Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Strategies to Protect New Brain Cells Against Alzheimer's Disease

ScienceDaily (Dec. 3, 2009) — Stimulating the growth of new neurons to replace those lost in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an intriguing therapeutic possibility. But will the factors that cause AD allow the new neurons to thrive and function normally? Scientists at the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease (GIND) have discovered that two main causes of AD amyloid-beta (Aβ) peptides and apolipoprotein E4 (apoE4) impair the growth of new neurons born in adult brains.

What is more, they have identified drug treatments that can normalize the development of these cells even in the presence of Aβ or apoE4. The findings are described in two separate papers published in the current issue of Cell Stem Cell. Although it had long been assumed that neurons cannot be renewed, it is now well established that new neurons are generated throughout the lives of mammals. One brain region in which new neurons are born in adults, the hippocampus, is involved in learning and memory and affected severely by Alzheimer's disease.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Schizophrenia Gene's Role May Be Broader, More Potent, Than Thought

ScienceDaily (Nov. 21, 2009) — UCSF scientists studying nerve cells in fruit flies have uncovered a new function for a gene whose human equivalent may play a critical role in schizophrenia. Scientists have known that the mutated form of the human gene -- one of three consistently associated with schizophrenia -- mildly disrupts the transmission of chemical signals between nerve cells in the brain.

The new study focuses on genes involved in "adaptive plasticity," the capacity of nerve cells to compensate for a wide range of perturbations and continue to function normally.
Studies ranging from fruit flies to human have shown that if a nerve cell is functionally impaired then the surrounding cells can compensate and restore normal cell-to-cell communication. This type of "adaptive plasticity" stabilizes brain function, but the molecules involved remain largely unknown.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Can Cleft Palate Be Healed Before Birth?

ScienceDaily (Dec. 2, 2009) — In a study newly published in the journal Development, investigators at the USC School of Dentistry describe how to non-surgically reverse the onset of cleft palate in fetal mice -- potentially one step in the journey to a better understanding of similar defects in humans.

Yang Chai, the study's principal investigator and director of the School of Dentistry's Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology, said that cleft palate is one of the most common congenital birth defects in humans and that current surgical treatment for the craniofacial abnormality is often complex and invasive, sometimes stretching over a period of years before the treatment is considered complete. Cleft palate can cause serious complications, including difficulty eating and learning to speak. However, close regulation of important signaling molecules during palate formation may one day allow doctors to reverse a cleft palate before the baby is even born, Chai said.
For more information, please click on the title above.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Educational Home Visits Can Improve Asthma in Children, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily (Nov. 30, 2009) — A few home visits by a health care specialist to educate children with asthma about basic strategies for earlier symptom recognition and improving medication use can lead to fewer flare-ups and less frequent trips to the ER, according to research from Johns Hopkins Children's Center published in the December issue of Pediatrics. An estimated 6.5 million children in the United States have asthma, which is the leading pediatric chronic illness in this country and disproportionately affects minorities.

"We compared several strategies to improve asthma control among children and, much to our delight, we found that taking a few simple steps can go a long way toward doing so," says senior investigator Kristin Riekert, Ph.D., a pediatric psychologist at Hopkins and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Adherence Research Center.
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Good News on Multiple Sclerosis and Pregnancy

ScienceDaily (Nov. 19, 2009) — There is good news for women with multiple sclerosis (MS) who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant. A new study shows that pregnant women with multiple sclerosis are only slightly more likely to have cesarean deliveries and babies with a poor prenatal growth rate than women who do not have MS.

Plus, the women with MS were no more likely to have other pregnancy problems, such as preeclampsia and other high blood pressure problems and premature rupture of membranes, than women in the general population. The study is published in the November 18, 2009, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The large study used a national database from all non-federal short-stay hospitals in 38 states. The data included an estimated 18.8 million deliveries, with about 10,000 of those occurring in women with MS.
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Auditory Illusion: How Our Brains Can Fill in the Gaps to Create Continuous Sound

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ScienceDaily (Nov. 27, 2009) — It is relatively common for listeners to "hear" sounds that are not really there. In fact, it is the brain's ability to reconstruct fragmented sounds that allows us to successfully carry on a conversation in a noisy room. Now, a new study helps to explain what happens in the brain that allows us to perceive a physically interrupted sound as being continuous. The research, published by Cell Press in the November 25 issue of Neuron provides fascinating insight into the constructive nature of human hearing.

"In our day-to-day lives, sounds we wish to pay attention to may be distorted or masked by background noise, which means that some of the information gets lost. In spite of this, our brains manage to fill in the information gaps, giving us an overall 'image' of the sound," explains senior study author, Dr. Lars Riecke from the Department of Cognitive Neuroscience at Maastricht University in The Netherlands. Dr. Riecke and colleagues were interested in unraveling the neural mechanisms associated with this auditory continuity illusion, where a physically interrupted sound is heard as continuing through background noise.

To view the entire article. please click on the link above.

Monday, December 14, 2009

New Light Shed on Epilepsy

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ScienceDaily (Dec. 1, 2009) — Pioneering research using human brain tissue removed from people suffering from epilepsy has opened the door to new treatments for the disease.

Scientists at Newcastle University have for the first time been able to record spontaneous epileptic activity in brain tissue that has been removed from patients undergoing neurosurgery.

Led by Newcastle University's Dr Mark Cunningham, the research has revealed that a particular type of brain wave pattern associated with epilepsy is caused by electrical connections between nerve cells in the brain -- rather than chemical ones. This means the traditional drugs are useless to them.

