Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Weight Research / 28.11.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mahsa Dolatshahi, M.D., M.P.H. Post-doctoral research fellow Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology (MIR) Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Obesity at midlife is recognized as a risk factor for developing Alzheimer disease decades afterwards. However, body mass index on its own does not adequately represent the risks associated with obesity. In this study, we went beyond BMI and considered anatomical distribution of body fat, including the metabolically active visceral fat in the belly, and showed its association with Alzheimer pathology in the form of amyloid proteins. In addition, visceral fat along with obesity and insulin resistance were associated with thinning of brain cortex, as early as midlife. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, JAMA, Stanford / 07.11.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael E. Belloy, PhD Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences Stanford University, Stanford, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Apolipoprotein E (APOE)*2 and APOE*4 are, respectively, the strongest protective and risk-increasing, genetic variants for late-onset Alzheimer disease. As such, one’s APOE genotype is highly relevant towards clinical trial design and Alzheimer’s disease research. However, most insights so far are focused on the associations of these APOE genotypes with Alzheimer’s disease risk in non-Hispanic white individuals. One important aspect of our work is that we really increased sample sizes for non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic, and East Asian individuals, so that we now have better understanding of the associations of APOE genotypes with Alzheimer’s disease risk in these groups. In complement, we also did the largest investigation to date on the role of ancestry on the associations of APOE genotypes with Alzheimer’s disease risk. The scale of our study was thus a critical factor in generating novel insights. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, University of Pittsburgh / 31.05.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bruna Bellaver PhD Postdoctoral associate Department of Psychiatry University of Pittsburgh Tharick Pascoal, MD, Ph.D. Neurologist and assistant professor of Neurology and Psychiatry University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Amyloid-β (Aβ) deposition is considered one of the markers of Alzheimer’s disease pathology in the brain. The sequential order of this cascade includes the development of tau pathology and consequent cognitive decline. However, many people with Aβ deposition in the brain do not progress in the disease, suggesting that other biological processes are playing a role in these pathological events. In vitro evidence suggests that reactive astrocytes unleash Aβ effects in pathological tau phosphorylation. We found that, in cognitively healthy individuals, Aβ is associated with tau pathology only in individuals with increased astrocyte reactivity. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, JAMA, MRI / 22.05.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ruben Smith MD, PhD Associate professor at Clinical Memory Research Division of Neurology Lund University   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Since a few years it has become possible to visualize tau pathology in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) using positron emission tomography (PET). The tau-PET radiotracer Flortaucipir (Tauvid) was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as an AD diagnostic tool. Since PET imaging is costly and exposes the patient to radioactivity we wanted to study the added clinical value of tau-PET in the diagnostic work-up of patients with cognitive symptoms, before widespread implementation in clinical practice. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, UCLA / 20.05.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Julia Cave Arbanas Project Manager and     John N. Mafi, MD, MPH Associate Professor of Medicine General Internal Medicine & Health Services Research David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLAJohn N. Mafi, MD, MPH Associate Professor of Medicine General Internal Medicine & Health Services Research David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What is lecanemab used for and how well does it work? Response: Lecanemab is a treatment for mild cognitive impairment and mild dementia that was approved in January 2023 as part of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) accelerated approval program. The results from a recent phase 3 clinical trial show a modest clinical benefit: the rate of cognitive decline by 27% in an 18-month study involving participants experiencing the early stage of Alzheimer’s, with an 0.45-point absolute difference in cognitive testing scores. However, due to the risk of brain swelling and bleeding (also known as amyloid-related imaging abnormalities), treatment with lecanemab involves frequent MRIs and neurology or geriatrics appointments to monitor for these abnormalities, which can be life threatening. So far, three patient deaths have potentially been tied to lecanemab. It is likely that the FDA will grant is lecanemab traditional approval later this year, prompting Medicare to reconsider its current coverage restrictions and potentially enabling widespread use. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, JAMA, Mediterranean Diet, Mental Health Research / 08.05.