Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Mediterranean Diet, NIH / 21.04.2020 Interview with: Emily Y. Chew, M.D. Director of the Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications Deputy Clinical Director at the National Eye Institute (NEI), National Institutes of Health What is the background for this study? Response: Dementia is a common disorder that was estimated to have a worldwide prevalence of 44 million in 2016 and is projected to hit 115 million by 2050. Many phase 3 trials of various therapies have failed and we have no treatment currently available for the prevention or reduction of the course of dementia. A slow neurocognitive decline throughout life is part of the normal process of aging. However, there is a subset of individuals who may have accelerated aging and is at high risk of development dementia. If the course of such accelerated decline could be altered in any way, it would be important to evaluate. The role of diet with biologic aging has been studied and diet has been also found to be associated with age-related conditions linked to dementia, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. We were interested in the cognitive function of our participants who had another neurodegenerative disease, age-related macular degeneration (AMD). We had conducted two randomized controlled clinical trials designed to evaluate the role of oral supplements for the treatment of AMD. We also studied cognitive function in both clinical trials of nearly 8,000 participants who were followed for 10 years. We also evaluated the dietary habits of the participants with food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) at baseline. Cognitive function testing was conducted in the first study, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) near the end of the clinical trial while the AREDS2, the second study, evaluated cognitive function testing at baseline and every 2 years until year 6. AREDS study evaluated cognitive function with in-clinic study visits while AREDS2 was conducted using telephone interviews. Our aim was to determine whether closer adherence to the alternative Mediterranean diet (aMED) was associated with impaired cognitive function these two studies. We were interested in the particular components of the Mediterranean diet that may be important. We also evaluated the interaction of genetics with the diet.    (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cognitive Issues, JAMA, Supplements / 16.12.2019 Interview with: Pieter A. Cohen, MD Department of Medicine, Cambridge Health Alliance Somerville, Massachusetts Harvard Medical School Boston, Massachusetts What is the background for this study? Response: There has been increasing interest in the use of over-the-counter supplements to help improve memory and cognitive function.  However, prior studies have suggested that these types of supplements might contain unapproved investigational drugs. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Menopause / 25.09.2019 Interview with: John Bark, PhD Student Behavioral Neuroscience Program Department of Psychology University of Illinois at Chicago What is the background for this study? Response: 80% of women undergoing menopause experience vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats.   40-60% of women in menopause experience sleep problem.  Both of these symptoms of menopause have been associated with cognitive difficulties, but to my knowledge, this is the first study to use objective assessments of sleep and vasomotor symptoms to understand their effects on the brain. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Gender Differences, Hormone Therapy, JAMA, Menopause, Weight Research / 05.07.2019 Interview with: Rachel Zsido PhD student Department of Neurology International Max Planck What is the background for this study? Response: We integrated measures of brain network structure, visceral adipose tissue (VAT), serum estradiol levels, and cognitive performance from 974 participants in order to shed light on potential mechanisms underlying cognitive health. We believe it is imperative to assess sex-specific risk trajectories in brain aging and cognitive decline, especially given the known sex differences in both VAT accumulation patterns and estradiol fluctuations across the lifespan. Thus, we aimed to answer three questions in men and in women: 1) Does visceral adipose tissue exacerbate the association between age and brain network structure, 2) Does estradiol mitigate the negative association between VAT and brain network structure, and 3) What does this imply for healthy cognitive aging in men and women?  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Memory, University Texas / 16.04.2019 Interview with: Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman PhD Founder and Chief Director, Center for BrainHealth, Co-Leader, The BrainHealth Project University of Texas, Dallas What is the background for this study? Response: Finding effective treatments to reverse or slow rates of cognitive decline for those at risk for developing dementia is one of the most important and urgent challenges of the 21st century. Brain stimulation is gaining attention as a viable intervention to increase neuroplasticity when used in isolation or when combined with cognitive training regimens. Given the growing evidence that certain cognitive training protocols, such as SMART, benefit people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), a population that is vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease, we were interested in exploring whether we could further increase the gains from cognitive training (i.e., SMART) when the training was preceded by brain stimulation using tDCS.