To view the entire article. please click on the link above.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fear of Anxiety Linked to Depression in Above-Average Worriers

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ScienceDaily (Dec. 2, 2009) — Anxiety sensitivity, or the fear of feeling anxious, may put people who are already above-average worriers at risk for depression, according to Penn State researchers. Understanding how sensitivity to anxiety is a risk factor for depression may make anxiety sensitivity a potential target for treating depression in the future.

"Anxiety sensitivity has been called a fear of fear," said Andres Viana, graduate student in psychology. "Those with anxiety sensitivity are afraid of their anxiety because their interpretation is that something catastrophic is going to happen when their anxious sensations arise."

Statistical analyses of questionnaire responses showed that anxiety sensitivity, after controlling for worry and generalized anxiety symptoms in above-average worriers, significantly predicted depression symptoms. In addition, two of the four dimensions that make up anxiety sensitivity -- the "fear of cognitive dyscontrol" and the "fear of publically observable anxiety symptoms" specifically predicted depression symptoms. The third and fourth dimensions, the fear of cardiovascular symptoms and the fear of respiratory symptoms, were not significant predictors.

To view the entire article. please click on the link above.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Cause for Alzheimer's Disease?

brain clip artScienceDaily (Nov. 27, 2009) — Dr. Carme Espinet and colleagues at the University of Lleida, Lleida, Spain have discovered that a precursor to nerve growth factor (pro-NGF) may play a pathogenic role in Alzheimer's disease. They present these findings in the December 2009 issue of The American Journal of Pathology.

Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative, terminal form of dementia that affects over 35 million people world-wide. Oxidative stress, which occurs in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, may modify molecules, resulting in loss or alteration of their function.

To view the entire article. please click on the link above

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Startled Flies May Provide Insight Into ADHD

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ScienceDaily (Nov. 26, 2009) — It seems obvious that naturally waking up from sleep and being startled by something in the environment are two very different emotional states. However, the neuroscience that underlies these different forms of arousal has, for the most part, remained a mystery. Now, new research published by Cell Press in the November 25 issue of the journal Neuron demonstrates that there are at least two completely separate and independent forms of arousal in fruit flies. The study answers critical questions about how the nervous system processes arousal and may even shed some light on the neurobiology of human affective disorders, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

A state of arousal can be defined as in increase in activity or sensitivity and is central to many behaviors in all sorts of organisms. It has not been fully established whether arousal is a generalized state that can be heightened by specific stimuli or is more multidimensional. Further, although many studies have implicated key neurochemicals in arousal, the specific roles of these neuromodulators are unclear. "Previous studies with the fruit fly, Drosophila, have provided evidence that dopamine plays a role in arousal from sleep, known as endogenous arousal. However, evidence for a role for dopamine in exogenously generated arousal, that which is stimulated by a factor in the environment, is less consistent," explains senior study author Dr. David J. Anderson from the California Institute of Technology.

To view the entire article. please click on the link above.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Study points to treatment for Down syndrome

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Reuters (Wed Nov 18, 2009) -- CHICAGO (Reuters) - Increasing the levels of a message-carrying chemical in the brain may help prevent some of the memory deficits in Down syndrome that hinder learning and make it hard for the brain to develop normally, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.

They said mice with a rodent version of Down syndrome that were injected with drugs to increase levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine -- which nerve cells use to communicate -- showed improvements in their thinking ability.

The finding points to a new way of trying to improve some of the deficits seen in Down syndrome, which affects 5,000 newborns in the United States each year.

"If you intervene early enough, you will be able to help kids with Down syndrome to collect and modulate information," said Dr Ahmad Salehi of the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, whose study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

To view the entire article. please click on the link above.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Exposure to smoke, lead ups risk of ADHD

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Reuters (Tue Nov 24, 2009) -- If you need another reason to stop smoking while pregnant, or to rid your home of lead, a new study suggests that children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy and who are exposed to the metal have more than twice the usual risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Study co-author Dr. Tanya E. Froehlich, of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio, told Reuters Health that the lead finding is particularly "surprising," given that the blood lead levels in the study children -- even those in the top third of the sample - were, on average, about a tenth of the threshold for harmful effects set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "These are not high levels of lead exposure; they are historically what we would consider to be low levels," Froehlich said. In a study of almost 2,600 children aged 8 to 15, Froehlich found that the rate of ADHD in the whole group was about 9 percent (222 children). The rate of ADHD was about 17 percent in kids whose mothers smoked during pregnancy, and about 14 percent in kids who had blood lead levels in the top third. Almost 30 percent of kids who had both exposures had ADHD. Although the study was not designed to prove that smoking and lead actually caused ADHD, the take home messages are still clear, Froehlich said: "Moms should make every effort to stop smoking before they become pregnant."

By Megan Brooks NEW YORK (Reuters Health)

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Saturday, December 05, 2009

UI student's wheelchair features rolling, with changes

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University of Illinois mechanical engineering graduate student Scott Daigle shows the first prototype of a wheelchair he is building that features a continuously variable transmission on each wheel designed to maximize a user's shoulder function. By Heather Coit

The News-Gazette (Monday, November 30, 2009) --
URBANA – If gear shifting is good for motorists and bicyclists, why not for wheelchair users?

That's what Scott Daigle wondered as he watched people propel themselves around the University of Illinois campus in wheelchairs.

"They were going about as fast as they could. Their arms were the only things limiting them," said Daigle, a first-year graduate student in mechanical engineering.

Adding gear shifting to the wheelchair could help them get around more efficiently, he figured. So he set about designing improvements and came up with a continuous variable transmission.

There are already wheelchairs with gears, but Daigle's concept is distinct.