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yuan Changzheng ScD, MSc, B.M. Research Professor Doctoral supervisor, School of Medicine Zhejiang University School of Public Health Adjunct assistant professor Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The prevention of all-cause dementia is important as it poses substantial burdens on healthcare systems and threatens the well-being of older adults, and lack of effective treatments makes its prevention crucial. The Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, and it emphasizes natural plant-based foods, limited intake of certain animal foods and foods high in saturated fat and encourages consumption of berries and green leafy vegetables rich in vitamins and antioxidants. The MIND diet has previously been associated with lower risk of Alzheimer's disease and slower cognitive decline but few studies have examined its association with all-cause dementia or AD with inconclusive results. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Gender Differences, JAMA, Menopause / 03.04.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rachel Buckley, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Neurology Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: While a fair amount of studies have focused on the effects of menopause and hormone therapy on risk of dementia, far fewer studies have tested their association with the biology of Alzheimer’s disease, namely amyloid and tau. This is critical to know given that it still remains unclear what might be the driving mechanism of the menopause transition on risk for dementia. This is what our study set out to investigate. This study is one of the first to report a link between women’s age at menopause and tau in the brain, which we measured with positron emission tomography neuroimaging. We found that in multiple areas of the brain that tend to be most likely to show higher tau in women than men, women with earlier age at menopause and elevated levels of amyloid showed higher levels of tau than those who reported an average age at menopause (~50 years in the United States). Women who reported premature menopause (<40 years at menopause onset) exhibited a much higher risk of tau in the brain. This supports the notion that longer exposure to estrogen throughout life might be protective against Alzheimer’s disease. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia / 03.03.2023

Dementia is a condition that affects many older adults aged 65 years and older but is increasingly being diagnosed in much younger people. It is a tragic disease as the personality of the sufferer changes, they struggle to identify close family members, and there is a profoundly sad loss of dignity as the disease progresses. Medical researchers are very active in undertaking experiments to find better ways of early diagnosis and treating patients more effectively. We look at the more recent research in this regard.

Improved Digital Markers

Scientists have found a new method to predict dementia before its onset or while it is still mild. This allows those who are positively identified to make lifestyle changes to stay healthy for longer and to begin preparing for special care when they can no longer look after themselves. The research tests comprised a study of driving behaviors. This was a longitudinal study. It had a 96% accuracy and considered 200 driving elements. Just under 3000 test subjects participated in the study, which took place in five US states. All the participants were still driving their own vehicles as a way of retaining their independence as they entered the older age stages of life, with everyone being between 65 and 79 years of age. Eighty-five percent of this age group were found to still be driving at this stage of life. None had signs of cognitive decline. Follow-up of the participants took place three years after the testing phase. Sixty-one participants had gone on to develop Alzheimer’s disease, some cognitive decline, or other types of dementia. The researchers compared their results against two other popular methods (logistic regression and random forests) of predicting dementia and found that their test had a 6-10% greater accuracy than the rest. Two aspects of driving that were especially useful for predicting future dementia were how many times drivers braked hard with 0.4 g or greater deceleration and the ratio of right and left turns. Regarding the latter, older people found it less risky to turn right rather than left. Early warning of possible dementia later in life is essential to preparing for increasing levels of care, from overnight, to 24/7. Check out this guide if you want to know more about what is overnight care. Many dementia patients with mild impairment may start with this form of assistance. A bit of help when needed can allow the person to store their energy for greater independence in intimate activities like bathing. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Infections, Parkinson's / 22.09.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jiangwei Sun PhD Postdoctoral researcher in Prof. Jonas Ludvigsson's group Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Karolinska Institutet MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: A potential infectious etiology has been hypothesized for neurodegenerative diseases, as findings in animal studies have demonstrated that infectious processes might impact pathogenesis, phenotype, and progression of neurodegenerative disease. The extrapolation of such findings to a human context is however not straightforward. previous studies have mostly examined the role of specific pathogens on a specific neurodegenerative disease, e.g., herpesvirus for Alzheimer’s disease, and influenza, hepatitis C virus, and Helicobacter pylori for PD, with inconclusive results. Although several studies have also assessed associations between infectious diseases and risk of dementia and AD, influence of potential surveillance bias (greater-than-expected surveillance of disease after infections) and reverse causation (due to for example diagnostic delay of neurodegenerative diseases) on the associations was not always fully addressed. Therefore, whether infection is indeed a risk factor rather a comorbidity or secondary event of neurodegenerative disease remains unknown. In contrast to Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease, the potential link between infection and ALS has been less explored. (more…)
