Researchers undertook a meta-analysis of 22 studies looking at the relationship between Mediterranean Diet adherence and risk for a number of diseases. They found a significant relationship between high adherence to the Mediterranean diet and reduced risk for Depression and Stroke as well as for cognitive impairment.
A Cochrane Database Systematic Review investigated Rivastigmine in the treatment of Vascular Dementia and Vascular Mild Cognitive Impairment. The researchers identified only three trials (n=800) with two trials showing no benefit but a third showing some benefit for cognition at 24 weeks versus placebo in Vascular Dementia (n=710). Nevertheless it will be interesting to see the findings in further meta-analyses as more studies become available for inclusion.
An intriguing Swedish study has looked at the effects of Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors (ACHEI’s) on the risk of developing myocardial infarcts in people being treated for Alzheimer’s Disease (this included people with Alzheimer’s Mixed Dementia). This was a cohort study (n=7073) using data from the Swedish Dementia Register and national registers for other health outcomes. Amongst other findings the researchers found that people taking the highest dose of AChEI’s had a significantly lower risk of developing Myocardial Infarcts relative to the control group who had not used them. In this cases the hazard ratio was 0.35 (95% Confidence Interval 0.19-0.64).
Nevertheless studies of this type although good at finding possible relationships require further different types of studies to investigate these relationships more closely. It will be interesting to see the results of further studies in this area to clarify the nature of these initial findings.
One or more reported episodes of Delirium occurred in 25% of people with Lewy Body Dementia in comparison with 7% of people with Alzheimer’s Disease in this retrospective study (n=180).
There is a write-up here about a consortium of organisations referred to as the ‘Global Alliance’ that are developing standards to share information about the human genome as well as clinical data. This has the potential to facilitate research in human genetics.
There is a write-up here of a study in which the researchers found a significant relationship between the width of the retinal venules (blood vessels on the back of the eye) and IQ in their subjects. It will be interesting to see the results of further replication studies.
In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers have used a statistical model to investigate the origins of languages. The researchers concluded in their analysis that several groups of Eurasian languages had their roots in a 15,000 year old language.
A fossil dating back 55 million years found in China is thought to be amongst the earliest Primates. The species has been named Archicebus and is just over 7 cm in length although there are similarly sized extant Primates (see video below). The dating of the specimen is relatively close to the end of the Cretaceous period. The expansion of the arboreal primates is an important stage in human evolution with some adaptations to this environment being conserved. This specimen may not have given rise to our lineage ultimately although in that case there are still likely to be important similarities to our ancestors at that time.
Pygmy Marmosets (Smallest Extant Primate)
There is evidence that one species of Lemur undergoes hibernation for up to 8 months of the year. This is the second Primate species that has been found to undergo hibernation.
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