Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease and a Possible Origin for Placental Mammals 65 Million Years Ago: New Roundup February 2013 1st Edition (Updated 10.2.13)

The Alzheimer’s Research Forum has just expanded and added to their risk factor database for Alzheiemer’s Disease which includes a meta-analysis of study data on the 10 risk factors they include.

Researchers have looked at gene variants in older adults and children. Hypothesising that gene variants that were more common in older adults promoted longevity and those more common in children did not, the researchers identified 4 gene variants which potentially increase lifespan. These genes were mainly involved in alternative splicing.  Alternative splicing is a process which enables many different proteins to be coded for by a single gene.

Scientific American have an interesting piece on a man who couldn’t speak and who was studied by the French Neurologist Paul Broca. The man had a lesion in the brain which Broca hypothesised as being responsible for his difficulties with speech. This area was subsequently named as Broca’s area.

Neuroscience

Researchers in one study looked at activity in the Visual Cortex in subjects who were presented with combinations of danger and safety-associated visual stimuli. The researchers monitored visual cortex activity using Electroencephalography. The researchers found that the visual cortex processed stimuli differently depending on their emotional content. The researchers were interested in the effects of anxiety disorders on visual processing and they concluded that visual processing was influenced by fear provoking (auditory) stimuli even in healthy subjects. This has implications for understanding the processing of stimuli in anxiety disorders.

via (@Neuroskeptic) one research group have looked at variations of folk tales using techniques from population genetics research. There were over 700 variations on the studied folk tale. The researchers found that population boundaries and geographical location strongly influenced the folk tales. These findings have wider application in the study of cultural variation.

Psychiatry 2.0

There is an interesting paper via (@Neuroskeptic) which discusses an approach to publishing neuroimaging data as part of the open data movement.

Conferences

The Alzheimer’s Research Forum have a write-up on the 7th Human Amyloid Imaging Conference in Florida. The write-up includes a look at some of the work going on with Tau tracer compounds 18F-T807 and T808.

Evolutionary Psychiatry

Researchers investigating the origin of placental mammals looked at 4500 physical characteristics in 86 mammal species many of which are extinct. They have identified a now extinct mammal as the likely progenitor of all placental mammals. This species was likely to be a mouse-sized insectivore.

Appendix

News Round-Up 2008-2011

News Round-Up 2012

Index: There are indices for the TAWOP site here and here Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. Responses: If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

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