Archive for December, 2008


Drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s patients’ cognitive symptoms are also a safe and effective therapy for behavioral and psychological symptoms such as aggression, wandering and paranoia, according to a study by U.S. Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine, published in the December issue of Clinical Interventions in Aging.

They reviewed nine studies that examined the effectiveness of three popular cholinesterase inhibitors in managing Alzheimer’s patients’ behavioral and psychological symptoms, and found the drugs were effective at the same dosage used to improve cognitive impairment.

About 90 percent of Alzheimer’s patients have behavioral and psychological symptoms.

Cholinesterase inhibitors boost levels of a brain chemical called acetylcholine, which assists memory, thought and judgment.

There is a need for safe alternatives to the antipsychotic drugs currently used to manage the behavioral and psychological symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The results of the studies analyzed are encouraging and suggestive that cholinesterase inhibitors are safe and effective alternatives.

However, cholinesterase inhibitors are underutilized and typically prescribed for less than three months and for less than 10 percent of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.  The research study might provide Clinicians with useful data to justify the appropriate use of these medications.  

The News Release reported this class of medications has already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to manage symptoms of Alzheimer’s type dementia, although the potential benefits on behavioral symptoms are not frequently identified by many prescribers.  The use of cholinesterase inhibitors could reduce the use of more harmful medications that are needed to control (dementia-related) behaviors.

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A common form of dementia often mistaken for Alzheimer’s can be prevented with good health habits, a new report published in the December issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource indicated.

Brain damage from multiple small strokes, which can occur from narrowing or blocked arteries in the brain, are often the cause of Vascular Cognitive Impairment (VCI).

People can greatly reduce their risk of developing the disease by lowering their blood pressure, quitting smoking, and keeping diabetes and cholesterol levels under control.

VCI shares Alzheimer’s symptoms such as confusion, agitation, language and memory problems, and unsteady gait and falls. However, the first symptom of VCI usually is the declining ability to organize thoughts or actions. In Alzheimer’s, memory problems are usually the first sign of the condition

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People with a disorder that causes them to kick or cry out during deep sleep are more likely to develop dementia or Parkinson’s disease,  results of a new Canadian study published in the December 24, 2008 online issue of Neurology indicated.

It’s basically a disorder where you act out your dreams at night.  When people who have RBD (REM Sleep Behavior Disorder) dream they are in a fight, which is very common, they will make punching movements.”

Researchers followed 93 RBD patients and examined them after five, 10 and 12 years for signs of neurological disorders such as dementia or Parkinson’s disease. After 12 years, researchers found the majority of people with RBD developed either dementia or Parkinson’s, with 26 developing neuro degenerative disease, 15 developing Parkinsons and 11 developing dementia.

These disorders happen to 1 to 2 percent of the general population in their entire lives, so 50 percent at 12 years is much, much higher.

While sleep disorders are common, researchers emphasized that the majority are due to the stress of modern life and will not necessarily lead to neurological diseases.

Half the population has a sleep problem, but most of the time, they’re benign.  We live in a society with anxiety, stress, late night TV and cappucinos.

It’s important to point out that this is a relatively dramatic disorder that comes on in your 50s and 60s, so it’s not something that happens once in awhile your entire life,” Researchers explained. “A little bit of sleep talking or waking up a little confused and then falling back asleep again are normal things that happen in the population.”

Researchers hope that identifying those at risk for these diseases will help them develop new treatments to either slow or possibly even halt their progression.

The main thing is to see if we can predict which of these people with RBD are going to get a disease and which are not.  We don’t have ways to prevent those diseases now, but maybe that’s because by the time a person has these diseases, it’s too late to intervene.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that doesn’t do very much in terms of preventive medicine, but this may be one of those things where we do know there are lots of factors that can modify disease progression, so let’s intervene now.  Let’s get you into things that we believe are protective against some of these diseases, such as changes in diet or lifestyle, which may add quite a few years of quality life to a patient.

“Everybody who has strong signs of REM sleep behavior disorder should probably be evaluated and probably be followed by a neurologist to make sure that everything’s OK and to pick up early signs,” Researchers said.

(REM behavior disorder (RBD) occurs during a stage of sleep known as Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep.  The characteristic behaviors of this sleep disorder can sometimes be violent and may cause injury, if left untreated.

During the dreaming state, people are normally paralyzed during their dreams and cannot act out their behaviors. Someone with REM behavior disorder is able to act out his dreams due to the loss of muscle atonia.

This particular disorder can be an inherited trait, but tends to present in males more often than females. Sometimes medications such as anti depressants, can cause REM behavior disorder. In these situations the prescribing physician would need to address the situation.


Individuals who experience REM behavior disorder may call out or talk out loud and yell during sleep. Other symptoms may include:

•    Acting out violent behaviors, such as hitting or thrashing about in or out of the bed,
•    Sleepiness during the daytime,
•    Awakening with injury such as lacerations, bleeding, bumps or bruises and/or
•    Vivid dreams.)

(Source :  Neurology, online December 24, 2008.)

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Research shows that 1/3 of all cancer deaths can be prevented with proper diet and exercise.