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Heart Disease, JAMA, Stroke / 04.03.2019 Interview with: Sarah Parish, MSc, DPhil Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology MRC Population Health Research Unit Nuffield Department of Population Health University of Oxford What is the background for this study? Response: Acquiring reliable randomized evidence of the effects of cardiovascular interventions on cognitive decline is a priority. In this secondary analysis of 3 randomized intervention trials of cardiovascular event prevention, including 45 029 participants undergoing cognitive testing, we estimated the association of the avoidance of vascular events with differences in cognitive function in order to understand whether reports of non-significant results exclude worthwhile benefit.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Cognitive Issues, OBGYNE / 05.11.2018 Interview with: Ryan J. McLaughlin, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Integrative Physiology & Neuroscience College of Veterinary Medicine Washington State University Pullman, WA 99164-7620 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The use of cannabis during pregnancy is a growing health concern, yet the long-term cognitive ramifications for developing offspring remain largely unknown. Human studies exploring the long-term effects of maternal cannabis use have been sparse for several reasons, including the length and cost of such studies, as well as the fact that experimentally assigning mothers to smoke cannabis during pregnancy is obviously ethically impractical. Animal models of maternal cannabis use have been advantageous in this respect, but they have been limited by the drugs used (synthetic cannabinoids vs. THC vs. cannabis plant) and the way that they are administered. In our study, we used a more translationally relevant animal model of maternal cannabis use that exposes pregnant rat dams to whole plant cannabis extracts using the intra-pulmonary route of administration that is most common to human users. Our preliminary data indicate that twice-daily exposure to a high-dose cannabis extract during pregnancy may produce deficits in cognitive flexibility in adult rat offspring. Importantly, these rats did not experience general learning deficits, as they performed comparably to non-exposed offspring when required to follow a cue in their environment that dictate reinforcer delivery. Instead, deficits were observed only when rats were required to disregard this previous cue-based strategy and adopt a new egocentric spatial strategy in order to continue receiving the sugar reinforcers. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Mental Health Research, Schizophrenia / 22.08.2018 Interview with: Dr. Daniel G. Amen MD Amen Clinics, Inc., Founder Costa Mesa, CA What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In the largest known brain imaging study, scientists evaluated 62,454 brain SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) scans of more than 30,000 individuals from 9 months old to 105 years of age to investigate factors that accelerate brain aging. SPECT was used to determine aging trajectories in the brain and which common brain disorders predict abnormally accelerated aging. It examined these functional neuroimaging scans from a large multi-site psychiatric clinic from patients who had many different psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  Researchers studied 128 brain regions to predict the chronological age of the patient. Older age predicted from the scan compared to the actual chronological age was interpreted as accelerated aging.  The study found that a number of brain disorders and behaviors predicted accelerated aging, especially schizophrenia, which showed an average of 4 years of premature aging, cannabis abuse (2.8 years of accelerated aging), bipolar disorder (1.6 years accelerated aging), ADHD (1.4 years accelerated aging) and alcohol abuse (0.6 years accelerated aging).  Interestingly, the researchers did not observe accelerated aging in depression and aging, which they hypothesize may be due to different types of brain patterns for these disorders. (more…)
Author Interviews / 09.08.2018 Interview with: Kwangsik Nho, PhD Assistant Professor of Radiology & Imaging Sciences Indiana University School of Medicine Indianapolis, IN What is the ADNI (Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative)? Response: The initial phase (ADNI-1) was launched in 2003 to test whether serial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), position emission tomography (PET), other biological markers, and clinical and neuropsychological assessment could be combined to measure the progression of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early Alzheimer's Disease (AD). ADNI-1 was extended to subsequent phases (ADNI-GO, ADNI-2, and ADNI-3) for follow-up for existing participants and additional new enrollments. To our knowledge, the ADNI cohort (370 cognitively normal older adults, 98 patients with significant memory concern, 284 early MCI, 505 late MCI, and 305 patients with AD) uniquely has multi-omics data sets including metabolomics and structural and functional neuroimaging data (MRI, PET) as well as rich clinical and fluid biomarker data on the same participants. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Kidney Disease, Pediatrics / 25.02.2018 Interview with: Dr. Kerry Chen Centre for Kidney Research, The Kids Research Institute The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney Sydney, New South Wales, Australia What is the background for this study? Response: Chronic kidney disease is a major public health issue, with end-stage disease often requiring a combination of complex medication regimens, dialysis and/or transplant surgery. In children, the major causes of CKD are genetic and congenital. The consequences of CKD in children can be long-term and debilitating especially as they transition into adulthood, affecting their physical, intellectual and emotional well-being. To better understand these changes, the Kids Health and Wealth Study (KCAD) is the largest longitudinal cohort study of children and adolescents with CKD in Australia and New Zealand. Spread across 5 paediatric nephrology centres so far, the KCAD Study takes a life-course approach to collecting and analysing data pertaining to the interactions between reduced renal function and associated clinical, socio-economic, quality of life, psychological, cognitive and educational outcomes in children, especially as they progress in CKD stage and also as they transition into adulthood. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Geriatrics, Hearing Loss, JAMA / 11.12.2017 Interview with: “Hear” by Jaya Ramchandani is licensed under CC BY 2.0David G. Loughrey, BA(Hons) NEIL (Neuro Enhancement for Independent Lives) Programme Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, School of Medicine Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland What is the background for this study? Response: Age-related hearing loss, a common chronic condition among older adults, has emerged in the literature as a potential modifiable risk factor for dementia. This is of interest as current pharmacological therapies for dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease only offer symptom-modifying effects. Treatment of risk factors such as hearing loss may help delay the onset of dementia and may provide an alternate therapeutic strategy. However, there is variance in the research on hearing loss and cognition with some studies reporting a small or non-significant association. In this meta-analysis, we investigated this association and we only included observational studies that used standard assessments of cognitive function and pure-tone audiometry (the clinical standard). (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Columbia, Nutrition / 24.07.2017 Interview with: Yian Gu, PhD Assistant Professor of Neuropsychology (in Neurology and Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain) Columbia University Medical Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We have previously shown that elderly individuals who consume healthier diet (certain foods, nutrients, and dietary patterns) have larger brain volume, better cognition, and lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The current study aimed to examine the biological mechanisms for the relationship between diet and brain/cognitive health (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Lifestyle & Health / 20.07.2017 Interview with: Professor Keith A. Wesnes BSc PhD FSS CPsychol FBPsS Head Honcho, Wesnes Cognition Ltd Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, Medical School, University of Exeter, UK Visiting Professor, Department of Psychology Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK Adjunct Professor, Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia Visiting Professor, Medicinal Plant Research Group Newcastle University, UK Wesnes Cognition Ltd, Little Paddock, Streatley Hill, Streatley on Thames UK What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This data we reported were taken from the PROTECT study, a 10-year research programme being conducted jointly by Kings College London and the University of Exeter Medical School. It started in November 2015 and over 20,000 individuals aged 50 to 96 years have enrolled. A highly novel feature of the study is that it is run entirely remotely, the participants logging on via the internet at home and providing demographic and life style information, and also performing online cognitive tasks of key aspects of cognitive function. The tasks are from two well-validated systems, CogTrack and the PROTECT test system, and assess major aspects of cognitive function including focused and sustained attention, information processing, reasoning and a range of aspects of memory. One of the lifestyle questions was ‘How frequently do you engage in word puzzles, e.g. crosswords?’ and the 6 possible answers were: never; occasionally; monthly; weekly; daily; more than once per day. We analysed the cognitive data from 17,677 individuals who had answered the question, and found that the more often the participants reported engaging in such puzzles, the better their cognitive function on each of the 9 cognitive tasks they performed. The group who never performed such puzzles were poorest on all measures, and the improvements were mostly incremental as the frequency of use increased. The findings were highly statistically reliable, and we controlled for factors including age, gender and education. To evaluate the magnitudes of these benefits, we calculated the average decline over the age-range on the various tasks in the study population. The average difference between those who ‘never’ did puzzles to those who did so ‘more than once a day’ was equivalent to 11 years of ageing; and between those who never did puzzles and all those who did was 8 years. