Higlights of Canadian research and policy news.

This news brought to you by the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program and brainXchange. 

Brain Lesions Associated with High Blood Pressure


Monday, July 16, 2018

Research out of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago has found a link between blood pressure and lesions in the brain. After following 1288 older adults until death, the researchers looked at their brain composition and compared it to the average blood pressure of their participants. Those who had higher average systolic blood pressure were at an increased risk of developing brain lesions. There was also a dose response:  the higher the blood pressure, the higher the chance of lesions.

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Brain Lesions Associated with High Blood Pressure

Monday, July 16, 2018

Research out of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago has found a link between blood pressure and lesions in the brain. After following 1288 older adults until death, the researchers looked at their brain composition and compared it to the average blood pressure of their participants. Those who had higher average systolic blood pressure were at an increased risk of developing brain lesions. There was also a dose response:  the higher the blood pressure, the higher the chance of lesions.

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Drug Trial Success in Combating Alzheimer's Disease

Monday, July 16, 2018

Drug development for dementia has been bleak for years, with a failure rate of 99.6%. After years of failed amyloid targeted approaches to drug development, the outlook was bleak. However, there is new hope after the Biogen drug company found statistically significant results for slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The drug, BAN2401, is a late-stage antibody that targets beta-amyloid proteins and was found to reduce progression at 18 months. After an initial failed result at 12 months, the company was thrilled to find positive results after 18 months.

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Multi-Testing Cognition Leads to Obscured Results

Monday, July 16, 2018

In the preliminary stages of Alzheimer’s disease, conducting cognitive tests is vital to early diagnosis. The University of California San Diego School of Medicine conducted research on middle-aged men and found a “practice effect” when testing for cognition. Six years after initial testing, researchers retested the 995 men, as well as a cohort of 170 men who had not done the testing before. Differences in the two groups were used to differentiate the practice effect.

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Sleep Quality Affects Risk of Dementia

Monday, July 9, 2018

Research from the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre has found that oxygen deprivations, particularly during sleep, can change the temporal lobes in the brain. Lead researcher Dr. Sharon Naismith explained, “in our study what we've shown is that oxygen desaturation during sleep apnoea is likely to be contributing to changes in memory and the changes in the brain.” This study is the first of its kind, and although a cure for dementia is not available, treating sleep apnoea is easy.

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Aspirin the Miracle Drug

Monday, July 9, 2018

Aspirin has long been used as a pain reliever as well as a treatment for cardiovascular diseases. Now studies are linking the drug to reduced pathology for Alzheimer’s disease. In mice models, low doses of aspirin were found to reduce amyloid plaques through activating lysosomes. Research found that aspirin upregulated Transcription factor EB (TFEB), which plays a large role in regulating the creation of lysosomes. Aspirin was also found to activate peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARa) which stimulates TFEB.

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Sarcopenic Obesity Linked to Dementia Risk

Monday, July 9, 2018

Research out of Florida Atlantic University’ Comprehensive Center for Brain Health has linked sarcopenic obesity, or skinny fat, with dementia risk. Skinny fat is a condition in which the body has low muscle mass and high body fat.  The research looked at 353 participants cognitive ability in relation to their body composition. Sarcopenic obesity was associated with the lowest scores on global cognition, followed by sarcopenia alone, then obesity alone. Obesity is seen as having an additive effect on the cognitive decline through metabolic, inflammatory, and vascular mechanisms.

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Microglial Cell's Role in the Brain: Cleaning Machines

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The University of Virginia School of Medicine has dove into developing a better understanding of microglial cells. In terms of injury response, microglial cells are the debris removal system. They respond with precision and quickly engulf damaged material while leaving the healthy cells alone.

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Metals in the Brain and Their Role in Alzheimer's Disease Explored

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Research out of the University of Warwick discovered that magnetite, an iron-species, was a component found in amyloid protein plaques that are not normally found in the human brain. Their evidence suggests that these metals form when iron and amyloid plaques interact in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. The team found these results from extracting amyloid plaque cores from two brains that had Alzheimer’s disease. Using a powerful X-ray microscope the chemical properties of the minerals in the cores were analyzed. Dr.

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Obesity Can Exacerbate Risk of Developing Alzheimer's Disease

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A study out of Brock University has found that areas of the brain respond differently to Alzheimer’s disease risk factors. Researchers investigated how mouse models responded to a high sugar and fat diet in regards to insulin signalling, inflammation, and cellular stress. Along with a control, the mice were separated into a young and old cohort. After 13 weeks of the prescribed diet, the brains of the mice were compared, investigating the prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus.

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