"The way mine is different is, it automatically senses your conditions, so if you're going quickly, it will shift to a higher gear, or if you're going up a hill, it will shift to a lower gear. The user doesn't even think about it," he said.

By Don Dodson

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Friday, December 04, 2009

Is Gene-Therapy Medical Treatment Ready for Prime Time?

genes clip artTime (Nov 28, 2009) -- At first it sounded like science fiction, curing genetic diseases by giving people new genes. Then it seemed like simple fiction: while theoretically possible, gene therapy appeared unlikely to become a true therapeutic option, the field having suffered years of complications and high-profile setbacks. But over the past year, a series of small but intriguing advances has suggested that the technique may hold real future potential.

In September, researchers at the University of Washington reported in the journal Nature that they had produced color vision in squirrel monkeys, which are normally born colorblind. Using a tiny syringe, researchers injected the single missing gene for color vision into the monkeys' eyes. The result was clear: monkeys that previously could not distinguish red, green and gray were easily able to pass a simian equivalent of a color-detection test. (See the top 10 medical breakthroughs of 2008.)

Another study published in the Lancet in October found that gene therapy had restored partial vision to five children and seven adults with a congenital eye disease that causes blindness. And a paper published earlier this month in Science reported the successful treatment of two children with ALD, or adrenoleukodystrophy - a neurological disorder that leads to progressive brain damage and death in two to five years.


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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Autism treatment works in kids as young as 18 mos.

party with children clip artAP Associated Press (Nov 30 2009) -- CHICAGO— The first rigorous study of behavior treatment in autistic children as young as 18 months found two years of therapy can vastly improve symptoms, often resulting in a milder diagnosis.

The study was small _ just 48 children evaluated at the University of Washington _ but the results were so encouraging it has been expanded to several other sites, said Geraldine Dawson, chief science officer of the advocacy group Autism Speaks. Dawson, a former University of Washington professor, led the research team.

Early autism treatment has been getting more attention, but it remains controversial because there's scant rigorous evidence showing it really works. The study is thus "a landmark of great import," said Tony Charman, an autism education specialist at the Institute of Education in London.

There's also a growing emphasis on diagnosing autism at the earliest possible age, and the study shows that can pay off with early, effective treatment, said Laura Schreibman, an autism researcher at the University of California at San Diego.

By LINDSEY TANNER - AP Medical Writer

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Polyphenols and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Boost the Birth of New Neurons, Study Finds

produce clip artScienceDaily (Nov. 30, 2009) — Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) researchers have confirmed that a diet rich in polyphenols and polyunsaturated fatty acids, patented as an LMN diet, helps boost the production of the brain's stem cells -neurogenesis- and strengthens their differentiation in different types of neuron cells.

The research revealed that mice fed an LMN diet, when compared to those fed a control diet, have more cell proliferation in the two areas of the brain where neurogenesis is produced, the olfactory bulb and the hippocampus, both of which are greatly damaged in patients with Alzheimer's disease. These results give support to the hypothesis that a diet made up of foods rich in these antioxidant substances could delay the onset of this disease or even slow down its evolution.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Discovery of New Function of Prion Protein Improves Understanding of Epilepsy

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ScienceDaily (Nov. 23, 2009) — Cellular prion protein (PrPc) plays an essential role in maintaining neurotransmitter homeostasis in the central nervous system. This discovery has been made possible by the observation that both a deficiency and an excess of the protein have a considerable effect on this homeostasis. Surprisingly, in both cases, the central nervous excitability threshold is altered to such an extent that an epileptic seizure may result. Thanks to this discovery, we now have more tools at our disposal that can help us to deepen our basic understanding of epilepsy.

The discovery, carried out by researchers of the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) and the University of Barcelona (UB), led by José Antonio Del Río, with the collaboration of researchers at Pablo de Olavide University and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture Technology Research, was presented in a study published in PLoS ONE.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Ultrasound Enhances Noninvasive Down Syndrome Tests

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ScienceDaily (Nov. 25, 2009) — The addition of a "genetic sonogram" maximizes the accuracy of non-invasive testing for Down syndrome, said a Baylor College of Medicine researcher who was lead author of a landmark study in the current issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

"We wanted to be able to definitively describe the detection and accuracy of noninvasive prenatal screening for the detection of Down syndrome," said Dr. Kjersti Aagaard, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at BCM and the corresponding author of the report. "Using our data generated in the most comprehensive study performed to date (the FaSTER trial), we demonstrated that the addition of a genetic sonogram to all modes of screening in pregnancy allows for optimal noninvasive prenatal detection of Down syndrome." (FaSTER stands for First and Second Trimester Evaluation of Risk.)

Noninvasive screening for Down syndrome (as well as the other major fetal genetic or chromosomal abnormalities in the developing baby) involves a specific early ultrasound and series of tests for biochemicals in the mother's blood at particular times during pregnancy. Depending on the institution and clinic, tests are done during the first and/or second trimesters of pregnancy. Optimally, noninvasive screening also includes that a preliminary ultrasound to detect nuchal translucency takes place late in the first trimester. The test measures the clear or translucent space in the tissue at the back of the fetus' neck. If there is an abnormality, fluid will accumulate in the back of the neck making the nuchal fold area larger.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Certain Colors More Likely To Cause Epileptic Fits, Researchers Find

color pie clip artScienceDaily (Sep. 27, 2009) — Researchers have discovered that epileptic brains are more ordered than non-epileptic ones and also that certain flicking colors seem more likely to cause fits.

