Medscape reports on new research results from the International Conference on Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders, held in Vancouver, BC, Canada June 4 – 8 2017.
Pictures of Cats and Dogs suggest identification of high risk for Parkinson’s dementia.
When viewing pictures of cats and dogs with no distortion, medium distortion, and strong distortion, Parkinson’s Patients did worse than controls in distinguishing between cats and dogs in the medium distortion condition, pointing to possible improved tests and treatments to prevent dementia in Parkinson’s.
Autopsy studies of patients with PD confirm that this area of the brain — the infero-temporal and parieto-occipital cortex — is affected, she noted. “So we already know that there is some clue that the visual processing part of the brain is important.”
Current visuo-perceptual tests measure only one or two aspects of visual processing and tend to be “too easy,” said Dr Weil. “Everyone does very well on them and by the time they do badly, their disease may have progressed quite a bit. We need trickier tests.”
As well, current tests measure visual processing only in small numbers of patients. Online testing enables access to large numbers of patients.
“People think of PD as a disorder of movement but it’s much more complex and affects much more than just movement.”
A key question then, she said, is how does PD affect the brain? “Whatever it is that causes PD doesn’t just involve the deep part of the brain, but also involves the thinking and memory parts, and the fact that people have trouble with these tests suggests that those bits are involved.”
Contrary to what had been thought for many years, psychology as a science has within the last few years done research into nostalgia, and has found that it can be positive in its results.
It has been so good, in fact, that the University of Southampton in the UK has created a Nostalgia Center.
And to do research, they’ve created a Nostalgia scale for measurement.
some other overlapping research involves music and nostalgia
At UC Davis, they study how music and nostalgia interact.
It’s all good.
Dancing keeps brain’s white matter together The alternative is that as you get older, the white matter in your brain gets thinner, and there goes a lot of your higher functions.
Dancing can keep you young at Heart? At any rate, it can’t hurt. Unless you’re dancing on the edge of a razor, perhaps.
Just trying to clear up some space in my outbox.
Same thing we do every night, Pinkie – SING!!!
Okay, if you caught the reference to Pinkie and the Brain, you probably already like to do stuff that stimulates the neurons with witty references to arcane bits of history, pop culture, and the like. So you won’t be terribly disappointed if I caper about with just a few links to reports on and research on how singing benefits the brain and the lives of those who sing.
How singing makes you happy (summary article and its sources below:
Can Music provoke involuntary body responses? Now I’ve heard everything – using music to provoke salivation!
Here’s a sample of links to Gut Microbiota For Health’s website and some of the research articles they’ve published, mostly in the last year. One talks about the linkage between certain bacteria and motor system disorders, another about relief for constipation for Parkinson’s patients, Another is a compilation of several articles, and finally, an article that explores the gut to brain relation regarding Parkinson’s, and to top it all off, the relationship of the bacteria in your stomach to the chemicals in your brain, and how the various microbial communities communicate. Life goes on within you and without you, it would seem.
From Medical News Today:
“Harm from a weeks overeating may be canceled by exercise”
That’s the limit to the good news, though. The article also reports that even occasional binging can cause problems, and a week of overeating could have a negative effect on insulin sensitivity. Exercise could protect against this metabolic damage.
For certain, a lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet have been linked to obesity and metabolic syndrome. The article is at this link: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313881.php
related article “Healthy living linked to higher brain function, delay of dementia”
A diet high in vegetables and fruits leads to better cognitive functioning, and when combined with exercise, the effect is extended downwards to those who reported eating half as many vegetables.
the original research article is at http://jpubhealth.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/10/28/pubmed.fdw113
In other news…
Mayo Clinic researchers found that it only takes 1 mutation in the PINK1 gene to increase the risk of early onslaught PD. Until this report, it had been thought you needed to have 2 mutated genes to make it happen. Here are links to the pages: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/313885.php or
Heterozygous PINK1 p.G411S increases risk of Parkinson’s disease via a dominant-negative mechanism
Single mutation in recessive gene increases risk of earlier onset Parkinson’s disease
“A collaboration of 32 researchers in seven countries, led by scientists at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida, has found a genetic mutation they say confers a risk for development of Parkinson’s disease earlier than usual.
The major study, published in Brain, is important because the risk comes from a single mutation in the PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1) gene. Investigators had believed that this rare form of Parkinson’s developed only when a person inherited mutations in both PINK1 alleles (one from each parent).”
You can download a copy of the original research article at this link: Heterozygous PINK1 p.G411S increases risk of Parkinson’s disease via a dominant-negative mechanism
Unmasking cognitive deficits by standing up
Published at the end of November 2016, the linked article found that folks with orthostatic hypotension revealed more cognitive deficits on standing up than when measured sitting down or lying down.
Since most cognitive tests are administered while the subject is sitting or lying down, cognitive difficulties faced in day to day living might be underestimated.
Participants with PD and OH were far more susceptible to posture-related impairment on several tests, including those that measured math skills, the ability to produce words easily, keeping information in mind while working on it, paying sufficient attention so that later memory is efficient and searching for items quickly and accurately.
A step towards more accurate diagnoses of Parkinson’s and other similar neurological diseases was recently reported in Nature. And by CNN which picked up the story: Parkinsons disease blood test study
Up until now, many diseases have been diagnosed based on symptoms, with patients asking, “How do you know I have this?” Meanwhile, doctors are not always correct, Wright said. This is true even of Parkinson’s, which is diagnosed based on symptoms, a patient’s history, neurological exams, a patient’s response to medicine and, in some cases, brain imaging tests.
As a person with Parkinson’s among other conditions, related or unrelated, this would be a big deal. When a diagnosis is based on having a specific array of symptoms, some of which might not be present in all cases (tremors, for instance), one wonders whether medications for reducing certain symptoms might not prevent the presentation of all the symptoms required for a diagnosis of Parkinson’s.
It does me little good to play “what if” since one doesn’t know how one would have reacted to an earlier diagnosis at an earlier age. One can only refer to Victor Frankl’s work on the search for meaning in our lives, and approach the present as though one has already been at this decision point and are being given a second chance to make a decision just as wrong as the original decision. At least that’s how I remember that particular quote. Here’s another quote from Frankl:
the meaning of life always changes, but that it never ceases to be. According to logotherapy, we can discover this meaning in life in three different
ways: (1) by creating a work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing something or
encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable
suffering. The first, the way of achievement or accomplishment, is quite obvious.
One of the best things about music for PD people is that it helps to get you moving. Here’s a playlist of some favorite rhythms and melodies from YouTube for your own music therapy – self prescribed and self administered.
My YouTube playlist for Parkinson’s People