Sweet Drug Clears Cholesterol, Reverses Heart Disease—And Was Found by Parents

Two parents’ quest to save their twin daughters’ lives from a rare, degenerative genetic disorder may end up saving and improving the lives of millions.

Source: Sweet drug clears cholesterol, reverses heart disease—and was found by parents

From  http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/8/333/333ra50 :

Cyclodextrin is a common FDA-approved substance that is already used as a solubilizing agent to improve delivery of various drugs.

TV Binge Watching, Exercise Skipping Linked to Poor Cognitive Function

Passing on the gym to snuggle on the couch and binge watch whole seasons of your favorite show this weekend may not bode well for your brain.

Source: TV binging, exercise skipping linked to poor cognitive function

Correlation is far from demonstrating causation, especially in this case. People often “self medicate” – they tend to gravitate to leisure activities that they find rewarding. People that find mainstream TV shows painfully inane aren’t going to be spending their free time watching them.

But it is interesting about the standing desk, the war on sitting because of the mortality implications… but curling up on the couch for some TV gets a pass?

Scientists Turn Skin Cells into Brain Cells, Using Alzheimers Patients

Using a special mix of small molecules, two groups of scientists in China have successfully turned human skin cells into neurons. They hope that their technique could one day help rejuvenate failing tissues in the brains of Alzheimers patients.

Source: Scientists Turn Skin Cells into Brain Cells, Using Alzheimers Patients

It’s interesting that a mice and human trial were done seemingly in parallel.  It’s apparently cheap, easy, and minimal if any rejection risk.  But we’re a ways from being able to leverage this into something useful.

How We Discovered Alzheimer’s Disease

Today we hear a great deal about Alzheimer’s disease, but relatively little about its discoverer. Its discoverer had little idea how famous his few case studies would become. Here’s how Alzheimer’s went from a medical anomaly to one of the most known and feared medical conditions in the world.

Source: How We Discovered Alzheimer’s Disease

Fat or Stupid? Study Say You Must Choose

A surprising study contradicting all previous research found that being fat in middle age appears to cut the risk of developing dementia rather than increase it, the Lancet scientific journal has reported.

A study of two million people found that the underweight were far more likely to develop dementia, a growing problem among the elderly in the Western world.

Underweight people had a 34 percent higher risk of developing dementia than those of a normal weight, the study found, while the very obese had a 29 percent lower risk of becoming forgetful and confused and showing other signs of senility.

Source: Being fat in middle age reduces risk of developing dementia, researchers say

Obesity or dementia? Superficial outward beauty accompanied by the brain of a mouse, or a healthy mind that shall not know happiness due to the cruel world’s shallow condemnation of your size? Total satisfaction is as impossible as squeezing a slippery water balloon—whichever side you get a solid grasp on will only cause the opposite side to swell in grotesque proportion.

There is some belief that dementia may be caused by a lack of myelin (fatty substance) covering the meninges in the brain/CNS. I think it’s also true that children with a certain degenerative brain disease (can’t remember what it’s called) are told to eat a ketogenic diet (fatty foods, specifically olive oil) to slow the destruction of the myelin and therefore the meninges.

Drinking Beer Could ‘Help Fight Dementia’

A new study has found that beer could help prevent degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Chinese researchers discovered that a chemical in hops – the plant used to make beer – could protect brain cells from oxidative stress that causes dementia.

Source: Fancy A Pint? Drinking Beer Could ‘Help Fight Dementia’

The testing was only on rats to date, and researchers stress that a pint a day will not stave off the condition.  You need at least three… 😉

Reminder: Alcohol is addictive, laden with empty calories, and socially complex. Be careful™.

Hibernating Hints at Dementia Therapy

Bears, hedgehogs and mice destroy brain connections as they enter hibernation, and repair them as they wake up.

A UK team discovered “cold-shock chemicals” that trigger the process. They used these to prevent brain cells dying in animals, and say that restoring lost memories may eventually be possible.

Source: Hibernating hints at dementia therapy

We know that RBM3 protects, regardless of whether it was produced by hibernation or artificial elevation of just the protein RBM3.  So you don’t need to go out trying to freeze yourself 😉

Brain Test: How Long can You Stand on One Leg?

Internet brain games aren’t the only way to gauge what’s going on between your ears. A simple physical test may be able to tell you how healthy your brain is, according to a new study from Japan, published in the journal Stroke.

In the study, researchers had 1,387 healthy people stand on one leg with their eyes open for as long as possible, up to a minute. Then they performed MRI’s on the subjects, whose average age was 67, and had them complete four cognitive tests.

Interestingly, the length of time the people could balance predicted what the scientists saw on the brain scans: Those who were unable to stand flamingo-style for more than 20 seconds were more likely to have cerebral small vessel disease, a condition where tiny blood vessels deep in the brain are damaged. None of the study participants showed any symptoms.

Source: How healthy is your brain? Take this test to find out

Just another reason to be self-conscious in yoga class…  But seriously consider the following:

Flunk the test? Ask your doctor if you should be concerned, and take a proactive approach to brain health. “People say, ‘What can I do to keep from getting Alzheimer’s? What can I do to prevent stroke? If it’s good for your heart, it’s good for your brain,” says Senelick. “Work on your risk factors: hypertension, diabetes, poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking.”

Study: Creatine From Meat Seems to Help Us Think

Are you a vegetarian or a vegan? Besides vitamin B12, depending upon what you eat and the supplements you take, you can find your diet somewhat low in zinc, long chain omega 3 fatty acids, and even some amino acids. One of these amino acids is called creatine, and the best source is meat.

Researchers who study cognition and athletic performance simply love giving vegetarians creatine supplements. This practice might seem curious until you look at the following facts…

Source: Your Brain on Creatine

Most people don’t understand about non-essential amino acids is that you don’t need them – your body can synthesize them.  Just not efficiently.  Unless you’re getting your non-essential aminos from your food or supplements – you’re probably non-essential amino acid deficient.