In 1997, more than seven hundred children in Japan reportedly suffered an epileptic attack while watching an episode of a popular cartoon. This was later diagnosed as a case of photosensitive epilepsy (a kind of epilepsy caused by visual stimulus) triggered by a specific segment of the cartoon containing a colorful flickering stimulus. Recently in 2007, the animated video footage promoting the 2012 London Olympics faced similar complaint from some viewers.

Because of the widespread usages of television and video games, it is important to detect the crucial visual parameters in triggering an epileptic attack. Common guidelines are available on specific visual parameters of the stimuli like spatial/temporal frequency, stimulus contrast, patterns etc. However, despite the ubiquitous presence of colorful displays and materials, very little is known about the relationship between color-combinations (chromaticity) and photosensitivity. Further it is also not precisely known how the patients' brain responses differ from healthy brains against such colorful stimuli.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dance Therapy Helps Cerebral Palsy Patient To Walk

photo of performer and dance instructor
Photograph by Andrea Mohin/The New York Times
The choreographer Tamar Rogoff doing “body work” with Gregg Mozgala, who has cerebral palsy and for whom she has created a dance piece.

The New York Times (November 24, 2009) -- Gregg Mozgala, a 31-year-old actor with cerebral palsy, had 12 years of physical therapy while he was growing up. But in the last eight months, a determined choreographer with an unconventional résumé has done what all those therapists could not: She has dramatically changed the way Mr. Mozgala walks.

In the process, she has changed his view of himself and of his possibilities.

Mr. Mozgala and the choreographer, Tamar Rogoff, have been working since last winter on a dance piece called “Diagnosis of a Faun.” It is to have its premiere on Dec. 3 at La MaMa Annex in the East Village, but the more important work of art may be what Ms. Rogoff has done to transform Mr. Mozgala’s body.

“I have felt things that I felt were completely closed off to me for the last 30 years,” he said. “The amount of sensation that comes through the work has been totally unexpected and is really quite wonderful.”

Cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder in which the brain does not send the proper signals to the muscles, affects gait and other movements. Those with severe cases use wheelchairs.

Mr. Mozgala’s condition is less severe but disruptive enough to have caused him to walk for most of his life like “a human velociraptor,” as he put it: up on his toes, lower extremities turned in, seesawing from side to side to maintain balance.

By Neil Genzlinger

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Analyzing Structural Brain Changes in Alzheimer's Disease

Serial MRI brain scans, taken six months apart, show progression from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's disease, with significant atrophy (blue) and ventricle enlargement (orange/red). (Credit: University of California, San Diego, UCSD)

ScienceDaily (Nov. 23, 2009) — In a study that promises to improve diagnosis and monitoring of Alzheimer's disease, scientists at the University of California, San Diego have developed a fast and accurate method for quantifying subtle, sub-regional brain volume loss using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The study will be published the week of November 16 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

By applying the techniques to the newly completed dataset of the multi-institution Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), the scientists demonstrated that such sub-regional brain volume measurements outperform available measures for tracking severity of Alzheimer's disease, including widely used cognitive testing and measures of global brain-volume loss.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Explanation for Rapid Maturation of Neurons at Birth

(Credit: Image courtesy of Duke University Medical Center)

ScienceDaily (Nov. 20, 2009) — At the moment a newborn switches from amniotic fluid to breathing air, another profound shift occurs: nerve cells in the brain convert from hyperexcitability to a calm frame against which outside signals can be detected.

"Fetal neurons need hyperexcitability for proper development, because they are moving to the right places (in the brain) and forming the right connections," said Wolfgang Liedtke, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor at the Duke Center for Translational Neuroscience and Klingenstein Fellow in Neuroscience. "But at birth, the brain has to undergo a developmental shift."

It does this by controlling a "pump" that drains chloride out of newborn neurons, making these highly chaotic, developing cells quiet down. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have figured out the genetic control of the pump in rodents.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Scientists Solve Structure of NMDA Receptor Unit That Could Be Drug Target for Neurological Diseases

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ScienceDaily (Nov. 13, 2009) — A team of scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) reports on Thursday their success in solving the molecular structure of a key portion of a cellular receptor implicated in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other serious illnesses.

Assistant Professor Hiro Furukawa, Ph.D., and colleagues at CSHL, in cooperation with the National Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven National Laboratory, obtained crystal structures for one of several "subunits" of the NMDA receptor. This receptor, formally called the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor, belongs to a family of cellular receptors that mediate excitatory nerve transmission in the brain.

Excitatory signals represent the majority of nerve signals in most regions of the human brain. One theory of causation in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis posits that excessive amounts of the excitatory neurotransmitter, glutamate, can cause an overstimulation of glutamate receptors, including the NMDA receptor. Such excitotoxicity, the theory holds, can cause nerve-cell death and subsequent neurological dysfunction.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Accessible Technology Webinars - FREE

Please Join us for the 2009-2010 Accessible Technology series, especially geared for businesses. Each session is 60 minutes in length and will be held from 1:00-2:00 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST) on dates specified. The series is FREE and you can register at the Accessible Technology Webinar page.

The Accessible Technology Webinar series is hosted and coordinated by the DBTAC - Great Lakes ADA Center and the DBTAC-Pacific ADA Center on behalf of the National Network of ADA Centers . The National Network of ADA Centers provide a comprehensive set of services for up-to-date information, consultation, referrals, resources, and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act for businesses, employers, governmental entities, service providers and individuals with disabilities.

Date: November 18, 2009

Title: Tips and Tricks of Accessible Web Design

Description: This webinar is an in-depth look at some little-known tricks to include in your website to enhance both usability and accessibility. These tips include, making dynamic menus more accessible, best practices for displaying and printing hypertext links, printing using footnotes, visual cues on links. The session will show case AccessibleTech.org, a website geared specifically for businesses to improve their accessible technology.

