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Researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine (MD, USA) have provided additional evidence to support the idea that Parkinson’s disease originates among cells in the gut and travels up the vagus nerve to the brain. This pathway was observed in a new mouse model, which recapitulates both motor and non-motor deficits as well as early-stage and late-stage features associated with Parkinson’s disease.

The results of their study have been published in the journal Neuron.

“Since this model starts in the gut, one can use it [to]study the full spectrum and time course of the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease,” commented said Ted Dawson (Johns Hopkins University), co-senior author of the study. “For instance, one could test preventive therapies at early pre-symptomatic stages of Parkinson’s disease all the way to full-blown Parkinson’s disease in one animal model.”

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Certain types of commonly prescribed drugs used to treat bladder conditions, Parkinson’s disease and depression could significantly increase the risk of dementia later in life, according to a recent study.

The research, which has been published in JAMA Internal Medicine, was carried out by researchers from the University of Nottingham (UK). The team identified that there was a nearly 50% increased risk of dementia among patients aged 55 and over who had used strong anticholinergic medication daily for 3 years or more.

Within the nested case-control study, the investigators examined the medical records of 58,769 patients with a diagnosis of dementia and 225,574 patients without a diagnosis of dementia. All participants were aged 55 and over and registered with UK general practitioners contributing data to the QResearch database (between 1 January 2004 and 31 January 2016).

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The post Risk of dementia may be increased with certain anticholinergics, study suggests appeared first on Neuro Central.

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Neuro Central by Fsgadmin - 2d ago

As part of our Spotlight on organoids, we carried out a survey to gain insights into how organoids are being used as a research tool in the lab, the challenges involved in organoid research and what researchers thought about the terms ‘mini-brains’ and ‘brains in a dish’. We would like to thank everyone who was able to share their thoughts by taking part in the sruvey – you can see the results below in our infographic:

*Click on the image for a higher quality version

The post Organoids infographic appeared first on Neuro Central.

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The WHO (Geneva, Switzerland) has collaborated with the International League Against Epilepsy (TX, USA) and the International Bureau for Epilepsy (Dublin, Ireland) to publish a report on the global burden of epilepsy and what can be done to improve the lives of those living with the neurological disease.

The majority of people with epilepsy live in low- and mid-income countries in which access to treatment is limited.

“The treatment gap for epilepsy is unacceptably high, when we know that 70% of people with the condition can be seizure-free when they have access to medicines that can cost as little as US$5 per year and can be delivered through primary health systems,” explained Tarun Dua (WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse).

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A team of researchers from King’s College London (UK) have uncovered the earliest signs of Parkinson’s disease (PD) in the brain, many years before patients demonstrate any symptoms.

The results, which have been published in The Lancet Neurology, challenge the traditional view of the disease and could potentially lead to screening tools for identifying people at greatest risk.

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The post Study reveals early signs of Parkinson’s in the brain appeared first on Neuro Central.

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During the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), it is known that there is a decrease in cerebral blood flow. This observation has led researchers to examine whether drugs that affect blood pressure could play a role at improving blood flow.

According to a recent study, which has been published in Hypertension, nilvadipine has been demonstrated to increase blood flow to the hippocampus among people with AD without affecting other parts of the brain. Researchers have also indicated that this decrease in blood flow in people with Alzheimer’s may be reversed in some regions of the brain. However, whether this observed increase in cerebral blood flow translates to clinical benefits is yet to be determined.

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The post Hypertension drug increases cerebral blood flow in people with Alzheimer’s, study suggests appeared first on Neuro Central.

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Researchers have found that the sleep pattern of older men and women could predict the accumulation of proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology.

The most well-known hallmark of AD is the accumulation of tau and β-amyloid within the brain. With AD being a public health crisis, it is a pressing need to develop biomarkers to diagnose or prevent the toxic buildup of proteins, which presents much earlier than symptoms.

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The post Late-life Alzheimer’s pathology may be predicted with sleep history appeared first on Neuro Central.

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A research team from the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Rocky Mountain Laboratories (MT, USA) has developed what they anticipate is the first cerebral organoid system for studying sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD). This could be a promising means of assessing and developing potential CJD treatments in the future.

Organoids have been utilized to study diseases such as Zika and Alzheimer’s disease, however, this is the first cerebral organoid system for studying CJD. This model will hopefully enable investigators to evaluate potential therapeutics for CJD and provide greater detail about human prion disease subtypes than currently used models, such as rodents and nonhuman primates.

