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Mitochondrial and Brain Stuff....New Discoveries and ?????

Discussion in 'The Epi-Paleo Diet' started by chocolate, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. Joann

    Joann New Member

    Chocolate! I am amazed by you! love that you post the data!



    Thank You!
     
  2. chocolate

    chocolate Silver

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120507154101.htm

    Defective Carnitine Metabolism May Play Role in Autism



    ScienceDaily (May 7, 2012) — The deletion of part of a gene that plays a role in the synthesis of carnitine -- an amino acid derivative that helps the body use fat for energy -- may play a role in milder forms of autism, said a group of researchers led by those at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital.
     
  3. chocolate

    chocolate Silver

    Easter Island drug raises cognition throughout life span



    Cognitive skills such as learning and memory diminish with age in everyone, and the drop-off is steepest in Alzheimer’s disease. Texas scientists seeking a way to prevent this decline reported exciting results this week with a drug that has Polynesian roots.



    The researchers, appointed in the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, added rapamycin to the diet of healthy mice throughout the rodents’ life span. Rapamycin, a bacterial product first isolated from soil on Easter Island, enhanced learning and memory in young mice and improved these faculties in old mice, the study showed.

    “We made the young ones learn, and remember what they learned, better than what is normal,” said Veronica Galvan, Ph.D., assistant professor of physiology at the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, part of the UT Health Science Center. “Among the older mice, the ones fed with a diet including rapamycin actually showed an improvement, negating the normal decline that you see in these functions with age.”



    The drug also lowered anxiety and depressive-like behavior in the mice, Dr. Galvan said. Anxiety and depression are factors that impair human cognitive performance. Lead author Jonathan Halloran conducted scientifically reliable tests to accurately measure these cognitive components in the rodents.



    Venturing into the open



    Mice are burrowers that prefer tunnels with walls. To observe behavior, Halloran used an elevated maze of tunnels that led to a catwalk. “All of a sudden the mice are in open space,” Halloran said. “It’s pretty far from the floor for their size, sort of like if a person is hiking and suddenly the trail gets steep. It’s pretty far down and not so comfortable.”

    Mice with less anxiety were more curious to explore the catwalk. “We observed that the mice fed with a diet containing rapamycin spent significantly more time out in the open arms of the catwalk than the animals fed with a regular diet,” Halloran said.



    The second test measured depressive-like behavior in the rodents. Mice do not like to be held by their tails, which is the way they are moved from cage to cage. Inevitably they struggle to find a way out. “So we can measure how much and how often they struggle as a measure of the motivation they have to get out of an uncomfortable situation,” Dr. Galvan said.

    Rapamycin acts like an antidepressant



    Some mice barely struggle to get free, but if an antidepressant is administered they struggle a lot more. This behavior is very sensitive to the action of antidepressants and is a reliable measure of whether a drug is acting like an antidepressant, Dr. Galvan said.



    “We found rapamycin acts like an antidepressant — it increases the time the mice are trying to get out of the situation,” she said. “They don’t give up; they struggle more.”




    The reductions of anxiety and depressive-like behavior in rapamycin-treated mice held true for all ages tested, from 4 months of age (college age in human years) to 12 months old (the equivalent of middle age) to 25 months old (advanced age).



    Feel-good chemicals elevated



    The researchers measured levels of three “happy, feel-good” neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. All were significantly augmented in the midbrains of mice treated with rapamycin. “This is super-interesting, something we are going to pursue in the lab,” Dr. Galvan said.



    Dr. Galvan and her team published research in 2010 showing that rapamycin rescues learning and memory in mice with Alzheimer’s-like deficits. The elevation of the three neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers in the brain, may explain how rapamycin accomplished this, Dr. Galvan said.



    Rapamycin is an antifungal agent administered to transplant patients to prevent organ rejection. The drug is named for Rapa Nui, the Polynesian title for Easter Island. This island, 2,000 miles from any population centers, is the famed site of nearly 900 mysterious monolithic statues.