Aging, Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Genetic Research, Nature / 20.04.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael B. Miller, MD, PhD Instructor, Harvard Medical School Department of Pathology Brigham and Women's Hospital MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study? Would you explain what is meant by somatic genetic changes and how they might occur?  Response: Changes, also called mutations, in the DNA sequence of genes can be passed from parents to their children, and explain why many diseases run in families. This kind of DNA change is called a germline mutation and is present in every cell in a person’s body. Gene mutations can also occur in a subset of cells of a person, in which case they are called somatic mutations. Somatic mutations are well known as a cause of cancer, and recent research has found that somatic mutations can also happen in non-cancerous cells that appear otherwise normal. Recent studies have even found that somatic mutations are present in neurons, cells in the brain that transmit electrical signals and play an important role in how the brain functions. Furthermore, in neurons, somatic mutations increase with age, so we set out to understand if somatic mutations might be playing a role in age-related brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Cognitive Issues / 05.04.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Yangfeng Wu Peking University Clinical Research Institute Peking University MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings? Response: It is well-established that elevated blood pressure (BP) at single time point can contribute to increased risks of suffering accelerated cognitive decline, dementia, and mortality. Nevertheless, BP levels could experience significant alterations as time goes, indicating the necessity of monitoring BP longitudinally. In other words, using blood pressure levels measured at baseline to predict future outcomes in a longitudinal cohort with a long-term follow-up period ≥20 years, becomes controversial. Cumulative BP levels have been indicated as a feasible approach for evaluating long-term exposure of BP levels, which might have the ability to respond to this controversy. This is the main reason why we performed this research to evaluate the predictive values of cumulative BP levels, especially additional values beyond baseline blood pressure levels, for future neurocognitive and longevity outcomes. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Sleep Disorders / 18.03.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Peng Li, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Research Director, Medical Biodynamics Program (MBP) Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders Associate Physiologist, Brigham and Women's Hospital MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?  Response: People commonly see increased sleep during daytime in older adults. In people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, daytime drowsiness or sleepiness are even more common. Prior studies have showed protective effects of short naps on cognitive performance and alertness acutely, while also there are studies that have demonstrated more daytime naps are associated with faster cognitive decline in the long-term. We sought to investigate whether daytime napping behavior predicts future development of Alzheimer’s dementia. And we noted that there had been no studies to date that have documented the longitudinal profile of daytime napping during late life objectively. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Biomarkers / 11.11.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joshua D. Grill, PhD Professor, Psychiatry & Human Behavior School of Medicine Professor, Neurobiology and Behavior School of Biological Sciences University of California, Irvine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Alzheimer’s disease is a major public health challenge. More than 6 million Americans have the disease, which causes cognitive problems and eventual dependence on others for daily function. Scientists understand that the disease begins in the brain years before memory and other thinking problems begin and the AHEAD Study aims to intervene in this window of time, to see if a drug that targets these brain changes can delay or prevent symptoms of the disease.   (more…)
Abuse and Neglect, BMJ, Cognitive Issues, Occupational Health / 24.08.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof Mika Kivimaki PhD Director, Whitehall II Study Dept. of Epidemiology University College London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The Lancet 2020 Commission on Dementia Prevention, which is the most comprehensive and up-to-date review on the evidence in this field, did not list cognitive stimulation in adulthood as a protective factor against dementia. This was because trials results are inconsistent and observational studies suggest that leisure time cognitive activity does not reduce risk of dementia. However, it was unclear whether the reason for modest findings is that the decrease in brain plasticity with age prevents cognitive activities across adult life from conferring protection against dementia, or, in the case of interventions, that the cognitive stimulation studied has not been intensive or engaging enough to preserve cognitive function. To address this question, we decided to focus on cognitive stimulation at work rather than leisure time cognitive activity or cognitive interventions. We thought that this approach would allow us to detect an effect, if there is one, because exposure to cognitive stimulation at work typically lasts considerably longer than cognitively stimulating hobbies or cognitive interventions. We contacted 13 cohort studies in Europe which had data on cognitive stimulation at work. Seven had also a dementia follow-up and were selected to our analyses, a total of 107 896 dementia-free participants from the UK, France, Sweden and Finland. Follow-up of incident dementia varied between 13.7 to 30.1 years depending on the cohort. 1143 people developed dementia during this follow-up. (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…)
