January 18, 2017

There Could Be A Definite Way To Detect Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition in which many important mental functions are inhibited. With the onset of Alzheimer’s, a patient may experience mild confusion and memory loss. However when the condition becomes more severe, patients may suffer dramatic personality changes and severe memory loss. This disease is categorized as a type of dementia, which is a common term used to describe brain disorders that cause the loss of intellectual and social skills. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s accounts for about 60-80% of the cases of dementia; making Alzheimer’s the most common form of dementia [1].

In order to get a better understanding of the disease, researchers have observed how genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors affect the brain. They believe that a combination of these factors have an effect on the brain, which further leads to development of the disease [2]. However in fewer than 5 percent of the cases, Alzheimer’s is caused by a genetic change which almost guarantees that a patient will develop this disease. In order to achieve a better understanding this concept, researchers at the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) attempt to understand the alterations that occur in early stages of the disease. One factor they examined is the alterations on bones, in attempt to offer biomarkers for earlier detection that does not involve examining the brain [3].

By definition, a biomarker can be defined as the presence of a substance which indicates the presence of a disease [4]. In this case, the researchers at NEOMED use the mouse model of Alzheimer’s to link between early bone loss and brain degeneration. Their aim was to move a step closer to determining biomarkers such as bone density loss, which could help in early identification of the development of Alzheimer’s.

In the mouse model, the researchers from NEOMED measured the bone density in htau mice before they developed significant signs of abnormality. They found that bone density was significantly reduced when the mice developed this disease. With a further analysis of the effects on the brains of the mice, researchers were able to conclude that there is a “significant link between early bone loss and brain degeneration” [3].

In lieu of this finding, researchers suggest that more research needs to be conducted to identify the same molecular mechanisms in humans. If these studies yield conclusive results, researchers will be able to act on developing the logistics for using bone density as a biomarker for the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Sources:

[1] What is Alzheimer’s? Alzhiemer’s Association. Retrieved from: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp

[2] Alzheimer’s Disease. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/home/ovc-20167098

[3] Bone Loss May Be Linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Paddock, Catherine. Medical News Today. Retrieved from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314492.php

[4] What are Biomarkers? Strimbu, Kyle and Tavel, Jorge. US National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3078627/

March 27, 2014

Low Vitamin D Levels Can Damage the Brain

Filed under: brain injury,vitamin D,vitamins — Tags: , — drwatson @ 6:59 pm

vitamin_d_and_brainVitamin D plays a crucial role in helping you maintain bone health. However, a new study at the University of Kentucky is suggesting that a lack of Vitamin D can actually cause damage to your brain as well as other vital organs.

Vitamin D and The Brain: Results from A Study

The results were published in the Free Radical Biology and Medicine, and were astonishing: middle-aged rats were provided with a low Vitamin D diet for several months. During this time, drastic damage began to occur within the brain. More specifically, they weren’t able to retain information or learn.

Researchers believe that many brain proteins were discovered to have been much higher than normal, which could have lead to the massive amount of cognitive decline. The researchers also claim that the lack of vitamin D will increase in the U.S., and its effect on brain health is something that should not be overlooked.

How to Increase Your Vitamin D Levels

Given the fact that Vitamin D deficiency is becoming more widespread, especially amongst older individuals, it is even more imperative to make it a priority. Middle-aged to old-aged individuals tend to be the major targets for cognitive decline, and a lack of Vitamin D certainly doesn’t help the situation. So, what’s a great way to increase Vitamin D levels in a way that is effective and safe?

Well, you could always catch some rays. Commonly referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”, sunlight is a primary source of Vitamin D. In fact, it may even be a better source of Vitamin D than most food source. If you’re stuck between having to choose between walking and taking a car, going somewhere on foot will almost always be the better option for catching more rays.

Among the elderly population, low levels of vitamin D is common. But if you couple this with the fact that long-sleeved clothing and sunscreen is becoming equally as common, you’ll see the reason why Vitamin D deficiencies are increasing. Moreover, low Vitamin D levels have also been linked to Alzheimer’s diseases, as well as certain cancers and heart disease.

You should spend at least ten to fifteen minutes each day in the sun. While more time in the sun would be better, this should be enough to provide you with a sufficient amount of Vitamin D for the day.

You may also consider consuming more food that contains this vitamin D, including fortified milk, eggs, and oily fish. A last option is to take a vitamin D supplement.

Conclusion

If you are unsure whether you are low in Vitamin D, consider getting a blood test done. Although, if you live in a climate where there is less sunlight, chances are you require Vitamin D. Always consult your primary healthcare professional before thinking of making any chances to your diet, starting supplementation, or regarding any health questions you may have.

Information provided on this website is for general purposes only. It is not intended to take the place of advice from your practitioner.

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