For the first time, researchers have demonstrated that narrowing of the carotid artery in the neck without any symptoms may be linked to problems in learning, memory, thinking and decision-making, compared to people with similar risk factors but no narrowing in the neck artery, according to a study that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 66th Annual Meeting, April 26 to May 3, 2014.
“To date, the focus of diagnosis and management of carotid artery blockages has been prevention of stroke since that was the only harm that these blockages were thought to cause to patients,” says Brajesh Lal, with the VA Maryland Health Care System’s Baltimore VA Medical Center and the Univ. of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. “These results underscore the importance of assessing the status of memory and thinking in people with carotid artery narrowing.”
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/04/narrowing-neck-artery-may-signal-memory-thinking-decline
Krypton Accurately Dates Antarctic Ice
A team of scientists has successfully identified the age of 120,000-year-old Antarctic ice using radiometric krypton dating – a new technique that may allow them to locate and date ice that is more than a million years old.
The ability to discover ancient ice is critical, the researchers say, because it will allow them to reconstruct the climate much farther back into Earth’s history and potentially understand the mechanisms that have triggered the planet to shift into and out of ice ages.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/04/krypton-accurately-dates-antarctic-ice
'Buddy' Program Pairs Alzheimer's Patients, Students
At age 80, retired Chicago physician and educator Dan Winship is getting a bittersweet last chance to teach about medicine — only this time he’s the subject. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, Winship is giving a young medical student a close-up look at a devastating illness affecting millions of patients worldwide.
The two are part of a “buddy” program pairing doctors-to-be with dementia patients, pioneered at Northwestern Univ. and adopted at a handful of other medical schools.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/03/buddy-program-pairs-alzheimers-patients-students
Stem Cells May Turn Clock Back on Aging Muscles
A study co-published in Nature Medicine this week by Univ. of Toronto researcher Penney Gilbert has determined a stem cell-based method for restoring strength to damaged skeletal muscles of the elderly.
Skeletal muscles are some of the most important muscles in the body, supporting functions such as sitting, standing, blinking and swallowing. In aging individuals, the function of these muscles significantly decreases.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/02/stem-cells-may-turn-clock-back-aging-muscles
Genetic Mechanism Links Aging to Specific Diets
Your best friend swears by the Paleo Diet. Your boss loves Atkins. Your sister is gluten-free, and your roommate is an acolyte of Michael Pollan. So who’s right? Maybe they all are.
In new research published this month in Cell Metabolism, Univ. of Southern California scientists Sean Curran and Shanshan Pang identify a collection of genes that allow an organism to adapt to different diets and show that without them, even minor tweaks to diet can cause premature aging and death.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/01/genetic-mechanism-links-aging-specific-diets
Happy People Have Better Physical Function as They Age
People who enjoy life maintain better physical function in daily activities and keep up faster walking speeds as they age, compared with people who enjoy life less, according to a new study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
A study of 3,199 men and women aged 60 years or over living in England looked at the link between positive well-being and physical well-being, following participants over eight years. Participants were divided into three age categories: 60–69, 70–79 and 80 years or over. Researchers from Univ. College London (UCL) assessed participants’ enjoyment of life with a four-point scale, rating the following questions: “I enjoy the things that I do,” “I enjoy being in the company of others,” “On balance, I look back on my life with a sense of happiness” and “I feel full of energy these days.” Researchers used personal interviews to determine whether participants had impairments in daily activities such as getting out of bed, getting dressed, bathing or showering. They gauged walking speed with a gait test.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/01/happy-people-have-better-physical-function-they-age
It’s not that younger people are able to remember more than older people. Their memories seem better because they are able to retrieve them in higher definition. So says Philip Ko of Vanderbilt Univ., in a study that sheds light on how differences in the behavioral and neural activity of younger and older adults influence the different generations’ ability to store and recall memories. The findings appear in the journal Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, published by Springer.
Under the mentorship of Brandon Ally, Ko led the research team to focus on visual working memory, a person’s ability to briefly retain a limited amount of visual information in the absence of visual stimuli. Their examination of why this function is reduced during the course of healthy aging took the multiple stages of encoding, maintenance and the retrieval of memorized information into account.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/01/young-people-have-high-def-memories
Exercises meant to boost mental sharpness can benefit older adults as many as 10 years after they received the cognitive training, researchers say.
