Fat in middle age and dementia

Carrying around extra weight as you age can be a cause of dementia. Too much weight impairs the circulation of the blood, leading, possibly to the formation of amyloid proteins in the brain.

As a result of exercise, blood transverses the capillaries, washing away impurities and bringing nutrients. Tissues are stimulated. Without the stimulation of exercise, circulation suffers, and so, it seems do mental processes.

What can you do?

Exercise regularly - even walking can do wonders; and monitor your mind with MemCheck - a scale for the mind. Keep track of you or your loved one's cognitive performance and memory.

And, purchase MemCheck - now is a good time to do so, and join our membership!

If you are interested in participating in clinical research with some of the leading medical experts in the San Francisco Bay Area, we know of two large studies that will be focusing on different aspects of memory loss. In both cases, you must be within driving distance of the San Francisco Peninsula and more specifically the Palo Alto area.

If you are interested, please click on this link which will take you to a page where you can enroll. In both cases, you will be contacted should there be a fit between your interests and the needs of the studies.

Best, Michael


Why doesn't Mickey Mouse have Alzheimer's?

Mickey Mouse has been known to us since 1928 - 77 years ago. Since Mickey was 7 when he made his debut in Steamboat Willie (1928), he is now 84, but still gets around pretty well.

One can only assume that Mickey's high level of physical activity (exercise) plus regular cognitive exercise (he's memorized lots of scripts) and use of MemCheck have been beneficial. Buy MemCheck now if you have not already!) We hope Mickey stays hale and healthy.

At UC-Irvine, only a short distance from Disneyland in Orange County, researchers have just reported that Mickey's cousins and siblings, all of them mice resisted Alzheimer's when given strenuous physical exercise, according to the Journal of Neuroscience. In fact, here is what they reported: Regular exercise can slow the development of Alzheimer's disease by changing the way brain-damaging proteins take up residence in the brain, researchers said Wednesday.

Their study of mice helps explain a growing body of evidence that keeping busy, physically and mentally, and eating certain foods can delay or even prevent the brain-destroying illness.

Paul Adlard and colleagues at the University of California, Irvine tested genetically engineered mice that begin at the age of three months to develop the clogs of amyloid protein, called plaques, that characterize Alzheimer's.
Half the mice were put into cages with running wheels.

Writing in the Journal of Neuroscience, the researchers said the animals allowed to exercise learned to navigate a water maze faster than mice kept cooped up without a wheel. When they killed the mice and looked at their brains, the scientists found the animals that exercised had significantly fewer plaques and fewer bits of beta-amyloid peptides that are also associated with Alzheimer's.

new blog: brainspeed

Yes, a new blog! http://brainspeed.blogspot.com


Building New Brain Cells and the Risk of Dementia

A Researcher in Australia discusses development of new brain cells, and the risks of dementia to the Aging-Healthy population.

We found this dicussion particularly interesting, so we are sharing it with you.

If you think about it, medical science and lifestyle changes are gradually minimizing the risks of diseases such as cancer and heart failure, or at least pushing back the date when they occur so that cognitive decline becomes the greatest threat - eliminating who we are like a crashed hard drive or scratched storage device.

Source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation ---

With the help of medical science Australians are starting to live longer, but one of the side effects is that our bodies are sometimes outliving our brains. 24 per cent of people aged over 85 will develop dementia for which there's no cure.

But new research is looking at exercise as a way of increasing our longevity and retaining cognitive activity. One Queensland-based scientist hopes to reduce the risk of developing degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. And he's proven that exercise doesn't just keep your body fit.

Kirstin Murray reports.

KIRSTIN MURRAY: By the end of this year another 52,000 Australians will be diagnosed with dementia, a mental disorder which eventually causes severe memory loss. But recent tests on mice have found there may be a way to stop brain cells deteriorating and possibly stave off degenerative conditions.

Professor Perry Bartlett from the University of Queensland's Brain Institute says the key is to encourage brains to make new cells for themselves and then nurture them, just like a young, healthy brain would.

