Menu

What Happened to People With Half a Brain Removed

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Nov. 19, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Many people think of their brain as an overstuffed attic. Every square-inch is either crammed with information or working overtime to help the body function properly. So is it even conceivable that a person be normal with just half a brain?

Yes, apparently it is, according to a new analysis that assessed brain health among six adults who had undergone a hemispherectomy as children. The highly invasive surgery, which entails removal or severing of half the brain, had been part of a pediatric epilepsy treatment to reduce seizure risk.

“The people with hemispherectomies that we studied were remarkably high-functioning,” study author Dorit Kliemann said in a statement. “They have intact language skills. When I put them in the [brain] scanner, we made small talk, just like the hundreds of other individuals I have scanned,” she explained.

“You can almost forget their condition when you meet them for the first time,” added Kliemann, who is a post-doctoral scholar in cognitive neuroscience at the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena.

Kliemann and her team noted that the six patients in the study had all struggled with relentless epileptic seizures from a very early age, with one patient initially struck by seizures just minutes after birth.

Hemispherectomies are typically performed as a means to bring such “intractable” epilepsy under control, the team explained. The aim is to isolate whichever half (or hemisphere) of the brain is affected by the disease. That can mean either actual removal of the problematic half of the brain or a cutting off of all physical connections between the two halves.

All of the patients had undergone full removal of half their brain. The youngest patient was just 3 months old at the time of surgery, while the oldest had been 11. Four involved excision of the right side of the brain, while two had the left side removed.

Now in their 20s and 30s, the six patients agreed to undergo functional MRI brain scans while awake at the Caltech Brain Imaging Center.

Continued

Brain activity was tracked in areas tasked with regulating vision, movement, emotion and thought processes.

Results were then stacked up against those of six healthy adults who also underwent scans, and with data previously collected on nearly 1,500 healthy adults (average age of 22).

Because brain networks devoted to a single regulatory function often span both hemispheres of the brain, the team expected to see weaker neural activity among the hemispherectomy patients. That was not the case.

In fact, scans revealed normal in-network communication and activity function. And communication running between different regulatory networks was actually found to be stronger than normal among hemispherectomy patients.

The findings were published online Nov. 19 in the journal Cell Reports.

Dr. Joseph Sirven, a professor of neurology with the Mayo Clinic in Florida and editor-in-chief of Epilepsy.com, said the findings did not strike him as entirely surprising. He said he often sees patients functioning at a very high level post-hemispherectomy.

“But what surprises me is the degree of compensation that was noted,” added Sirven, who was not part of the study team.

“And if we could figure out the way that the brain compensates in this dramatic setting, and harness this compensatory mechanism for patients affected by stroke, traumatic brain injury or other conditions, that would be a very big deal,” Sirven noted.

That thought was echoed by Kliemann. “As remarkable as it is that there are individuals who can live with half a brain, sometimes a very small brain lesion — like a stroke or a traumatic brain injury or a tumor — can have devastating effects,” she noted.

That is why it’s so important to get a better understanding of exactly how the brains of hemispherectomy patients managed to reorganize and compensate for the loss of half a brain, Kliemann said. Because doing so could eventually lead to new “targeted intervention strategies” to help other types of patients struggling with the debilitating effects of a variety of brain injuries, she theorized.

Caltech’s Brain Imaging Center supplied this video showing MRI scans of the brain of one patient who underwent hemispherectomy. Scan “slices” from the top to the bottom of the brain are shown:

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Joseph Sirven, M.D., professor, neurology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla., editor-in-chief, Epilepsy.com and former vice chair, epilepsy section, American Academy of Neurology; Nov. 19, 2019,Cell Reports, online

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });

Pagination

WebMD Health

Could AI Beat Radiologists at Spotting Bleeds in the Brain?

THURSDAY, Oct. 24, 2019 — Computer-driven artificial intelligence (AI) can help protect human brains from the damage wrought by stroke, a new report suggests.

A computer program trained to look for bleeding in the brain outperformed two of four certified radiologists, finding abnormalities in brain scans quickly and efficiently, the researchers reported.

