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The Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation Hosts Dr. Elissa Epel at Brain Longevity® Training in Washington, D.C.

How Low is Too Low? Study Highlights Serious Risks for Intensive Blood Pressure Control

The eyes may have it, an early sign of Parkinson's disease

Key protein involved in the development of autism discovered

Higher Omega-3 Index Associated with Better Brain Function in Children

Higher Omega-3 Index Associated with Better Brain Function in Children




Released: 08/28/18


The Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation Hosts Dr. Elissa Epel at Brain Longevity® Training in Washington, D.C.

TUCSON, Ariz., Aug. 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation (ARPF) announced today that Elissa Epel, Ph.D of the University of California San Francisco is giving the keynote address at their second annual Brain Longevity Therapy Training on October 12-14, 2018 in Washington, DC. Dr. Epel is an esteemed member of ARPF's Scientific Advisory Council.

Dr. Epel is the co-author of the NY Times best-seller The Telomere Effect and part of the Nobel Prize winning laboratory at UCSF. Her research aims to uncover and understand the mechanisms of healthy aging, and to apply this science through interventions in order to reach vulnerable populations, notably women.

Dr. Elissa Epel is the Director of the Aging, Metabolism, and Emotions Center, and the Consortium for Obesity Assessment, Study, & Treatment (COAST) and Associate Director of the Center for Health and Community. She is involved in NIH initiatives on the role of stress in aging, and on reversibility of early life adversity, and is the President Elect of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. 

Dr. Epel's research has been featured in venues such as TEDMED, NBC's Today Show, CBS's Morning Show, 60 Minutes, National Public Radio, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Wisdom 2.0, Health 2.0, and in many science documentaries. 

She will be addressing participants of the Brain Longevity Therapy Training (BLTT), a research-based certification program on yoga and integrative therapies for brain health and healthy aging. ARPF's mission for over two decades has been to help promote prevention strategies in the treatment and clinical management of AD. Its founder, Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. reports that "it is very possible (to prevent AD), but leaders in the health and wellness field must take advantage of this knowledge and put it to use."

The BLTT is aimed at giving attendees the expertise and tools to thwart the AD epidemic by exploring in great depth the 4 Pillars of Alzheimer's Prevention®, including the latest in neuroscience, telomeres, and yoga meditation applications to enhance brain health. Attendees will become equipped with practical tools that they can immediately put to use to enhance careers, teachings, practices, and patients' lives.

The next course is on October 12-14 in Washington, D.C. For more information, click here.

Released: 08/19/18


How Low is Too Low? Study Highlights Serious Risks for Intensive Blood Pressure Control

 Kaiser Permanente research published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found if patients with hypertension taking prescribed medications experience unusually low blood pressures — systolic blood pressure under 110mmHg — they are twice as likely to experience a fall or faint as patients whose treated blood pressure remains 110mmHg and above.

This research is timely because late last year the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology lowered its definition of blood pressure from a systolic blood pressure of at least 140 to a systolic of at least 130, said the study's lead author John J. Sim, MD, a nephrologist with the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center.

"Efforts to reduce blood pressures for patients with hypertension are an important factor in reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke," Dr. Sim said. "But our study shows that attaining a lower blood pressure could create to a subpopulation of patients whose blood pressures may go too low, which can pose risk for serious falls and fainting."

To determine the effects of blood pressure reduction among hypertension on patients, Dr. Sim and a team of researchers studied the electronic health records of more than 475,000 Kaiser Permanente patients in Southern California who were prescribed medication to treat hypertension. Over a one-year period, both mean and minimum systolic blood pressure readings of less than 110 mmHg were associated with higher rates of serious falls and fainting that resulted in emergency department visits or inpatient encounters.

Among the patients with treated blood pressure: 

  • 27 percent had a systolic blood pressure under 110mmHg during at least one visit
  • 3 percent of patients had an average systolic pressure reading of less than 110mmHg over the one-year study period
  • Patients with a single episode of systolic pressure lower than or equal to 110mmHg during the one-year period were twice as likely to experience a serious fall or faint
  • Patients who had an average systolic blood pressure lower than 110mmHg over the one-year study period had a 50 percent greater risk of serious falls and fainting than those who had an average systolic blood pressure higher than 110mmHg

"Physicians considering lower blood pressure targets for their patients should weigh the risks and benefits of aggressive blood-pressure lowering on an individual basis, especially in older patients," said Dr. Sim.

He noted that older patients are more likely to have acute reductions in blood pressure, such as orthostatic hypotension, which is when a patient's blood pressure drops substantially when they stand or get upright, and have slower reflexes to compensate and normalize their blood pressure. They also are more susceptible to side effects of low blood pressure, he said.

Some characteristics physicians should watch out for before considering lowering a patient's blood pressure are acute illness, blood pressure variation throughout the day, and orthostatic hypotension, Dr. Sim said.

This study was supported by the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Clinician Investigator Program.

