London- Researchers have identified an anti-viral gene that impacts the risk of both Alzheimer's disease and severe Covid-19.
A team from the University College London (UCL) estimated that one genetic variant of the OAS1 gene increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease by about 3-6 per cent in the population as a whole, while related variants on the same gene increase the likelihood of severe Covid-19 outcomes.
"While Alzheimer's is primarily characterised by harmful build-up of amyloid protein and tangles in the brain, there is also extensive inflammation in the brain that highlights the importance of the immune system in Alzheimer's. We have found that some of the same immune system changes can occur in both Alzheimer's disease and Covid-19," said lead author Dr Dervis Salih, from UCL's Queen Square Institute of Neurology and UK Dementia Research Institute.
"In patients with severe Covid-19 infection, there can also be inflammatory changes in the brain. Here we have identified a gene that can contribute to an exaggerated immune response to increase risks of both Alzheimer's and Covid-19," Salih added, in the paper published in the journal Brain.
To understand the gene's link to Alzheimer's, the team sequenced genetic data from 2,547 people, half of whom had the brain disorder.
They found that people with a particular variation, called rs1131454, of the OAS1 gene were more likely to have Alzheimer's disease, increasing carriers' baseline risk of Alzheimer's by an estimated 11-22 per cent.
The new variant identified is common, and it has a bigger impact on Alzheimer's risk than several known risk genes, the researchers said.
Further, the researchers investigated four variants on the OAS1 gene, all of which dampen its expression (activity).
They found that the variants increasing the risk of Alzheimer's are linked (inherited together) with OAS1 variants recently found to increase the baseline risk of needing intensive care for Covid-19 by as much as 20 per cent.
That is, the microglia cells where OAS1 gene was expressed more weakly had an exaggerated response to tissue damage, unleashing what they call a 'cytokine storm,' which leads to an autoimmune state where the body attacks itself, the team said.
OAS1 activity changes with age, so further research into the genetic network could help to understand why older people are more vulnerable to Alzheimer's, Covid-19, and other related diseases, they added.
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World Alzheimer's Day- Constant exposure to noise pollution may increase the risk of dementia caused due to Alzheimer's disease while music could have positive impact, say doctors.
According to a recent study published in international health journals around the world, constant exposure to traffic noise increases the risk of dementia among aged population.
Each year, September 21 is commemorated as the World Alzheimer's Day, and Alzheimer's disease has been found to be the commonest cause of dementia.
Doctors say with India fast racing towards becoming the most populated country in the world, and with improved healthcare delivery mechanism, aged population is on the rise in the country. This section of the society is at the risk of developing age-related complications like dementia, which is often considered a serious mental problem caused by brain disease or injury, that affects the ability to think, remember and behave normally.
Commenting on the problem, Sritheja Reddy, Consultant Neurologist, Gleneagles Global Hospital believes that music usually has a soothing effect on individuals of all ages, but loud and persistent noise can cause mental disturbance, and could even trigger experiences of ill being among those people who are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's related problems. "Cities are usually bustling with great activity during the day times and in the nights, but this could increase exposure to excessive noise, that can lead to short term impairments in cognitive function, particularly with respect to the ability to focus and remember. And the most important aspect here is that chronic exposure to noise pollution may increase the risk for dementia," the doctor said.
Abhinay M. Huchche, Consultant Neurologist, SLG Hospitals says that musical sounds could have a positive impact on people suffering from dementia, caused due to Alzheimer's disease." Listening to or singing songs can provide emotional and behavioral benefits for people with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. Musical memories are often preserved in Alzheimer's disease because key brain areas linked to musical memory are relatively undamaged by the disease," he added.
Changala Praveen, Consultant - Neurophysician, Aware Gleneagles Global Hospital pointed out that ageing patients require extra attention, and those impacted by dementia require proper evaluation and management of the disease through a multidisciplinary approach. "Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause for dementia, and there are multiple reasons for aged population developing this problem. Constant exposure to loud and unsavoury sounds like traffic noise is also a major cause for the older people to develop dementia. People who have aged family members in the house must ensure the elderly are protected from loud noises, and this is the best solution to arrest complexities," he said.
Having exposure to high levels of noise during the night is especially concerning, as sleep is a critical period for mental and cognitive restoration. Fragmented sleep resulting from noise disturbance is associated with increased oxidative stress causes alterations in the immune system and increased systemic inflammation.
