Saturday December 16, 2017

A ray of hope: Study reveals Alzheimer’s may be caused by misfiring immune system

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Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s

By NewsGram Staff Writer

What could be more frightening than forgetting your own identity?

Finally, a new study suggests that deprivation of an amino acid called arginine may contribute to Alzheimer’s, achronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and gets worse over time. It is expected that the finding could throw some light in creating new treatment strategies for patients suffering from the incapacitating illness.

A group of scientists at Duke University disclosed that their studies of Alzheimer’s in mice had shown a new process that they believe contributes to the disease’s development.

The team focused on the immune system of the rat found that cells designed to protect the brain from infection will uncharacteristically consume arginine during the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

The finding suggested that jamming this process with a drug helps in preventing the formation of ‘plaques’ in the brain that are the characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease.

However, there is no assurance that a method tested on animals can work the same way on humans, still the study presents a new ray of hope for the patients of Alzheimer’s. It is so because, until now, the exact role of the immune system and arginine in Alzheimer’s was completely unidentified.

Now, researchers’ next plan is to test older mice suffering from an advanced form of Alzheimer’s.

As per the 2015 statistics of Alzheimer’s Disease International, there are nearly 44 million people worldwide who are suffering from Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.

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3 Cups of Coffee a day may Prevent you from Premature Death

Compared to Abstainers, people who drink 3-4 cups of coffee a day are more likely to see health benefits than harm, experiencing lower risks of premature death and heart disease .

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3 Cups of Coffee a day may prevent you from premature death
Someone pouring a cup of coffee. Drinking coffee could increase your health benefits, according to a new study,Thursday, Nov 23, 2017. (Photo: Diaa Bekheet)

London:

People who drink three to four cups of coffee a day are more likely to see health benefits than harm, experiencing lower risks of premature death and heart disease than those who abstain, scientists said on Wednesday.

The research, which collated evidence from more than 200 previous studies, also found coffee consumption was linked to lower risks of diabetes, liver disease, dementia and some cancers.

Three or four cups a day confer the greatest benefit, the scientists said, except for women who are pregnant or who have a higher risk of suffering fractures.

Coffee is one of the most commonly consumed drinks worldwide. To better understand its effects on health, Robin Poole, a public health specialist at Britain’s University of Southampton, led a research team in an “umbrella review” of 201 studies based on observational research and 17 studies based on clinical trials across all countries and all settings.

“Umbrella reviews” synthesize previous pooled analyses to give a clearer summary of diverse research on a particular topic.

“Coffee drinking appears safe within usual patterns of consumption,” Pool’s team concluded in their research, published in the BMJ British medical journal late on Wednesday.

Drinking coffee was consistently linked with a lower risk of death from all causes and from heart disease. The largest reduction in relative risk of premature death is seen in people consuming three cups a day, compared with non-coffee drinkers.

Drinking more than three cups a day was not linked to harm, but the beneficial effects were less pronounced.

Coffee was also associated with a lower risk of several cancers, including prostate, endometrial, skin and liver cancer, as well as type 2 diabetes, gallstones and gout, the researchers said. The greatest benefit was seen for liver conditions such as cirrhosis of the liver.

Poole’s team noted that because their review included mainly observational data, no firm conclusions could be drawn about cause and effect. But they said their findings support other recent reviews and studies of coffee intake. (VOA)

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Computer Brain Training Exercise May Reduce Risk of Dementia by 29%, says Study

A computer brain training exercise designed to improve the speed and accuracy of visual attention can help seniors reduce risk of dementia by nearly a third

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Computer Brain Training
Computer Brain Training may reduce risk of dementia. Pixabay.

New York, Nov 18: A computer brain training exercise designed to improve the speed and accuracy of visual attention can help seniors reduce risk of dementia by nearly a third, suggest results of a 10-year study.

This exercise is known as “speed of processing training”, “useful field of view training”, or “UFOV training.

“Speed of processing computer brain training resulted in decreased risk of dementia across the 10-year period of, on average, 29 per cent as compared to the control,” said lead study author Jerri Edwards from University of South Florida in the US.

“When we examined the dose-response, we found that those who trained more received more protective benefit,” Edwards added.

The study, published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions, enrolled 2,802 healthy older adults in the US and followed them as they aged from an average of 74 to 84 years.

Participants were divided into a control group or one of three intervention arms using different types of cognitive training.

One group received instruction on memory strategies and another group received instruction on reasoning strategies. The third group received individualised computerised speed of processing training.

Researchers found no significant difference in risk of dementia for the strategy-based memory or reasoning training groups, as compared to the control group.

However, as compared to the control group, the computerised speed training group showed significantly less risk of dementia — averaging a 29 per cent risk reduction.

When reviewing the impact of each computerised speed training session completed, researchers found those who completed more sessions had lower risk.

The computerised speed training task or the computer brain training exercise was designed to improve the speed and accuracy of visual attention, including both divided and selective attention exercises.

The computer brain training exercise was developed by Karlene Ball of the University of Alabama Birmingham and Dan Roenker of Western Kentucky University – both in the US. (IANS)

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Viral hepatitis Caused 1.34 mn Deaths Globally: Study

Viral hepatitis was found to be amongst the top ten leading global killers

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Viral hepatitis
World Health Organization poster for Hepatitis Campaign. VOA

London, Sep 16, 2017: Viral hepatitis with 1.34 million deaths globally has surpassed all chronic infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, according to a study by Global Burden of Disease.

The study reveals that in 2016, the total deaths caused by viral hepatitis, including liver cancer, acute cases, cirrhosis, hepatitis A, E, B, C and D account for 1.34 million globally, exceeding tuberculosis (1.2 million), HIV/AIDS (1 million) and malaria (719,000).

These staggering death rates occurred despite recent advances in hepatitis C medications that can cure most infections within three months and the availability of highly-effective vaccinations for hepatitis B.

“It’s outrageous, but not surprising, that the Global Burden of Disease Report found that deaths related to viral hepatitis have surpassed HIV, TB and malaria” said Charles Gore, President of the World Hepatitis Alliance — a not-for profit organisation based in London.

“This is largely due to a historic lack of political prioritisation coupled with an absent global funding mechanism,” Gore added, in the paper published in the journal the Lancet.

Further, viral hepatitis was found to be amongst the top ten leading global killers which include heart disease, road accidents, Alzheimer’s disease, amongst others.

Also Read: WHO Calls for stepped up action to Eliminate Hepatitis B and C by 2030 

If this trend has to be reversed, immediate action must be taken at both a regional and national level, said the report, while suggesting measures such as scaling up testing and diagnosis.

Viral hepatitis is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus and only 5 per cent of people living with the disease are aware of their conditions there are only few noticeable symptoms.

As a result, many people are either misdiagnosed or do not come forward for testing, increasing the chance of infecting others and missing the opportunity to access life-saving treatment.

Reducing hepatitis related deaths by 65 per cent by 2030 is a key component of the World Health Organization’s Global Hepatitis Strategy.

The strategy, which was adopted by 194 governments, sets out a list of key targets, which, if achieved, will eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. (IANS)