Older adults at risk for stroke have significantly increased risk for some types of cognitive decline, according to a multicenter study led by University of California scientists. The study, which involved 73 older women and men who had not had a stroke and did not have dementia, showed that participants had substantially greater risk for decline in some aspects of “executive function” – specifically in verbal fluency and the ability to ignore irrelevant information. Verbal memory and short term, or “working memory,” were not affected.
The extent to which we move through our environments as we carry out our daily lives – from home to garden to workplace and beyond – has more significance than we might imagine. Researchers at Rush University Medical Center have discovered that our “life space” is intimately linked with cognitive function. In a study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, now posted online, researchers found that seniors who had a constricted life space were almost twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as seniors whose life space extended well beyond the home.
Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Baltimore VA Medical Center found that Parkinson’s patients who walked on a treadmill at a comfortable speed for a longer duration (low-intensity exercise) improved their walking more than patients who walked for less time but at an increased speed and incline (high-intensity exercise). The investigators also found benefits for stretching and resistance exercises. Included in this report is a video summary of the research results with the lead researcher.
Results of the first randomized, placebo-controlled long-term clinical trial show the investigational drug safinamide may reduce dyskinesia or involuntary movements in mid-to-late stage Parkinson’s disease. The findings will be presented as late-breaking research at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Honolulu, Hawaii.
A study performed by researchers at Boulder Neurosurgical Associates and the University of Colorado at Boulder suggests that more optimistic patient expectation and mental health are significant factors that lead to improved clinical outcomes and higher patient satisfaction scores following cervical spine surgery. The results of this study, The Effects of Preoperative SF-36 Mental Component Summary Scores and Patient Pain Expectations on Clinical Outcomes Following Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion, will be presented by Alan T. Villavicencio, MD, 2:40-2:49 pm, Tuesday, April 12, during the 79th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in Denver. Co-authors are Frances A. Carr, BA, Theresa D. Hernández, PhD, Kyle M. Healy, BA, Ewell L. Nelson, MD, Alexander Mason, MD, Sharad Rajpal, MD, and Sigita Burneikiene, MD.
New research shows that pomegranate juice may help to reduce blood pressure. Researcher Dr. Emad Al-Dujaili from Queen Margaret University will present the findings at the 2011 Society for Endocrinology conference in Birmingham, UK.
In recent years supplementation with Vitamin D has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in people who are deficient in the vitamin. Now new research from the Georgia Prevention Institute at Georgia Health Sciences University in Augusta indicates that supplementation with the “sunshine vitamin” may be particularly beneficial for overweight African-American adults, a population at increased risk for both CVD and Vitamin D deficiency.
The healthy brain has balance of excitatory and inhibitory signals that stimulate activity but also keep it under control. Some brain diseases, like autism and Down’s syndrome, have too much inhibition, which impairs cognitive functions. Reducing inhibition appears to improve cognition, and it can restore juvenile plasticity in the adult brain, making it more adaptable. Scientists want to recapture this plasticity to enhance recovery from stroke or brain injury and to treat people suffering from developmental or degenerative brain disorders. Now, a new MIT study using a common antidepressant that coincidentally reduces neural inhibition shows how this “disinhibition” works in ways that might be used therapeutically.