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, BMJ, Cognitive Issues, Exercise - Fitness / 26.04.2017 Interview with: Dr. Joseph Michael Northey UC Research Institute for Sport and Exercise (UCRISE), Discipline of Sport and Exercise Science, Faculty of Health University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Physical exercise has an important role to play in maintaining cognitive function across the lifecycle. However, the benefits of implementing a physical exercise intervention were not clear. To address these issues which prevented evidence-based prescription of exercise for cognitive function, a systematic review of all the available literature up to November of 2016 in adults older than 50 was conducted. (more…)
Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Surgical Research / 09.03.2016 Interview with: Unni Dokkedal, M.P.H. Unit of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Biodemography University of Southern Denmark MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?  Response: Early (seven days) postoperative cognitive impairment is common in adult surgical patients of all ages, but elderly patients are at higher risk for this complication. Previous studies have shown that these impairments are detectable up to three months after surgery in patients older than 60 years. Furthermore, the condition may persist for longer than six months in some patients with potential long-term implications of the surgery leading to impaired quality of life and increased mortality risk. We wanted to investigate the contribution of surgery, anesthesia, preexisting conditions and other factors on the postoperative cognitive functioning of elderly patients. MedicalResearch:  What are the main findings? Response: For a sample of 4,299 middle-aged twins younger than 70 years and 4,204 elderly twins over 70 years, all of whom were residents of Denmark, medical records were reviewed from 1977 and until the accomplishment of cognitive tests in the period from 1995 to 2001. Results from five cognitive tests were compared in twins exposed to surgery, classified as major, minor, hip and knee replacement, or other, with those of a reference group without surgery. A statistically significant lower composite cognitive score was found in twins with at least one major surgery compared with the reference group (mean difference, −0.27; 95% CI, −0.48 to −0.06), which is a negligible effect size. None of the other groups differed from the reference group except the knee and hip replacement group that tended to have higher cognitive scores (mean difference, 0.35; 95% CI, −0.18 to 0.87).To consider genetic and shared environmental confounding and to take preoperative cognition into account, intrapair analyses were performed in same-sexed pairs in whom one had a history of major surgery and the other no surgery. No difference was found in the intra-pair analysis. The results suggest that preoperative cognitive functioning and underlying diseases were more important for cognitive functioning in mid- and late life than surgery and anesthesia. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cognitive Issues, Journal Clinical Oncology, Memory / 03.11.2015 Interview with: Dr Janette Vardy  BMed (Hons), PhD, FRACP A.Prof of Cancer Medicine University of Sydney Medical Oncologist ,Concord Cancer Centre Concord Repatriation & General Hospital Concord, Australia  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Vardy: Many patients complain that their memory and concentration is not as good after chemotherapy.  Most of the studies have been in younger women with breast cancer, and are often limited by small sample sizes and short term follow up.    This is the largest longitudinal cohort study assessing impacts of cancer and its treatment on cognitive function. We evaluated changes in cognitive function in 289 men and women with localized colorectal cancer (CRC), comparing those who received chemotherapy to those who did not require chemotherapy, 73 with metastatic disease, and a group of 72 healthy controls.?The localized CRC patients were assessed at baseline (soon after diagnosis and prior to any chemotherapy), 6, 12 and 24 months.  The healthy controls and metastatic group were assessed at baseline, 6 and 12 months.  We also examined underlying mechanisms. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, JAMA, Vitamin D / 15.09.2015