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The post ‘Mini-brain’ model for studying human prion disease developed appeared first on Neuro Central.

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Lay abstract

A multidisciplinary group of specialty experts in Duchenne muscular dystrophy treatment from the Middle East and north Africa (MENA) recently met to discuss the optimal management of this disease in the MENA region. This White Paper, published in Neurodegenerative Disease Management, presents the findings from this meeting, providing recommendations on diagnosis, treatment approaches, diseases awareness and patient education aimed to improve the standards of care for individuals with DMD.

Abstract

Aim: Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a severe and rare X-linked neuromuscular childhood disorder that results in functional decline, loss of ambulation and early death due to cardiac or respiratory failure. The objective of this paper is to address different aspects of the current management of DMD in the Middle East, north Africa (MENA) region, and to gather experts’ recommendations on how to optimally diagnose and treat patients suffering from this disease.

Methods: A group of experts (neuromuscular medicine, neuropediatricians and geneticists) convened to discuss the diagnosis and management of DMD in the MENA region. A list of practical statements was prepared by the chair of the meeting to guide the discussions around critical aspects relating to the current and future management of DMD.

Results & conclusion: Ideally, DMD management should be a multidisciplinary approach. Nevertheless, few tertiary care hospitals in the region are currently able to provide the full spectrum of medical expertise and services needed by DMD patients. Clinical practice in the region remains heterogeneous. Specific guidelines for diagnosis and treatment are needed in the MENA region to improve outcomes. Disease awareness among the general public and the medical community is lacking. Now that mutation-specific therapies are being developed and more widely studied, general education programs regarding early signs and symptoms, a standardized referral and diagnosis pathway, patient registries and support groups will significantly improve the management of the disease.

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The post Current management of Duchenne muscular dystrophy in the Middle East: expert report appeared first on Neuro Central.

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Barry Everitt is Emeritus Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge (UK), where he has been for 40 years. He is also the Provost of the Gates Cambridge Trust (University of Cambridge), which is dedicated to fund international graduate students who come to study at the University of Cambridge. Barry is also the President-Elect of the Society for Neuroscience. In this interview, Barry speaks to us about his talk at the BNA Festival of Neuroscience (14–17 April, Dublin, Ireland) on ‘Addiction: a compulsive interplay between drugs, cues and habits’. Barry also discusses what neuroimaging studies have revealed about addiction, including how we might overcome current challenges in the field.

1.You presented a plenary session at the BNA Festival of Neuroscience on addiction – could you provide us with an overview about this?

I presented research from our laboratory to which many have contributed, which aims to understand the neural and psychological mechanisms that are involved in the process of becoming addicted to drugs. This has a fundamental premise that people take drugs initially because they’re rewarding. There’s a lot of work to suggest that this rewarding effect of drugs for very different classes depends upon profound activation of the dopamine reward system in the brain.

There are multiple lines of evidence that demonstrate this however, I’ve argued that a major challenge in understanding addiction is how some people gradually lose control over that initial, voluntary or recreational, drug use so that they develop habitual use that eventually becomes a compulsion to seek and use them.

“Probably, their response to alcohol from the very outset was different to the majority of people and so they were always vulnerable to lose control.”

Let’s take a simple example of drinking alcohol. Many of us will begin by having an occasional drink and easily this can become two or three glasses of wine or pints of beer in an evening. This is nowhere near being addicted, but certainly is in the realm of problem use, which is harmful and can become habitual. But in a small group of people (estimated at approximately 20%) this use escalates, cannot be controlled and they become compulsive in their pursuit of and use of alcohol. They can’t stop drinking despite really serious negative outcomes, including physical harm, damage to health, damage to family and, in the case of illicit drugs, the risk of incarceration. Probably, their response to alcohol from the very outset was different to the majority of people and so they were always vulnerable to lose control.

I work experimentally on addictive behavior in animals and while the subjective states induced by drugs (highs) cannot really be studied in these models, it is possible to study their behavior – their seeking and taking of drugs and these are amenable to neurobiological and psychological analysis. Our premise is that initially, when people seek and take drugs their behavior is under goal-directed control – it is purposeful and is so as to experience the mood and feeling-orientated effects of the drug.

However, over time the seeking and taking of drugs is elicited automatically by the stimuli in the environment that have been associated with the effects of the drugs from the very earliest drug-taking experience through Pavlovian conditioning. This is the notion of drug-seeking and -taking habits; it becomes increasingly situational and not so readily under voluntary control.

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The post Addiction: a compulsive interplay between drugs, cues and habits appeared first on Neuro Central.

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