Thursday December 12, 2019

New Study Shows That Elderly With Symptoms of Depression Are More Prone to Memory Problems

"Since symptoms of depression can be treated, it may be possible that treatment may also reduce thinking and memory problems," said study author Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida, US.

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The researchers found that greater symptoms of depression were linked to worse episodic memory -- a person's ability to remember specific experiences and events.
representational image. pixabay

Depression may speed up brain ageing and lead to memory problems in older adults, suggests new research that offers hope of finding a new way to treat memory issues.

“Since symptoms of depression can be treated, it may be possible that treatment may also reduce thinking and memory problems,” said study author Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida, US.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, also showed that older people with greater symptoms of depression may have structural differences in the brain compared to people without symptoms.

“With as many as 25 per cent of older adults experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s important to better understand the relationship between depression and memory problems,” Zeki Al Hazzouri said.

The study involved over 1,000 people with an average age of 71.

The researchers found that greater symptoms of depression were linked to worse episodic memory -- a person's ability to remember specific experiences and events.
representational image, pixabay

At the beginning of the study, all the participants had brain scans, a psychological exam and assessments for memory and thinking skills. Their memory and thinking skills were tested again an average of five years later.

At the start of the study, 22 per cent of the participants had greater symptoms of depression.

The researchers found that greater symptoms of depression were linked to worse episodic memory — a person’s ability to remember specific experiences and events.

Those with greater symptoms of depression had differences in the brain including smaller brain volume as well as a 55 per cent greater chance of small vascular lesions in the brain, the findings showed.

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“Small vascular lesions in the brain are markers of small vessel disease, a condition in which the walls in the small blood vessels are damaged,” said Zeki Al Hazzouri.

“Our research suggests that depression and brain ageing may occur simultaneously, and greater symptoms of depression may affect brain health through small vessel disease,” Zeki Al Hazzouri added. (IANS)

 

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Brain Circuit can Alter Food Impulsivity: Study

Brain circuit linked to food impulsivity identified

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Brain
Certain circuits in brain can reduce overeating. Pixabay

Researchers have identified a specific circuit in the brain that alters food impulsivity, creating the possibility scientists can someday develop treatment to address the problem of overeating.

Impulsivity, or responding without thinking about the consequences of an action, has been linked to excessive food intake, binge eating, weight gain and obesity, along with several psychiatric disorders including drug addiction and excessive gambling.

“There’s underlying physiology in your brain that is regulating your capacity to say no to (impulsive eating),” said study lead author Emily Noble, Assistant Professor at University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

“In experimental models, you can activate that circuitry and get a specific behavioural response,” Noble said.

Brain eating
There’s underlying physiology in your brain that is regulating your capacity to say no to impulsive eating. Pixabay

Using a rat model, researchers focused on a subset of brain cells that produce a type of transmitter in the hypothalamus called melanin concentrating hormone (MCH).

While previous research has shown that elevating MCH levels in the brain can increase food intake, this study is the first to show that MCH also plays a role in impulsive behaviour, Noble said.

“We found that when we activate the cells in the brain that produce MCH, animals become more impulsive in their behaviour around food,” Noble said.

“Activating this specific pathway of MCH neurons increased impulsive behaviour without affecting normal eating for caloric need or motivation to consume delicious food,” Noble said.

Also Read- Here’s why you Should Not Sleep more than 9 Hours

“Understanding that this circuit, which selectively affects food impulsivity, exists opens the door to the possibility that one day we might be able to develop therapeutics for overeating that help people stick to a diet without reducing normal appetite or making delicious foods less delicious,” she added.

The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications. (IANS)