Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Medical Imaging, Mental Health Research / 01.12.2020 Interview with: Maria Vittoria Spampinato, MD Neuroradiology Division Director Department of Radiology and Radiological Science Medical University of South Carolina Charleston, SC 29425-3230 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…)
Author Interviews, Orthopedics, Radiology, Rheumatology, UCSF, Weight Research / 18.11.2020 Interview with: Silvia Schirò MD Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging University of California, San Francisco What is the background for this study? Response: Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is worldwide the second most frequent cause of lower extremity disability, and it has a global incidence of 199 cases per 100.000, including over 14 million people with symptomatic knee OA in the US. Overweight and obese individuals have a higher incidence of knee OA due to excessive knee joint load. The association between physical activity and knee OA, has not been systematically addressed in overweight and/or obese subjects and its association seems to be controversial. On the one hand, mild to non-weight-bearing physical activities have been found to be beneficial in the management knee homeostasis, the physiologic knee joint load providing an optimized environment for the joint tissues. On the other hand, excessive fast-paced physical activity with high load-joint torsion such as racquet sports, ball sports and running have been found to have an increased incidence of knee injury compared to mild-moderate exercise such as swimming, bicycling and low-impact aerobics independent of body weight. (more…)