News Round-Up: April 2009 4th Edition

Research In Dementia

A longitudinal study with post-mortem showed an association between Alzheimer’s Disease and evidence of vascular remodelling – alphavbeta3 immunoreactivity. This was also correlated with ABeta located in the hippocampus (Desai et al, 2009)(STT5). An association between amnestic mild cognitive impairment and cholinergic basal forebrain volume was found in this MRI study (Muth et al, 2009)(STT4). A recent study  showed evidence of a neuroprotective role of Methylene blue in a model of optic neuropathy further supporting evidence from last year again as a neuroprotective agent in neurodegenerative processes (Rojas et al, 2009)(STT4). The authors of a Cochrane review concluded that Rivastigmine was effective in the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s Disease after reviewing the results of 9 trials with a combined total of 4775 participants (Birks et al, 2009)(STT3).

News In Brief

Playing Baroque music at work improved the productivity and mood of radiologists in this study.  An intriguing finding is that proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole have been shown to reduce the inflammatory response of microglia and the authors speculate as to whether this might impact on conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease which would need further investigation. Humanin peptide which has a role in cell death has also been found to strongly influence glucose metabolism offering a potential link between glucose metabolism and neurodegenerative processes. A prospective study showed evidence of an increased association with Alzheimer’s Disease in ‘heavy’ users of NSAID’s which have previously been suggested to have a protective effect. Stigma and perceptions about memory were found to influence memory performance in older adults in this study. Improved research methodology has been recommended for studies looking at delivery of psychological therapies in older adults. Two compounds have been identified which modify the action of insulin-degrading enzyme on A-Beta offering another potential therapeutic approach in Alzheimer’s Disease.

A Portuguese study has found that the two leading cause of alcohol related mortality are liver disease and car accidents. Research has further supported the association of the MPDZ and alcohol dependency. An M1 Acetycholine agonist has been recently discovered. Over 3000 genes that are differentially expressed within a 24-hour period have been identified. An increase in the number of neonates born with withdrawal syndrome has been reported in this Australian study – a 40 fold increase from 1980. A Finnish group has been characterising a subgroup of children with delayed speech and walking and it will be interesting to follow further research in this area. A Canadian study provides evidence of an association between perinatal factors and the comorbidity of ADHD and Tourette syndrome. A number of studies have been presented at a meeting recently identifying a link between sleep disorders and risk of type II diabetes and obesity – and this is covered in more detail here. Similar research found that a 2.5 fold increased prevalence of diabetes II was associated with sleeping less than 7 or more than 8 hours a night which may be relevant to previous epidemiological data on sleep duration.


Birks J et al. Rivastigmine for Alzheimer’s Disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009. Apr 15. 2.

Desai B et al. Evidence of angiogenic vessels in Alzheimer’s Disease. J Neural Transm. 2009. April. Epub.

Muth K et al. Mild Cognitive Impairment in the elderly is associated with volume loss of the cholinergic basal forebrain region. Biol Psychiatry. 2009. April. Epub.

Rojas J et al. Methylene blue provides behavioral and metabolic neuroprotection against optic neuropathy. Neurotox Res. 2009. Apr. 15(3). 260-73.

Steps To Treatment (STT)

STT = Steps To Treatment. An estimate of the number of steps between the results and translation into practice i.e. treatment. This is an opinion.


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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.

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