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ऑस्ट्रेलियाई शोधकर्ताओं ने एक अध्ययन में एक 'ब्लड-टू-ब्रेन पाथवे' की पहचान की है, जो अल्जाइमर रोग का कारण बन सकता है। यह दुर्बल मस्तिष्क विकार के लिए संभावित नई रोकथाम और उपचार के अवसर प्रदान करता है। ऑस्ट्रेलिया के पर्थ में कर्टिन विश्वविद्यालय की एक टीम के नेतृत्व में किए गए अध्ययन ने माउस मॉडल पर परीक्षण किया, जिससे पता चला कि अल्जाइमर रोग का एक संभावित कारण टॉक्सिक प्रोटीन को ले जाने वाले फेट-केयरिंग पाटíकल के रक्त से मस्तिष्क में रिसाव।
ये निष्कर्ष पीएलओएस बायोलॉजी जर्नल में प्रकाशित हुए हैं।
कर्टिन हेल्थ इनोवेशन रिसर्च इंस्टीट्यूट के निदेशक, प्रमुख अन्वेषक प्रोफेसर जॉन मामो ने कहा, जबकि हम पहले जानते थे कि अल्जाइमर रोग से पीड़ित लोगों की पहचान विशेषता बीटा-एमिलॉयड नामक मस्तिष्क के भीतर जहरीले प्रोटीन जमा का प्रगतिशील संचय था, शोधकर्ताओ को यह नहीं पता था कि एमिलॉयड कहां से उत्पन्न हुआ, या यह मस्तिष्क में क्यों जमा हुआ।
हमारे शोध से पता चलता है कि ये जहरीले प्रोटीन जमा होते हैं जो अल्जाइमर रोग से पीड़ित लोगों के दिमाग में बनते हैं, जो रक्त में वसा ले जाने वाले कणों से मस्तिष्क में रिसाव की संभावना रखते हैं, जिन्हें लिपोप्रोटीन कहा जाता है।
यह 'ब्लड-टू-ब्रेन पाथवे' महत्वपूर्ण है क्योंकि अगर हम लिपोप्रोटीन-एमिलॉइ के रक्त के स्तर को प्रबंधित कर सकते हैं और मस्तिष्क में उनके रिसाव को रोक सकते हैं, यह अल्जाइमर रोग और धीमी स्मृति हानि को रोकने के लिए संभावित नए उपचार खोलता है।
पिछले शोध में दिखाया गया था कि बीटा-एमिलॉइड मस्तिष्क के बाहर लिपोप्रोटीन के साथ बनाया जाता है, मामो की टीम ने आनुवंशिक रूप से इंजीनियर माउस मॉडल द्वारा 'ब्लड-टू-ब्रेन पाथवे' का परीक्षण किया ताकि मानव अमाइलॉइड-केवल लीवर का उत्पादन किया जा सके जो लिपोप्रोटीन बनाते हैं।
खोज से पता चलता है कि रक्त में इन जहरीले प्रोटीन जमा की प्रचुरता को संभावित रूप से किसी व्यक्ति के आहार और कुछ दवाओं के माध्यम हो सकता है, जो विशेष रूप से लिपोप्रोटीन एमिलॉयड को लक्षित कर सकते हैं, इसलिए उनके जोखिम को कम और अल्जाइमर रोग की प्रगति को धीमा कर देते हैं।
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New Delhi, July 5 (IANS) Meditation has emerged as an efficacious practice which improves attention, awareness and psychological health, say researchers.
Researchers from the Shri Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, have shown that supervised mindfulness meditation benefits patients with mild cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer's disease in terms of memory and orientation language and visual-spatial perception.
It has potential as a therapeutic approach for management of cognitive decline, associated with neurological disorders, they say.
Mild cognitive impairment & early form of Alzheimer's is a condition in which memory deteriorates, but a person remains functionally independent. Among several treatment options, meditation is one non-invasive and cost-effective approach to bring relief to such patients.
The team of SCTIMST Additional Professor, Ramshekhar N. Menon, Dr C. Kesavadas, Dr Bejoy Thomas, and Dr Aley Alexander (all SCTIMST) and Dr S. Krishnan (Government Medical College, Thiruvanthapuram) conducted a two-phased study with separate objectives for each phase.
The first phase was designed to explore neural correlations of mindfulness and study regions of brain activation enhancements among seasoned mindfulness practitioners and healthy non-practitioners through Imaging Biomarkers, which is the first of its kind multimodality imaging work in dementia from India.
The second phase was planned to verify the changes in cognitive performance of patients with MCI prior to, as well as subsequent to, mindfulness training.
The team carried out cognitive retraining weekly for one hour and provided feedback on the performance of the retraining tasks at the end of each session.
The patients were given home-based tasks for practicing during the rest of the days.
The researchers also developed a 10 week mindfulness meditation-based programme for patients called 'Mindfulness Unified Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (MUCBT)' training.
