Social Neuroscience Advances
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Social Neuroscience Advances
Understanding ourselves and how we interact
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Predicting Who May Develop Alzheimer’s, and Who May Not

Predicting Who May Develop Alzheimer’s, and Who May Not | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Investigators have wondered why the brains of some cognitively-intact elderly individuals have abundant pathology on autopsy or significant amyloid deposition on neuroimaging that are characteristic of Alzheimer disease (AD). Researchers reporting in the American Journal of Pathology investigated biochemical factors and identified differences in proteins from parietal cortex synapses between patients with and those without manifestation of dementia. Specifically, early-stage AD patients had elevated concentrations of synaptic soluble amyloid-β (Aβ) oligomers compared to controls who were not demented but displayed signs of AD pathology. Synapse-associated hyperphosphorylated tau (p-tau) levels did not increase until late-stage AD.

 

"Investigators examined whether synaptic Aβ levels were associated with neuritic plaque levels in the parietal cortex. They found little or no evidence of Aβ immunolabeling in either of the control groups but observed a rise in synaptic Aβ concentration associated with increasing neuropathologic disease stages. Synaptic Aβ levels highly correlated with the occurrence of plaque. Image is for illustrative purposes only."


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Solution for Side Effects of Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy Treatment

Solution for Side Effects of Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy Treatment | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
It is estimated that 46.8 million people worldwide are living with dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease the most common form.

Now researchers from the University of Southampton have discovered a possible solution for side effects seen in immunotherapy treatment for Alzheimer’s.

Immunotherapy is a promising strategy for the treatment of Alzheimer’s that uses antibodies to stimulate the immune system to remove pieces of a protein called amyloid beta which accumulates in the brain (in deposits known as plaques) and is thought to be a major factor driving Alzheimer’s neurodegenerative effects.

Antibodies directed against amyloid beta have been able to successfully clear plaques and reverse cognitive deficits in mouse models. However, despite this success, clinical trials using these antibodies caused inflammatory side effects in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients, in particular amyloid-related imaging abnormalities (ARIA), which results in small bleeds and dangerous brain swelling.

The multidisciplinary Southampton team, led by Dr Jessica Teeling, and in collaboration with Lundbeck (a multinational pharmaceutical company based in Denmark), engineered three antibodies to change the way they engage cells in the immune system. They found that small but precise changes in the anti-amyloid antibodies preserved the immunotherapeutic activity without the inflammatory side effects.

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Alzheimer’s Plaques Impair Memory Formation During Sleep

Alzheimer’s Plaques Impair Memory Formation During Sleep | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Image representing the slow waves in the brain, which spread out normally during sleep (left). This process is severely disrupted by the β -amyloid plaques (center). The disruption is reversed by administering a benzodiazepine (right). Credit: Marc Aurel Busche / TUM.

 

Protein deposits associated with dementia influence brain activity during sleep.

Alzheimer’s patients frequently suffer from sleep disorders, mostly even before they become forgetful. Furthermore, it is known that sleep plays a very important role in memory formation. Researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have now been able to show for the first time how the pathological changes in the brain act on the information-storing processes during sleep. Using animal models, they were able to decode the exact mechanism and alleviate the impairment with medicinal agents.

The sleep slow waves, also known as slow oscillations, which our brain generates at night, have a particular role in consolidating what we have learned and in shifting memories into long-term storage. These waves are formed via a network of nerve cells in the brain’s cortex, and then spread out into other parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus.

“These waves are a kind of signal through which these areas of the brain send mutual confirmation to say ‘I am ready, the exchange of information can go ahead’. Therefore, there is a high degree of coherence between very distant nerve cell networks during sleep”, explains Dr. Marc Aurel Busche, scientist at the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at TUM University Hospital Klinikum rechts der Isar and TUM Institute of Neuroscience. Together with Dr. Arthur Konnerth from the Institute of Neurosciences, he headed the study which was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.


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New Imaging Method Increases Chance of Early Detection for Alzheimer’s Disease

New Imaging Method Increases Chance of Early Detection for Alzheimer’s Disease | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Opinions have long been divided as to whether cerebrospinal fluid samples or PET imaging are the best tools for detecting early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Image is for illustrative purposes only. Credit: NIH.

 

"A method for detecting early signs of Alzheimer’s disease using amyloid PET imaging works as well as the previously used cerebrospinal fluid sample method. This is the conclusion of a new Lund University study – the most thorough and extensive undertaken in the field so far.

The most commonly used tools for investigating early signs of Alzheimer’s disease in Swedish public healthcare are various cognitive memory tests and computed tomography. For several years it has also been possible to carry out an analysis of a cerebrospinal fluid sample which increases the chances of early detection. So far, however, only patients in memory clinics have been offered the test.

