AlzForum covers new research from the laboratory of Virginia Lee, PhD, director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research. A major challenge of studying diseases marked by intracellular protein aggregates is getting those pesky clumps to form in the lab under anything resembling realistic circumstances. A study in the October 6 issue of Neuron takes Parkinson’s disease research a step forward in this direction. The Penn team developed a cell model that uses preformed α-synuclein fibrils to induce Lewy body pathology, synaptic dysfunction, and death in wild-type mouse neurons. “The fact that you can take some fibrils, toss them into primary neuron cultures, and recapitulate pathology you see in PD patients suggests you have a simple but powerful system for studying the consequences of α-synuclein pathology in a dish,” said Lee.
The possibility that anesthesia and surgery produces lasting cognitive losses has gained attention over past decades, but direct evidence has remained ambiguous and controversial. Now, researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania provide further evidence that Alzheimer’s pathology may be increased in patients after surgery. “We have long sought a clearer picture of the true impact of anesthesia and surgery on the central nervous system,” said lead study author Roderic Eckenhoff, MD, Austin Lamont Professor of Anesthesia at Penn. “Although not definitive, this human biomarker study gives some credibility to the notion that anesthesia and surgery produce an inflammatory insult on the brain and accelerate chronic neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.”
New research from the Perelman School of Medicine adds to the growing evidence that anesthesia and surgery may be associated with the progression of chronic brain diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s disease. “We have long sought a clearer picture of the true impact of anesthesia and surgery on the central nervous system,” study author Roderic Eckenhoff, MD, the Austin Lamont Professor of Anesthesia, said in a HealthDay article. “Although not definitive, this human biomarker study gives some credibility to the notion that anesthesia and surgery produce an inflammatory insult on the brain and accelerate chronic neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s,” Eckenhoff added.
USA Today – For people with type 2 diabetes, intense treatment doesn’t slow decline in thinking skills, a new study found. Super-strict blood sugar control actually appeared to increase study participants’ risk of death, the researchers found. People older than 70 with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to suffer mental impairment as those without diabetes, researchers say. Intensively controlling blood sugar has been shown to reduce the odds of diabetes complications, such as vision, kidney and circulation problems, so it seemed likely that it might also slow any cognitive decline related to the condition.
USA Today – People with diabetes are at significantly higher risk of developing all types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, finds a new study that bolsters previous research connecting the two illnesses. The study of more than 1,000 people in Japan found that 27 percent of those with diabetes developed dementia, compared to 20 percent of people with normal blood sugar levels. Further, the study showed that pre-diabetes — higher than normal blood sugar levels — also raised the risk of dementia.
Discover Magazine’s science blog “Not Exactly Rocket Science” mentions research published in Neuron from the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, about how small amounts of misshapened brain proteins in Parkinson’s disease can be taken up by healthy neurons and replicated within them to cause neurodegeneration. Laura Volpicelli-Daley, PhD, senior research investigator, and CNDR Director Virginia Lee, PhD, were both mentioned in the blog.