“This AI can evaluate the whole head in one second,” said senior researcher Dr. Esther Yuh, an associate professor of radiology at the University of California, San Francisco. “We trained it to be very, very good at looking for the kind of tiny abnormalities that radiologists look for.”

Stroke doctors often say that “time is brain,” meaning that every second’s delay in treating a stroke results in more brain cells dying and the patient becoming further incapacitated.

Yuh and her colleagues hope that AI programmed to find trouble spots in a brain will be able to significantly cut down treatment time for stroke patients.

“Instead of having a delay of 20 to 30 minutes for a radiologist to turn around a CT scan for interpretation, the computer can read it in a second,” Yuh said.

Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States, and is a leading cause of disability, according to the American Stroke Association.

There are two types of strokes: ones caused by burst blood vessels in the brain (hemorrhagic), and others that occur when a blood vessel becomes blocked (ischemic).

Yuh’s AI still needs to be tested in clinical trials and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but other programs are already helping doctors speed up stroke treatment, said Dr. Christopher Kellner. He is director of the Intracerebral Hemorrhage Program at Mount Sinai, in New York City.

“We are already using AI-driven software to automatically inform us when certain CAT scan findings occur,” he said. “It’s already become, in just the last year, an essential part of our stroke work-up.”

An AI created by a company called Viz.ai is being used at Mount Sinai to detect blood clots that have caused a stroke by blocking the flow of blood to the brain, Kellner said.

Yuh and her team used a library of nearly 4,440 CT scans to train their AI to look for brain bleeding.

These scans are not easy to read, she said. They are low-contrast black-and-white images full of visual “noise.”

“It takes a lot of training to be able to read these — doctors train for years to be able to read these correctly,” Yuh said.

Her team trained its algorithm to the point that it could trace detailed outlines of abnormalities it found, demonstrating their location in a 3-D model of the brain being scanned.

They then tested the algorithm against four board-certified radiologists, using a series of 200 randomly selected head CT scans.

The AI slightly outperformed two radiologists, and slightly underperformed against the other two, Yuh said.

The AI found some small abnormalities that the experts missed. It also provided detailed information that doctors would need to determine the best treatment.

The computer program also provided this information with an acceptable level of false positives, Yuh said. That would minimize how much time doctors would need to spend reviewing its results.

Yuh suspects radiologists always will be needed to double-check the AI, but Kellner isn’t so sure.

“There will definitely be a point where there’s no human involved in the evaluation of the scans, and I think that’s not too far off, honestly,” he said. “I think, ultimately, a computer will be able to scan that faster and send out an alert faster than a human can.”

The new study was published Oct. 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More information

The American Stroke Association has more about stroke.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Drug Limits Damage of Brain Injury

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Many brain injury deaths could be prevented by using an inexpensive drug in the critical hours following a head trauma, a new international study finds.

“Traumatic brain injury can happen to anyone at any time, whether it’s through an incident like a car crash or simply falling down the stairs,” said study co-leader Ian Roberts, a professor of clinical trials at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

“We believe that if our findings are widely implemented, they will boost the chances of people surviving head injuries in both high-income and low-income countries around the world,” Roberts added.

For the study, researchers assessed the use of tranexamic acid (TXA), which prevents bleeding into the brain by inhibiting blood clot breakdown, in traumatic brain injury patients.

The 12,000 patients at 175 hospitals in 29 countries received either intravenous TXA or an inactive placebo.

Treatment with TXA within three hours of brain injury reduced the risk of death, the investigators found. The benefits were greatest in patients with mild and moderate brain injury (20% reduction in deaths), while there was no clear survival benefit seen in patients with the most severe brain injuries.

In addition, there was no evidence of harmful side effects and no increase in disability in survivors who received TXA, according to the study.

“We already know that rapid administration of tranexamic acid can save lives in patients with life-threatening bleeding in the chest or abdomen, such as we often see in victims of traffic crashes, shootings or stabbings,” Roberts said in a university news release.

“This hugely exciting new result shows that early treatment with TXA also cuts deaths from head injury,” he added. “It’s an important breakthrough and the first neuroprotective drug for patients with head injury.”

The findings were published Oct. 15 in The Lancet.

Traumatic brain injury is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide, with an estimated 69 million new cases each year, the study authors noted.