Speaker: Fred Gonzalez, Independent Consultant

Fred Gonzalez currently works as the Web Accessibility Specialist for the City and County of San Francisco conducting Web site accessibility reviews, analysis, remediation, and training. Mr. Gonzalez has been working with individuals with disabilities since 1993 as a former chair and volunteer of the local chapter of PUSH America, an organization that provides disability education to the general public and enhances the lives of people with disabilities. Mr. Gonzalez has volunteered his time and efforts to various organizations promote accessibility on the Web since 1997. His educational background is Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Management San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California

Date: January 13, 2010

Title: The power of Social Networking Sites for People with Disabilities

Description: The explosion of the use of Internet-based social networking sites and social media to communicate and connect with friends, work colleagues, potential job applicants and customers has been particularly beneficial to businesses and people with disabilities who may not have had the opportunity to connect so freely through more traditional or in-person means. This session will examine what social networking is all about and how it can be leveraged successfully to enhance communication and to break down barriers to full participation by everyone in the digital age.

Speaker: Mike Paciello, President and Founder of Paciello Group

Michael Paciello is Founder and President of The Paciello Group, LLC, a software accessibility consultancy. For more than 25 years, Mr. Paciello has served as an international leader, technologist and lecturer in the areas of emerging technology, usability, technical & legal standards, and accessibility. In 2006, Mike, along with colleague Jim Tobias, was appointed co-chair to the United States Federal Access Board’s Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee (TEITAC). Mike was also invited by United Nations Ambassador Luis Gallegos of Ecuador to speak on the theme, “Identifying Core Areas of Opportunity to Foster Greater ICT Accessibility” at UN headquarters for the UN’s Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict) event. He received numerous other awards and recognition for his accessibility work and authored the book “Web Accessibility for People with Disabilities"

Date: March 10, 2010

Best Practice in Developing and Disseminating Documents Electronically

Description: This webinar will focus on best practices for making documents accessible when they are going to be distributed electronically, including but not limited to PDF, Powerpoint, and Word documents. This session will be of interest to individuals who are involved in the development of documents for dissemination whether they be doing it as a website content manager or an HR Manager distributing information to potential candidates to an instructor preparing materials for posting on their course content pages or for distribution via email.

Speaker: TBA

Date: May 12, 2010

Title: Successful Accommodations: Assistive Technology and Accessibility Working Together

Description: This webinar session is an overview of accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, specifically Assistive Technology. It will highlight how assistive and accessible technology work together to create a successful working environment for people with disabilities.

Speaker: David Dikter, Executive Director of the Assistive Technology Industry Foundation

Mr. Dikter is the executive director of the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) and manages the overall mission of ATIA to bring assistive technology to people with disabilities. He is responsible for all aspects of the ATIA annual conference, public awareness, government education and work on national policy issues as it relates to assistive and accessible technologies. Dikter sits on the W3C-Web Accessibility Initiative Steering Council and works with diverse groups to promote AT and the needs of individuals with disabilities.

Date: July 14, 2010

Title: Return on Investment: The Business Case for Accessibility

Description: This session will discuss the myths surrounding accessibility and demonstrate how accessibility benefits a wide range of people. Participants will be able to make a business case for the investment of accessibility

Speaker: Frances West, Director of the IBM Human Ability & Accessibility Center

Frances is Director of the IBM Human Ability & Accessibility Center. The Center’s mission is to enable human capability through innovation, so all people can reach their potential, regardless of age or ability. She is charged with the worldwide responsibility of establishing IBM market leadership by promoting IBM advanced research technology, products, services and solutions in the area of human ability and accessibility. Prior to this assignment, Frances was Director, Channels, Alliances and Business Development for the Lotus Software Group. She recruited and managed IBM Business Partners globally that specialize in Lotus software. In addition, Frances was Director, Financial Services Sector Solutions in the IBM Global Services organization. She managed investment funding and executed financial services solution plans for banking, insurance and financial markets globally. In 2005, Frances was nominated to be on the Board of Directors of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and of the Assistive Technology Industry Association. She also was invited to testified, on behalf of the IT industry, at a US Senate hearing on the impact of accessibility open standards on the European Union. In 2006, she spoke at the UN e-Accessibility Conference in New York City, an UN International Day of Disabled Persons event.

Date: Sept 8, 2010

Title: Creating Accessible Videos for Your Website

Description: Video has become a common means of sharing information about everyday activities and events. Yet, this technology remains largely inaccessible to people with sensory impairments. While there are tools available to facilitate the creation of accessible video content the availability and use of these tools is not widely known and/or understood. This session will review the key features of an accessible video, steps to consider when planning and developing accessible video content and demonstrate how it can be utilized.

Speaker: Marsha Swanke, Web Developer

Marsha S. Schwanke, Web Developer, CTRS, has eight years experience designing, programming, testing and managing content-rich, database-driven web applications that maximize accessibility and usability based on “best practices” research and established guidelines, such as the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and Section 508. She is currently responsible for the development, content management, and support of five webcourses and the web projects of the DBTAC: Southeast ADA Center – A Project of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University. Marsha has a Bachelors Degree in Therapeutic Recreation from Ohio University and a Masters Degree in Information Technology from American Intercontinental University. She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) with over twenty years experience as a manager and practitioner working with children and adults with disabilities in hospital and community settings. Since 1995, she has authored and facilitated numerous trainings on disability awareness, web accessibility, and assistive technology.