PERRY BARTLETT: These new nerve cells are really quite vital to our ability to function in the higher brain functions, such as memory and learning. So we think that the constant replacement and selection of new neurons fundamentally underlies our ability to continue to have a functional brain.

KIRSTIN MURRAY: Stroke victims could also benefit where new cells would replace those lost.

But to succeed, Professor Bartlett says cells have to be stimulated, and the more encouragement they're given, the better they work.

PERRY BARTLETT: That's right, most of them die. We now know that we can preserve some of them by giving direct stimuli. Quite prolonged exercise is very good to make new neurones.

Perhaps doing something a little more inquisitive or intellectual might be good at selecting their survival. So perhaps one should run a long distance and do the cryptic crossword or something like that.

KIRSTIN MURRAY: It's easy to understand how mental stimulation could help these cells. How can physical activity help them as well?

PERRY BARTLETT: Well, that's a very interesting thing. There are a lot of hormones and changes in blood that go up and down after exercise, and so that may be a lead to some of the chemicals that can drive the production of nerve cells.

One of the chemicals that seems to promote neurogenesis is prolactin, and prolactin levels are very high in pregnant females. Prolactin levels, by the way, also go up during sex as well. So one could think of a number of more entertaining activities than running in order to regulate the production of nerve cells.

KIRSTIN MURRAY: For people who have already been diagnosed with dementia, would this research help them at all?

PERRY BARTLETT: If we understand these mechanisms we should be able to use them to treat neurodegenerative diseases, or even mental illnesses in the long-term. So, they're both aspects I think which are quite revolutionary in terms of understanding how our brain just normally maintains healthy function, but also in how we might be able to drive this system into treating disease.

TONY EASTLEY: Professor Perry Bartlett from the University of Queensland, ending that report from Kirstin Murray.


Cognitive Labs technology featured in Barron's Online

A recent article in Barron's talks about powering up the mind featuring technology by Cognitive Labs.

This adds to the coverage already received in Slate. Just Google "Slate and MemCheck" and you will get the reference. Easy.

Sorry we have not posted as frequently as usual - that's been due to our travel schedule. Be sure to stay tuned, as there is lots to cover here in these posts, all coming up! I spent Friday in Chicago and from what I heard, it looks like the Cubs were rained out, but, maybe they managed to get the game in after all.

Have a good weekend!

Vitamin E and Alzheimer's

A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine based on a 3-year observation of over 700 people, found minimal effects on the rate of adopting Mild Cognitive Impairment, the precursor to Alzheimer's - that can start as early as the 30's.

The double-blind study, meaning half of the participants were given a placebo, showed insignificant differences between the placebo and Vitamin E. More research will certainly follow. Of course, Vitamin E has impact on more physical systems than cognition, where it may be beneficial.


GE and Lilly Create Alliance for Alzheimer's

Big business is interested in detecting early stages of memory loss. GE Healthcare already has a substantial effort in providing advanced MRI and CT scanning solutions to the globe. What if there were ways to systematically assess people to help determine whether or not they were a good candidate for such treatments? Think MemCheck

GE, Lilly divisions to team up on Alzheimer's research...

Eli Lilly and Co. will help General Electric Co.'s health care and research units find compounds to detect the early stages of Alzheimer's disease and perhaps treat it.

The open-ended research collaboration, announced Tuesday, will aim to learn of better ways to diagnose the dread brain disease that renders its victims, typically the elderly, unable to think or remember.

"We are confident that this collaboration will result in a definitive molecular diagnostic for this disease," said Scott Donnelly, senior vice president of New York-based GE Global Research, in a statement.

Lilly's role primarily involves opening its molecular library to GE to search for compounds that appear promising for GE's Alzheimer's research program. About eight Lilly researchers have been working with GE in the early stages of the project, said Asia Martin, a spokeswoman for the Indianapolis drugmaker.

