Saturday July 20, 2019

‘Brainy’ mice may help treat brain disorders in humans

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London, Altering a single gene has helped scientists create super intelligent mice and researchers believe that the findings could lead to new drugs for cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and other conditions.

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The researchers altered the gene to inhibit the activity of an enzyme called phosphodiesterase-4B (PDE4B), which is present in many organs, including the brain.

In behavioral tests, these mice showed enhanced cognitive abilities.

“Cognitive impairments are currently poorly treated, so I am excited that our work using mice has identified phosphodiesterase-4B as a promising target for potential new treatments,” said lead researcher Steve Clap cote, lecturer in pharmacology at the University of Leeds in England.

The findings are limited to mice and have not been tested on humans, but PDE4B is present in humans, the study pointed out.

In tests, the “brainy mice” showed a better ability than ordinary mice to recognize another mouse that they had been introduced to the day before. They were also quicker at learning the location of a hidden escape platform in a test called the Morris water maze.These intelligent mice were also found to be less fearful.

The researchers are now working on developing drugs that will specifically inhibit the enzyme. These drugs will be tested in animals to see whether any would be suitable for clinical trials in humans.

“In the future, medicines targeting PDE4B may potentially improve the lives of individuals with neurocognitive disorders and life-impairing anxiety, and they may have a time-limited role after traumatic events,” co-lead researcher Alexander McGirr, psychiatrist in training at the University of British Columbia in Canada noted.

The findings appeared in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

(IANS)

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Artificial Intelligence Can Prove to be a Boon for Patients with Alzheimer’s

The findings demonstrated the potential valid clinical utility of “MemTrax”, administered as part of the online test in screening for variations in cognitive brain health

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A lady suffering from Alzheimer's. Flickr

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can prove to be essential for healthcare providers to detect and manage Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia, from which 44 million people suffer worldwide.

In the study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the team introduced supervised Machine Learning (ML) as a modern approach and new value-added complementary tool in cognitive brain health assessment and related patient care and management.

With the increasingly favourable instrument “MemTrax” — an online memory test using image recognition — the clinical efficacy of this new approach as a memory function screening tool has been sufficiently demonstrated.

For the study, a team of researchers including from the Florida Atlantic University, SIVOTEC Analytics and Stanford University employed a novel application of supervised ML and predictive modeling to demonstrate and validate the cross-sectional utility of “MemTrax” as a clinical decision support screening tool for assessing cognitive impairment.

"The question for us now is not how to eliminate cholesterol from the brain, but about how to control cholesterol's role in Alzheimer's disease through the regulation of its interaction with amyloid-beta," Vendruscolo said.
In Alzheimer’s disease, patients start losing memory. Pixabay

The findings demonstrated the potential valid clinical utility of “MemTrax”, administered as part of the online test in screening for variations in cognitive brain health.

“Findings from our study provide an important step in advancing the approach for clinically managing a very complex condition like Alzheimer’s disease,” said lead author Michael F. Bergeron, Senior Vice President, SIVOTEC Analytics.

Also Read: Facebook Develops VR Avatars with Real-time Interactivity

“By analysing a wide array of attributes across multiple domains of the human system and functional behaviours of brain health, informed and strategically directed advanced data mining, supervised Machine Learning, and robust analytics can be integral for healthcare providers to detect and anticipate further progression in this disease and myriad other aspects of cognitive impairment,” he explained. (IANS)