Other authors on this study include Hui Zhou, PhD, Rong Wei, MS, Steven J. Jacobsen, MD, PhD, and Kristi Reynolds, PhD, of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation, Pasadena, CaliforniaSimran K. Bhandari, MD, Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center; Jeffrey W. Brettler, MD, Jocelyn Tran-Nguyen, PharmD, and Joel Handler, MD, Regional Hypertension Program, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Pasadena; and Daichi Shimbo, MD, Department of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, New York.

Released: 08/19/18


The eyes may have it, an early sign of Parkinson's disease

The eyes may be a window to the brain for people with early Parkinson's disease. People with the disease gradually lose brain cells that produce dopamine, a substance that helps control movement. Now a new study has found that the thinning of the retina, the lining of nerve cells in the back of the eye, is linked to the loss of such brain cells. The study is published in the August 15, 2018, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

"Our study is the first to show a link between the thinning of the retina and a known sign of the progression of the disease -- the loss of brain cells that produce dopamine," said study author Jee-Young Lee, MD, PhD, of the Seoul Metropolitan Government -- Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center in South Korea. "We also found the thinner the retina, the greater the severity of disease. These discoveries may mean that neurologists may eventually be able to use a simple eye scan to detect Parkinson's disease in its earliest stages, before problems with movement begin."

The study involved 49 people with an average age of 69 who were diagnosed with Parkinson's disease an average of two years earlier but who had not yet started medication. They were compared to 54 people without the disease who were matched for age.

Researchers evaluated each study participant with a complete eye exam as well as high-resolution eye scans that use light waves to take pictures of each layer of the retina. In addition, 28 of the participants with Parkinson's disease also had dopamine transporter positron emission tomography (PET) imaging to measure the density of dopamine-producing cells in the brain.

Researchers found retina thinning, most notably in the two inner layers of the five layers of the retina, in those with Parkinson's disease. For example, for those with Parkinson's disease, the inner most layer of the retina in one section of the eye had an average thickness of 35 micrometers (?m) compared to an average thickness of 37 ?m for those without the disease.

In addition, the thinning of the retina corresponded with the loss of brain cells that produce dopamine. It also corresponded with the severity of disease. When disability from the disease is measured on a scale of one to five, the people with the most thinning of the retina, or thickness of less than 30 ?m, had average scores of slightly over two, while people with the least thinning, or thickness of about 47 ?m, had average scores of about 1.5.

"Larger studies are needed to confirm our findings and to determine just why retina thinning and the loss of dopamine-producing cells are linked," said Lee. "If confirmed, retina scans may not only allow earlier treatment of Parkinson's disease but more precise monitoring of treatments that could slow progression of the disease as well."

A limitation of the study was that the retina scans focused only on a limited area of the retina. The study was also a snapshot in time and did not follow participants over a long period of time.

The study was supported by the Seoul Metropolitan Government -- Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center and the Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.


 

Story Source: American Academy of Neurology

Released: 08/19/18


Key protein involved in the development of autism discovered

Most individuals with autism spectrum disorder cannot be distinguished by physical traits or by severe neurological symptoms. In fact, these cases can be identified only on the basis of certain behaviour, namely their obsessive focus on certain activities, and difficulties with social communications and interactions. Recent years have brought about important breakthroughs in autism research through the genetic analysis of thousands of these individuals. Researchers have been able to find correlations between defects in the expression and/or function of about 200 genes and susceptibility to autism. However, the bases underlying the dysregulation of these genes in subjects with autism were unknown.

An international team headed by José Lucas, researcher at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Network Center for Biomedical Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIBERNED), and by Raúl Méndez, researcher at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), has discovered that CPEB4, a molecule that regulates protein synthesis, is impaired in most cases of autism. The scientists observed that the defects in CPEB4 lead to the dysregulation in the expression of most of these 200 genes. The study has been published in the journal Nature.

"Upon studying the changes in protein expression in a mouse model with altered CPEB4 activity, we were surprised to observe that the changes included most of the genes that predispose individuals to autism spectrum, disorder," says José Lucas, the coordinator of the study.

Raúl Méndez, ICREA researcher and head of the Translational Control of Cell Cycle and Differentiation Lab at IRB Barcelona and co-leader of the study, explains that, "this study is an example of how the expression of hundreds of genes must be perfectly coordinated to ensure the correct function of organs and the cells that make up these organs. In this case the brain and neurons."

Environmental factors that alter brain development, such as infections during pregnancy, can also contribute to the onset of autism. "Since CPEB4 is known to regulate numerous genes during embryonic development, this protein emerges as a possible link between environmental factors that alter brain development and the genes that predispose to autism," explains Alberto Parras, first author of the study and research at the Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa (joint centre between CSIC and the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid).

"Understanding the biological bases of autism may facilitate the design of future experimental treatments and diagnosis tools for this condition. Although futher research is required, CPEB4 emerges as a potential new therapeutic target," conclude the researchers.


 

Story Source: Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona).

Released: 08/19/18


The Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation (ARPF) Announces Second Brain Longevity® Therapy Training Program in Washington D.C.

The Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation (ARPF) will host its second Brain Longevity® Therapy Training on October 12-14 at American University Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C. The training will help advance ARPF's mission to equip both the public as well as wellness and health care leaders to promote prevention strategies that help to prevent Alzheimer's disease.

There will be an in-depth examination of the science and clinical application of ARPF's extraordinary research in lifestyle medicine, and participants will be provided with a comprehensive resource library.  In addition, attendees will be able to benefit from the practical applications created by ARPF-sponsored research from some of our nation's top academic medical centers.

Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, Helen Lavretsky, M.D. states, "The science behind this course has shown in our research at UCLA that yoga and Kirtan Kriya helped reduce depression, improve mental health and cognitive functioning, as well as reverse cellular aging and inflammation, and provide brain fitness effects in stressed dementia caregivers when compared to relaxation while listening to music.

"Research also found positive effects of Kundalini yoga practice on mood, memory and executive function, and brain connectivity in older adults with mild cognitive impairment compared to memory training."

ARPF founders Dharma S. Khalsa, M.D. and Kirti Khalsa will conduct the training, along with well-known healthcare providers in the integrative medicine field, such as clinical psychologist Chris Walling, MBA, PsyD, C-IAYT, President of the United States Association of Body Psychotherapy, and multiple allied health experts in fields such as nursing, occupational therapy, and yoga therapy.

Other supporters of this training include: Rutgers University Sigma Kappa, which will be providing volunteers to help run the event, George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, SharpBrains, and R.Cassidy Seminars.

This CEU-accredited training is a unique opportunity to learn how to make a significant impact in the demanding field of longevity medicine, as well as expand personal practice/expertise in yoga therapy.

Released: 08/01/18


Higher Omega-3 Index Associated with Better Brain Function in Children

New research published in the July edition of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, has established a strong correlation between blood levels of omega-3s, especially docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and better brain function in children two to six years old.

 

The objective of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the relationship between whole-blood fatty acids (FAs) and executive function in 307 children (two to six years old) from Northern Ghana. The aim of researchers was to examine the extent to which higher levels of EPA and/or DHA were associated with better cognitive performance. Dried blood spot samples were collected and analyzed for FA content.

The children underwent a battery of age-appropriate cognitive function tests. Specifically, the dimensional change card sort (DCCS) task was used to assess executive function.

The DCCS asks that the child sort a series of bivalent cards based on one of two instructed dimensions (i.e., either color or shape). Following sorting an initial series of eight cards based upon color, the child is instructed to switch the categorization dimension and sort another series of eight cards based upon shape. This dimensional change in sorting behavior provides an index of executive function as the child must suppress their previously learned set of rules (i.e., sorting by color) and attentional inertia towards those attributes in order to flexibly adjust their behavioral actions and attention to sort the cards by a new set of rules (i.e., sorting by shape).

The average Omega-3 Index (red blood cell EPA + DHA level) in this group was 4.6%, with a range of 2.3% to 11.7%. Significant differences in mean % total whole-blood fatty acids were observed between children who could not follow directions on the DCCS test (50% of the sample) and those who could (50% of the sample). Children with the highest levels of total omega-3s and DHA were three and four times, respectively, more likely to pass at least one condition of the DCCS test of executive function than those with the lowest levels.

 

This study has several strengths. First and foremost, it utilized an objective biomarker to assess dietary fatty acid intake (i.e., the Omega-3 Index), as opposed to other conventional and less precise methods such as food frequency questionnaires or diet history techniques. Food frequency questionnaires are not highly accurate at estimating circulating blood levels of fatty acids.

The authors concluded that these findings provided an “impetus for further studies into possible interventions to improve essential fatty acid status of children in developing countries.”

 

One of the study’s investigators, Dr. Bill Harris, founder of OmegaQuant, and co-inventor of the Omega-3 Index test, said the results are very encouraging for these children, who are probably the most disadvantaged when it comes to omega-3 consumption.

 

“Children in developing countries like Ghana do not have the access to omega-3-rich sources that children from other parts of the world do. This has several ramifications, particularly in the area of brain development and cognitive function. We were happy to see the positive correlation between omega-3 levels and better brain function, especially since an omega-3 deficiency is so easy to correct. All it requires is consuming more of the right omega-3s, especially DHA which in this case was the standout fatty acid here.”

 

Media Inquiries:

 

Becky Wright

Marketing & Communications Manager, OmegaQuant

201-675-0197

becky@wrightonmarketing.com

 

About OmegaQuant: OmegaQuant is an independent, CLIA-certified lab that offers Omega-3 Index testing to researchers, clinicians and the public and sets the standard for fatty acid testing. OmegaQuant performs fatty acid analysis in Sioux Falls, SD for commercial and academic research collaborators, and for consumers interested in monitoring their nutritional status in both blood and breast milk. Its goal is to offer the highest quality fatty acid analytical services to researchers and to provide simple tests of nutritional status to consumers, with the ultimate purpose of advancing the science and use of omega-3 fatty acids to improve health. Visit: myomegatest.com for more information.

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