AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Cognitive Issues, Memory / 21.06.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel A. Nation, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychological Science Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders University of California, Irvin MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Hypertension is a risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia, and treatment of hypertension has been linked to decreased risk for cognitive impairment. Prior studies have attempted to identify which specific type of antihypertensive treatment conveys the most benefit for cognition, but findings have been mixed regarding this question.  We hypothesized that antihypertensive drugs acting on the brain angiotensin system may convey the greatest benefit since they affect the brain angiotensin system that has been implicated in memory function. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Cannabis, JAMA, Pediatrics / 28.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daimei Sasayama, M.D., Ph.D. Department of Psychiatry Shinshu University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is increasing worldwide. A 2016 US survey reported a prevalence of 1.85% in 8-year-olds, and a birth cohort study in Denmark reported that the future cumulative incidence of ASD could exceed 2.8%. Our recent regional cohort study in Japan reported an even higher cumulative incidence of 3.1%. So we examined whether the cumulative incidence in our regional cohort represents the nationwide incidence in Japan.  (more…)
Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Heart Disease, JAMA, Surgical Research, UCSF / 22.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elizabeth L. Whitlock, MD, MSc John W. Severinghaus Assistant Professor In Residence Anesthesia & Perioperative Care UCSF Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We have known for a while that, rarely, some older adults suffer substantial, durable cognitive decline after surgery, particularly after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery; a larger proportion experience a decline in cognitive test performance which doesn't necessarily affect function, but which has caused concern among researchers.  This cognitive decline was attributed, in part, to the cardiac bypass pump. ​Many of the studies had methodological limitations which made it difficult to be sure that the cognitive change was due to surgery and not due more generally to heart problems or atherosclerotic disease, which may also imply cerebrovascular atherosclerosis. Using a large database of older adults who undergo regular cognitive testing, we identified individuals who underwent CABG and compared them to those who underwent percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), a minimally invasive, non-surgical method of opening blocked coronary arteries.  This allowed us to model the rate of memory decline before surgery - which hadn't been done in previous studies - and compare it to the rate of memory decline after surgery in older adults who had serious heart disease (some of whom were treated with CABG, and some treated with PCI). (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 13.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kristina Aspvall | Psychologist, PhD Eva Serlachius MD PhD Adjunct professor Professor David Mataix-Cols, PhD Karolinska Institutet Department of Clinical Neuroscience Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Research Center Stockholm MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The problem we were trying to solve is the shortage of specialist Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for children and adolescents with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). CBT is the first line treatment for children and adolescents with OCD but is a highly specialist treatment rarely available outside large medical centres, typically located in big cities. Previous work by our group and others had shown that it is possible to deliver CBT via the internet in the form of a self-help programme with minimal support from a clinician. The clinician can be located anywhere and provide asynchronous support via a built-in messaging system. Parental support is a key component of the treatment. In essence, the parents take over as the child’s main therapist, under the guidance of the expert clinician.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Depression, Mental Health Research, PTSD / 07.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: João Mauricio Castaldelli-Maia, MD, PhD (he/him) NIDA INVEST Drug Abuse Research Fellow Policy and Health Initiatives on Opioids and Other Substances (PHIOS) Department of Epidemiology Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University New York, NY 10032 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response:     It remains unclear whether COVID-19 is associated with psychiatric symptoms during or after the acute illness phase. Being affected by the disease exposes the individual to an uncertain prognosis and a state of quarantine. These factors can predispose individuals to the development of mental symptoms during or after the acute phase of the disease. There is a need for prospective studies assessing psychiatric symptoms in COVID-19 patients in the post-infection period. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Pulmonary Disease, University of Michigan / 16.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Galit Levi Dunietz  MPH, PhD Assistant Professor

Tiffany Braley, MD, MS Associate Professor