    I guess fungi are the enemy. I was just remembering serotonin was made in the gut. I can't find what sort of food supports its manufacture. I bet it isn't carbs.
     
  4. chocolate

    chocolate Silver

    http://www.psypost.org/2012/07/years-before-diagnosis-quality-of-life-declines-for-parkinsons-disease-patients-12590



    Years before diagnosis, quality of life declines for Parkinson’s disease patients
     
  5. chocolate

    chocolate Silver

    http://esciencenews.com/articles/2012/07/10/nutrient.mixture.improves.memory.patients.with.early.alzheimers



    Nutrient mixture improves memory in patients with early Alzheimer's

    Published: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - 13:05 in Health & Medicine



    A clinical trial of an Alzheimer's disease treatment developed at MIT has found that the nutrient cocktail can improve memory in patients with early Alzheimer's. The results confirm and expand the findings of an earlier trial of the nutritional supplement, which is designed to promote new connections between brain cells. Alzheimer's patients gradually lose those connections, known as synapses, leading to memory loss and other cognitive impairments. The supplement mixture, known as Souvenaid, appears to stimulate growth of new synapses, says Richard Wurtman, a professor emeritus of brain and cognitive sciences at MIT who invented the nutrient mixture.



    "You want to improve the numbers of synapses, not by slowing their degradation -- though of course you'd love to do that too -- but rather by increasing the formation of the synapses," Wurtman says.



    To do that, Wurtman came up with a mixture of three naturally occurring dietary compounds: choline, uridine and the omega-3 fatty acid DHA. Choline can be found in meats, nuts and eggs, and omega-3 fatty acids are found in a variety of sources, including fish, eggs, flaxseed and meat from grass-fed animals. Uridine is produced by the liver and kidney, and is present in some foods as a component of RNA.



    These nutrients are precursors to the lipid molecules that, along with specific proteins, make up brain-cell membranes, which form synapses. To be effective, all three precursors must be administered together.



    Results of the clinical trial, conducted in Europe, appear in the July 10 online edition of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. The new findings are encouraging because very few clinical trials have produced consistent improvement in Alzheimer's patients, says Jeffrey Cummings, director of the Cleveland Clinic's Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.



    "Memory loss is the central characteristic of Alzheimer's, so something that improves memory would be of great interest," says Cummings, who was not part of the research team.



    Plans for commercial release of the supplement are not finalized, according to Nutricia, the company testing and marketing Souvenaid, but it will likely be available in Europe first. Nutricia is the specialized health care division of the food company Danone, known as Dannon in the United States.



    Making connectionsWurtman first came up with the idea of targeting synapse loss to combat Alzheimer's about 10 years ago. In animal studies, he showed that his dietary cocktail boosted the number of dendritic spines, or small outcroppings of neural membranes, found in brain cells. These spines are necessary to form new synapses between neurons.



    Following the successful animal studies, Philip Scheltens, director of the Alzheimer Center at VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, led a clinical trial in Europe involving 225 patients with mild Alzheimer's. The patients drank Souvenaid or a control beverage daily for three months.



    That study, first reported in 2008, found that 40 percent of patients who consumed the drink improved in a test of verbal memory, while 24 percent of patients who received the control drink improved their performance.



    The new study, performed in several European countries and overseen by Scheltens as principal investigator, followed 259 patients for six months. Patients, whether taking Souvenaid or a placebo, improved their verbal-memory performance for the first three months, but the placebo patients deteriorated during the following three months, while the Souvenaid patients continued to improve. For this trial, the researchers used more comprehensive memory tests taken from the neuropsychological test battery, often used to assess Alzheimer's patients in clinical research.



    Patients showed a very high compliance rate: About 97 percent of the patients followed the regimen throughout the study, and no serious side effects were seen.