In a study published online by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, a multi-institutional team of researchers reported that older adults who had participated in the mental exercise programs reported less difficulty with everyday tasks of living than were those who had not participated, even after 10 years had passed.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/01/benefits-mental-training-last-10-years
Biology Puzzle: Why Do People Deteriorate?
Considering the enormous effort that goes into creating an entire organism from scratch, it seems odd that they degrade with time: after all, maintenance of the body should be a relatively minor task. Since deterioration with age (in humans this might be less elastic skin, weakening bones or memory loss) confers no advantage to the individual, why it happens has long been a puzzle to biologists. The esteemed Peter Medawar referred to it as “an unsolved problem of biology.”
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/01/biology-puzzle-why-do-people-deteriorate
People Can Self-administer Reliable Memory Test
The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE test) , which takes less than 15 minutes to complete, is a reliable tool for evaluating cognitive abilities. Findings by researchers at The Ohio State Univ. Wexner Medical Center confirming the feasibility and efficiency of the tool for community screening large numbers of people are published in the January issue of The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences.
Memory disorders researchers visited 45 community events where they asked people to take a simple, self-administered test to screen for early cognitive loss or dementia. Of the 1,047 people who took the simple pen-and-paper test, 28 percent were identified with cognitive impairment, says Douglas Scharre, who developed the test with his team at Ohio State.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/01/people-can-self-administer-reliable-memory-test
A successful joint collaboration between researchers at the Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem and the startup company TyrNovo may lead to a potential treatment of brain diseases. The researchers found that TyrNovo’s novel compound, named NT219, selectively inhibits the process of aging in order to protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases, without affecting lifespan. This is the first towards the development of future drugs for the treatment of various neurodegenerative maladies.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/12/compound-slows-aging-may-treat-brain-diseases
Age-related cognitive decline and changes in the nervous system are closely linked, but up until recently, they were thought to result from the loss of neurons in areas such as the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain important in working memory. A series of papers have shown that the “loss of neurons” concept is simply not true. Now, Mount Sinai scientists have begun to look elsewhere, focusing instead on synaptic health in the prefrontal cortex. Their work, published online in PNAS, shows that synaptic health in the brain is closely linked to cognitive decline. Further, the scientists show that estrogen restores synaptic health and also improves working memory.
“We are increasingly convinced that maintenance of synaptic health as we age, rather than rescuing cognition later, is critically important in preventing age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease,” says the study’s senior author, John Morrison, Dean of Basic Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/12/cognitive-decline-linked-brain-synapses
Using scores obtained from cognitive tests, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers think they have developed a model that could help determine whether memory loss in older adults is benign or a stop on the way to Alzheimer’s disease. The risk of developing dementia increases markedly when a person is diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, a noticeable and measurable decline in intellectual abilities that does not seriously interfere with daily life. But physicians have no reliable way to predict which people with mild cognitive impairment are likely to be in the five to 10 percent a year who progress to dementia.
In a proof-of-concept study, the Johns Hopkins investigators analyzed records of 528 people age 60 and over, who were referred to the Johns Hopkins Medical Psychology Clinic for cognitive testing as part of a dementia work-up between 1996 and 2004. The results were compared to those of 135 healthy older adults who participated in a study of normal aging. Both groups completed tests of memory, language, attention, processing speed and drawing abilities from which 13 scores were recorded.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/11/research-may-aid-early-detection-dementia
Protein Deficiency Heightens Susceptibility to West Nile
A Yale study has uncovered a key genetic mechanism that may determine a person’s susceptibility to the ravages of West Nile virus. The study appears in the Advance Online Publication of Nature Immunology. West Nile virus is transmitted primarily by mosquitos. The elderly and people with suppressed immune systems are most susceptible to its effects, which include fever, headache, muscle pains and various neurological diseases such as meningitis.
The Yale researchers focused on the protein ELF4, which is a transcription factor that controls the cellular signaling and flow of genetic information. Working with mice, they discovered that ELF4, when activated by viral infection, directly impacts the production of interferon. This induction of interferon is the key event that launches a cascade of responses in the innate immune system to fight viruses and other pathogens. The Yale team also discovered that ELF4 deficiency does the opposite — it leads to reduced interferon production, which results in greater susceptibility to West Nile virus encephalitis.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/11/protein-deficiency-heightens-susceptibility-west-nile