The results of initial resting-state fMRI indicated that compared to age-matched healthy subjects who did no form of meditation practice in their routine lifestyle, mindfulness practitioners establish increased connectivity, based on resting-state brain activity in medial prefrontal cortex and right anterior insula, regions of the brain which are concerned with emotion, stress response, attention as well as response of an individual to environmental stimuli and behaviour.
The results of the second phase suggest that mindfulness can activate neural correlates coupled with cognition, especially attention, behaviour, stress response, and reaction or adaptation to the environment, among other functions, and it suggests that consistent practice of mindfulness can mediate internal as well as external awareness and can subserve psychological and cognitive health.
Further, a rigorous mindfulness-based intervention programme has the potential to improve or stabilize cognitive functioning as well as the quality of life among patients suffering from MCI and early Alzheimer's disease, the researchers said.
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New York, June 23 (IANS) People who died of Covid-19 showed signs that were similar to the brains of individuals who died of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, according to a study.Both groups presented similar inflammation and impairment in brain circuits, said researchers from the Stanford School of Medicine and the Saarland University in Germany.The findings, published in the journal Nature, may help explain why about one-third of individuals hospitalised for Covid report symptoms of neurological problems like fuzzy thinking, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, and depression.The team analysed brain tissues from eight individuals who died of the disease, and brain samples from 14 people who died of other causes were used as controls for the study."The brains of patients who died from severe Covid-19 showed profound molecular markers of inflammation, even though those patients didn't have any reported clinical signs of neurological impairment," said Tony Wyss-Coray, Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford."Viral infection appears to trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body that may cause inflammatory signalling across the blood-brain barrier, which in turn could trip off neuroinflammation in the brain," he added.Further, the team found that the activation levels of many genes, associated with inflammatory processes, differed in the Covid-19 patients' brains versus the control group's brains.There also were signs of distress in neurons in the cerebral cortex, the brain region that plays a key role in decision-making, memory and mathematical reasoning.The outermost layers of the cerebral cortex of patients who died of Covid-19 showed molecular changes suggesting suppressed signalling by excitatory neurons, along with heightened signalling by inhibitory neurons, which act like brakes on excitatory neurons. This kind of signalling imbalance has been associated with cognitive deficits and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, the researchers explained.In addition, the peripheral immune cells called T cells, were significantly more abundant in brain tissue from dead Covid-19 patients. In healthy brains, these immune cells are few and far between."It's likely that many Covid-19 patients, especially those reporting or exhibiting neurological problems or those who are hospitalised, have these neuroinflammatory markers we saw in the people we looked at who had died from the disease," Wyss-Coray said. It may be possible to find out by analysing these patients' cerebrospinal fluid, whose contents to some extent mirror those of the living brain."Our findings may help explain the brain fog, fatigue, and other neurological and psychiatric symptoms of long Covid," he noted.--IANSrvt/vd
Washington, June 14 (IANS) US biotech company Vaxxinity is developing a novel coronavirus vaccine using synthetic proteins, which can also help treat neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, the media reported.The company's vaccine against Covid-19, known as UB-612, is currently in phase 2 trials. It uses the traditional recombinant protein coronavirus vaccine technology, but instead of growing proteins in large vats, Vaxxinity's proteins are made using chemicals.These so-called synthetic peptides mimic the spike protein, as other vaccines do, but also other proteins from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, that causes Covid-19, Financial Times reported on Sunday.The company uses a technique that it is also applying to its "immunotherapeutic" vaccines that "train the body to produce its own antibodies against internal targets of disease"."Some of the most successful drugs today are biologics drugs, but they are very expensive and often rather inconvenient to use. Our vision is to disrupt that class of drugs by next-tier, next-generation vaccines," Mei Mei Hu, chief executive of Vaxxinity, was quoted as saying to FT."Commercialising Covid means not only proving one aspect, one modality of our platform for infectious diseases, but also being able to fuel the development of other programmes off that technology platform," Hu said.Vaxxinity's Alzheimer's drug encourages the body to clear misfolded proteins called amyloid plaques from the brain, because genetic analysis has linked them to symptoms of the disease.As the phase 2 trial was not large enough to draw statistically valid conclusions, the company is moving on to a larger study, Hu said. Nearly 35 million people suffer from the cognitive illness worldwide, and almost all existing drugs to combat the condition only treat its symptoms.An injectable monoclonal antibody treatment developed by Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson was stopped in 2012 after a small proportion of cases developed inflammation in the brain in clinical trials. Vaxxinity said it has addressed this problem and the product is now safe and consistent, the report said.UB-612 is comparatively cheap and the vaccine does not need to be kept in deep freeze. Vaxxinity expects to sell the shot primarily to lower-income countries. However, it says that it has also had interest from developed markets, including the EU.While the shot is not yet approved, Vaxxinity already has confirmed demand for 140 million doses, the report said.--IANSrvt/in