Home' Intouch : In Touch Autumn 2015 Contents AUTUMN 2015 IN TOUCH 11
BRAIN CELLS MAY PREVENT DEMENTIA
Researchers from Stanford University’s School of Medicine
have found that fully functioning microglia can prevent
neurodegeneration in mice. Microglia are supportive brain cells
that constitute approximately 10 to 15 per cent of total brain
cells and assist in maintaining normal brain function. When
microglia lose their ability to function, amyloid beta proteins can
build up in the brain, inducing toxic inflammation that may lead
to Alzheimer’s disease.
Degeneration of microglia is predominately due to a protein
known as EP2. Blocking the action of EP2 restors the ability
of microglia to reduce brain inflammation and clear the toxic
markers that cause cell death, preventing cognitive decline in
Alzheimer’s -afflicted mice.
The Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation is
currently funding a two-year research fellowship to explore the
interaction of microglia and amyloid beta, particularly in relation
to those who already have Alzheimer’s disease.
Source: Journal of Clinical Investigation jci.org
BRAIN TRAINING MODERATELY EFFECTIVE
A recent review of scientific literature by Australian researchers
has found that computerised brain training is only modestly
effective at improving cognitive performance in healthy adults.
This finding was published in PLOS Medicine by Associate
Professor Michael Valenzuela and his colleagues from the Brain
and Mind Research Institute at the University of Sydney.
The researchers are now planning additional research into
computerised brain-training, and Associate Professor Valenzuela
was awarded $700,000 to lead a clinical trial to determine
whether intensive computerised training can stop the progress
of cognitive decline and the onset of dementia.
Source: PLOS Medicine plosmedicine.org
HEIGHT AND DEMENTIA RISK
Researchers recently analysed more than 180,000 British
medical records from 1994 to 2008 across 18 different
population cohort studies. When the researchers looked
specifically at the 1093 deaths attributed to dementia, they
found that height was associated with a more favourable risk
factor profile in both men and women, but it’s likely the link is
correlative, rather than causative.
“Short height in itself of course does not ‘cause’ dementia,”
explains senior researcher on the study Dr David Batty. “Rather,
height captures a number of early life factors, including early-life
illness, adversity, poor nutrition and psychosocial stress, and so
allows us to examine the effect of these factors on dementia
The researchers cited evidence from previous studies
showing that shorter stature is related to an increased risk
of cardiovascular disease, which is also linked to dementia
risk. They are now planning to assess the role of hormones,
specifically IGF-1, in dementia risk.
Source: British Journal of Psychiatry bjp.rcpsych.org
CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS – FALLS RESEARCH
Researchers at Neuroscience Research Australia are
investigating whether a tailored exercise and hazard-reduction
program can reduce the rate of falls in older people with
cognitive impairment or dementia living at home. Falls are the
leading cause of injury-related hospitalisation for people aged
over 65, and people with dementia or impaired cognition have
twice the falls risk of the general population. There are no
proven strategies to prevent falls for people with dementia.
The team of occupational therapy and physiotherapy
researchers, led by Professor Jacqui Close are looking for
people with dementia and their carers to be involved in the
study, which goes for 12 months. The study is able to enrol
people from the inner city, eastern, southern and northern
Sydney metropolitan areas, and is not limited by Local Health
To find out more, contact Sandra O’Rourke
T: (02) 9399 1851
WHILE BRAIN TRAINING CAN
IMPROVE MEMORY AND
SPEED, IT DOESN’T SEEM TO
HAVE AN IMPACT ON ATTENTION
OR EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS SUCH
AS IMPULSE CONTROL, PLANNING
AND PROBLEM SOLVING.
27/03/15 1:32 PM
Links Archive In Touch Summer 2014 In Touch Winter 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page