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alzheimer’s

Mechanism explains how seizures may lead to memory loss

Although it’s been clear that seizures are linked to memory loss and other cognitive deficits in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, how this happens has been puzzling. In a study published in the journal Nature Medicine, a team of researchers reveals a mechanism that can explain how even relatively infrequent seizures can lead to long-lasting cognitive deficits in animal models. A better understanding of this new mechanism may lead to future strategies to reduce cognitive deficits in Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions associated with seizures, such as epilepsy.

Hormone therapy may not protect women from Alzheimer’s disease, new study shows

The latest study on hormone therapy and Alzheimer’s disease shows no relationship between taking the drugs and whether you may develop the disease years later.

Young adults with hostile attitudes may experience memory and thinking problems decades later

Young adults with hostile attitudes or those who don’t cope well with stress may be at increased risk for experiencing memory and thinking problems decades later, according to a study published in the March 2, 2016, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. “We may not think of our personality traits as having any bearing on how well we think or remember things, but we found that the effect of having a hostile attitude and poor coping skills on thinking ability was similar to the effect of more than a decade of aging,” said study author Lenore J. Launer, PhD, with the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

MEMORY: Seven Universities Working to Develop New Technologies

UT Southwestern Medical Center has joined a consortium of seven leading universities to develop new technologies to improve memory in people with traumatic brain injury, mild cognitive impairment, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s disease. Specifically, UT Southwestern is part of a study with the goal of developing an implantable neural monitoring and stimulation system by the end of 2018 that would treat memory loss.

Gene Therapy for Alzheimer’s

Experts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine are leading the second arm of a clinical trial using gene therapy to relieve the symptoms of tremor and mobility impairment in patients with Parkinson’s disease. The technique shows promise in prolonging the effectiveness of levo-dopa, the mainstay treatment for the progressive neurodegenerative condition, by increasing production of a key enzyme essential to convert the drug into the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Identifying and avoiding wasteful or unnecessary medical tests

Too many tests at the doctor’s office could cost you more than just dollars. In addition to the huge hit to your wallet, there’s also the potential harm of false positives, and just because a test has traditionally been done for a condition doesn’t mean it’s the best way to treat it. U-M neurologist Brian Callaghan, M.D., M.S., is helping lead a national push to determine what neurologic tests or services are performed more than they should be. It comes out of a campaign called Choosing Wisely, an initiative of the ABIM Foundation, which works with more than 70 medical specialty societies to encourage conversations between clinicians and patients about avoiding wasteful or unnecessary medical tests, treatments and procedures. Each society, including the American Aca...

Research Focusses on Epilepsy Related Memory Decline

Researchers from Brazil, Mexico and the United States presented the findings of four individual studies that examined the impact of epilepsy on memory decline at the 69th annual conference of the American Epilepsy Society (AES) in Pennsylvania. The papers focused on how neuron loss from the memory-related hippocampus triggers the occurrence of epileptic seizures in the brain’s temporal lobe. It has been determined that patients who experience temporal epilepsy as a result of hippocampal sclerosis (TLE-HS) often suffer from memory impairment and difficulty in recalling details of particular events in their daily lives.

Estrogen-like drug may not be beneficial to women with Alzheimer’s dementia

An estrogen-like drug, raloxifene, has no demonstrated benefit on memory and thinking skills for women with dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published in the November 4, 2015, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. “Drugs that interact with estrogen receptors have attracted a great deal of interest as a potential treatment for women with dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease, but relatively small studies of estrogen have generally failed to confirm any benefit,” said study author Victor Henderson, MD, MS, with Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. “Prior to this study, raloxifene had not been evaluated as an Alzheimer treatment.”

Alzheimer’s Prevention: Epilepsy Drug to Be Tested

Researchers receive NIH grant to test novel drug therapy for Alzheimer’s dementia Johns Hopkins University researchers have received an estimated $7.5 million National Institutes of Health grant to clinically test what would be the first treatment to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s dementia. The five-year grant will fund a global clinical trial to test a novel therapy for an existing drug that reverses a condition in elderly patients at high risk for dementia. The research that led to this therapeutic approach was led by Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Michela Gallagher, who is also co-primary investigator for the grant.

Dementia sufferers may begin to lose awareness of memory problems 2-3 years before onset

People who will develop dementia may begin to lose awareness of their memory problems two to three years before the actual onset of the disease, according to a new study published in the August 26, 2015, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study also found that several dementia-related brain changes, or pathologies, are associated with the decline in memory awareness. “Our findings suggest that unawareness of one’s memory problems is an inevitable feature of late-life dementia, driven by a buildup of dementia-related changes in the brain,” said study author Robert S. Wilson, PhD, with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “Lack of awareness of memory loss is common in dementia, but we haven’t known muc...

Neuroscientists interpret code the brain uses to make noisy neuronal circuits

By analyzing the signals of individual neurons in animals undergoing behavioral tests, neuroscientists at Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Geneva and the University of Rochester have deciphered the code the brain uses to make the most of its inherently “noisy” neuronal circuits. The human brain contains about 100 billion neurons, and each of these sends signals to thousands of other neurons each second. Understanding how neurons work, both individually and collectively, is important to better understand how humans think, as well as to treat neurological and psychiatric disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, autism, epilepsy, schizophrenia, depression, traumatic brain injury and paralysis.

Over 400 New Neurological Drugs in Development

America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are currently developing 420 medicines for patients suffering from neurological disorders, including epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson’s disease. As highlighted in a new report from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the Epilepsy Foundation, scientists around the globe are collaborating to find new or more effective treatments for patients with these complex disorders that attack the nervous system. “Researchers have made tremendous advances in understanding how the nervous system works at the molecular and genetic levels which in turn has translated into the development of more effective treatments for neurological disorders,” said John J. Caste...

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