    Both clinical trials were sponsored by Nutricia. MIT has patented the mixture of nutrients used in the study, and Nutricia holds the exclusive license on the patent.


    more on the link
     
  6. chocolate

    chocolate Silver

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1202753



    Clinical and Biomarker Changes in Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer's Disease
     
  7. chocolate

    chocolate Silver

    http://esciencenews.com/sources/science.daily/2012/07/17/sodium.buildup.brain.linked.disability.multiple.sclerosis





    Sodium buildup in brain linked to disability in multiple sclerosis



     
  8. chocolate

    chocolate Silver

    http://www.psypost.org/2012/07/drug-shown-to-improve-memory-in-those-with-down-syndrome-12912

    Drug shown to improve memory in those with Down syndromeResearchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine have found a drug that boosts memory function in those with Down syndrome, a major milestone in the treatment of this genetic disorder that could significantly improve quality of life.



    “Before now there had never been any positive results in attempts to improve cognitive abilities in persons with Down syndrome through medication,” said Alberto Costa, MD, Ph.D., who led the four- year study at the CU School of Medicine. “This is the first time we have been able to move the needle at all and that means improvement is possible.”



    The study was published today in the journal Translational Psychiatry.



    Costa, an associate professor of medicine, and his colleagues studied 38 adolescents and young adults with Down syndrome. Half took the drug memantine, used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, and the others took a placebo.



    Costa’s research team hypothesized that memantine, which improved memory in mice with Down syndrome, could increase test scores of young adults with the disorder in the area of spatial and episodic memory, functions associated with the hippocampus region of the brain.



    Participants underwent a 16-week course of either memantine or a placebo while scientists compared the adaptive and cognitive function of the two groups.



    While they found no major difference between the groups in adaptive and most measures of cognitive ability, researchers discovered that those taking memantine showed significant improvement in verbal episodic memory. One of the lowest functioning individuals in the study saw a ten-fold increase in memory skills.



    “People who took the medicine and memorized long lists of words did significantly better than those who took the placebo,” said Costa, a neuroscientist specializing in Down syndrome research. “This is a first step in a longer quest to see how we can improve the quality of life for those with Down syndrome.”



    Currently, there are drugs that treat the symptoms of medical conditions associated with Down syndrome but nothing to improve brain function.



    But in 2007 Costa demonstrated that memantine could improve memory in mice with Down syndrome. He then set out to replicate those findings in a human trial of the drug.



    “This is an excellent example of translational science,” he said. “We took a drug that worked well in mice and we tested it in humans with positive results.”

    Although the trial was small, the results could have far-reaching implications. Costa said a follow-up study was needed using a larger group of people with Down syndrome. Another important step will be to pursue studies with younger, school-age participants with Down syndrome. They would have more rapidly developing brains and, since they are in school, would be routinely tested so the effects of the drug could be closely monitored. That could take as little as five years.



    Researchers also want to know if memantine can ward off the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in those with Down syndrome. The two conditions show striking similarities and researchers are actively exploring how they may be linked. Babies born with Down syndrome, for example, often carry the biological markers for Alzheimer’s disease.



    “Everyone with Down syndrome will develop Alzheimer’s disease pathology by their mid-30s,” Costa said. “We would like to know if this drug can slow down or even halt the development of that disease in adults with Down syndrome.”



    Memantine works by normalizing the function of a glutamate receptor in the brain known as the N-methyl-D-aspartate or the NMDA receptor.

    “This receptor plays a central role in memory and learning,” Costa said.



    Given the small size of the study and the need for more research, Costa stressed that people should not start taking memantine for Down syndrome. Although it has proven safe and well-tolerated by the study participants, researchers urge caution, saying more work needs to be done to determine if this is a viable treatment option.



    Our study is a significant and hopeful sign that certain drugs can enhance the intellectual capacity of those with Down syndrome,” he said. “For more than 30 years we have been unable to impact cognition in Down syndrome. Now it appears that we may be able to.”



    Costa has a major stake in improving the lives of those with Down syndrome, the most common cause of intellectual disability. He has a 17-year-old daughter with the condition.