According to the American Cancer Society, obesity accounts for 14 percent of cancers in men and 20 percent of all cancers in women.

Researchers suggested that people staying physically active at least 30 minutes a day. It doesn’t have to be exercise.  A lot of times we think of rigorous or strenuous exercise. It could be just going out walking and that 30 minutes doesn’t have to be at once. It could be in segments of 10 or 15 minutes if you’d like to break it up throughout the day.

Some of the cancers, where obesity plays a role, include breast, colon, cancer of the esophagus and kidney.  And staying physically active plays an important role in helping us emotionally and physically.

For more information on getting fit, click here at http://www.cancer.org/greatamericans.

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U.S. researchers have discovered a cellular process that explains how cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli work to prevent breast cancer.

Researchers at the University of California in Santa Barbara Laboratories reported that Breast Cancer can be protected against by eating cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.  These vegetables contain compounds called isothiocyanates believed to be responsible for the cancer-preventive and anti-carcinogenic activities in these vegetables.

Researchers said the isothiocyanate – sulforaphane – inhibits the proliferation of human tumor cells in a way similar to that in which anti-cancer drugs inhibit cell division during mitosis. Mitosis is the process in which the duplicated DNA in the form of chromosomes is accurately distributed to the two daughter cells when a cell divides.

While sulforaphane interferes with microtubule functioning during mitosis in a similar manner to anti-cancer drugs, it is much weaker than the drugs, and is therefore much less toxic.

Researchers reported that Sulforaphane may be an effective cancer preventive agent because it inhibits the proliferation and kills precancerous cells.

(Source:  UPI, December 25,2008)

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A gradual loss of blood flow to the brain over years or decades could be a major trigger for Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study to be published in the December 26 issue of Neuron, a Journal based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Up to now, what provokes the debilitating disease has remained a mystery, even if the mechanism causing the damage is well understood.

The new research shows that an insufficient supply of sugar glucose, transported by blood, sets off a biochemical chain reaction resulting in the accumulation of the neuron-attacking proteins that cause Alzheimer’s.

“This finding is significant because it suggests that improving blood flow to the brain might be an effective therapeutic approach to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s,” said Robert Vassaer, a Professor at the Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

Exercising, reducing cholesterol intake, and managing hypertension are all measures that could provide added protection.

If people start early enough, maybe they can dodge the bullet.

And for persons who already show symptoms of constricted arteries, taking vasodilators — drugs that boost blood flow — could help deliver nourishing oxygen and glucose to the brain.

Drawing from experiments with humans and mice, the Researchers showed that reduced blood flow alters a protein called elF2alpha.

In its changed form, elF2alpha increases the output of the enzyme that spurs production of the fiber-like knots of amyloid beta protein that form outside neurons and disrupt their ability to send messages.

Vasser discovered the key role of the enzyme, BACE1, in promoting Alzheimer’s a decade ago.

The new study opens a path to the development of drugs designed to block elF2alpha, and thus the biochemical process leading to the disease, said Vasser.

It also suggests that Alzheimer’s may result from the same type of energy deprivation that occurs in a stroke.

Rather than dying, the brain cells react by increasing the BACE1 enzyme, which offers short-term protection but is harmful in the long run.

“A stroke is a blockage that prevents blood flow and produces cell death in an acute, dramatic event,”
he explained. “What we are talking about here is a slow, invidious process over many years where people have a low level of cardiovascular disease.”

“It is so mild, they don’t even notice it, but it has an effect over time because it is producing a chronic reduction in the blood flow,” he added.

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disorder of the brain characterised by forgetfulness and dementia.

It is caused by a massive loss of cells in several regions of the brain, driven by a buildup of plaques of amyloid protein.

The disease occurs most frequently in old age, but some genetic variants have been shown to increase risk as well.

The number of people worldwide afflicted with the disease is set to rise from 24 million people today to 42 million in 2020 and 81 million in 2040, according to the World Health Organization.

(Source:  AFP, December 24, 2008)

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Hi Visitors To My Site,

It’s great to be able to share this from a friend with you; and you may wish to forward to your friends too!!!

A Great Christmas Gift – The Present
Imagine there is a bank, which credits your account each morning with $86,400.
It carries over no balance from day to day, allows you to keep no cash balance, and every evening cancels whatever part of the amount you had failed to use during the day.
What would you do?
Draw out every cent, of course!
Well, everyone has such a bank.
Its name is TIME.
Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds.
Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose.
It carries over no balance.
It allows no overdraft.
Each day it opens a new account for you.
Each night it burns the remains of the day.
If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours.
There is no going back.
There is no drawing against the “tomorrow”.
You must live in the present on today’s deposits.
Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness and success!
The clock is running.
Make the most of today.
To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who has failed a grade.
To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.
To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of ONE DAY, ask a daily wage laborer who has kids to feed.
To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who has missed the train.
To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask a person who has avoided an accident.
To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics.
Treasure every moment that you have!
And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to have your time. And remember time waits for no one…
Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow a mystery.
Today is a gift.
That’s why it’s called the present!

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