Joshua W. Miller, PhD Professor and Chair Dept. of Nutritional Sciences Rutgers The State University of New Jersey New Brunswick, NJ 08901 Interview with: Joshua W. Miller, PhD Professor and Chair Dept. of Nutritional Sciences Rutgers The State University of New Jersey New Brunswick, NJ 08901  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In recent years, there has been a growing scientific literature on the associations between low vitamin D status in older adults and risk of Alzheimer's disease/dementia, cognitive impairment and decline, and brain atrophy.  The vast majority of these studies have been conducted in predominantly white populations.  The relatively unique aspect of our study was that over half of the cohort consisted of African Americans and Hispanics.  What we found in our cohort (mean age ~75y, n=382 at baseline) was that participants with vitamin D deficiency (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D <12 ng/ml) or vitamin D insufficiency (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D between 12 ng/ml and <20 ng/ml) on average experienced faster rates of cognitive decline in episodic memory and executive function than participants with adequate vitamin D status.  Importantly, the association between vitamin D status and the rate of decline in cognitive function was independent of race/ethnicity.  However, the prevalence of low vitamin D status in the study participants was significantly higher in the African American and Hispanic participants compared with the White participants.  This is most likely due to the fact that darker skin pigmentation reduces the ability of sunlight to induce vitamin D synthesis in the skin.  It may also reflect differences in dietary intake of vitamin D and supplement use between the different race/ethnicity groups, though we did not assess this in our study.  Thus, though the rate of cognitive decline in African Americans and Hispanics does not seem to be more or less affected by low vitamin D status than in Whites, because African Americans and Hispanics have a higher prevalence of low vitamin D status, as subpopulations they may be more prone to rapid cognitive decline in old age.  Further studies addressing this possibility are needed. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Parkinson's / 03.06.2015

Dr. Lori P. Altmann Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration University of Florida, Gainesville, Interview with: Dr. Lori P. Altmann Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Altmann: There are a multitude of studies from our labs and others examining the effects of doing a variety of different cognitive tasks while walking or while maintaining postural control, and the results across studies are consistent—motor performance usually declines.  These “dual task effects” are exaggerated in healthy older adults, and are even more pronounced in people with Parkinson disease (PD).  Our study investigated dual task effects during cycling in healthy older adults and people with Parkinson disease.  In contrast to most studies of this type which typically contrast dual task effects of two cognitive tasks, we used an array of 12 cognitive tasks of graded difficulty, from very very easy to extremely difficult.  One of our primary goals was to establish that the dual task effects were directly related to the difficulty of the cognitive task. Our primary findings were that, instead of cycling slower when doing various cognitive task, both groups of participants sped up, and the amount they sped up was directly related to the difficulty of cognitive tasks.  In the easiest task, cycling speed increased by an average of about 25%, With some participants actually doubling their single task speed. There was no evidence that this increase in cycling speed came as a result of prioritizing cycling over the cognitive tasks, as scores on the cognitive tasks either remained the same or got slightly better.  Interestingly, people with Parkinson disease still showed faster cycling during the easiest tasks, but did not benefit as much from the dual task as the healthy adults. We attribute our findings to arousal that is triggered by both the cycling and the cognitive tasks which increases attentional resources that can be used for both motor and cognitive processing.  We believe the findings haven’t been documented before because most studies use gait or balance as the motor tasks, and these are much more difficult tasks that demand more attentional resources, leading to the typical findings of dual task costs instead of dual task benefits. The decrease in dual task benefits experienced by people with Parkinson disease, we believe, is due to the effects of Parkinson disease on neurotransmitters.  Both cognitive and physiological arousal increase the production of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, and disease processes in Parkinson disease interfere with production of these neurotransmitters, thus limiting arousal-based increases in attentional resources. (more…)
Author Interviews / 19.03.2015

Yuichiro Yano MD Dept of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University, Interview with: Yuichiro Yano MD Dept of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous research has suggested that nocturnal blood pressure (blood pressure during sleep) is more predictive of cardiovascular events than daytime blood pressure. However, the effect of nocturnal blood pressure on cognitive function in midlife, especially for young adults, has not been studied before. The long-term clinical significance of the findings is that nocturnal blood pressure measurements in younger adults could be potentially useful to identify those who may be at risk for developing lower cognitive function in midlife. (more…)