While TXA can prevent brain bleeding from getting worse, it can’t repair damage already done, so early treatment is critical. There was a 10% reduction in effectiveness for every 20-minute delay, the researchers found.

Continued

Study co-author Antoni Belli said, “This is a landmark study. After decades of research and many unsuccessful attempts, this is the first ever clinical trial to show that a drug can reduce mortality after traumatic brain injury.” Belli is a professor of trauma neurosurgery at the University of Birmingham, in the United Kingdom.

“Not only do we think this could save hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide, but it will no doubt renew the enthusiasm for drug discovery research for this devastating condition,” Belli said.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, news release, Oct. 15, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });

Pagination

WebMD Health

Vets With Traumatic Brain Injury Have Higher Suicide Risk: Study

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 11, 2019 — The risk of suicide among U.S. military veterans who have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is more than double that of other vets, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed records of more than 1.4 million vets who received care from the U.S. Veterans Health Administration (VHA) between 2005 and 2015.

They compared severity of the traumatic brain injury with diagnoses of psychiatric and other medical conditions, along with method of death in suicide cases.

After adjusting for depression and other mental health diagnoses, the researchers found that veterans with moderate or severe TBI were 2.45 times more likely to die by suicide than those without TBI. The study only found an association and not a cause-and-effect link, however.

During the study period, the suicide rate was 86 per 100,000 person years for those with TBI and 37 per 100,000 person years for others. A person year is a formula that accounts for the number of people in a study and how long they were followed.

Of vets studied who died by suicide, 68% used guns. The rate was 78% among vets with moderate or severe TBI, according to the University of Colorado-led study.

“Together, these findings underscore the importance of understanding veterans’ lifetime history of TBI to prevent future deaths by suicide, and support the implementation of screening initiatives for lifetime history of TBI among all individuals utilizing the VHA,” the authors said in a university news release.

Lisa Brenner, a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, led the study.

Her team said the findings also show the need for more research regarding gun safety among those with moderate to severe TBI.

The study was published recently in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more on traumatic brain injury.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: September 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Surgeon General: Marijuana Bad for Developing Brain

August 29, 2019 — Marijuana use is risky for young people and pregnant women, a U.S. Surgeon General health advisory warns.

The latest research shows that marijuana is particularly harmful to developing brains and can be passed along to infants in the womb or through breast milk, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Thursday, ABC News reported.

Adams said he was deeply concerned about what he called the “rapid normalization” of marijuana and the mistaken belief among young people that because the drug is now legal in some states, it must be safe.

“Not enough people known that today’s marijuana is far more potent than in days past,” Adams said, ABC News reported. “This ain’t your mother’s marijuana,” he added.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has long advised young people not to use marijuana and has said that no amount of marijuana has been proven safe to use while pregnant or breast feeding.

Adams and Health Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said they support additional research on the effects of marijuana, and Azar said the federal government will launch a public awareness campaign, ABC News reported.

Last year, the surgeon general issued a warning about e-cigarette use by young people, called it “unsafe” in any form.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });
WebMD Health

Mosquito-Borne Brain Infection Found in Florida

July 29, 2019 — There’s an increased risk of a mosquito-borne virus that causes brain infection and swelling, Florida health officials warn.

Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) has been detected in several sentinel chickens, according to the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, CNN reported.

Sentinel chickens are tested regularly for the West Nile virus and EEE.

After the positive tests for EEE virus in the sentinel chickens in Orange Couty, the health department said “the risk of transmission to humans has increased,” CNN reported.

Only about seven human cases of the EEE virus reported in the US each year. However, about one-third of people who contract it die, and many survivors have long-term neurological problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });
WebMD Health

More Evidence That Socializing Helps Protect the Aging Brain

MONDAY, July 15, 2019 — Join a book club, take a cruise or just visit friends — new research supports the notion that social activities help stave off mental decline as you age.

The study found that seniors with high levels of an Alzheimer’s-linked protein in their brains were able to slow any mental decline if they got out and socialized regularly.

So, “social engagement may be an important marker of resilience” in older adults at risk of dementia, said senior author Dr. Nancy Donovan. She’s chief of geriatric psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

In the study, researchers tracked data on 217 men and women aged 63 to 89. These seniors were all taking part in the Harvard Aging Brain Study, a trial aimed at identifying early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

Participants started the study with no evidence of mental decline, but some had high levels of amyloid beta protein, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s that can be detected in brain scans.