"We're eager to see what they find," she said about the GE scientists.

No money changes hands under the agreement, Martin said. Lilly will get access to any therapies developed in the project, and GE has rights to develop any diagnostics.

"We learn more about our compounds, and they learn more about their diagnostics," she said.

GE Healthcare, based in the United Kingdom, has licensed an imaging agent from the University of Pittsburgh to use in diagnosing Alzheimer's disease.

Diagnosing the disease early, before it starts ravaging the memory, has the potential to improve outcomes in treating Alzheimer's, said Dr. Steven Paul, executive vice president for science and technology at Lilly, in a statement.

One theory is that elevated levels of certain proteins and plaques in the brain cause Alzheimer's, which affects 4.5 million Americans. That's twice the number diagnosed with the disease in 1980, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

GE Healthcare says its seeks similar partnerships with other drugmakers to find treatments for other neurological diseases.


Magnetic Waves a Possible Treatment for Alzheimer's?

We recently read Tuxedo Park by Jennet Conant, a biography of the life of Wall Street financier Alfred Loomis. Loomis, after a successful run as a deal originator and promoter who was instrumental in the securitization and consolidation of the emerging electric power industry - Mohawk, Southern California Edison (which in the latter 20's was a growth sector) suddenly retired from the Street and dedicated the rest of his life to scientific pursuits.

Creating a laboratory in his Tuxdedo Park hideaway, Loomis lured the greatest minds of the decades after WWI to his enclave including Einstein, Fermi, Kistiakowski, South Dakota born atom smasher and Berkeley Nobel Laureate Ernest O. Lawrence, his colleagues at Berkeley Alvarez and Teller, and all the others who were involved in creating the atomic age.

Loomis made an interesting and detailed study of the brain and magnetism, subjecting virtually everyone who visited the idyllic "palace of science" to sessions where their brain activity was charted and analyzed, ostensibly, to understand the brain and experiment with magnetism as a potential force in healthcare, as a precursor to atomic bombardment (the humanitarian focus of Lawrence's cyclotron fund raising effort was acceleration of the atom for the purpose of bombarding tumors) while the immediate practical application was the ability to ignite a chain reaction in a core of uranium - and to get there faster than Hitler's scientists.

Well, now magnetism is back as a potential solution for Alzheimer's Disease....Exposing an Alzheimer's patient's head to magnetic waves helps increase brain functioning, scientists have discovered.

The effect lasted for only four minutes, but researchers at the Montreal Jewish General Hospital say the discovery heralds the future to treatment of the degenerative disorder, reports Xinhua.

"We are excited because this is proof of concept showing that perhaps this approach may be beneficial," said Howard Chertkow, one of the members of the research team, adding that the benefits will increase in the near future.

The scientists, who applied Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to the heads of Alzheimer's patients, discovered that the respondents were able to recall 30 percent more words than other patients.

"One could envisage that in the future some sort of stimulation would be given daily or several times a day if we can make the effects last a few hours," Chertkow said.

Researchers also found that the TMS electrical signals helped kick start brain tissue around areas damaged due to Alzheimer's.

Currently there was no ways known to slow down the progression of the degenerative disease that causes severe loss memory in patients.


1,011,000 Members

Thank you for helping us reach over 1,011,000 members. Among the top subscribing states: California, Texas, New York, Florida, Virginia, Georgia, Arizona...people and institutions from all 50 states, and countries around the world. It's never too late to join, and help us to help people everywhere. Have an outstanding weekend. Among the recent news (from the Mayo organization's Ronald Peterson) in the field, there is increasing evidence that early intervention to stop memory loss pays dividends, and that Donepezil (better known by the brand name Aricept(TM) can be effective in this role...


1040 Day - Get a Mental Workout

Have you noticed any lapses of memory, such as forgetting where those all important stubs of paper necessary for successful completion of your taxes are? Dividends, interest, forest income, fishing income, farm income, tips, and wages?