Author Interviews, CMAJ, Cognitive Issues / 28.02.2015 Interview with: Dr. Raza M. Naqvi, MD, FRCPC Assistant Professor of Medicine Division of Geriatric Medicine Western University Victoria Hospital London, ON Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Naqvi: The rates of dementia are rising worldwide. Currently we have over 35 million individuals with dementia in the world and this number will triple to over 100 million by 2050 according to the WHO. Many of these cases are in countries where English is not the first language and thus it is important to ensure that the diagnostic and assessment tools we use are valid in the populations being assessed. The Rowland Universal Dementia Assessment Scale (RUDAS) was developed in Australia in 2004 specifically to address the challenges of detecting cognitive impairment in culturally and linguistically diverse populations. This assessment tool is a brief questionnaire that clinicians can use as part of their initial assessment in those with memory loss or cognitive decline. It is freely available online (Search ‘RUDAS’) and takes less than 10 minutes for a clinician to complete with the individual being assessed. Our study was a systematic review and meta-analysis of the RUDAS which aimed to clarify the diagnostic properties of the test and see how it compares to other similar tests that are available. Through our detailed search of the literature we found 11 studies including over 1200 patients that assessed the RUDAS. The studies showed a combined sensitivity of 77.2% and specificity of 85.9%. This means that a positive test increases one’s likelihood of having dementia more than 5-fold and a negative test decreases their likelihood by 4-fold. Across the various studies, the Rowland Universal Dementia Assessment Scale performed similarly to the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), the most commonly used cognitive assessment tool worldwide. The RUDAS appeared to be less influenced by language and education than the MMSE. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues / 26.01.2015 Interview with: Craig S. Atwood Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin Madison, WI Richard L. Bowen, M.D. Private Practice, Charleston, SC Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Currently, there is no treatment for Alzheimer’s disease that halts or slows its progression. Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder resulting in memory loss and impairments of behavioral, language and visuo-spatial skills. A growing body of biological, preclinical and epidemiological data suggests that the age-related changes in hormones of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis are a major etiological factor in Alzheimer disease. The changes in these hormones include not only the decline in the sex steroids, (i.e. 17-estradiol and testosterone), but the elevations in gonadotropin-releasing hormone and luteinizing hormone. In particular there are encouraging epidemiological studies involving the use of Lupron Depot which suppresses these hormones. In one such study which included hundreds of thousands of patients it was found that men who had prostate disease and were treated with Lupron Depot had a 34 to 55 percent decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease compared with prostate-cancer patients who didn’t receive the drug. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Depression, Primary Care / 31.12.2014

Patrick Monahan, Ph.D. Associate Professor Indiana University School of Medicine and School of Public Interview with: Patrick Monahan, Ph.D. Associate Professor Indiana University School of Medicine and School of Public Health Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Monahan: Primary care providers need a clinical practical (e.g., brief, inexpensive, simple, user-friendly, easily standardized, and widely available) multidomain instrument to measure and monitor the cognitive, functional, and psychological symptoms of patients suffering from multiple chronic conditions. The tool also needs to be sensitive to change so that providers can use it to monitor patient outcomes and adjust the care plan accordingly. We created such a tool and then investigated its psychometric properties (in other words, reliability and validity) in our study of 291 older patients (aged 65 and older) who had at least one recent visit to our urban primary care clinics in Indianapolis, Indiana. These patients had presented with evidence of cognitive or depression problems because these patients and their caregivers were participating in a collaborative care model for such patients. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Monahan: The Healthy Aging Brain Care (HABC) Monitor demonstrated excellent reliability and validity in this study where patients self-reported their symptoms. Our previous study also showed excellent reliability and validity of the HABC Monitor when the patients’ symptoms were reported by their informal caregiver. (more…)
Alcohol / 16.01.2014 Interview with: Séverine Sabia, PhD Epidemiology & Public Health, Div of Population Health University College London - Gower Street - London What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Sabia: The present study shows a detrimental effect of heavy alcohol consumption on cognitive ageing, and the effects are seen as early as 55 years old. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, PNAS / 02.10.2013

Agnieszka Anna Tymula Lecturer (Assistant Professor) School of Economics The University of Sydney NSW 2006, Interview with: Agnieszka Anna Tymula Lecturer (Assistant Professor) School of Economics The University of Sydney NSW 2006, Australia 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. 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…)