Recently, a method known as amyloid PET was approved for clinical use in Sweden. A special substance which binds to a protein in the brain, β-amyloid, is administered to the patient. This amyloid is a marker for Alzheimer’s changes, which are then mapped with PET imaging.

Opinions have long been divided as to whether cerebrospinal fluid samples or PET imaging are the best tools for detecting early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

“In the study, both the cerebrospinal fluid sample and the amyloid PET scans were able to identify approximately 90 per cent of the patients who would be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s later on. Our conclusion is therefore that the two methods work equally well to achieve this aim. One can thus choose the method on the basis of cost, expertise or patient preference”, says Sebastian Palmqvist, MD, PhD, at Lund University."


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Low Vitamin D Levels Associated with Cognitive Decline and Alzheimer’s in Older People

Low Vitamin D Levels Associated with Cognitive Decline and Alzheimer’s in Older People | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
According to a new study, vitamin D deficiency in elderly people is highly correlated with accelerated cognitive decline and memory loss, two symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease.

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Researchers Discover a Potential Protective Shield From Alzheimer’s Disease

Researchers Discover a Potential Protective Shield From Alzheimer’s Disease | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
ApoE2 appears to have neuroprotective properties and could be key in the fight against Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study.

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Study: Harnessing a virtual reality brain training game to diagnose mild cognitive impairment (MCI) | SharpBrains

Study: Harnessing a virtual reality brain training game to diagnose mild cognitive impairment (MCI) | SharpBrains | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Vir­tual real­ity brain train­ing game can detect mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment, a con­di­tion that often pre­dates Alzheimer’s dis­ease (press release):

“Geek researchers demon­strated the poten­tial of a vir­tual super­mar­ket cog­ni­tive train­ing game as a screen­ing tool for patients with mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment (MCI) among a sam­ple of older adults…

In an arti­cle pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease, the researchers have indi­cated that the vir­tual super­mar­ket (VSM) appli­ca­tion displayed…a level of diag­nos­tic accu­racy sim­i­lar to stan­dard­ized neu­ropsy­cho­log­i­cal tests, which are the gold stan­dard for MCI screen­ing. Patients with MCI can live inde­pen­dently and not all such patients progress to AD. There­fore the global effort against cog­ni­tive dis­or­ders is focused on early detec­tion at the MCI stage…

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Why People with Down Syndrome Invariably Develop Alzheimer's Disease

Why People with Down Syndrome Invariably Develop Alzheimer's Disease | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

Amyloid plaques are found in the brains of people with Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. Credit Juan Gartner.

 

Study reveals how the SNX27 protein regulates the generation of beta amyloid.

 

A new study by researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute reveals the process that leads to changes in the brains of individuals with Down syndrome—the same changes that cause dementia in Alzheimer’s patients. The findings, published in Cell Reports, have important implications for the development of treatments that can prevent damage in neuronal connectivity and brain function in Down syndrome and other neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Down syndrome is characterized by an extra copy of chromosome 21 and is the most common chromosome abnormality in humans. It occurs in about one per 700 babies in the United States, and is associated with a mild to moderate intellectual disability. Down syndrome is also associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. By the age of 40, nearly 100 percent of all individuals with Down syndrome develop the changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease, and approximately 25 percent of people with Down syndrome show signs of Alzheimer’s-type dementia by the age of 35, and 75 percent by age 65. As the life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent years—from 25 in 1983 to 60 today—research aimed to understand the cause of conditions that affect their quality of life are essential.


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Magnetic brain stimulation treatment shown to boost memory

Magnetic brain stimulation treatment shown to boost memory | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Non-invasive transcranial technique leads to 24-hour-long improvement in memory function and could lead to new treatments for Alzheimer's and other conditions

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Antidepressant May Slow Alzheimer’s Disease

Antidepressant May Slow Alzheimer’s Disease | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
A commonly prescribed antidepressant can reduce production of the main ingredient in Alzheimer’s brain plaques, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Pennsylvania.

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New Understanding of Cause of Alzheimer’s Symptoms - Amyloid Plaques Could Be Strangling Blood Vessels

New Understanding of Cause of Alzheimer’s Symptoms - Amyloid Plaques Could Be Strangling Blood Vessels | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
A new study reports amyloid plaques could be strangling blood vessels and this could account for memory loss and other Alzheimer's symptoms.

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Are Prions behind All Neurodegenerative Diseases?

Are Prions behind All Neurodegenerative Diseases? | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Evidence mounts that chain reactions involving toxic proteins link Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and more

 

Alzheimer's disease (bottom) destroys neurons in many areas of the brain, including those responsible for memory.