If so, you might want to try a mental workout to charge your brain before taking on one of the year's most favored tasks. If you purchase today (4/15) you get a break - your first month free, or if you purchase an annual program, one month's free usage. Your rebate will show up automatically on your bill next month. Whether you're scratching out the numbers with a no. 2 pencil on the Federal worksheet, using Quicken, TurboTax, or just reviewing your accountant's hard work, a mental workout never did more for you.

Take a break, relax, have a cup of tea or glass of lemonade.
Give MemCheck a shot. Feel your brain warming up.

Have a few more sips.

Now, get to work and see how much easier it is this year than last year

Boomers Worry About Memory Loss

As time passes, the concern towards memory loss felt by baby boomers in their late 40's and 50's will become even more of a challenge than it is now.Increasing longevity translates into a greater malignant role for memory loss and Alzheimer's on our collective memory. A piece in the Deseret News covers this topic in extensive detail...Best for Now


The Spiritual Life and Alzhiemer's

Spirituality May Slow Alzheimer's

Researchers in Israel have completed a study that suggests an involved spiritual life may help to reduce the chances of cognitive decline. The benefit of connecting with people, emotional engagement, and other social activities could be important contributors, in addition to the benefits of positive thinking and optimism.

A rewarding spiritual life may help slow the devastation of Alzheimer's disease.

"The data suggest there may be an association, meaning people with higher levels of spirituality and religiosity have a slower progression of Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Yakir Kaufman, director of neurology services at Sarah Herzog Memorial Hospital in Jerusalem.

Kaufman, who conducted the research while a fellow at the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care in Toronto, was to present the findings April 13 at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, in Miami Beach.

Kaufman and his co-authors, however, stressed the need for caution when interpreting the results.

"This is the first study to actually attempt to look into a relationship between spirituality and religiosity and Alzheimer's disease," Kaufman said. "We did not specifically look into the mechanisms, and we certainly need to replicate these results and do a larger study."

Vincent Corso, a former priest who is now manager of spiritual care and bereavement services for Visiting Nurse Service of New York Hospice Care in New York City, said he was not surprised by the findings, however preliminary.

"People who are connected with a spiritual presence in their life, whether it takes the shape of a family member, close friend, support network, meditation or yoga, have a sense of peace and probably, by extrapolation, longevity," he said. "What's important to people is how much they're able to connect with the people around them. If that creates a feeling of well-being, then that aids in the healing process."

Other research not related to Alzheimer's disease has started to show a relationship between spirituality and better health outcomes.

"There's a growing body of data showing the positive effects of higher levels of spirituality/religiosity on health outcomes, especially in other disease states," Kaufman said. That data includes studies on other neurological conditions.

For this study, the researchers assessed 68 people who met the criteria for probable Alzheimer's disease. Participants were asked to complete a structured questionnaire which included questions such as how spiritual the participant viewed themselves, how often they attended religious services and how often they engaged in private religious activity such as prayer, meditation or Bible study. There were also several true or false items, such as, "In my life, I experience the presence of the divine" and "My religious beliefs lie behind my whole approach to life."

Participants who had high levels of spirituality or of religiosity seemed to have a slower progression of cognitive decline.

The authors were reluctant to posit any reason for this relationship. "We can't do speculations based on our study but, in other disease states, there are several factors that may be causing this effect," Kaufman said. "Some could be related to well-being. Some have been related to stress."

Instead of dwelling on possible explanations, Kaufman said he was considering doing another, larger study to try to replicate the results and look into the possible mechanisms.

"The findings of this study need to be replicated before one can start drawing conclusions," said senior study author Dr. Morris Freedman, head of neurology and director of the behavior neurology program at Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. "This is one study. It needs to be repeated."

Alzheimer's Survey on NPR

Jerry Yesavage, who heads the Stanford/VA Alzheimer's Center, was on NPR yesterday with Michele Norris in a discussion about Alzheimer's treatments.