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…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Infections / 01.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hariom Yadav, PhD Assistant Professor, Molecular Medicine Wake Forest School of Medicine  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As gut microbiota is linked with all kind of known human diseases, however, commonly studied microorganisms are bacteria. Our study is first-of-its kind to discover the role of fungi living in our gut to influence our brain health like Alzheimer’s disease pathology in humans. It also describes that a Mediterranean ketogenic diet can beneficially change fungi and bacteria populations to improve brain health.  (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Neurology, UCSF / 10.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Laure Rouch, PharmD PhD Department of Psychiatry Dr. Kristine Yaffe, MD (Senior Author) Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Epidemiology University of California San Francisco, San Francisco VA Medical Center, San Francisco, CA, USA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia and this number is set to triple by 2050. Prevention of dementia and identification of potentially modifiable risk factors are, therefore, critically important. Postural changes in blood pressure increase with advancing age and affect 20% to 30% of older adults. Yet it has not been explored deeply how orthostatic hypotension and blood pressure postural changes variability over time are associated with dementia risk. As multiple pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions may improve orthostatic symptoms, this question has major public health implications. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, JAMA, Lipids / 14.07.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Manja Koch, Ph.D., Research Associate Department of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Majken K. Jensen, Ph.D. Adjunct Professor of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health & Professor in the Department of Public Health University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark     MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are highly prevalent conditions. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 50 million people are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias worldwide. Lower apolipoprotein E in plasma is a risk factor for dementia, but the underlying biological mechanisms are not fully understood. Thus, we investigated the role of apolipoprotein E overall and in lipoproteins with distinct metabolic functions in relation to cognitive function and dementia risk.. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, USPSTF / 04.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Chyke A. Doubeni, M.D., M.P.H. Director, the Mayo Clinic Center Health Equity and Community Engagement Research Department of Family Medicine Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Cognitive impairment is a serious public health problem that affects millions of Americans as they age; it can lead to frustrating challenges that impact their everyday lives, such as trouble remembering, learning new things, or organizing their thoughts. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Hearing Loss / 28.02.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Julia Sarant, PhD Associate Professor Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences Melbourne School of Health Sciences MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Dementia is a rapidly growing global problem. Hearing loss has been identified by the Lancet Commissions as a modifiable risk factor for dementia. There is no treatment for dementia. This study investigated the effect of hearing aid use on cognition over time in older adults, objectively assessing hearing loss treatment, compliance and benefits while controlling for the effects of other known risk factors for dementia.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cognitive Issues, Social Issues / 27.02.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nancy J. Donovan, M.D. Chief, Division of Geriatric Psychiatry Brigham and Women’s Hospital Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02115  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Prior research has shown that widowed older adults are more likely to experience cognitive decline than those who are married. However, there have been no prior studies of widowhood as a risk factor for cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of severe cognitive impairment. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, McGill, Neurology, Technology / 28.01.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yasser Iturria-Medina PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery Associate member of the Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health McConnell Brain Imaging Centre McGill University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: As background, two main points:
  • Almost all molecular (gene expression) analyses performed in neurodegeneration are based on snapshots data, taking at one or a few time points covering the disease's large evolution. Because neurodegenerative diseases take decades to develop, until now we didn't have a dynamical characterization of these diseases. Our study tries to overcome such limitation, proposing a data-driven methodology to study long term dynamical changes associated to disease.