    “For me this research is not merely academic,” he said. “It’s personal.”



    The CU School of Medicine’s work on Down syndrome has resulted in it being chosen as one of nine national testing centers for a new drug manufactured by F. Hoffmann-La Roche LTD aimed at improving memory in adults with Down syndrome. Costa is the principal investigator of the Colorado center.



    He will give a lecture about his latest research July 20 in Washington D.C. at the 2012 Annual Meeting & Clinical Symposium of the Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group – USA. The conference is being held from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Marriott Wardman Park, 2660 Woodley Rd. NW
    .



    The other researchers in the study included Richard Boada, Ph.D., Christa Hutaff-Lee, Ph.D., David Weitzenkamp, Ph.D., Timothy A. Benke, MD, Ph.D. and Edward J. Goldson, MD.



    The trial was funded by Forest Research Institute Investigator Initiated Grant NAM-58. During the course of this study, Costa was also supported in part by grants from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.



    “I also am grateful to the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation, the Linda Crnic Institute and the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities for believing in my research all these years. This work would not have been possible without their support in these harsh economic times,” Costa said.
     
  9. chocolate

    chocolate Silver

    http://www.hindawi.com/journals/oximed/2012/921941/



    Research ArticleQuercetin and Sesamin Protect Dopaminergic Cells from MPP+-Induced Neuroinflammation in a Microglial (N9)-Neuronal (PC12) Coculture System

     
  10. chocolate

    chocolate Silver

    http://www.psypost.org/2012/08/rejected-alzheimers-drug-shows-new-potential-13163



    Rejected Alzheimer’s drug shows new potential

     
  11. chocolate

    chocolate Silver

    http://www.livescience.com/22292-how-depression-shrinks-brain.html



    Article:

    How Depression Shrinks the Brain

     
  12. chocolate

    chocolate Silver

    http://www.psypost.org/2012/08/good-news-migraines-hurt-your-head-but-not-your-brain-13338

    Good news: Migraines hurt your head but not your brain
     
  13. chocolate

    chocolate Silver

    http://www.psypost.org/2012/08/blood-test-for-alzheimers-gaining-ground-13340

    Blood test for Alzheimer’s gaining ground
     
  14. chocolate

    chocolate Silver

    http://www.psypost.org/2012/08/black-belts-white-matter-shows-how-a-powerful-punch-comes-from-the-brain-13361



     
  15. chocolate

    chocolate Silver

    http://www.psypost.org/2012/08/acute-stress-alters-control-of-gene-activity-13370
     
  16. chocolate

    chocolate Silver

    http://www.livescience.com/22436-age-revealed-by-brain-scans.html

    Age Revealed By Brain Scans

     
  17. chocolate

    chocolate Silver

    http://www.psypost.org/2012/08/secrets-of-superager-brains-that-look-and-act-decades-younger-than-their-age-13418

     
  18. chocolate

    chocolate Silver

    http://www.psypost.org/2012/08/study-reveals-the-brains-mysterious-switchboard-operator-13424

    Study reveals the brain’s mysterious switchboard operatorA mysterious region deep in the human brain could be where we sort through the onslaught of stimuli from the outside world and focus on the information most important to our behavior and survival, Princeton University researchers have found.



    The researchers report in the journal Science that an area of our brain called the pulvinar regulates communication between clusters of brain cells as our brain focuses on the people and objects that need our attention. Like a switchboard operator, the pulvinar makes sure that separate areas of the visual cortex — which processes visual information — are communicating about the same external information, explained lead author Yuri Saalmann, an associate research scholar in the Princeton Neuroscience Institute (PNI). Without guidance from the pulvinar, an important observation such as an oncoming bus as one is crossing the street could get lost in a jumble of other stimuli.



    Saalmann said these findings on how the brain transmits information could lead to new ways of understanding and treating attention-related disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and schizophrenia. Saalmann worked with senior researcher Sabine Kastner, a professor in the Department of Psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute; and PNI researchers Xin Li, a research assistant; Mark Pinsk, a professional specialist; and Liang Wang, a postdoctoral research associate.



