Sunday, October 24, 2010

Use it or Lose it!

Anecdotal reports for the past several years have strongly suggested that brain aerobic exercises could help to retard the onset of some mental symptoms of aging. Researched confirmation of this has been slow in coming, but bit by bit evidence is mounting. A recent study by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), is one of the first to measure both mental performance and changes in neural activity caused by a cognitive training program. In the study, healthy older participants trained on a computer game designed to boost visual perception. After ten hours of training, they not only improved their perceptual abilities significantly, but also increased the accuracy of their visual working memory by about ten percent – bringing them up to the level of younger adults. Working memory is the ability to hold information in mind for brief periods. It is essential to accomplish immediate tasks, such as engaging in conversation with several people.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cancer related cognitive dysfunction

Study results presented at the Third AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities included mention that people with a history of cancer have a 40 percent greater likelihood of experiencing memory problems that interfere with daily functioning, compared with those who have not had cancer. After all the back-and-forth discussion, it appears that cancer-related memory issues can be related to treatment, such as chemotherapy, radiation, and hormone therapies, or to the tumor biology itself, which could change brain chemistry and neurobehavioral function. This makes it all the more important that individuals who experience an episode of cancer take careful steps to keep their brain as healthy and functional as possible.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

ADHD - Genetic Brain Disorder

Researchers believe they have found direct evidence that AHDH or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is a genetic condition. The child of a parent with ADHD is more likely to have the condition than a child of a parent without ADHD. And if one child of a set of identical twins has ADHD, the other twin has a 75% chance of having ADHD. Children with ADHD were more likely to have small DNA segments duplicated or missing as compared with controls. Researchers found significant overlap between these segments, or copy number variations (CNVs), and those linked to autism and schizophrenia. This type of genetic variation is found to be more common in brain disorders. The most significant overlap of segments, or copy number variations (CNVs), with ADHD and Autism was found at a particular region on chromosome 16. Current conclusions: ADHD is likely caused by a number of genetic changes, including CNVs, interacting with as yet unidentified environmental factors; ADHD is better considered as a neurodevelopmental disorder like autism rather than as a behavioral problem.(Study is First to Find Direct Evidence That ADHD is a Genetic Disorder.)