Menopause may trigger Alzheimer’s disease

Menopause may trigger Alzheimer’s disease

A new study highlights the metabolic changes that occur in the brains of menopausal and perimenopausal women, suggesting that a loss of estrogen could make these women vulnerable to developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Lisa Mosconi, from Weill Cornell Medicine, is the lead author of the study, and the findings were published in the journal PLoS One.
As Dr. Mosconi and her colleagues explain, after old age, being female is the second most major risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Although the mechanisms responsible for this increased risk are not yet known, previous research has hinted at the transition to menopause as a potential key.
As the authors explain, this transition also involves neurological and metabolical changes. So, Dr. Mosconi and team decided to investigate these transformations.
The study found that the perimenopausal and postmenopausal women had significantly lower glucose metabolism levels than those who were premenopausal.
Brain cells have estrogen receptors, they explain, and a drop in estrogen levels may cause a “starvation reaction” in these cells. Such a metabolic state can lead to brain cell dysfunction.
It also means the loss of a key neuroprotective element in the female brain and a higher vulnerability to brain aging and Alzheimer’s disease.”

Alzheimer’s: Targeting ApoE gene may ‘stop the disease’

Alzheimer’s: Targeting ApoE gene may ‘stop the disease’

. A new study published in the journal Nature has uncovered a new role for a gene known to be key in the development of Alzheimer’s disease: ApoE.
The team – led by Dr. Holtzman – investigated the effect of the ApoE4 gene variant in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. David Holtzman
Their findings suggest that ApoE4 may “work” by exacerbating the damage done by a different protein associated with Alzheimer’s: tau.
In fact, mice that lacked ApoE altogether did not exhibit any brain damage.
The team also found that the immune cells in the brains of mice with ApoE4 were activated, suggesting a strong inflammatory response. “But all forms of ApoE – even ApoE2 – are harmful to some extent when tau is aggregating and accumulating.
Once tau accumulates, the brain degenerates […] What we found was that when ApoE is there, it amplifies the toxic function of tau, which means that if we can reduce ApoE levels, we may be able to stop the disease process.”

Lag in Brain Donation Hampers Understanding of Dementia in Blacks

Lag in Brain Donation Hampers Understanding of Dementia in Blacks

The question came as a shock to Dorothy Reeves: Would she be willing to donate her husband’s brain for research?
Top researchers say such wariness, while understandable, is thwarting efforts to understand and treat Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in black patients today.
“We have a real knowledge gap in accurately knowing if dementia is different in minorities as compared to whites,” said John Olichney, a neurologist and clinical director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the University of California-Davis.
Of the study participants, about 270 have agreed to donate their brains after death, more than 40 of them African-American.
At the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, doctors started following a cohort of African-Americans in 2004 and, some seven years later, began to seek brain donation for the study.
In another study, about 3,100 white participants agreed to brain donation, with 1,400 already donated.
One Rush study, published in 2015, found that blacks with Alzheimer’s disease were more likely than whites to have other disorders, such as Lewy body dementia.
Even for experienced research institutions, getting people to participate in donation remains complicated — in part, because families don’t necessarily agree about it among themselves.
“Something was really, really wrong.” Brown enrolled in the research at UC-Davis, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2005 and soon after agreed to donate her brain.
Gourdine also signed up for the UC-Davis study and has consented to donate her brain.

High, Low Levels of Magnesium Linked to Dementia Risk

High, Low Levels of Magnesium Linked to Dementia Risk

. WEDNESDAY, Sept. 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Having magnesium levels that are too high or too low may put you at risk for Alzheimer’s and other dementias, Dutch researchers report. “If our study results are replicated, magnesium levels could be used to screen for dementia, especially in people at risk for low magnesium levels.”
Kieboom said she also wants to study whether low magnesium levels also associate with a decline in mental function over time.
Those at risk for low levels of magnesium include people who use proton pump inhibitors or diuretics, or people who have a diet low in magnesium, Kieboom said.
Those with the highest and the lowest levels of magnesium had an increased risk of dementia, compared with those in the middle groups, the researchers found.
Of the nearly 1,800 people in the low magnesium group, 160 developed dementia, as did nearly 180 in the high magnesium group.
Among the nearly 1,400 whose magnesium levels fell in between the highest and lowest levels, 102 developed dementia.
Kieboom said that the study results have limitations, including that magnesium levels were measured only once, so they could have changed, and magnesium levels in the blood do not always show the total level of magnesium in the body.

Alzheimer’s group creating veterans network

Alzheimer’s group creating veterans network

Post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries and other military-related injuries make veterans more susceptible to the progressive brain disease although age is the leading risk factor, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s says in the report.
The nonprofit has the goal of stopping Alzheimer’s by 2020 through the development of a cure. It has formed VeteransAgainstAlzheimer’s to create a national network to raise awareness of the issue and is asking veterans and their families to join the network.
Older veterans who have suffered a traumatic brain injury are 60 percent more likely to develop dementia, research shows.