Common class of drugs linked to dementia even when taken 20 years before diagnosis

The largest and most detailed study of the long-term impact of anticholinergic drugs, a class of drugs commonly prescribed in the United States and United Kingdom as antidepressants and incontinence medications, has found that their use is associated with increased risk of dementia, even when taken 20 years before diagnosis of cognitive impairment. An international research team from the US, UK and Ireland analyzed more than 27 million prescriptions as recorded in the medical records of 40,770 patients over age 65 diagnosed with dementia compared to the records of 283,933 older adults without dementia. The researchers found greater incidence of dementia among patients prescribed anticholinergic antidepressants, anticholinergic bladder medications and anticholinergic Parkinson’s disease medications than among older adults who were not prescribed these drugs. Dementia increased with greater exposure to anticholinergic medications. “Anticholinergic Medication and Risk of Dementia: Case-control Study” […]

Blood Test To Determine When It Is Safe To Return To Play After A Sports-related Concussion

A high-sensitive blood test can aid concussed hockey players when it might be safe to return to play. In a study published by the journal Neurology, researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy has identified a superior blood-based biomarker for assessing subtle brain injury. “This could serve as an objective test a long side clinical evaluation to whether a player is fit to return to playing. Currently, we lack an objective test like this”, says Dr. Pashtun Shahim, lead author of the article. The study entails yet another step forward in the research that has been carried out in Gothenburg for several years, with focus on sports-related concussions. This time it included all Swedish ice hockey teams that played in the highest division on the men’s side, SHL, during three seasons 2012-2015. Hockey clubs from Luleå HF in the north of Sweden to Rögle BK in […]

People with Type 2 diabetes who eat breakfast later, more likely to have a higher BMI

Being an “evening person” is linked to higher body mass indices among people with Type 2 diabetes, and having breakfast later in the day seems to be what drives this association, according to a new paper in the journal Diabetic Medicine. Obesity is common among people with Type 2 diabetes. Having an evening preference — waking up later and going to bed later — has been linked to an increased risk for obesity, but research is lacking regarding this phenomenon among people with Type 2 diabetes. Researchers led by Dr. Sirimon Reutrakul, associate professor of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism in the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, wanted to determine if morning or evening preference among people with Type 2 diabetes was associated with an increased risk for higher BMI and if so, what specific factors about evening preference […]

From Insulator To Conductor In A Flash

Over the past decades, computers have become faster and faster and hard disks and storage chips have reached enormous capacities. But this trend cannot continue forever: we are already running up against physical limits that will prevent silicon-based computer technology from attaining any impressive speed gains from this point on. Researchers are particularly optimistic that the next era of technological advancements will start with the development of novel information-processing materials and technologies that combine electrical circuits with optical ones. Using short laser pulses, a research team led by Misha Ivanov of the Max Born Institute in Berlin together with scientists from the Russian Quantum Center in Moscow have now shed light on the extremely rapid processes taking place within these novel materials. Their results have appeared in the prestigious journal Nature Photonics. Of particular interest for modern material research in solid […]

Seven-year follow-up shows lasting cognitive gains from meditation

Gains in the ability to sustain attention developed through intensive meditation training are maintained up to seven years later, according to a new study published in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement. The study is based on the Shamatha Project, a major investigation of the cognitive, psychological and biological effects of meditation led by researchers at the University of California, Davis, Center for Mind and Brain. “This study is the first to offer evidence that intensive and continued meditation practice is associated with enduring improvements in sustained attention and response inhibition, with the potential to alter longitudinal trajectories of cognitive change across a person’s life,” said first author Anthony Zanesco, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Miami, who began work on the project before starting his Ph.D. program in psychology at UC Davis. The project is led by Clifford Saron, research scientist […]

New blood test can predict TB up to two years in advance

A new blood test has been found to more accurately predict the development of tuberculosis up to two years before its onset in people living with someone with active TB, according to research published online in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, an American Thoracic Society journal. Those living with someone with active TB are at highest risk for developing the disease, yet only about 5-20 percent of people infected with tuberculosis actually develop TB. A blood test that predicts the development of TB without putting large numbers of lower-risk people through unnecessary preventative treatment is not currently available. In “Four-gene Pan-African Blood Signature Predicts Progression to Tuberculosis,” researchers from an international research consortium report that they developed and validated a blood test that measures the expression levels of four genes that can more accurately predict the development […]

How birds can detect the Earth’s magnetic field

he receptors that sense the Earth’s magnetic field are probably located in the birds’ eyes. Now, researchers at Lund University have studied different proteins in the eyes of zebra finches and discovered that one of them differs from the others: only the Cry4 protein maintains a constant level throughout the day and in different lighting conditions. Cry4 belongs to a group of proteins called cryptochromes. Normally they regulate the biological clock, but have also been considered significant for the magnetic sense. With this study, we now know which of the birds’ cryptochromes do what. “Cry4 is an ideal magnetoreceptor as the level of the protein in the eyes is constant. This is something we expect from a receptor that is used regardless of the time of day”, explains Atticus Pinzón-Rodríguez, one of the researchers behind the study. The conclusion is […]

A new class of antibiotics to combat drug resistance

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Nosopharm, a biotechnology company based in Lyon, France, are part of an international team reporting on the discovery of a new class of antibiotics. The antibiotic, first identified by Nosopharm, is unique and promising on two fronts: its unconventional source and its distinct way of killing bacteria, both of which suggest the compound may be effective at treating drug-resistant or hard-to-treat bacterial infections. Called odilorhabdins, or ODLs, the antibiotics are produced by symbiotic bacteria found in soil-dwelling nematode worms that colonize insects for food. The bacteria help to kill the insect and, importantly, secrete the antibiotic to keep competing bacteria away. Until now, these nematode-associated bacteria and the antibiotics they make have been largely understudied. To identify the antibiotic, the Nosopharm research team screened 80 cultured strains of the bacteria for […]