Genetic Variation Linked to Individual Empathy, Stress Levels

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A genetic variation may contribute to how empathetic a human is, and how that person reacts to stress. (Credit: iStockphoto/Andrey Prokhorov)

ScienceDaily (Nov. 17, 2009) — Researchers have discovered a genetic variation that may contribute to how empathetic a human is, and how that person reacts to stress. In the first study of its kind, a variation in the hormone/neurotransmitter oxytocin's receptor was linked to a person's ability to infer the mental state of others.

Interestingly, this same genetic variation also related to stress reactivity. These findings could have a significant impact in adding to the body of knowledge about the importance of oxytocin, and its link to conditions such as autism and unhealthy levels of stress.

Sarina Rodrigues, an assistant professor of psychology at Oregon State University, and Laura Saslow, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, published their findings in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Neuroimaging Analysis Technique Identifies Impact of Alzheimer's Disease Gene in Healthy Brains

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ScienceDaily (Nov. 17, 2009) — Brain imaging can offer a window into risk for diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). A study conducted at the University of Kansas School of Medicine demonstrated that genetic risk is expressed in the brains of even those who are healthy, but carry some risk for AD. The results of this study are published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Investigators used automated neuroimaging analysis techniques to characterize the impact of an AD-risk gene, apolipoprotein E (ApoE4), on gray and white matter in the brains of cognitively healthy elderly from the KU Brain Aging Project.

They found that healthy elderly individuals carrying a risk-allele of the ApoE4 gene had reduced cognitive performance, decreased brain volume in the hippocampus and amygdala (regions important for memory processing), and decreased white matter integrity in limbic regions. These type of brain changes are also found in people with AD. Therefore, brain changes, usually found in AD patients, are also evident in nondemented individuals who have a genetic risk of later developing AD.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Love and Envy Linked by Same Hormone, Oxytocin

photo of mother and newborn
Studies have shown that the oxytocin hormone has a positive effect on positive feelings. The hormone is released in the body naturally during childbirth and when engaging in sexual relations. (Credit: iStockphoto)

ScienceDaily (Nov. 13, 2009) — A new study carried out at the University of Haifa has found that the hormone oxytocin, the "love hormone," which affects behaviors such as trust, empathy and generosity, also affects opposite behaviors, such as jealousy and gloating. "Subsequent to these findings, we assume that the hormone is an overall trigger for social sentiments: when the person's association is positive, oxytocin bolsters pro-social behaviors; when the association is negative, the hormone increases negative sentiments," explains Simone Shamay-Tsoory who carried out the research.

Previous studies have shown that the oxytocin hormone has a positive effect on positive feelings. The hormone is released in the body naturally during childbirth and when engaging in sexual relations. Participants in an experiment who inhaled the synthetic form of the hormone displayed higher levels of altruistic feelings, and it is supposed that the hormone plays an important role in the formation of relationships between people.

However, in earlier studies carried out by other investigators with rodents, it was found that the hormone is also related to higher levels of aggression. Therefore, it was decided to examine whether the hormone also affects negative social sentiments.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Language Support In Schools Vital For Children With Autism

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ScienceDaily (Nov. 12, 2009) — Teachers and parents must be vigilant in observing difficulties with language comprehension, reading and spelling in children and young people with autism, Asperger's syndrome and ADHD. "It is important that pupils are offered the support to which they are entitled," says Jakob Åsberg in a new thesis at the University of Gothenburg.

Pupils with these neuropsychiatric disorders are often reported as having problems with spoken and written activities. However, relatively little research has been carried out within the field. Considering how important such skills are for coping independently in school and in working life and society in general, it is of great importance that we become better informed about these issues," considers Jakob Åsberg, who is publicly defending his thesis in psychology.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Free Webcast on AT for Hearing Loss

Join the DBTAC - Southwest ADA Center at ILRU for a webcast:
"Update on Assistive Technology for those with Hearing Loss"
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 2:00pm Central.

Rose Minette, Hard of Hearing Specialist for the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services will provide information on the latest innovative assistive technology solutions that can accommodate persons who are deaf or hard of hearing in accessing the workplace, businesses and public services. Topics of discussion will include:

Accessibility issues Assistive listening devices Best accommodation practices Improved accessibility for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing

To link to this webcast and download accompanying materials visit:

For instructions on how to access a webcast visit:

Please visit this site ahead of time to test and ensure your computer is configured and updated to participate in the webcast.

For technical assistance, please check out our FAQs (frequently asked questions) at:

Or contact a webcast team member at swdbtac@ilru.org or 713.520.0232 (v/tty).

This webcast is supported through the DBTAC - Southwest ADA Center, a project of ILRU. The Southwest ADA Center ( www.SouthwestADA.org) is one of ten Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers (DBTACs) funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to provide training, technical assistance and materials dissemination on the Americans with Disabilities Act and other disability-related laws. NIDRR is part of the U.S. Department of Education.

Call 1-800-949-4232 v/tty to reach the DBTAC that serves your area.

We hope to see you on Wednesday, November 18th, 2009!

To visit the Southwest ADA Center, please click on the link above.

Theory About Long And Short-term Memory Challenged By New Research

brain clip artScienceDaily (Nov. 9, 2009) — The long-held theory that our brains use different mechanisms for forming long-term and short-term memories has been challenged by new research from UCL, published in PNAS.

Neuroscientists formed this theory based on observation of patients with amnesia, a condition that severely disrupts the ability to form long-lasting memories. Typically, amnesia is caused by injury to the hippocampi, a pair of brain structures located in the depth of the temporal lobes.