Also, we still lacked robust minimally invasive and low-cost biomarkers of individual neuropathological progression. Our method is able to offer both in-vivo and post-mortem disease staging highly predictive of neuropathological and clinical alterations. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Technology / 08.01.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr.med.univ. Roland Beisteiner Department of Neurology Laboratory for Functional Brain Diagnostics and Therapy High Field MR Center, Medical University of Vienna Vienna, Austria MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background is the development of a new brain therapy which allows to support brain regeneration by activation of neurons with pulsed ultrasound. Main findings are that Alzheimer's patients improve their memory up to 3 months. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Memory, Pharmacology / 12.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: James O’Donnell, PhD Dean and professor Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy Ying Xu, MD, PhD Research associate professor University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical SciencesYing Xu, MD, PhD Research associate professor University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences     MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We have been studying cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase (PDE), an enzyme, for quite a while as a potential target for neuropsychiatric disease.  One aspect involves the effects of PDE inhibitors on memory.  This was prompted by our earlier finding that one form of the enzyme, PDE4, is in the NMDA receptor signaling pathway in neurons; this pathway has been implicated in memory.  (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Sleep Disorders / 23.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Chenlu Gao, MA Graduate Student Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Baylor University Michael Scullin, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Baylor University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: According to the World Alzheimer Report, dementia affects 50 million adults worldwide, and this number is expected to approach 131 million by 2050. Dementia patients often require assistance with daily activities from caregivers. The Alzheimer’s Association reported that, in the United States, 16 million caregivers spend on average 21.9 hours per week providing care for patients with dementia. Being a caregiver is stressful, which not only challenges emotional, cognitive, and physical health, but is also associated with shorter and poorer sleep at night. If a caregiver cannot obtain restorative sleep at night, their quality of life and their abilities to perform the caregiving role can be compromised. For example, sleep loss may jeopardize caregivers’ memory, causing them to forget medications or medical appointments for the patients. Sleep loss can also impair immune functions, causing the caregivers to suffer from illnesses. In the long-term, sleep loss is associated with cortical thinning and accumulation of beta-amyloid and tau, which increase the risks of dementia. Undoubtedly, there is a need to systematically study whether caregivers sleep less or worse during the night and whether we can improve their sleep quality through low-cost behavioral interventions. To answer these questions, we systematically reviewed and meta-analyzed 35 studies with data from 3,268 caregivers of dementia patients.     (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Memory / 23.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Claude Alain PhD Senior Scientist Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Adults carrying a gene associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease had a harder time accessing recently acquired knowledge, even though they didn’t show any symptoms of memory problems.  MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?  Response: Researchers found that older adults carrying a specific strain of the gene, apolipoprotein E4, otherwise known as APOE4, weren’t able to tap into information they had just learned to assist them on a listening test. These findings suggest greater difficulty for these individuals to access knowledge from their memory to guide their attention in ways that would have improved their performance. This work could lead to the development of new ways to detect individuals at risk. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Genetic Research / 31.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Amy Dunn, PhD Kaczorowski lab The Jackson Laboratory  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Environmental factors, such as a poor diet, are known risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. But the mechanisms are complex, and it is not known how such environmental perturbations interact with individual genetic variation to confer disease risk. Previous studies have not adequately addressed how the combination of genetic variant and environmental factors combine to alter cognitive response to a poor diet. To investigate gene-by-environment interactions, we fed either a normal diet or a high-fat diet to a genetically diverse Alzheimer’s disease mouse model population starting at six months of age and monitored metabolic and cognitive function. We observed accelerated working memory decline in the mice on the high-fat diet after eight weeks, with substantial gene-by diet effects on both cognitive and metabolic traits. Metabolic dysfunction was more closely related to cognitive function in mice carrying Alzheimer’s mutations than in those without. Interestingly, the high-fat diet affected metabolic function differently in female versus male mice.  (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Sleep Disorders / 21.06.2019

sleep-alzheimers-dementia-insomniaSleep patterns can predict the increase of Alzheimer’s pathology proteins tau and β-amyloid later in life, according to a June 2019 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience. The findings shed hope on earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and the adoption of preventive measures earlier in life. Researchers found a decrease in sleep spindle synchronization, which is linked to higher tau levels. Reduced amplitude of slow wave activity, meanwhile, is closely related to higher β-amyloid levels. In younger people, both slow oscillations and sleep spindles are synchronized. This changes as people grow older, with less coordination between the two being visible. The researchers also noted that subjects who slept less had a higher chance of having Alzheimer’s proteins when they were older. The findings show that both reduced sleep quantity and quality can serve as important warnings of the onset of Alzheimer’s. (more…)