News Roundup: March 2009 1st Edition

News in Brief

Below are links to coverage of recent studies including the effects of various cognitive training programs on memory and a number of cellular models in neurodegenerative processes .

Research in Dementia and Related Areas

A four-fold increase in cognitive impairment in cardiac failure discussed here. Discussion of Fasudil which could be trialled in dementia here. Regulation of blood flow through cerebral arteries could allow perfusion of tissues after a stroke. The potential benefits of BDNF in dementia although clinical trial results are pending. Evidence for the influence of cognitive training on D1 receptors. Discussion of a review of combining different drug classes in dementia and the research that is needed in this area. A meta-analysis looking at trials examining the effects of cognitive training in healthy elderly and progression of dementia and finding no benefit although more research is needed in this area.  The results of a study looking at an off-road driving test that is used to make predictions of driving safety in Alzheimer’s Disease. Another study shows benefits on attention and memory for a cognitive training program. Another study providing evidence that cortical atrophy using MRI can be used to assess risk of conversion from MCI to Alzheimer’s Disease. Results from the ACCORD study providing evidence of an association between glycosylated haemoglobin levels and performance on four cognitive tasks. A randomised-controlled trial of software for improving speed on certain cognitive tasks showed evidence of an improvement on memory tasks. A study looking at retrospective recall of exercise patterns showed a positive association between increased exercise and decreasing risk of developing memory loss. A study is showing a 74% increase in case of diabetes in the UK between 1997 and 2003 which is of significance in terms of another recent study looking at the relationship between dementia and diabetes.

fMRI studies supporting the sensory recruitment hypothesis which states that memories of a percept are stored in the area in which the perception occurs. A longitudinal study showing an association between longer working hours and performance on cognitive tasks. One group report 80% accuracy in predicting which visual patterns a person is retaining in memory based on the fMRI data.

Further supporting evidence for the protective role of alpha secretase against Alzheimer’s Disease. Using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance imaging, a team has been able to identify the structure of a residue on the Tau Protein. The GPR3 protein as a potential therapeutic target in Alzheimer’s Disease. A study which suggests that the formation of memories involving NMDA receptors occurs selectively during sleep. Evidence that stimulating the immunce system with CpG ODN’s may be a useful mechanism for exploring amyloid plaque reduction in research in Alzheimer’s Disease. Evidence that ABeta4 clearance in the brain may be influenced by blood levels of ABeta4. A new model of Alzheimer’s Disease has been proposed in which netrin-1 is involved in creating synaptic connections and the amyloid plaque in breaking synaptic connections. Preliminatry evidence suggests that a constituent of Soybeans can degrade amloid fibrils. Recent research suggests that a protein – Modifier for Cell Adhesion (MOCA) may play a role in a number of neurodegenerative conditions. A possible role for PARK9 in manganese processing. Sodium phenylbutyrate is suggested as a new therapeutic approach to be examined in Alzheimer’s Disease. A computational model – ResponseNet has been used to investigate the actions of proteins in Parkinson’s Disease.

Research in Psychosis

There is evidence that copy number variants may play a role in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. Post-partum psychosis is associated with age this reported study.

Research In Mood Disorders

A brief discussion of an article reviewing neurobiological factors in depression. A longitudinal study identifies risk factors for development of depression in adolescence. Research looking at mortality in Bipolar Disorder.


A study providing different lines of evidence suggesting that President Obama’s presidential campaign has been correlated with a reduction in racism. A study showing that natural sounding sentences with false statements elicited larger evoked response potentials than similar sentences without false statements. A study looking at how people responded to exposure to the traumatic events (such as 911) covered in the media and finding that people had many helpful ways of coping.

An association between the glucorticoid receptor and abuse in childhood has been shown in one study. Circumstantial evidence suggests that deficiencies in monoamine levels can be compensated for.  Research showing that mortality rates from alcohol in men are twice those of women in Scotland. Recent research showing benefits of dextroamphetamine in speech processing in Broca’s Aphasia. This is interesting in relation to the treatment of thought disorder using antipsychotic medication.

Evidence suggesting is that GTF21 is associated with social behavioural performance and GTF2IRD1 is associated with visuo-spatial performance in Williams Syndrome. Evidence that a protein, Nup214, regulating passage of material through the nuclear pore complex plays a role in unpacking RNA. There is a study showing that having extra copies of the LIS1 gene may result in changes in neural development and is associated with learning disability in children. When the LIS1 gene is missing, lissencepaly results. A study suggesting 2 genes – CaIDAG-GEFI and CaIDAG-GEFII that are implicated in side effects from L-DOPA therapy in Parkinson’s Disease. Genetic variations in a specific amino acid coded for by the HLA-DRB1 gene has been associated with susceptibility to Multiple Sclerosis. Elucidating the interaction between rhodopsin and transducin in visual processing in the retina. A very interesting finding was reported on suggesting that during an infection, a reticular network is laid down in the brain which guides immune cells.

The recent construction of a connectome  suggests that genetics play a small role in the formation of connections in the nervous system. Preliminary results suggest that game playing robots that respond to physiological data are associated with a number of positive outcomes in children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. A recent study looks at the complex impact of online publications. An imaging study showing an association between activity in the insular cortex in response to near misses in a gambling task and scores on a questionnaire indicative of problem gambling. A study showed a reduction in functional impairment following a CVA, with the use of tPA. An fMRI study suggesting that exercise modifies visualisation of cigarettes in smokers. Research showing that pigeons and baboons are capable of same-difference discriminations.


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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.

One comment

  1. […] Someone I’ve heard of created an interesting post today on News Roundup: March 2009 1st Edition The Amazing World of …Here’s a short outlineThe Amazing World of Psychiatry: A Psychiatry Blog … A meta-analysis looking at trials examining the effects of cognitive training in healthy elderly and progression of dementia and finding no benefit although more research is needed in this area. The results of a study looking at an off-road driving test that is used to make predictions of driving safety in Alzheimer’s Disease. Another study shows benefits on attention and memory for a cognitive training program. … […]


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