Alzheimers 2018: Session 2: Alzheimer and Parkinson

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Estimates vary, but experts suggest that more than 5.5 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, but recent estimates indicate that the disorder may rank third, just behind heart disease and cancer, as a cause of death for older people.

Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, and reasoning—and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of daily living.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement. Symptoms start gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. Tremors are common, but the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement.

In the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, your face may show little or no expression. Your arms may not swing when you walk. Your speech may become soft or slurred. Parkinson’s disease symptoms worsen as your condition progresses over time.

Although Parkinson’s disease can’t be cured, medications might significantly improve your symptoms. Occasionally, your doctor may suggest surgery to regulate certain regions of your brain and improve your symptoms.

 

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Alzheimers 2018: Session 1: Dementia

What Is Dementia?

Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is an example. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia.  Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s an overall term that describes a group of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases. Vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke, is the second most common dementia type.

Symptoms of Dementia:
While symptoms of dementia can vary greatly, at least two of the following core mental functions must be significantly impaired to be considered dementia:

  • Memory
  • Communication and language
  • Ability to focus and pay attention
  • Reasoning and judgment
  • Visual perception

Causes:
Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells. This damage interferes with the ability of brain cells to communicate with each other. When brain cells cannot communicate normally, thinking, behavior and feelings can be affected.

While most changes in the brain that cause dementia are permanent and worsen over time, thinking and memory problems caused by the following conditions may improve when the condition is treated or addressed:

  • Depression
  • Medication side effects
  • Excess use of alcohol
  • Thyroid problems
  • Vitamin deficiencies

Dementia treatment and care:
Treatment of dementia depends on its cause. In the case of most progressive dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease, there is no cure and no treatment that slows or stops its progression. But there are drug treatments that may temporarily improve symptoms.

Dementia risk and prevention:
Some risk factors for dementia, such as age and genetics, cannot be changed. But researchers continue to explore the impact of other risk factors on brain health and prevention of dementia. Some of the most active areas of research in risk reduction and prevention include cardiovascular factors, physical fitness and diet.

Alzheimers 2018

International #Conference on #Alzheimers, #Dementia and Related #Neurodegenerative Diseases is just 24 days away..

#Pulsus Group invites researchers from different fields of #Neurology to present their work at the event.

The #conference will mainly focus on the following #topics:

  • Track 1. Dementia
  • Track 2. Alzheimer and Parkinson
  • Track 3. Epilepsy
  • Track 4. Multiple Sclerosis
  • Track 5. Migraine
  • Track 6. Prion Disease
  • Track 7. Motor Neurone Diseases
  • Track 8. Huntingtons Disease
  • Track 9. Spinocerebellar Ataxia
  • Track 10. Spinal Muscular Atrophy
  • Track 11. Demyelinating Diseases
  • Track 12. Cerebral Palsy
  • Track 13. Cognitive Impairment
  • Track 14. Stroke
  • Track 15. Convulsion
  • Track 16. Neurodegeneration
  • Track 17. Neurorehabilitation
  • Track 18. Neurology
  • Track 19. Neuropathy
  • Track 20. Headache
  • Track 21. Neurologist

Know more at: https://alzheimers-dementia.pulsusconference.com/

 

Sleep Apnoea and Epilepsy: Is There A Relationship?

What is the relationship between epilepsy and sleep apnoea?

In previous studies it has been shown that a greater number of people with epilepsy also experience sleep apnoea, than in the general population.

Researchers from Rutgers University wanted to develop a screening tool to detect sleep apnoea in patients with epilepsy as it is known that sleep apnoea can increase the number of seizures experienced.

As lead author, Martha Mulvey, of the Department of Neurology, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, said in a statement “Seizures can often be triggered by low oxygen levels that occur during obstructive sleep apnoea. Sleep deprivation and the interruption of sleep can therefore increase seizure frequency.”

The idea being that if people with epilepsy can be screened for their risk of sleep apnoea, then this condition may be treated so that their epilepsy can be better controlled.  By developing this tool, the researchers showed that they were able to diagnose a greater number of epilepsy patients with sleep apnoea than without the tool and this in turn should mean that more people will be able to control their epilepsy more effectively.

“We expected the tool for screening would increase the number of epileptic patients with sleep apnoea,” said study co-author Xue Ming. “We were surprised on the degree of the great difference (huge difference) between the number of sleep apnoea patients identified with and without the [use of the assessment tool].”

 

Parkinson’s Disease Gene Therapy Clinical Trial Launched in UK

A gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease developed by Swiss biotech Axovant has been used on the first patient in a Phase I/II trial at University College London.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease, caused by a lack of the neurochemical dopamine in regions of the brain handling motor functions causing debilitating symptoms such as rigidity and tremors.