MAGGIE STEBER Getty Images
-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com


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Scientists Learn How to Use Skin Samples from Older Patients to Create Old Brain Cells for Research

Scientists Learn How to Use Skin Samples from Older Patients to Create Old Brain Cells for Research | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
The new technique allows scientists to study diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s using cells from human patients

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Study Shows Direct Relationship Between Alzheimer’s Tau Protein and Cholesterol

Study Shows Direct Relationship Between Alzheimer’s Tau Protein and Cholesterol | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
We have known for some years that Alzheimer’s disease is characterised by two types of lesions, amyloid plaques and degenerated tau protein. Cholesterol plays an important role in the physiopathology of this disease. Two French research teams (Inserm/CEA/University of Lille/University of Paris-Sud ) have just shown, in a rodent model, that overexpressing an enzyme that can eliminate excess cholesterol from the brain may have a beneficial action on the tau component of the disease, and completely correct it. This is the first time that a direct relationship has been shown between the tau component of Alzheimer’s disease and cholesterol. This work is published in the 10 September 2015 issue of Human Molecular Genetics.

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Resveratrol Impacts Alzheimer’s Disease Biomarker

Resveratrol Impacts Alzheimer’s Disease Biomarker | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
The largest nationwide clinical trial to study high-dose resveratrol long-term in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease found that a biomarker that declines when the disease progresses was stabilized in people who took the purified form of resveratrol.

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Alzheimer’s Diagnostic Tests Inch Forward, but Treatments Are Still Lacking

Alzheimer’s Diagnostic Tests Inch Forward, but Treatments Are Still Lacking | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Researchers are trying to develop ways to more quickly and accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s, which might lead to better treatments and understanding in the future

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Bilingualism delays Alzheimer's manifestation by more than four years

Bilingualism delays Alzheimer's manifestation by more than four years | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

"A new study at Ghent University has established that the symptoms of Alzheimer disease (AD) manifest themselves about four to five years later in bilinguals as opposed to monolinguals. In bilinguals, the disease onset was estimated at the age of 77, while in monolinguals, this was at the age of 73.

"Between March 2013 and May 2014, 69 monolingual and 65 bilingual Belgian patients suffering from probable Alzheimer's disease (AD) participated in the study. Psychologists Evy Woumans, Michaël Stevens, and Wouter Duyck, together with neurologists Patrick Santens, Anne Sieben, and Jan Versijpt determined the age of AD manifestation and AD diagnosis for both language groups."

 

Summary from Learning & the Brain Society Newsletter - January 2015

Bilingualism delays Alzheimer's manifestation by more than four years 

Science Daily

 

A new study at Ghent University has established that the symptoms of Alzheimer disease (AD) manifest themselves about four to five years later in bilinguals as opposed to monolinguals. In bilinguals, the disease onset was estimated at the age of 77, while in monolinguals, this was at the age of 73. Results showed that the age of AD manifestation was 71.5 in monolinguals and 76.1 in bilinguals. A similar difference was found for the age of AD diagnosis; for monolinguals this was 72.5 and for bilinguals it was 77.3. Analyses controlled for other confounding factors, such as education, profession & socioeconomic status, which actually had a negative effect.


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Mari Arellano's comment, May 10, 5:18 PM
Wow!! this is another factor why educators should support dual immersion programs.
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Long term use of benzodiazepine for anxiety & sleep disorders can increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Long term use of benzodiazepine for anxiety & sleep disorders can increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

This case-control study based on 8980 individuals representative of elderly people living in the community in Quebec showed that the risk of Alzheimer’s disease was increased by 43-51% among those who had used benzodiazepines in the past. Risk increased with density of exposure and when long acting benzodiazepines were used. Further adjustment on symptoms thought to be potential prodromes for dementia—such as depression, anxiety, or sleep disorders—did not meaningfully alter the results.


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Analysis of African Plant Reveals Possible Treatment for Aging Brain

Analysis of African Plant Reveals Possible Treatment for Aging Brain | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Salk scientists find that a plant used for centuries by healers of São Tomé e Príncipe holds lessons for modern medicine.

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Antidepressant Holds Promise in Treating Alzheimer's Agitation - 02/18/2014

The antidepressant drug citalopram, sold under the brand names Celexa and Cipramil and also available as a generic medication, significantly relieved agitation in a group of patients with Alzheimer's disease. In lower doses than those tested, the drug might be safer than antipsychotic drugs currently used to treat the condition, according to results of a clinical trial led by Johns Hopkins researchers that included seven other academic medical centers in the United States and Canada.

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