Several drugs are currently FDA-approved to treat Alzheimer's disease. At best, these drugs lead to only modest improvements in the cognitive functions of patients; none can stop the destruction of brain cells that underlies the illness.

Michele Norris surveys the current treatment landscape with Jerry Yesavage of Stanford University's Alzheimer's Disease Center.

Facts about Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease gradually destroys brain cells, extinguishing a person's memory and ability to learn, reason, communicate and care for themselves. The disease advances at different rates, lasting from three to 20 years.

The first symptoms people notice are often forgetfulness and confusion, progressing to profound memory loss, language problems and difficulty performing everyday tasks.

Scientists believe that by the time symptoms emerge, brain damage has already begun. As Alzheimer's progresses, sufferers may exhibit changes in their personality, such as anxiety, suspiciousness or agitation, delusions or hallucinations.

Eventually, the loss of brain function will kill an Alzheimer's patient, even if that person isn't otherwise seriously ill.

Risk Factors

There's no single cause of Alzheimer's disease. The most common form of the illness is late-onset Alzheimer's, which mainly affects people over age 65. The risk of developing the late-onset disease increases with age and family history of the disease. Scientists have also discovered one gene that boosts the risk.

Rare types of Alzheimer's linked to specific genes have been found in a few hundred families around the world. Individuals who inherit the genes are almost certain to develop the disease, sometimes as early as their 30s.

Alzheimer's has no known cure, but preliminary evidence suggests that controlling blood pressure, weight and cholesterol levels, keeping mentally and physically fit and staying socially active may help reduce the risk of developing the disease.


Scientists regard two different brain abnormalities as hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease -- "plaques" and "tangles." Plaques are protein deposits on the outside of brain cells that result from a protein called beta-amyloid. Tangles are deadly, twisted strands of another protein (called tau) that form inside brain cells.

Alzheimer's researchers disagree on whether plaques or tangles are the primary cause of the disease. However, research over the past couple of years has suggested that plaques outside of brain cells may trigger an enzyme inside the cells that in turn causes tau proteins to form tangles.



Thanks to people like one of our users in Florida, a quite patient man, we can fix occasional issues. Our user in Florida kept getting a response of '0000' when taking his test. Once in awhile it's a good idea to clear out your browser's cache, or stored Internet files, to improve performance especially since what we are about centers on reaction time.

We want zero-latency, that is, no delay between image and reaction, and also, communication up to our servers, which is calculated in the miliseconds. In the supply chain world, there was a lot of talk about the glass pipeline and zero latency and the "flow of funds, goods, and information" - the last one was a favorite in the Powerpoints at UPS. And the Strategic Planning people had to figure out how to 'optimize' each point of the triangle so we would have more 'stars' and fewer 'dogs.'

More on zero-latency....how fast can you think...Sue Halpern at the NY Review of Books (and widely covered even in the Nick Denton book Gawker writes a review of Gadwell book "Blink" and also another piece on how aging can increase that inestimable quantity: wisdom. This was far more comprehensive than our own nanosecond review.

We compared Blink to Grokking and didn't really see that much difference. Ms. Halpern earlier penned the Slate review of MemCheck, when the site was still owned by Bill Gates and not the Washington Post company, who now holds dominion.

The Stars: A Labor of Love

Much has been written about the quest for the outer planets and stars, even in this newsletter, particularly with the interest of people like Richard Branson, Paul Allen, and Jeff Bezos in making "spaceflight for the rest of us."

But there's an even easier way to participate - build your own starliner, like the former Buddhist monk John Dobson, who has dedicated his life to 'free' astronomy for all with his popularization of an easy-to-use telescope mount that even the pros adopted. Building your own telescope can be a great way to stay mentally focused and alert, plus, will give a great satisfaction compared with rushing down to the Discovery Channel Store and plunking down $1,000 to buy one. We've even developed our own unique design that's even easier to use - based on one bearing - and one day we will commercialize it, or we might just make it available for everyone as our gift, for free.