The researchers assessed seniors’ levels of social engagement (such as spending time with friends and family, and doing volunteer work) and their mental (cognitive) function at the start of the study and again three years later.

Among seniors with high levels of amyloid beta, those with lower levels of social engagement at the start had greater mental decline after three years than those who were socially active, the findings showed.

This association was not seen among people with low levels of amyloid beta, according to the study, which was recently published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

“Social engagement and cognitive function are related to one another and appear to decline together,” Donovan said in a hospital news release.

Her team believes longer studies might add more insight into mental decline over time as well as Alzheimer’s progression.

“We want to understand the breadth of this issue in older people and how to intervene to protect high-risk individuals and preserve their health and well-being,” Donovan explained.

This study relied on a standard measure of social engagement that didn’t assess all the subtle effects of digital communication or all the impacts of relationships, the researchers noted.

A more comprehensive assessment could be valuable in future clinical trials of Alzheimer’s disease, the authors added.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about Alzheimer’s disease.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: July 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Brain Games: Mental Stimulation Keeps Dogs’ Minds Sharp

By Jodi Helmer

man playing with dog

Long walks and romps at the dog park keep your dog in top physical shape, but what about her mental health? Like their owners, dogs can have mental decline, says Leticia Fanucchi, DVM, a veterinarian and clinical instructor at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. “Dogs shouldn’t stop being mentally and physically active just because they get older,” she says.

A decline in thinking skills often affects dogs older than 8 years. Signs of canine mental decline include disorientation, changes in sleep/wake cycles, housetraining accidents, higher anxiety, and less desire for physical activity and social interaction. Dogs that have memory loss may have forgotten routine commands such as “sit” and “stay.”

Medications can help slow this decline, but a 2018 study found that mental stimulation could also improve brain health. Researchers at Messerli Research Institute in Vienna used a touchscreen to teach dogs simple computer games; the dogs received treats for getting the answers correct.

“These kinds of mental games help wake up areas of the brain that have been inactive,” Fanucchi says. The combination of sight, scent, and spatial orientation required to solve the puzzle helped make connections between different parts of the brain. The tasty reward motivated the dogs to stick with the activity.

While the touchscreen games used in lab research aren’t sold in stores (yet), Fanucchi suggests creating your own brain games at home. Offer your dog interactive toys that require her to move a puzzle piece or roll a cube to release a treat. And get your pet outside. Regular walks allow her to explore new sights, sounds, and smells, which can be mentally stimulating, and keeping her active during daylight hours can also help reset a confused sleep/wake cycle.

Don’t wait until your pet starts showing signs of doggie dementia to introduce brain training. “Mental stimulation benefits dogs of all ages and is especially important for older dogs,” Fanucchi says.

4 Questions

Worried about your older dog’s brain health? “Tell your vet about recent changes in your dog’s behavior,” says Fanucchi, and consider these questions.

Does your dog show signs of mental decline? Don’t assume that ignoring commands and having accidents in the house are signs of a defiant dog.

Could other health issues be causing these symptoms? Before diagnosing mental decline, Fanucchi says your vet will want to rule out endocrine issues, heart disease, and other medical conditions that could cause similar symptoms.

Is medication available? There is a medication approved to treat mental decline in dogs. Fanucchi suggests talking to your veterinarian about whether it’s right for your pet.

Will changes in diet help? Research shows that kibble made for senior dogs could help improve mental skills and slow decline. Ask about brain protection blends that contain triglycerides, B vitamins, and antioxidants.

Find more articles, browse back issues, and read the current issue of WebMD Magazine.

Sources

SOURCES:

Leticia Fanucchi, DVM, Washington State University, Pullman, WA.

Chapagain, D. Gerontology, February 2018.

Wallace, L. Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction, November 2018.

Szabo, D. Behavioural Processes, December 2018.

Pan, Y. Frontiers in Nutrition, December 2018.