Despite the condition devastating long-term memory, such patients are quite proficient in rehearsing a phone number over short periods of time, as long as their attention is not distracted. This led to a hypothesis that the hippocampus supports long-term but not short-term memory. However, the UCL study shows that this distinction now needs to be reconsidered.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy Restores Walking Ability In Rats With Neck Injuries

diagram of a rat
Illustration of rat with spinal injury. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of California - Irvine

ScienceDaily (Nov. 10, 2009) —
The first human embryonic stem cell treatment approved by the FDA for human testing has been shown to restore limb function in rats with neck spinal cord injuries -- a finding that could expand the clinical trial to include people with cervical damage.

In January, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration gave Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, Calif., permission to test the UC Irvine treatment in individuals with thoracic spinal cord injuries, which occur below the neck. However, trying it in those with cervical damage wasn't approved because preclinical testing with rats hadn't been completed.

Results of the cervical study currently appear online in the journal Stem Cells. UCI scientist Hans Keirstead hopes the data will prompt the FDA to authorize clinical testing of the treatment in people with both types of spinal cord damage. About 52 percent of spinal cord injuries are cervical and 48 percent thoracic.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Children With Autism Show Slower Pupil Responses, Study Finds

photo of pulillography device
The computerized binocular infrared pulillography device produces a movie and other data that demonstrate how the eye's pupil reacts to a flash of light. (Credit: University of Missouri)

ScienceDaily (Nov. 11, 2009) — Autism affects an estimated 1 in 150 children today, making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined. Despite its widespread effect, autism is not well understood and there are no objective medical tests to diagnose it. Recently, University of Missouri researchers have developed a pupil response test that is 92.5 percent accurate in separating children with autism from those with typical development. In the study, MU scientists found that children with autism have slower pupil responses to light change.

"No comprehensive study has been conducted previously to evaluate the pupils' responses to light change, or PLR, in children with autism," said Gang Yao, associate professor of biological engineering in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and the College of Engineering. "In this study, we used a short light stimulus to induce pupil light reflexes in children under both dark and bright conditions. We found that children with autism showed significant differences in several PLR parameters compared to those with typical development."

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NLM® is pleased to announce a redesign of the PubMed interface.

NLM logo
While retainfing the robust functionality, the interface was simplified to make it easier to use while promoting scientific discovery.

The changes to PubMed are outlined below. Please note that search processing, including Automatic Term Mapping, has not changed.

Here are a few of the changes:

PubMed Homepage
The PubMed homepage has been streamlined, requiring less effort to find resources. The new homepage includes an NCBI Header, Search Bar, and Footer that are common to all PubMed pages (see Figure 1).

Summary Results
Changes to the Summary format include these modifications (see Figure 2):

-Item checkboxes appear above the item number.
-The previous free article notations have been combined into the single indicator, Free article.
-Items in the Clipboard display the green note, Item in clipboard, in lieu of displaying the citation -number in green.
-Display Settings and Send to features (see below) appear only at the top of the search results.
-To move to another page, the options are now First, Last, Previous, and Next.

My NCBI Filters
Filter your results, on the right of the screen, has replaced the Filter tabs (see Figure 2). It provides Manage Filters, a quick link to change filter selections. Free Full Text has been added as a default filter option for users not signed in to My NCBI. Click on the filter link to display the filter contents. A plus sign, will display which if clicked, will add a search for that filter to the search box.

Limits (which can be activated on the Advanced search page) appear on the upper right of the screen, with links to change or remove them (see Figure 3).

Related Data
Find related data has replaced the database "Links" selections previously available on the Display pull-down menu. After selecting a database from the menu, a database-specific options menu will display if more than one option is available, as well as a description of how the related data were generated (see Figure 3).

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

EdVenture EdCeptional Families Nights Nov 09 - Mar 2910

EdCeptional Families Nights!

Ever wonder what resources are available for your child’s individual needs and challenges?
EdVenture Children’s Museum is proud to provide parents, teachers and caregivers of children
with disabilities and special needs the opportunity to expand their knowledge of resources while
allowing their children to explore the largest children’s museum in the Southeast!

For three special evenings, the museum will open its doors to provide families with critical, helpful information about services and resources that can enhance their children’s lives:

November 14, 2009 ~ 5:00pm-7:00pm
Families with children with physical disabilities
January 23, 2010 ~ 5:00pm-7:00pm
Families with children with sensory and/or developmental challenges
March 20, 2010 ~ 5:00pm-7:00pm
Families with children with hearing/vision impairments)
For more information, call 803-400-1133.
No reservations needed. Children and adults are welcome!

211 Gervais Street • Columbia, South Carolina 29201
803-779-3100 • www.edventure.org
Tuesday – Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm Sunday Noon-5:00pm

To view the Edventure website, please click on the link above.

Alzheimer's Lesions Found In The Retina

picture of eye scan
UCI neuroscientist Zhiqun Tan lead research that found the retinas of mice may mirror the brain ravaged by Alzheimer's disease. (Credit: Photo by Daniel A. Anderson / University Communications)

ScienceDaily (Oct. 22, 2009) — The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but new research indicates they also may mirror a brain ravaged by Alzheimer's disease.

UC Irvine neuroscientists have found that retinas in mice genetically altered to have Alzheimer's undergo changes similar to those that occur in the brain -- most notably the accumulation of amyloid plaque lesions.

In addition, the scientists discovered that when Alzheimer's therapies are tested in such mice, retinal changes that result might predict how the treatments will work in humans better than changes in mouse brain tissue.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sights And Sounds Of Emotion Trigger Big Brain Responses

ScienceDaily (Nov. 3, 2009) — Researchers at the University of York have identified a part of the brain that responds to both facial and vocal expressions of emotion.

