Friday December 13, 2019

Virtual Reality Can Identify Early Alzheimer’s More Accurately

The researchers are now working towards developing apps for detecting the disease and monitoring its progression

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In Alzheimer's disease, patients start losing memory. Pixabay

Virtual reality (VR) technology can identify early Alzheimer’s disease more accurately than ‘gold standard’ cognitive tests currently in use, says a study.

The findings, published in the journal Brain, highlight the potential of new technologies to help diagnose and monitor conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

“These results suggest a VR test of navigation may be better at identifying early Alzheimer’s disease than tests we use at present in clinic and in research studies,” said study lead author Dennis Chan, Professor at the University of Cambridge in Britain.

The researchers developed and trialled a VR navigation test in patients at risk of developing dementia.

For the study, the research team recruited 45 patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Patients with MCI typically exhibit memory impairment.

They took samples of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to look for biomarkers of underlying Alzheimer’s disease in their MCI patients, with 12 testing positive. The researchers also recruited 41 healthy controls for comparison.

A lady suffering from Alzheimer’s. Flickr

All of the patients with MCI performed worse on the navigation task than the healthy controls. However, the study yielded two crucial additional observations.

First, MCI patients with positive CSF markers — indicating the presence of Alzheimer’s disease, thus placing them at risk of developing dementia — performed worse than those with negative CSF markers at low risk of future dementia.

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Secondly, the VR navigation task was better at differentiating between these low and high risk patients with mild cognitive impairment than a battery of currently-used tests considered to be gold standard for the diagnosis of early Alzheimer’s, the study said.

The researchers are now working towards developing apps for detecting the disease and monitoring its progression.

“We live in a world where mobile devices are almost ubiquitous, and so app-based approaches have the potential to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease at minimal extra cost and at a scale way beyond that of brain scanning and other current diagnostic approaches,” Chan said. (IANS)

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Having Keto Diet Can Help You Fight Against Alzheimer’s Disease: Research

"Increasing SIRT3 levels via ketone consumption may be a way to protect interneurons and delay the progression of Alzheimer's disease," report researchers

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In Alzheimer's disease, patients start losing memory. Pixabay

Eating low-carb and high-fat diet can help you fight against Alzheimer’s disease, by protect neurons from death during the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, according to new research in mice.

“Ketogenic” is a term for a low-carb diet (like the Atkins diet). The idea is for you to get more calories from protein and fat and less from carbohydrates. You cut back most on the carbs that are easy to digest, like sugar, soda, pastries and white bread.

Early in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, the brain becomes over excited, potentially through the loss of inhibitory, or GABAergic, interneurons that keep other neurons from signaling too much.

Because interneurons require more energy compared to other neurons, they may be more susceptible to dying when they encounter the Alzheimer’s disease protein amyloid beta.

Amyloid beta has been shown to damage mitochondria – the metabolic engine for cells – by interfering with SIRT3, a protein that preserves mitochondrial functions and protects neurons.

health, dementia, walking, Alzheimer
The suffering that comes as a consequence of this disease is enormous. Pixabay

Researchers from the Society for Neuroscience genetically reduced levels of SIRT3 in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease.

Mice with low levels of SIRT3 experienced a much higher mortality rate, more violent seizures and increased interneuron death compared to the mice from the standard Alzheimer’s disease model and control mice.

However, the mice with reduced levels of SIRT3 experienced fewer seizures and were less likely to die when they ate a diet rich in ketones, a specific type of fatty acid.

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The diet also increased levels of SIRT3 in the mice.

“Increasing SIRT3 levels via ketone consumption may be a way to protect interneurons and delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease,” report researchers. (IANS)