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });
WebMD Health

Education, Intelligence Might Protect Your Brain

FRIDAY, June 14, 2019 — Being smart and highly educated may not prevent Alzheimer’s disease, but it appears to delay the disease’s impact on everyday life, a new study suggests.

Researchers can’t prove that that’s the case, but their data suggests it might be.

“Our study was designed to look for trends, not prove cause and effect, but the major implication of our study is that exposure to education and better cognitive performance when you’re younger can help preserve cognitive function for a while, even if it’s unlikely to change the course of the disease,” said study author Dr. Rebecca Gottesman. She’s a professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

For the study, Gottesman and her team collected data on 331 middle-aged and older people without dementia who were followed for 20 years and had brain scans as part of a separate study. The scans revealed how much plaques were in their brains, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s. The group included people with less than a high school education and those who went to college.

The researchers found that those with more education scored better on tests of memory and language than those with less education, no matter how much plaque their brains contained.

They also found that cognition scores in midlife did not affect the amounts of plaque found later in life.

“Our data suggest that more education seems to play a role as a form of cognitive reserve that helps people do better at baseline, but it doesn’t affect one’s actual level of decline,” Gottesman said in a university news release.

The report was published in the April issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

More information

For more about Alzheimer’s disease, visit the Alzheimer’s Association.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: June 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Brain Zoo Studios Working on Animated Mueller Report

L.A.-based Brain Zoo Studios and Julian August Productions are working on The Mueller Report: An Animated Series. The topical animated TV series hopes to make the report’s findings more accessible to the public. In the coming weeks, the partnership will launch a crowd-funding campaign through Kickstarter.

“Erick and I have received much positive feedback on the project. The report is a long legal document, and people have busy lives. We believe combining education and entertainment is the best way to communicate what is in the report to the general public.” said, Mo Davoudian, the Emmy-winning producer at Brain Zoo Studios and Julian August Productions.

“Mo and I feel it’s our patriotic duty to make this series and we believe everyone needs to know what is in the report. We have found others who feel this project is important, including Emmy-nominated voice actor John Di Domenico who will be the voice of Trump.” said, Erick Armelin producer at Brain Zoo Studios and Julian August Productions.

Actor John Di Domenico has been seen and heard as Trump since 2004 on
television, feature films, podcasts, web series, apps, games and hundreds of live shows around the world. For more info visit www.brainzoostudios.com

The Mueller Report: An Animated Series

The Mueller Report: An Animated Series

Animation Magazine

New Brain Cells Grow Later In Life Than We Think

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) — New research delivers fresh hope for everyone who struggles with a fading memory: Neurons continue to form well into old age, even in people with mental impairments or Alzheimer’s disease.

“We found that there was active neurogenesis [new neurons forming] in the hippocampus of older adults well into their 90s,” said study author Orly Lazarov, a professor of anatomy and cell biology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“The interesting thing is that we also saw some new neurons in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive [thinking] impairment,” she added in a university news release.

The findings could lead to new treatments for mental decline in older adults, the researchers said.

In the study, Lazarov and her colleagues examined hippocampus tissue from the brains of 18 people, average age 90.6 years, after they died.

The hippocampus is involved in the formation of memories and in learning.

On average, there were about 2,000 neural stem cells and 150,000 developing neurons in each brain.

While people with mental impairments and Alzheimer’s disease did have new neurons, their levels were significantly lower than in people with normal brain function, the researchers noted.

This is the first evidence of significant numbers of neural stem cells and newly developing neurons in the hippocampus of elderly adults, even in those with disorders that affect that part of the brain.

The researchers also found that people who scored better on tests of mental skills had more newly developing neurons in the hippocampus than those who scored lower on the tests, regardless of the level of disease in the brain.

“The mix of the effects of pathology and neurogenesis is complex and we don’t understand exactly how the two interconnect, but there is clearly a lot of variation from individual to individual,” Lazarov said.

“The fact that we found that neural stem cells and new neurons are present in the hippocampus of older adults means that if we can find a way to enhance neurogenesis, through a small molecule, for example, we may be able to slow or prevent cognitive decline in older adults, especially when it starts, which is when interventions can be most effective,” she said.

The findings were published May 23 in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE: University of Illinois at Chicago, news release, May 24, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });
WebMD Health

Could Alzheimer’s Spread Like Infection Throughout the Brain?

