3rd November 2010 News Round-Up: Autosomal Alzheimer’s Disease Trials and Core Expertise in Psychiatry

There is a very interesting article in ‘The Psychiatrist’ about the identity of psychiatrists or more specifically the areas of core expertise (Craddock et al, 2010). Craddock and colleagues propose 9 core attributes of the psychiatrist which include a broad biopsychosocial perspective, using a broad knowledge of biology and ‘clinically relevant aspects of neuroscience’ as well as advocating for people with a mental illness.

The Alzheimer’s Forum have a four part series on a London conference examining research trials for autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s Disease and Huntington’s Disease. Participants at the conference were particularly interested in how drugs targetting amyloid plaques could be used prophylactically in the presymptomatic phase. There was also discussion of how biomarkers could be useful in evaluating disease progression in research trials. The report also draws attention to the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer’s Network.

A comparison of 56 older adult marathon runners (>60 years) and an inactive control group (n=58) using a neuropsychological test battery (CERAD and Vienna neuropsychological test battery) found a significant improvement on only the five point test for the marathon group. The marathon group did not show increased BDNF levels which has been associated with exercise. However this was a cross-sectional study and a longitudinal cross-over design might offer other insights into the relationship between running and cognition in older adults.

There was a small study which involved comparing post-mortem examinations of the brains of people who had Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD) and Alzheimer’s Disease with a control group. The researchers concluded that there was a decrease in the protein SNAP-25 in the FTLD group. The group also found that SNAP-25 levels were further decreased by the presence of the APOE4 epsilon 4 allele.

The researchers in a small Positron Emission Tomography (PET) study and part of the Osaki-Tajiri project found that administration of Donepezil was associated with both an improvement in visual hallucinations in 50% of participants as well as a reduction in metabolism in the medial occipital cortex in subjects with Lewy Body Dementia. The relationship between acetylcholine and visual hallucinations in other disorders has been discussed elsewhere and it will be interesting to see further replication of this work particularly in terms of the localisation of hypometabolism.

Vaughan Bell has another Spike Activity post which includes a link to a piece on the genetics of mental illness.

Ed Yong has another episode of ‘I’ve got your missing links‘ and there are some interesting links to a post on twitter and academic grades as well as the relationship between public communication and citation index of academic articles.

References

Craddock N et al. Core Experise of the Psychiatrist. The Psychiatrist. November 10. Vol 34. Issue 11. pp457-459. 2010.

Index: An index of the site can be found here. The page contains links to all of the articles in the blog in chronological order. 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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