Gene therapy has the potential to deliver therapeutics to specific areas of the brain, which would cause fewer side effects, such as hallucinations and compulsive behavior, than current treatments.

Axovant’s gene therapy is designed to make the affected neurons produce dopamine by delivering the genetic instructions for making dopamine. The treatment is surgically injected into specific regions of the brain, and theoretically lasts for years after surgery.

The first part of the trial will test the safety of different doses of the therapy. The second part will test its therapeutic effect on motor symptoms of the patients compared with a sham operation. Preliminary results are expected in 2019.

“While we do not yet know if it is effective, it is hoped this therapy will provide patient benefit for many, many years following a single treatment,” stated Thomas Foltynie, the trial’s lead clinician at UCL.

The gene therapy was originally developed by Oxford Biomedica, and licensed to Axovant earlier this year. Notably, like all treatments for Parkinson’s disease at present, it intends to alleviate the symptoms of the disease, but does not stop the disease progression.

University College London is also working with Scottish biotech Synpromics to develop a gene therapy for young-onset Parkinson’s disease. In the US, Voyager Therapeutics is also carrying out a Phase I trial of a gene therapy that makes oral treatments for Parkinson’s disease more efficient.

One hope for slowing the progression of Parkinson’s disease is in Phase I/II. The US company, Sangamo Therapeutics, is testing a gene therapy designed to combat neurodegeneration by making brain cells express chemicals that protect neurons from damage.

Originally published in Labiotech.

A New Look at Demyelination and White Matter Density in Multiple Sclerosis

Myelocortical multiple sclerosis (MS), a subtype of MS, is set apart by demyelination of the spinal cord and the cerebral cortex but not of cerebral white matter. Cortical neuronal loss may be enhanced in myelocortical MS cortex compared with typical MS cortex, according to study results published in The Lancet Neurology.

Researchers examined the brains and spinal cords of deceased individuals with MS selected from the Cleveland Clinic rapid autopsy protocol. Brains were scanned using an MRI and then divided into hemispheres and matching slices. Of these, 12 brains did not have visible lesions in cerebral white matter or myelocortical MS. These brains and spinal cords were compared with those from 12 individuals with typical MS and 13 brains from individuals who did not have MS.

Cerebral white-matter lesions per hemisphere were considerably greater in the typical MS group (10.0 (4.5 to 19.0) compared with the myelocortical MS group (0.5 (0.0 to 1.0). The typical size of individual white-matter lesions was also considerably larger in typical MS hemispheric slices than in myelocortical MS hemispheric slices. Researchers found a significant increase in the spinal cord demyelinated area in typical MS compared with myelocortical MS. Compared with controls, neuronal densities in typical MS cortices were considerably decreased in layer V. However, this was not the case in layers III or VI. None of the 3 layers were considerably different in typical MS compared with myelocortical MS.

What to know about multiple sclerosis!

So, what is multiple sclerosis (MS) and how do you get it?

MS is a chronic disorder where cells from the immune system attack the nerve cells of the central nervous system (CNS). There’s a special substance called myelin, which covers the nerve cells and allows messages to pass from your brain to the body and vice versa.

During a flare, the immune system attacks the myelin, the nerve covering becomes inflamed and communication between the brain and body is disrupted. The inflammation and nerve covering damage cause multiple areas of scarring (sclerosis) within the CNS, which is where the name multiple sclerosis originates. Unfortunately, the cause of MS is not yet known. Scientists believe that it could be caused by an unknown interaction of genetic predisposition and environmental factors.

Which part of the body is affected and what are the symptoms?

Since the central nervous system is made up of your brain, spinal cord, and specialized eye nerves, multiple sclerosis can affect a variety of body parts including arms, legs, and eyes. The most common problems are vision, balance, and muscle control. Other symptoms include fatigue, numbness and tingling, weakness, dizziness, pain, and emotional changes.

Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease.

Are there different types of MS?

People with multiple sclerosis all have the same type of MS but the course of the illness may vary. It can be broken up into four different courses: clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing and remitting MS, secondary progressive MS, and primary progressive MS.

These differ by the onset of illness, the severity of the symptoms, whether or not the disease is progressing during periods of remission, and how likely the person affected will return to their baseline level of functioning.

What is the treatment and is there a cure?

There’s no cure for MS. The specialists who treat MS are called neurologists. A neurologist will most likely use a combination of medications, physical therapy, and psychiatric care to support patients following a diagnosis of MS. The types of medications used are disease-modifying medicines, medicine to manage relapses, and medicine to manage symptoms associated with a flare.