neurology 675 Nelson Rising Lane San Francisco CA 94158 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Perry: We described two patients with clinical syndromes and brain imaging patterns that are consistent with Alzheimer’s disease. Both were found to have mutations in GRN, which are typically associated with inherited frontotemporal dementia. They both showed evidence of underlying Alzheimer’s pathology, in one case through autopsy confirmation (demonstrating Alzheimer’s disease in addition to TDP-43 pathology), and in the other case from a positive amyloid PET scan.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Case Western, Cleveland Clinic, Mental Health Research / 25.04.2013

MedicalResearch.com: eInterview with Siran M. Koroukian, Ph.D. Population Health and Outcomes Research Core, Clinical & Translational Science Collaborative Associate Professor Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics School of Medicine Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH 44106-7281 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Koroukian: Among individuals who died of cancer, those with mental illness (MI) died an average of 10 years earlier than those without MI. Overall, there was excess mortality from cancer associated with having mental illness in all the race/sex strata: SMR, 2.16 (95% CI, 1.85-2.50) for black men; 2.63 (2.31-2.98) for black women; 3.89 (3.61-4.19) for nonblack men; and 3.34 (3.13-3.57) for nonblack women. We note statistically significant higher SMRs for every anatomic cancer site in nonblack men and women and for most cancer sites in black men and women.
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Nature / 12.04.2013

MedicalResearch.com eInterview: Professor Nigel S. Scrutton ScD FRSC FSB Director Manchester Institute of Biotechnology EPSRC Established Career Fellow |Faculty of Life Sciences | Manchester Institute of Biotechnology | University of Manchester | Manchester | M1 7DN | UK | MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of your study? Dr. Scrutton: A major breakthrough has been made by our team of researchers seeking treatments for degenerative illnesses such as Parkinson's Disease. We have detailed how an enzyme in the brain interacts with a drug-like lead compound directed against Huntington's Disease (but also with major implications for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases) to inhibit its activity. The work – which solved the molecular structure of a crucial brain enzyme called kynurenine 3-monooxygenase – opens the door to effective treatment for neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington's, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. The main findings not only describe the molecular details of the enzyme, but also how it interacts with a lead drug compound that inhibits the natural activity of the enzyme.
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research / 10.04.2013

Dr. Brian I. Labow MD Boston Children’s HospitalMedicalResearch.com eInterview with Dr. Brian I. Labow MD Boston Children’s Hospital Dr. Labow received his MD from Harvard Medical School. He completed his postgraduate training at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Plastic Surgery Training Program, Children's Hospital Boston, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Labow: The main finding of the study is that gynecomastia, the enlargement of breast tissue in men, can have a significant impact on the psychosocial wellbeing of adolescent patients.  Noted deficits were found in patients’ social functioning, mental health, and self-esteem when compared to healthy boys of the same age.  Validated surveys were given to both groups to assess a wide array of different health domains.  Interestingly there was no difference in the physical health of boys with gynecomastia and unaffected boys when differences in BMI were taken into consideration.
Author Interviews, Memory, Mental Health Research, PNAS / 02.04.2013

Karl K. Szpunar PhD Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138MedicalResearch.com Interview with Karl K. Szpunar PhD Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138 MedicalResearch.com:   What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Szpunar: The results of our experiments demonstrate that students can have difficulty paying attention to online lectures, and that including brief quizzes during lectures can help to alleviate this problem. Specifically, we found that students who were tested throughout a 21-minute long Statistics lecture were half as likely to mind wander during the lecture, three times as likely to take additional notes, and much better able to retain the contents of the lecture at a later time.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Depression, Mental Health Research / 28.03.2013

MedicalResearch.com Interview with Mylin A. Torres, M.D. Assistant Professor Department of Radiation Oncology Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta, GA 30322 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?  Dr. Torres: Radiation treatment for breast cancer is not associated with increased depressive symptoms, but of disease and treatment-related factors, prior chemotherapy treatment is a significant predictor of depression before and after radiation treatment.  Prior chemotherapy treatment was associated with inflammatory mediators, including nuclear factor-kappa B DNA binding, soluble tumor necrosis factor-alpha receptor 2, and interleukin-6, which predicted for depressive symptoms after radiation on univariate analysis.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Depression, Mental Health Research / 22.03.2013

Laura B. Zahodne, PhD Postdoctoral fellow in the cognitive neuroscience division in the Department of Neurology and the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain Columbia University Medical Center.MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Laura B. Zahodne, PhD Postdoctoral fellow in the cognitive neuroscience division in the Department of Neurology and the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain Columbia University Medical Center. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Zahodne: Having more depressive symptoms early on in Alzheimer’s disease was associated with more rapid declines in the ability to handle tasks of everyday living, and this relationship was independent of cognitive decline. MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected? Dr. Zahodne: Previous studies have shown that depressive symptoms are associated with more difficulties with thinking and daily activities. This study additionally shows that depressive symptoms herald not only more rapid declines in thinking, but also daily functioning, over time.
BMJ, Brain Injury, Mental Health Research / 15.03.2013

 Dr. Anna Nordström MD Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Medicine, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, SwedenMedical Research.com Interview with Dr. Anna Nordström MD Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Medicine, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden Medical Research.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Nordström: We have found that low cognitive function and factors related to low socioeconomic status and intoxications are strong independent risk factors for mild traumatic brain injury in men. Medical Research.com: Were any of the findings unexpected? Dr. Nordström:  Our knowledge of risk factors that predispose people to sustaining such injury is limited. Previous research has inferred that mild traumatic brain injuries have important long-term consequences on cognitive function. However, we found similar deficits in cognitive function in subjects that sustained a mild traumatic brain injury before and after cognitive testing. Thus our data suggest that the injury itself may not reduce cognitive function.