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Ian McDonald's blog

Organ transplant ‘anti-rejection’ medication shows protective effect against Alzheimer’s disease

Analysis of American medical records has shown that a treatment taken daily by people who have had organ transplants to prevent organ rejection may also protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

This result was published in the recent edition of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease from researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch, USA. The research team analysed data from the medical records of 2,644 people who received organ transplants and as a result took daily ‘calcineurin inhibitor-based medications.’

What is calcineurin?

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How your blood type might be linked to brain health

New preliminary research has shown that those with ‘Type O’ blood have larger ‘grey-matter’ volumes in the cerebellum, a region of the brain important in assisting with motor skills and cognitive function.

Grey matter is largely composed of brain cells including neurons and is important for processing information around the brain. It is suggested that larger grey matter is associated with better brain function and may be a protective factor against Alzheimer’s disease but this claim is yet to be confirmed.

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Update: the role of a good night’s sleep in dementia risk reduction

New research has reiterated that a good night’s sleep may be one of the keys in reducing your risk of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers from UC Berkeley, USA published results in the Journal Nature Neuroscience which suggest that sleep deficit may be a channel through which amyloid beta proteins (a major hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease) are triggered and cause the onset of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.

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Younger Onset Alzheimer’s disease – new research reiterates it is not just about memory loss

It is common to associate a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease with memory loss and while this is the case for many, new research has suggested that younger people (i.e. less than 65) with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease will more commonly have problems associated with judgement, language and/or visual and spatial awareness, rather than memory loss.

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What are the effects of playing video games on the brain?

Playing video games is an extremely popular pastime. If we add up all the hours spent by people who play video games (gaming) each week, it would equal over 3 billion hours. On average it is suggested a teenager can spend nearly 10,000 hours gaming by the time they are 21. So what does this do to the brain?

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Are we getting closer to a bionic brain?

When you read something that says ‘metal–oxide valence-change memristive devices’ it may sound like something from a sci-fi movie but in fact it is a device that Australian based researchers have used to mimic the way the human brain processes information.

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People with frontotemporal dementia may have decreased sexual activity

In a new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Australian based researchers from Neuroscience Research Australia (Neura) have found that people with frontotemporal dementia show a decrease in sexual relations with their partners.

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Could Mars-bound Astronauts get dementia?

NASA is currently developing the capabilities to send humans to Mars by 2030. This sounds exciting and could be considered the ‘moon landing of our generation’. However questions have now surfaced asking ‘what happens to your brain on the way to Mars’?

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