University of Michigan, Medical School Department of Neurology Department of Nutritional Sciences Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5845 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Dementia is a public health crisis that affects more than 6 million Americans.  As no treatments to effectively reverse dementia are currently available, interest has shifted toward modifiable risk factors for dementia, which may offer a critical window for prevention or intervention. Recent research suggests that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common, yet undiagnosed, risk factor for cognition impairment in older adults. However, few studies have examined whether treatment of OSA with positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy could protect those with OSA against developing dementia, says principal investigator, Dr. Tiffany Braley, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Neurology from the University of Michigan. To address this gap, Dr. Braley and Dr. Galit Levi Dunietz, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor and sleep epidemiologist, examined associations between PAP therapy use and 3-year incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or other forms of dementia (DNOS, “dementia not otherwise specified”). (more…)
Author Interviews, Dental Research, Mental Health Research, NYU / 15.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: ANGELA R. KAMER, DMD, MS, PhD Associate Professor Periodontology and Implant Dentistry NYU Dentistry MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The accumulation of amyloid β plaques and neurofibrillary pathology in the brain are pathognomonic to Alzheimer's disease (AD). Brain amyloid deposition begins decades before cognitive dysfunction and is thought to be the first AD pathological feature followed by tau tangle accumulations and other pathologies. The mechanisms by which brain amyloid develops are incompletely understood although inflammation and bacterial imbalances (known as dysbiosis) of the gut and oral cavity may be involved. Periodontal disease affecting more than 50% of elderly is an inflammatory, chronic condition characterized by periodontal tissue destruction and bacterial imbalances. Using PET studies, we showed previously that measures of periodontal destruction were associated with brain amyloid retention in the brain [1]. In this study, we sought to investigate whether subgingival (under the gum line) bacteria associated with Alzheimer’s disease specific pathology, namely amyloidosis and tauopathy. (more…)
Exercise - Fitness, Mental Health Research, Nutrition / 30.03.2021

When you are struggling with your mind and mental health issues, it can be difficult to find peace and accept the situation you find yourself. However, finding inner peace can help you to get back onto your feet and lead a happier and healthier life both now and in the future. Take Up Yoga and Meditation healthy-food-nutritionThe first step that you should take to finding inner peace is to practice yoga and meditation regularly. Yoga and meditation can give you the chance to slow down and reflect, as well as to clear your mind of the worries and negative thoughts that are concerning you. Not only this, but deep breathing is also an important aspect of both yoga and meditation as this can help you to ground yourself and to reconnect with the world around you. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Education, Mental Health Research, PLoS / 23.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David C. Rettew, MD Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our group, the Wellness Environment Scientific Team at the University of Vermont, hadn’t planned to look at COVID at the outset of this study and instead were going to look at mental health and engagement in wellness activities in college students across a semester. The pandemic disrupted that plan when students were abruptly sent home but fortunately, they continued to do their daily app-based ratings of their mood, stress levels, and engagement in healthy activities.  We then realized we had some interesting pre-COVID to COVID data that was worth exploring.  (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Eli Lilly, NEJM / 16.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stephen Salloway, M.D., M.S. Director of Neurology and the Memory and Aging Program, Butler Hospital Martin M. Zucker Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior Professor of Neurology, Alpert Medical School of Brown University Providence, RI 02906  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This 78 week phase 2 study tested donanemab in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease. Donanemab is a an anti-amyloid monoclonal antibody that targets the N3 pyroglutamate epitope.  MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: The drug produced a substantial lowering of amyloid plaques and showed a slowing in cognitive decline. Key innovations included using PET scans to ensure all patients were amyloid positive and had a moderate level of tau build-up and switching from drug to placebo once the amyloid level was below the expected cut-off for Alzheimer’s disease. There were no new safety signals. The main side-effect was amyloid-related imaging abnormalities (ARIA) that have been seen with other anti-amyloid treatments. ARIA is managed with regular safety MRI scans.  Donanemab is now being tested in a larger phase 3 trial that could lead to regulatory approval. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 08.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Kevin Lu PhD Clinical Pharmacy and Outcomes Sciences College of Pharmacy Medical University of South Carolina MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  Response: It is documented that the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been increasing in the past few years. However, no information on potential racial and ethnic disparities in ASD diagnosis can be found in the literature. Most recently, the possible structural racism and health inequities have been a concern for the public and policy makers. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, UCSD / 03.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Steven L. Wagner PhD University of California, San Diego Department of Neurosciences Professor in Residence School of Medicine, Medical Teaching Facility Room 150 La Jolla, California 92093-0624  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Amyloid plaques are pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD)—clumps of misfolded proteins that accumulate in the brain, disrupting and killing neurons and resulting in the progressive cognitive impairment that is characteristic of the widespread neurological disorder.  Amyloid plaques are composed of small protein fragments called amyloid beta (Aβ) peptides. These peptides are generated by enzymes called β-secretase and γ-secretase, which sequentially cleave a protein called amyloid precursor protein on the surfaces of neurons to release Aβ fragments of varying lengths. Some of these fragments, such as Aβ42, are particularly prone to forming plaques, and their production is elevated in patients with mutations predisposing them to early-onset AD. Several attempts have been made to treat or prevent AD using drugs that inhibit either β-secretase or γ-secretase, but many of these drugs have proved to be highly toxic or unsafe in humans, likely because β-secretase and γ-secretase are required to cleave additional proteins in the brain and other organs. Instead, Wagner and colleagues investigated the therapeutic potential of drugs known as γ-secretase modulators or GSMs, which instead of inhibiting the γ-secretase enzyme, slightly alter its activity so that it produces fewer Aβ peptides that are prone to form plaques while continuing to duties cleaving other protein targets. “GSMs offer the ability to mitigate mechanism-based toxicities associated with γ-secretase inhibitors,” said Wagner.  (more…)
Education, Mental Health Research / 23.02.2021

Perhaps you are considering a career change or want to take the next steps in your counseling career journey. A masters in mental health counseling online could be the perfect way to help you achieve these goals. Becoming a mental health counselor is a very rewarding yet demanding job, and you will need many different skills, both technical and personal, in order to succeed. If you love working with and helping people, becoming a mental health counselor may be the perfect career choice for you. Here are a couple of basics about studying online for a masters in mental health counseling. What is a masters in mental health counseling online degree? Undertaking a masters in mental health counseling online can help you on your journey to becoming a fully licensed mental health counselor. It is a masters degree that is taught through a mixture of in-person fieldwork and online course work. A masters in mental health counseling online prepares you for the various licensing exams you will need to take in order to progress into the next stage of your career. The majority of positions and jobs within mental health counseling require a masters as a minimum, so a masters in mental health counseling online is a great first step in pursuing this career path. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Exercise - Fitness, Gender Differences, Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania / 30.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christina L. Master, MD, FAAP, CAQSM, FACSM Professor of Clinical Pediatrics Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Co-Director, Minds Matter Concussion Program Pediatric and Adolescent Sports Medicine, Division of Pediatric Orthopedics Attending Physician, Care Network - Karabots Center The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Philadelphia, PA 19104 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There have been multiple studies investigating potential sex differences in outcomes from concussion which have sometimes had conflicting results with some studies indicating that females take longer to recover than males and some studies reporting no difference in recovery between females and males, with most of these studies being conducted either retrospectively or prospectively in smaller cohorts. This large-scale multi-center prospective study in collegiate athletes provided an opportunity to compare females and males across comparable sports to examine both potential intrinsic or biologic factors (sex differences) or extrinsic (environmental or gender differences) that contribute to outcomes. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Memory, Surgical Research / 23.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pascual Sánchez-Juan, MD, PhD Servicio de Neurología Hospital Universitario "Marqués de Valdecilla" Unidad de Deterioro Cognitivo https://www.facebook.com/deteriorocognitivovaldecilla Director científico Biobanco Valdecilla Avda Marqués de Valdecilla s/n  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Alzheimer's disease is one of the greatest public health challenges. From the moment the first lesions appear in the brain to the clinical manifestations, up to 20 years can pass. Today we can detect the presence of these initial lesions through biochemical markers such as amyloid-β, which is one of the main proteins accumulated in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. The prevalence of cerebral amyloid-β pathology in cognitively asymptomatic individuals increases with age. It has been estimated that 21.1% of the population at the age of 65 will have a positive amyloid scan or a pathological cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) amyloid-β determination, and which will double by the age of 90. Due to the aging of our societies and advances made in medical care, an increasing number of elderly and more fragile people are considered candidates for major surgery. In preoperative screenings, respiratory and cardiovascular functions are routinely checked; however, it is not commonly assessed how the brain is going to cope with the intervention. In the clinic, the patient’s relatives frequently tell us that the memory problems began after a surgical procedure or a hospital admission. This posed us the following question: is this just a recall bias or has surgery triggered the appearance of the symptoms in a previously affected brain?” (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Mental Health Research, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues, UCSF / 15.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jason Nagata, MD, MSc Assistant Professor of Pediatrics University of California, San Francisco San Francisco, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Food insecurity is the inability to afford or access nutritionally adequate and safe foods for an active, healthy lifestyle. Rates of food insecurity were projected to rise during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, prior studies had not examined the association between food insufficiency, the most extreme form of food insecurity, and mental health. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: Using a large national sample of nearly 64,000 adults, we found that food insufficiency rose from 8.1% to 10.0% during the pandemic. People of color and younger adults had higher risk of food insufficiency. People living in poverty or experiencing recent job loss were at higher risk of food insufficiency. Food insufficiency was associated with symptoms of anxiety, worrying, and depression. Hunger, exhaustion, and worrying about not getting enough food to eat may worsen depression and anxiety symptoms. Receiving food assistance alleviated the relationship between food insufficiency and poor mental health.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Fertility, Genetic Research / 12.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael Skinner,  PhD Eastlick Distinguished Professor Founding Director, Center for Reproductive Biology School of Biological Sciences Washington State University Pullman WA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Over twenty years ago we identified the existence of a non-genetic form of inheritance through analysis of environmentally induced epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease, now well established in a number of species including humans.  I was giving a talk on this topic at a meeting in Spain.   This study was initiated following the scientific meeting in Spain with an in vitro fertilization clinical group that said they had access to sperm from males with and without autistic children.  It took several years to collect and characterize the samples, and find financial support for the study.  Once this was done then we did the molecular analysis to see if the sperm from fathers with autistic children had epigenetic, DNA methylation alterations, that associated with them having offspring with autism. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Brigham & Women's - Harvard / 03.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nitin Joshi, Ph.D. Engineering in Medicine/Department of Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital   Dr. Jeffrey M Karp Ph.D Principal Investigator Professor of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you explain what is meant by the blood brain barrier? How will nanoparticles facilitate transport of drugs into the brain? Response: Over the past few decades, researchers have identified promising therapeutic agents that can target the biological pathways involved in brain diseases. Unfortunately, clinical translation of these therapeutics is limited by their inability to cross the blood brain barrier (BBB) and enter the brain at therapeutically effective levels. The BBB is a highly selective semipermeable border of cells that prevents molecules in the circulating blood from non-selectively crossing into the brain tissue. We have developed a simple targeted nanoparticle platform that can stably encapsulate therapeutic agents and enable their therapeutically effective delivery into the brain. In this work, we have demonstrated the utility of this platform for the treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is a leading cause of death and disability in children and young adults, with millions of people suffering TBI each year in accidents, sports, and military conflicts. Following primary injury, which is a result of the mechanical impact to the brain, secondary injury gradually occurs over months to years and can lead to neurological dysfunctions, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. After TBI, the BBB is physically breached for a short time and previous approaches to achieve therapeutically effective transport of drugs across the BBB have been severely limited to utilizing this very short window. However, the extent to which the BBB is physically breached in TBI varies greatly across the patient population. Therefore, current approaches are applicable to only a subset of injuries with substantially breached BBB. Moreover, BBB can self-repair within a few hours to weeks post-injury to restore its integrity. Hence, physical breaching of BBB offers a limited window for therapeutic interventions, which is not ideal as the secondary injury can last months to years and may require repeated dosing over long term. The nanoparticle platform developed in this work can enable therapeutically effective delivery of drugs into the brain, irrespective of the state of the BBB. We achieved this by precise engineering of the surface properties of nanoparticles, which maximized their transport across the BBB. The therapeutic used in this study was a small interfering RNA (siRNA) molecule designed to inhibit the expression of the tau protein, which is believed to play a key role in neurodegeneration. Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid), or PLGA, a biodegradable and biocompatible polymer used in several existing products approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was used as the base material for nanoparticles. We systematically engineered and studied the surface properties of the nanoparticles to maximize their penetration across the intact, undamaged BBB in healthy mice. This led to the identification of a unique nanoparticle design that maximized the transport of the encapsulated siRNA across the intact BBB and also significantly improved the uptake by the brain cells.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Hearing Loss, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 23.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ariana M. Stickel, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Scholar Department of Neurosciences University of California, San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Latinos are projected to have the largest increase in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia in the coming years, yet we know so little about important risk factors for dementia amongst Latinos. As there has been too little widespread research on diverse Latinos and dementia until recently, we examined the individual and combined relationships of two important risk factors for dementia --hearing impairment and cardiovascular disease risk--in over 9,000 Latinos 45 – 74 years old. Diverse Latinos participated in the study, including Central Americans, Cubans, Dominicans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and South Americans residing in the Bronx, NY; Chicago, IL; Miami, FL and San Diego, CA. It is important to study a wide range of Latinos in order to appropriately reflect the diversity of this population. Each participant underwent extensive cardiovascular and diabetes testing, hearing examinations, and cognitive assessments. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Education, Pediatrics / 21.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andrey Vyshedskiy PhD Boston University, Boston MedicalResearch.com: What is the background of ImagiRation? https://imagiration.com/ Response: ImagiRation is a Boston-based startup with links to MIT, Harvard, and Boston University. ImagiRation has developed a highly innovative adaptive language therapy application for children with autism, Mental Imagery Therapy for Autism (MITA). MedicalResearch.com: How is the Mental Imagery Therapy for Autism program delivered? Response: MITA language therapy is administered by parents at home. MITA application works on all smartphones and tablet devices and is designed for children ages 2 to 12 years. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Genetic Research, Nutrition / 11.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Auriel Willette, PhD Assistant Professor Food Science and Human Nutrition Iowa State University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: To date, pharmacology therapies done to slow down or halt Alzheimer's disease have been inconclusive. Lifestyle interventions like changes in diet and activity are also mixed but do show some promise. Dietary clinical trials or self-reported diet have tended to focus on groups of foods such as the Mediterranean or MIND diet. To build from this excellent work, we were curious if we could pinpoint specific foods that were correlated with changes in fluid intelligence over time. Fluid intelligence represents our ability to creatively use existing knowledge, working memory, and other components of "thinking flexibly." Further, we tested if these patterns of association differed based on genetic risk. In this case, genetic risk was defined as having a family history of Alzheimer's disease or having 1-2 "bad" copies of the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene, which is the strongest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues / 03.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Susanna Rosi, Ph.D.  Lewis and Ruth Cozen Chair II Professor, Brain and Spinal Injury Center Weill Institute for Neuroscience Kavli Institute of Fundamental Neuroscience Departments of Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Science, Neurological Surgery University of California San Francisco MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Everybody has experienced a “senior moment” forgetting where the car keys are, or where you put your glasses. These forgetful moments are not always indicative of a disease, but rather can be a consequence of normal aging. Normal aging is associated with decline of cognitive abilities, such as memory, spatial orientation, problem solving and executive functioning. Investigating what changes happen in the brain with age, can help us to understand why these ‘senior moments’ occur. When we understand what causes these moments, we can design therapeutics with the hopes of preventing or reversing them.  With increased life expectancy age-associatedmemory decline becomes a growing concern. We wanted to investigate (i) What causes memory decline with age? (ii) Are there ways to reverse it?  (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Psychological Science / 01.