Edward R. Byers of Barstow, CA, even built a business out of quality astronomical instruments:

Barstow man reaches for the stars:Makes astronomy equipment for observatories, universities, NASA's JPL and other clients


BARSTOW - Edward R. Byers Co. is virtually unknown in Barstow, but its name is known worldwide in the astronomy business.

For more than four decades, Ed Byers has been operating his company in the Barstow area, manufacturing astronomical equipment like telescopes for observatories, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lockheed Martin, universities and other clients.

What's kept him in the business is his love for astronomy, he said.

"The main thing astronomy teaches us is how insignificant the earth is," he said. "If you haven't learned that, you don't know anything about astronomy."

Byers will soon indulge his passion for astronomy in a massive telescope he built for himself, which will be complete as soon as an outside company installs the optics.

A longtime astronomy fan, Byers enjoys staying abreast of developments and news in the field.

"The last four or five years, they've made great breakthroughs," he said.

His wife, Sharyn Byers, also gets excited when she talks about the business they're in.

"It's very interesting - I'm proud of Ed's work," she said.

What's amazing, she said, is how precise the company's instruments are, and how pieces of metal can be turned into amazing machines.

"To me, they're like sculptures, works of art," she said.

Because Edward R. Byers Co. doesn't sell anything to the local community, the company's low profile doesn't bother the businessman.

"You can call any college and talk to the astronomy professor and ask him who Ed Byers is, and he'll tell you," he said. "We have a little niche."

And "in the astronomy business, everyone knows what a Byers mounting is," he said.

Byers, 77, said he's been slowing down as he gets older, and he's now the only employee of the company that once had seven staff members. Although his wife handles bookkeeping and other business, he is now the only one working with the equipment.

These days, he said he only takes on projects that interest him.

"I really don't go out beating the bushes for work," he said.

He expects to retire eventually, but he's not looking forward to it.

"If my health keeps up, I'll keep going until I can't any longer," he said. "Otherwise, I'll have to watch television all the time, and I don't really enjoy that."

The company makes the mountings, gears and other parts for the telescopes, but it gets the optics and electronics like micro-computers from other companies.

Byers also make heliostats - instruments used to study the sun


Water Additives and Alzheimer's

It was an extremely active weekend for news and exciting new developments in the field of cognition.

More evidence was brought forth on the connection between higher education and dementia - the more educated, the less likely the incidence of memory issues.

It also seems that Silica in the water may be a factor that can prevent Alzheimer's, according to a study in France that was announced today.

In the meantime, if you purchase Memory for Life by the 12th you will receive an immediate rebate equal to one-month's usage. So now is a good time to join, if you have not already.


The Global Product Vision

Yesterday Cognitive Labs had a very interesting meeting at Nokia, which was carried out with Teutonic-Nordic punctuality.

It's easy to see why Nokia is a global powerhouse with a strong vision for the future and abiding concern with the end-user experience that drives new products and partnering strategies. They are even big believers in blogging and mobile blogging or 'mo-blogging'.

What does Cognitive Science have to do with Nokia?

Already in Europe - people can press a keypad button on their handset and get an Onstar-like immediate response if they think they are suffering from cardiac arrest.

Similarly, locating technologies can be included in cell phones via sim cards which can enable medical personnel or caregivers to locate those with Alzheimer's. Last year we posted about a similar service being tried in the Azores.

Cognitive exercises and games like MemCheck also can be offered on the new visually enhanced platforms like the Nokia Series 60. This is a product we will call 'mo-memcheck,' where you can stay alert and focused or exercise your mind while riding the train, or, in the comfort of your home, while skiing (wait, on that one, watch out for the trees) or, if you simply desire a more portable experience than a laptop or PC. Being from Finland...it's a place were you can't go wrong. In the words of Michael Palin... "Finland, Finland, Finland...Finland has it all." So does Nokia it seems.