WEDNESDAY, May 1, 2019 — With findings that might alter the path of Alzheimer’s research, scientists say misfolded forms of two proteins appear to spread through patients’ brains similar to an infection.

The findings suggest that Alzheimer’s is a “double-prion” disorder. This discovery could help lead to new treatments that focus directly on prions, according to researchers from the University of California, San Francisco.

A prion is a misshapen protein that can force other copies of that protein into the same misfolded shape and spread in the brain. It’s best known for its role in bovine spongiform encephalopathy — “mad cow” disease — and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a degenerative brain disorder.

In the new research, the university team analyzed the brains of 75 Alzheimer’s patients after death and found self-propagating prion forms of the proteins amyloid beta and tau. Higher amounts of these prions were associated with early-onset Alzheimer’s and younger age at death.

Alzheimer’s patients have amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brain, but efforts to treat the disease by clearing out these inactive proteins have failed.

These new findings suggest that active amyloid beta and tau prions could drive Alzheimer’s and offer targets for effective treatment, according to the researchers.

“I believe this shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that amyloid beta and tau are both prions, and that Alzheimer’s disease is a double-prion disorder in which these two rogue proteins together destroy the brain,” said study senior author Dr. Stanley Prusiner, director of the UCSF Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases. Prusiner won a Nobel Prize in 1997 for discovering that prions were responsible for mad cow disease and CJD.

Prion levels also appear linked to patient longevity, he noted.

“We need a sea change in Alzheimer’s disease research, and that is what this paper does. This paper might catalyze a major change in AD research,” Prusiner said in a university news release.

For this study, the researchers used recently developed laboratory tests to rapidly measure prions in human tissue samples. They can reveal infectious prion levels in just days.

These tests “are a game-changer,” said study co-author William DeGrado, a UCSF professor of pharmaceutical chemistry.

In order to develop effective therapies and diagnostics, scientists must target the active prion forms, rather than the large amount of protein in plaques and tangles, DeGrado said.

The researchers hope that measuring the prion forms of amyloid beta and tau might lead to the development of drugs that either prevent them from forming or spreading, or help remove them before they cause damage.

The study was published May 1 in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more on Alzheimer’s disease.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: May 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Brain Scans Spot, Track Alzheimer’s

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Brain scans can improve diagnosis and management of Alzheimer’s disease, a new study claims.

Researchers assessed the use of PET scans to identify Alzheimer’s-related amyloid plaques in the brain. The study included more than 11,000 Medicare beneficiaries with mild thinking impairment or dementia of uncertain cause.

This scanning technique changed the diagnosis of the cause of mental impairment in more than one-third of the participants in the study.

The brain scan results also changed management — including the use of medications and counseling — in nearly two-thirds of cases, according to the study published April 2 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“These results present highly credible, large-scale evidence that amyloid PET imaging can be a powerful tool to improve the accuracy of Alzheimer’s diagnosis and lead to better medical management, especially in difficult-to-diagnose cases,” said study co-author Maria Carrillo, chief science officer of the Alzheimer’s Association.

“It is important that amyloid PET imaging be more broadly accessible to those who need it,” she added in an association news release.

Funding for the study came from Avid Radiopharmaceuticals Inc., General Electric Healthcare, and Life Molecular Imaging.

“We are impressed by the magnitude of these results, which make it clear that amyloid PET imaging can have a major impact on how we diagnose and care for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive decline,” said lead author Dr. Gil Rabinovici. He’s a professor of neurology at the Memory and Aging Center at the University of California, San Francisco.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but early diagnosis means that patients can receive treatment to manage symptoms and be directed to clinical trials for new drugs.

Early diagnosis also means that patients and families can plan for the future, including safety, care, legal and financial issues, and access resources and support programs, the researchers said.

In this study, the PET scans revealed that about one-third of patients previously diagnosed with Alzheimer’s had no significant amyloid buildup, and their Alzheimer’s diagnosis was reversed.

Continued

But in nearly half of patients not previously diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the PET scans revealed significant amyloid plaque buildup, resulting in a new diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.