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gert Martin Hald, PhD Head of Section (Environmental Health), Associate Professor Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen Copenhagen, Denmark MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Basically, much of previous research has investigated mental and physical health of divorcees only after extensive separation periods, which is mandatory in most countries before juridical divorce unless infidelity or violence is involved in the divorce. During the time of data collection (2016-2019), Denmark where data was collected did not require separation periods before granting divorce. This means that as a first, we could investigate the mental and physical health of divorcees within days of them filling for divorce and perhaps better and more accurately pick up well-known adverse effects of mental- and physical health states of divorcees at the time of their divorce.   (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Medical Imaging, Mental Health Research / 01.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maria Vittoria Spampinato, MD Neuroradiology Division Director Department of Radiology and Radiological Science Medical University of South Carolina Charleston, SC 29425-3230 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) represents a major public health crisis worldwide. More than 5 million people currently have AD in the United States. AD is a slowly progressing neurodegenerative brain disorder with a long preclinical phase. Many people with AD first suffer from mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a decline in cognitive abilities like memory and thinking skills that is greater than that associated with normal aging. A person with MCI is at an increased risk of developing AD or another dementia, although some individuals with MCI remain cognitively stable or improve. Anxiety is frequently observed in individuals with MCI. The reported prevalence of anxiety in MCI patients varies between 10 and 50%.  In this study we evaluated a cohort of 339 individuals with MCI participating in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative study (ADNI2). During the five years of study participation, 72 patients experienced cognitive decline and were diagnosed with AD. We did not find difference in age, gender and education among patients with and without AD conversion. Patients who progressed had greater atrophy of the hippocampi and entorhinal cortex on their MRI scan, as expected (hippocampal atrophy is often used as a marker of neurodegeneration in AD), as well as greater prevalence of APOE4 is the strongest known genetic risk factor for AD.   Patients who progressed to Alzheimer’s disease also had greater severity of anxiety during the study, as measured using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory-Questionnaire. Next we determined the effect of the MRI findings (hippocampal and entorhinal cortex atrophy), of the genetic risk factor (APOE4) and of the severity of anxiety on the time to progression to AD. We found that higher levels of anxiety were associated with faster progression from MCI to AD, independently of whether they had a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease or brain volume loss. We still need to understand better the association between anxiety disorders and cognitive decline. We do not know whether increased levels of anxiety are a consequence of cognitive decline or if anxiety exacerbates to cognitive decline. If we were able to find in the future that anxiety is actually contributing to cognitive decline, then we should more aggressively screen for anxiety disorders in the elderly population.  (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Lipids, Mental Health Research, Microbiome / 18.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Moira Marizzoni, PhD Researcher, Fatebenefratelli Center in Brescia  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. Still incurable, it directly affects nearly one million people in Europe, and indirectly millions of family members as well as society as a whole. The gut microbiota could play a role in brain diseases including Alzheimer’s disease. Some gut bacteria components or products can reach the brain via the blood and might promote brain amyloidosis (one of the main pathological features in Alzheimer’s disease).   MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?  Response: This study evaluated a cohort of 89 people between 65 and 85 years of age composed of subjects suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other neurodegenerative diseases causing similar memory problems, and of subjects with no memory problems. The study revealed that elevated levels of microbiota-products with known pro-inflammatory properties (i.e. lipopolysaccharides and the short chain fatty acids acetate and valerate) were associated with greater cerebral amyloid pathology while elevated levels of those with anti-inflammatory properties (i.e. the short chain fatty acid butyrate) were associated with lower amyloid pathology. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Exercise - Fitness, JAMA / 17.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tara L Sharma DO Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology at UWMC Seattle, WA 98133 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Flying can lead to reduced oxygen partial pressures and cerebral blood flow causing worsening clinical outcome in cases of moderate to severe TBI; however, not much is known regarding the clinical consequences of flying in individuals with concussion or mild TBI. Because many athletes suffer concussions during games, it is necessary to know if flying afterward may potentially hinder their ability to return to play. Overall, we found no associated between air travel and increased symptom severity in both our entire cohort and the subset of football players. (more…)