Thursday January 18, 2018

An active mind keeps Alzheimer away: Indian origin researcher

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New York: Being indulged in the activities that keep mind stimulating and active such as reading books and magazines, playing games and using computers in the middle age can help stopping symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease according to the study, done by Indian origin researcher.

“The takeaway message for the general public is that keeping your mind active is very important in delaying symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease,” said study author Prashanthi Vemuri, dementia researcher at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, US.

The findings were published in the online edition of the journal Neurology.

People who are carriers of a gene linked to Alzheimer’s, called APOE4, who had at least 14 years of education and kept mentally active in middle age had lower levels of proteins called amyloid plaques.

The proteins can build up in brain tissue and lead to Alzheimer’s disease. People with the gene and a high level of education but did not keep mentally active in middle age had higher levels of amyloid plaques, the study said.

For the study, researchers evaluated 393 people without dementia who were part of the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. Of those, 53 had mild cognitive impairment.

All were 70 years of age or older. They were divided into two groups: those with more than 14 years of education and those with less.

Then, researchers used MRI and positron emission tomography scans to look for biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease and questionnaires to evaluate weekly intellectual and physical activity in middle age.

“When we looked specifically at the level of lifetime learning, we found that carriers of the APOE4 gene who had higher education and continued to learn through middle age had fewer amyloid deposition on imaging when compared to those who did not continue with intellectual activity in middle age,” Vemuri said.(IANS)(image-senior.in)

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A study finds: What causes dementia?

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1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia. Pixabay
1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia. Pixabay

Dementia results in a progressive and irreversible loss of nerve cells and brain functioning, causing loss of memory and cognitive impairments affecting the ability to learn. Currently, there is no cure.

Findings

  • The toxic build-up of urea, a compound created by the liver, in the brain has been found as the major reason that can cause brain damage and lead to Huntington’s Disease, one of seven major types of age-related dementia.
  • Urea level peaks in the brain even before dementia sets in. The discovery could one day help doctors diagnose and even treat dementia.
  • Urea is similarly linked to Alzheimer’s, suggesting that the toxic build-up of urea could be relevant to all types of age-related dementias.
44 million people worldwide suffer from dementia. Pixabay
44 million people worldwide suffer from dementia. Pixabay

“This study on Huntington’s Disease is the final piece of the jigsaw which leads us to conclude that high brain urea plays a pivotal role in dementia,” said Garth Cooper, Professor at The University of Manchester.

“Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s are at opposite ends of the dementia spectrum — so if this holds true for these types, then I believe it is highly likely it will hold true for all the major age-related dementias,” Cooper said, in the paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Urea and ammonia in the brain are metabolic breakdown products of protein. If urea and ammonia build up in the body because the kidneys are unable to eliminate them, for example, serious symptoms can result, the researchers said.

“More research, however, is needed to discover the source of the elevated urea in Huntington’s Disease, particularly concerning the potential involvement of ammonia and a systemic metabolic defect,” Cooper noted.

For the study, the team used human brains, donated by families for medical research, as well as transgenic sheep in Australia.

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