One-third of the study participants who had previously been referred to Alzheimer’s clinical trials showed no sign of amyloid buildup based on PET scans. Based on those results, doctors were able to ensure that nearly all (93 percent) of patients referred to Alzheimer’s trials were amyloid-positive, which is critical to these trials’ success.

“Accurate diagnoses are critical to ensure patients are receiving the most appropriate treatments. In particular, Alzheimer’s medications can worsen cognitive decline in people with other brain diseases,” Rabinovici said.

“But perhaps more fundamentally, people who come into the clinic with concerns about memory problems want answers. An early, definitive diagnosis may allow individuals to be part of planning for the next phase of their lives and to make decisions that otherwise would eventually need to be made by others,” he said.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE: Alzheimer’s Association, news release, April 2, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });

Pagination

WebMD Health

Coffee on Your Mind? Even Thinking About It ‘Arouses’ the Brain

MONDAY, April 1, 2019 — Need a quick pick-me-up? Just thinking about a cup of joe can give you a mental boost, researchers say.

“Coffee is one of the most popular beverages and a lot is known about its physical effects,” said study co-author Sam Maglio, associate professor of management at the UNi. “Much less is known about its psychological meaning — in other words, how even seeing reminders of it can influence how we think.”

But Maglio said just looking at things that call coffee to mind can arouse a java junkie’s brain. It’s all due to what he called priming, in which exposure to cues about something can affect thoughts and behavior.

“People often encounter coffee-related cues, or think about coffee, without actually ingesting it,” Maglio said in a university news release. “We wanted to see if there was an association between coffee and arousal such that if we simply exposed people to coffee-related cues, their physiological arousal would increase, as it would if they had actually drank coffee.”

Arousal refers to the way specific brain areas get activated into a state of being alert, awake and attentive, according to the researchers. The trigger can be emotions, neurotransmitters in the brain — and even the caffeinated beverages we favor.

To check it out, Maglio and fellow University of Toronto researcher Eugene Chan compared coffee- and tea-related cues among participants from Western and Eastern cultures.

Those exposed to coffee-related cues perceived time as shorter and thought in more concrete, precise terms. Subjective and physiological arousal probably explains these effects, according to the study.

But everyone didn’t get the same boost. Coffee-related cues did not provoke as much arousal for participants from Eastern cultures, probably because they are not coffee-dominated cultures, Maglio said.

“In North America we have this image of a prototypical executive rushing off to an important meeting with a triple espresso in their hand. There’s this connection between drinking caffeine and arousal that may not exist in other cultures,” he said.

The study was published in the April issue of the journal Consciousness and Cognition.

Next up: Researchers will examine associations people have for different foods and beverages.

More information

The American Heart Association looks at coffee and your health.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: April 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Only Spoken Words Processed in Newly Discovered Brain Region

WEDNESDAY, March 27, 2019 — A dementia study has led researchers to a brain region that processes spoken, not written, words.

Northwestern University researchers worked with four patients who had a rare type of dementia called primary progressive aphasia (PPA), which destroys language.

Although able to hear and speak, they could not understand what was said out loud. However, they could still process written words. For example, if they read the word “hippopotamus,” they could identify a picture of a hippo. But if someone said the word “hippopotamus,” they couldn’t point to its picture.

Through their tests with these patients, the researchers were able to identify an area in the left brain that appears specialized to process spoken words.

“We always think of these degenerative diseases as causing widespread impairment, but in early stages, we’re learning that neurodegenerative disease can be selective with which areas of the brain it attacks,” said senior author Sandra Weintraub. She’s a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and neurology at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

“The fact that only the auditory words were impaired in these patients and their visual words were untouched leads us to believe we’ve identified a new area of the brain where raw sound information is transformed into auditory word images,” Weintraub explained in a university news release.

Because the study included only four patients, the findings are preliminary. But the study authors said further research could improve understanding of this type of dementia and lead to therapies for it that focus on written, rather than spoken, communication.

“It’s typically very frustrating for patients with PPA and their families,” said Weintraub. “The person looks fine, they’re not limping and yet they’re a different person. It means having to readjust to this person and learning new ways to communicate.”

The study was published March 21 in the journal Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology.

More information

The National Aphasia Association has more on primary progressive aphasia.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: March 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews