Monday June 17, 2019

Blood sodium levels linked to cognition in older adults

For the study, to be published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, researchers examined information on 5,435 asymptomatic community-dwelling men aged 65 years and above who were followed for a median of 4.6 years

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Research also found an association of high serum sodium (143-153 mmol/L) with cognitive decline over time. Wikimedia Commons
Research also found an association of high serum sodium (143-153 mmol/L) with cognitive decline over time. Wikimedia Commons

A lower level of sodium in the blood may affect cognitive functions with advancing age, a new study has warned.

Hyponatremia is a condition that occurs when the level of sodium in the blood falls below 135 Millimoles Per Litre (mmol/L).

The results indicate that sodium levels may help preserve cognition as individuals age.

“Slightly lower sodium levels in the blood are likely to be unnoticed in clinical practice,” said the co-author of the study, Kristen Nowak from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

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“Because both slightly lower serum sodium levels and mild changes in cognitive function are common occurrences with advancing age, future research on this topic is important — including determining whether correcting lower sodium levels affects cognitive function,” Nowak added.

A total of 100 men had serum levels indicative of hyponatremia. Wikimedia Commons
A total of 100 men had serum levels indicative of hyponatremia. Wikimedia Commons

For the study, to be published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, researchers examined information on 5,435 asymptomatic community-dwelling men aged 65 years and above who were followed for a median of 4.6 years.

A total of 100 men had serum levels indicative of hyponatremia.

The researchers found that slightly lower sodium levels in the blood were related to both cognitive impairment and declines in cognitive function over time.

Also Read: Pollution, the silent killer in metros; 35 per cent children in India have poor lung capacity

Compared with men with sodium levels of 141-142 mmol/L, men with levels of 126-140 mmol/L were 30 percent more likely to have cognitive impairment at baseline and 37 percent more likely to experience cognitive decline over time.

They also found an association of high serum sodium (143-153 mmol/L) with cognitive decline over time. IANS

Next Story

Scientists Working on Blood Test for Diagnostic of Chronic Fatigue

The scientists "stressed" the blood samples using salt, and then compared the responses. The results, they said, showed all the CFS patients' blood samples creating a clear spike, while those from healthy controls remained relatively stable.

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Blood samples are seen at a lab in Durham, N.C., Sept. 17, 2013. VOA
  1. Scientists in the United States say they have taken a step toward developing a possible diagnostic test for chronic fatigue syndrome, a condition characterized by exhaustion and other debilitating symptoms.

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine said a pilot study of 40 people, half of whom were healthy and half of whom had the syndrome, showed their potential biomarker test correctly identified those who were ill.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME, is estimated to affect some 2.5 million people in the United States and as many as 17 million worldwide.

Symptoms include overwhelming fatigue, joint pain, headaches and sleep problems. No cause or diagnosis has yet been established and the condition can render patients bed- or house-bound for years.

blood
Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine said a pilot study of 40 people, half of whom were healthy and half of whom had the syndrome, showed their potential biomarker test correctly identified those who were ill. Pixabay

The research, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, analyzed blood samples from trial volunteers using a “nanoelectronic assay” — a test that measures changes in tiny amounts of energy as a proxy for the health of immune cells and blood plasma.

The scientists “stressed” the blood samples using salt, and then compared the responses. The results, they said, showed all the CFS patients’ blood samples creating a clear spike, while those from healthy controls remained relatively stable.

“We don’t know exactly why the cells and plasma are acting this way, or even what they’re doing,” said Ron Davis, a professor of biochemistry and of genetics who co-led the study.

“[But] we clearly see a difference in the way healthy and chronic fatigue syndrome immune cells process stress.”

Words of caution

blood
Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine said a pilot study of 40 people, half of whom were healthy and half of whom had the syndrome, showed their potential biomarker test correctly identified those who were ill. Pixabay

Other experts not directly involved in this work cautioned, however, that its findings showed there is still a long way to go before a biomarker is found that can establish CFS diagnosis and distinguish it from other conditions with similar symptoms.

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Simon Wessely, chair of psychiatry at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry Psychology & Neuroscience, who has worked with CFS patients for many years, said the study was the latest of many attempts to find a biomarker for CFS, but had not been able to solve two key issues:

“The [first] issue is, can any biomarker distinguish CFS patients from those with other fatiguing illnesses? And second, is it measuring the cause, and not the consequence, of illness?” he said in an emailed comment. “This study does not provide any evidence that either has finally been achieved.” (VOA)