At the Alzheimer’s Forum there is a document outlining the work of the Michael J Fox Foundation which has established a multicentre study to investigate the biomarkers that could usefully predict progression of Parkinson’s Disease – The Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative. The approach is analogous to that of the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative and the researchers are focusing on alpha-synuclein, DJ-1, ABeta peptide, blood urate levels and CSF tau.
There’s an interesting study looking at frontal lobe symptoms in people with (probable) Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) and Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD). The sample size is large (n=559) with the global deterioration scale being used to assess severity and the Middelheim Frontality Score being used to assess frontal lobe function. The researchers found that AD and LBD severity were significantly associated with increasing Middelheim Frontality scores but the same relationship didn’t hold for FTD. However Middelheim Frontality score was significantly higher in the FTD group than for the other two groups regardless of severity. In the research setting this might be useful in further characterising the pathology of AD and LBD as the illnesses progress and it would be interesting to see further work investigating the association with behavioural changes.
There is a recent report from the longitudinal German Study on Aging, Cognition and Dementia in Primary Care Patients (AgeCoDe) on anticholinergics in which the researchers cite a hazard ratio for dementia of 2.081. The study recruits people over the age of 75 and there are more details here. It will be interesting to see further work in this area and the implications may be complex and dependent on comorbidity but are also relevant to the Beer’s Criterion.
The researchers in a 5-year prospective study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry examined people with schizophrenia or bipolar depression or both, with and without diabetes. For those with diabetes the hazards mortality ratio for schizophrenia was 1.84 (95% CI 1.42-2.40) and for bipolar disorder was 1.47 (95% CI 1.07-2.02). This emphasises further the importance of recognising physical and mental illness comorbidities and this has been the focus of various studies and initiatives. Studies such as these can be helpful in evaluating and influencing such initiatives.
Dr Shock links to an interesting TED video on cooking, human evolution and the enteric nervous system here.
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