    The researchers developed a new technique to trace direct communication between clusters of neurons in the visual cortex and the pulvinar. The team produced neural connection maps using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), then placed electrodes along those identified communication paths to monitor brain signals of macaques. The researchers trained the monkeys to play a video game during which they used visual cues to find a specific shape surrounded by distracting information. As the macaques focused, Saalmann and his colleagues could see that the pulvinar controlled which parts of the visual cortex sent and received signals.



    Saalmann explains the Princeton findings as follows:



    “A fundamental problem for the brain is that there is too much information in our natural environment for it to be processed in detail at the same time. The brain instead selectively focuses on, or attends to, the people and objects most relevant to our behavior at the time and filters out the rest. For instance, as we cross a busy city street, our brain blocks out the bustle of the crowd behind us to concentrate more on an oncoming bus.

    The transmission of behaviorally relevant information between various parts of the brain is tightly synchronized. As one brain area sends a signal about our environment, such as that a bus is approaching, another brain area is ready to receive it and respond, such as by having us cross the street faster. A persistent question in neuroscience, though, is how exactly do different brain areas synchronize so that important information isn’t lost in the other stimuli flooding our brains.



    “Our study suggests that a mysterious area in the center of the brain called the pulvinar acts as a switchboard operator between areas on the brain’s surface known as the visual cortex, which processes visual information. When we pay attention to important visual information, the pulvinar makes sure that information passing between clusters of neurons is consistent and relevant to our behavior.


    >“These results could advance the understanding of the neural mechanisms of selective attention and how the brain transmits information. This is a necessary step in developing effective treatment strategies for medical disorders characterized by a failure of attention mechanisms. These conditions include ADHD, schizophrenia and spatial neglect, which is an inability to detect stimuli often observed following stroke.



    “For our study, we trained monkeys to play a video game in which they paid attention to visual cues in order to detect different target shapes. We simultaneously recorded brain activity in the pulvinar and two different areas of the visual cortex. We could see a clear connective path from one portion of the cortex to another, as well as connective paths from the pulvinar to the cortex. When the monkeys paid attention to the visual cues, the pulvinar sent electrical pulses to synchronize particular groups of brain cells in the visual cortex to allow them to communicate effectively.



    “A challenge in this study was that we needed to record the activity of cells that were ‘speaking’ directly with each other so we could trace the line of communication. But there are billions of brain cells. Traditionally, finding a cell-to-cell connection is as likely as randomly selecting two people talking on cell phones in different parts of New York City and discovering that they were speaking to each other.



    “To ‘listen in’ on a direct cell conversation, we developed a new approach of using electrodes to record groups of brain cells that were anatomically connected. We first mapped neural connections in the brain via diffusion tensor imaging, which uses an MRI scanner to measure the movement of water along neural connections. We then used these images to implant electrodes at the endpoints of the neural connections shared by the pulvinar and the visual cortex.



    “Our mapping of these communication networks and our finding that the pulvinar is vital to attention prompts a new consideration of the mechanisms behind higher cognitive function. We challenge the common notion that these functions depend exclusively on the cerebral cortex, the outermost layer of the brain responsible for decision-making, attention and language, among other abilities. It also suggests that the prevailing view that visual information is transmitted solely through a network of areas in the visual cortex needs to be revised to include the pulvinar as an important regulator of neural transmission.”



    The paper “The Pulvinar Regulates Information Transmission Between Cortical Areas Based on Attention Demands” was published Aug. 10 by Science, and was supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.
     
  19. chocolate

    chocolate Silver

    http://www.sciencecodex.com/evolutionary_increase_in_size_of_the_human_brain_explained-96827

    Evolutionary increase in size of the human brain explained

     
  20. chocolate

    chocolate Silver

    http://www.nature.com/news/nerve-growth-protein-linked-to-ovulation-1.11239

     

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