Global...Cognitive Labs has an Arabic page as well, courtesy of Sahkr Software and its useful Tarjim service...among their clients is the Emir, Crown Prince, and Prime
Ministers of Kuwait on behalf of the state of Kuwait.

So, right now you can read about MemCheck in eleven (11) languages. Eventually, we will have country-specific sites developed, and you will automatically get the page in your language based on your browser's language preference settings. More later >>

Fish Oil and Alzheimer's-UCLA ADRC

Eating salmon, mackerel, and and sardines may be beneficial to cognitive abilities, according to researchers at UCLA...

Diets high in the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish such as mackerel, sardines and salmon might ward off Alzheimer's disease.

That's what researchers report in the March 23 online issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

The study was conducted in mice, but senior author Greg M. Cole said it probably applies to humans as well.

"Our data show it works in animals," said Cole, associate director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. "If this works in people, it's clearly going to be one of the ways we protect ourselves from Alzheimer's disease."

An estimated 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, according to the Alzheimer's Association. The disease gradually destroys a person's memory and ability to communicate.

Cole's team studied older mice genetically engineered to develop Alzheimer's disease. They fed one group food fortified with docosahexenoic acid (DHA), the omega-3 fatty acid found in several types of coldwater fish. They fed the other group a diet low in DHA.

Diets low in DHA have been linked to impaired mental functioning, and DHA levels are lower in the blood and brains of Alzheimer's disease patients, Cole said.

After three to five months, which translates to several years in humans, the group of mice fed the DHA-rich diet had 70 percent less buildup of amyloid protein in the brain. This sticky protein is what makes up the plaques in the brain that are the hallmark of Alzheimer's.

"The protein is markedly reduced even when we start the diet late in life," Cole said.

"To come in and intervene late, and see a 50 percent or more reduction [in plaque] is remarkable," he added.

While the worth of omega-3 fatty acids to prevent plaque buildup in humans is yet to be proven, Cole pointed out that omega-3 fatty acids are known to have protective effects on human hearts.

The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults eat a minimum of two servings of fish a week, especially mackerel, sardines, albacore tuna, salmon, lake trout and herring.

Another Alzheimer's expert praised the study.

"I think it's a very interesting study from a quality lab that has a history of doing work similar to this," said William Thies, vice president of medical and scientific affairs for the Alzheimer's Association. "This is looking at a mechanism that is particularly important in Alzheimer's, the accumulation of amyloid."

"There clearly is less of an accumulation of amyloid in these mice given a DHA-enriched diet," he said. "Exactly why is not quite clear."

This study, he added, "fits nicely with the idea that those things good for your blood vessels are also good for Alzheimer's disease prevention."

Based on the study results, Cole said, it makes sense to increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids. He pointed out that eggs are now supplemented with DHA, and it is also available in fish oil capsules.

In another study by Cole's group, published last year in the journal Neuron, the researchers showed that DHA protected against damage to the "synaptic" areas where brain cells communicate and enabled mice to perform better on memory tests.

The findings suggest that people genetically predisposed to getting Alzheimer's disease may be able to delay its onset by increasing their DHA intake, Cole said.


Alzheimer's Linked to Rising Ocean Temperatures?

Global Warming may be having a pernicious effect on cognition - from Guam to Canada. Researchers in the Procedings of the National Academy of Sciences point out higher than normal cases of neurological disorders in Guam may be due to the presence of a toxin commonly found in blue green algae that also has been associated with cognitive disorders including Alzheimer's.

By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Science Writer

A toxin associated with Alzheimer's disease and related ailments has been found in cyanobacteria, sometimes called blue-green algae, collected from around the world.

The finding, based on research conducted in large part by Hawai'i scientists, is providing what may be the first indication that different cyanobacteria produce the same toxin. It also is raising the possibility of a potential threat to public health.

Researchers are recommending that public health agencies monitor waters that can have blooms of blue-green algae that can produce the algal neurotoxin, B-N-methylamino-L-alanine, or BMAA, which can affect the human nervous system.

"As rising global temperatures trigger more blooms of cyanobacteria in the planet's oceans and rivers, the health consequences of neurotoxins such as BMAA should be monitored," the scientists said in a report in today's edition of the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."

Ethnobotanist Paul Allen Cox of Kaua'i's National Tropical Botanical Garden led a team of researchers that chased down an intriguing link between cyanobacteria and a class of apparently related nervous system diseases that include Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gherig's disease.

Cox was looking into neurological disease among Guam natives. Those suffering from the disease had high levels of BMAA in their brain tissue, and many of those affected ate a traditional diet that included fruit bats. In tracking down the diet of the fruit bats, Cox and his team found the animals ate the seeds of cycad trees, and that cyanobacteria in the roots of the trees produce BMAA.

"We have recently discovered that potential human exposure to BMAA extends far beyond Guam," Cox said.

Researchers found that a small sample of people who died as a result of Alzheimer's disease in Canada — where there are no fruit bats or cycads — also had BMAA in their brain tissue. There were indications of similar patterns in people in parts of Japan, where there are cycads but no fruit bats.

Cox said the key seems to be neither the cycad nor the bat, but the cyanobacteria. "It's like a detective story," he said.

Scientists have long known that cyanobacteria can produce dangerous compounds, but this appears to be the first indication that very different cyanobacteria can produce the same poison.

Cox and his team of researchers looked into cyanobacteria samples from very different environments and found that in each of the five major types of these blue-green algae, some species produce BMAA.

Often, there is not much of the neurotoxin and it may take some kind of process to "biomagnify" the poison. Fruit bats in Guam may have done that by eating a lot of cycad seeds. A new question is what might be biomagnifying BMAA in other environments.

Cyanobacteria are among the oldest forms of life on the planet. They are single-celled organisms that behave like bacteria, but can conduct photosynthesis like plants. They generally live in water, but also can live inside plants.

Also contributing to the research were cyanobacterial experts Robert Bidigare and Georgia Tien at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Cox said.


Giving the Gift of Memory

Cognitive Labs: Give the Gift of Memory

Mountain View, CA April 4, 2005. Cognitive Labs is announcing our GIFT program - where family, friends, and co-workers can give the Gift of memory assessment and cognitive tracking to someone they are concerned about. Family members and friends often notice the subtle changes in behavior that may lead to early memory loss.

Often, people feel there is little they can do about it without upsetting the person. Only when the symptoms become visible do they take action - where someone else has been effected, premature loss of employment has occurred, or the family has suffered a financial setback. Oftentimes that visit to a specialist leads to a review, screening, and diagnosis of the disease.

By this time, prescription medicines can help the symptoms - but not help reverse the eventual progress of the disease in wiping away a lifetime of memories and simple cognitive abilities that others take for granted.

But you can take action earlier - if you have a concern about memory loss in a family member - you can get Memory For Life for them and help them create a baseline of cognitive performance. With regular testing and monitoring, you and the subject can see exactly how their cognitive performance changes over time. There is even evidence that intensive cognitive exercise, when combined with a program of regular physical fitness and a sensible diet, can slow down or prevent the onset of early memory loss.

Go! Give the Gift of Memory from Cognitive Labs - the leader with 1.01 million registered members.


Back Again

After a brief pause, we are back with the news and commentary. We tried to send in some updates from Death Valley (Eureka Dunes) but we couldn't get a link from the area...which is remote and mostly accessible only by 4x4 vehicle. We did see many flybys by F-16's, some as low as 100 foot off the ground, which looped around the dunes, doing a quarter roll, and then hitting the afterburner. The area resembles Afghanistan...with dry washes and towering, rocky mountains.

In between the sorties from the nearby airbases, there was absolute silence. As you stood on the peak of the dunes you could actually look down on the passing fighter planes.

The Eureka Dunes are 700 feet tall and are the largest in California (if not the U.S.) though I am sure it must be close.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?