They used the MagnetoEncephaloGraphic (MEG) scanner at the York Neuroimaging Centre to test responses in a region of the brain known as the posterior superior temporal sulcus.

The research team from the University's Department of Psychology and York Neuroimaging Centre found that the posterior superior temporal sulcus responds so strongly to a face plus a voice that it clearly has a 'multimodal' rather than an exclusively visual function. The research is published in the latest issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Monday, November 09, 2009

New Medicare Videos on NIHSeniorHealth.gov

NIH logoSeven new videos have been added to Medicare Basics for Caregivers on NIHSeniorHealth.

* Who Is Eligible for Medicare?
* Getting Medicare
* Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B
* Do You Have to Pay to Get Medicare Part A and Part B?
* Choosing How to Get Your Medicare Coverage
* Medicare Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage
* Getting Extra Help

To view the seven new videos, please click on the link above or visit:

Neuroscientists Find Brain Region Responsible For Our Sense Of Personal Space

Patient SM, a woman with complete bilateral amygdala lesions (red), preferred to stand close to the experimenter (black). On average, control participants (blue) preferred to stand nearly twice as far away from the same experimenter. Images drawn to scale.

ScienceDaily (Aug. 31, 2009) — In a finding that sheds new light on the neural mechanisms involved in social behavior, neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have pinpointed the brain structure responsible for our sense of personal space.

The discovery, described in the August 30 issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience, could offer insight into autism and other disorders where social distance is an issue.

The structure, the amygdala—a pair of almond-shaped regions located in the medial temporal lobes—was previously known to process strong negative emotions, such as anger and fear, and is considered the seat of emotion in the brain. However, it had never been linked rigorously to real-life human social interaction.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Friday, November 06, 2009


AAIDD logo
November 2009, Vol.9, No.11

Visit www.aaidd.org/FYI/ to access current and past issues of this monthly newsletter. Subscribe at http://www.responsetrack.net/aaidd/sign_up

Dear AAIDD Friends and Colleagues:

The New Definition and Classification Manual of Intellectual Disability by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is now available.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issues latest statistics on newborns with low and very low birth weights.
AAIDD's Environmental Health Initiative (EHI) to present teleconferences dealing with autism and the environment. Also, EHI has produced a new pamphlet on environmental health risks and pregnancy.
Report on the state of health care for persons with disabilities spotlights the effectiveness of the Rosebud Reservation Developmental Clinic in South Dakota.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards more than 50 autism research grants, totaling more than $65 million

Study on cardiovascular risk factors in older people with intellectual disability finds all had unhealthy diet; most lacked exercise and were overweight.
Intellectual Disability: Definition, Classification, and Systems of Supports, the new 11th edition of the definition and classification system by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) is now available. This is the first official AAIDD definition manual with the terminology "Intellectual Disability" (formerly mental retardation). Learn more about this progressive system of diagnosing and classifying the condition of intellectual disability. To purchase the Manual, please visit the bookstore.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issues latest statistics on newborns with low and very low birth weights.
Child Health USA 2008-2009, issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration, includes updated statistics on newborns with low birth weight an d very low birth weight, populations that are more likely than normal-birth-weight children to experience developmental disabilities. The figures also include a breakdown by maternal race/ethnicity. Read the full report.

AAIDD's Environmental Health Initiative (EHI) to present teleconferences dealing with autism and the environment. Also, EHI has produced a new pamphlet on environmental health Risks and pregnancy.
Cindy Schneider, M.D., of the Center for Autism will speak at an AAIDD Environmental Health Initiative teleconference on "Environmental Toxins and Potentiation," Tuesday, November 10 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET. Next month, the teleconference will be on "Autism and Environment: What do we know? What don't we know?" The speaker will be Irva Hertz-Picciotto, professor and chief at the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of California, Davis. That conference is scheduled for Tuesday, December 15 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET. There is no charge. Find out how to tune in. Also, listen to audio archives of past teleconferences dating back to 2007. Read more abo ut AAIDD's Environmental Health Initiative.

Also, EHI has produced Environmental Health Risks and Your Pregnancy, a new pamphlet that can be given to women during OB/GYN visits. Download the pamphlet.

Report on the state of health care for persons with disabilities spotlights the effectiveness of the Rosebud Reservation Developmental Clinic in South Dakota.
A new report from the National Council on Disabilities, The Current State of Healthcare for People with Disabilities, cites a clinic serving the South Dakota Rosebud Reservation as an example of an effective program for children with developmental disabilities. The report's general findings concerning persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities point to disparities in health status, poor dental care, lack of needed health services, inadequate health care transition from childhood to adult care, and lack of adequate health care provider awareness and communication. Read the full report.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards more than 50 autism research grants, totaling more than $65 million.
The 50 grants are the result of the largest-ever funding opportunity for research on autism spectrum disorders (ASD), which was announced in March 2009 and supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The studies receiving awards "hold the best promise of revealing what causes autism, how it might be prevented, what treatments are effective, and how service needs change across the lifespan," said Thomas R. Insel, M.D., director of the National Institute of Mental Health and chair of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. Selected studies range from discovering the specific genes underlying autism to developing a new tool to reduce screening costs to examining possible links between traffic-related pollution and ASD risk. Read the news release with more examples of selected projects.

Study on Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Older People with Intellectual Disability Finds All Had Unhealthy Diet; Most Lacked Exercise and Were Overweight.
In a Dutch study published in the November 2009 issue of the American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, the authors evaluated the cardiovascular health of 470 individuals with intellectual disability ages 50-90 years old. Almost 100 percent of the participants had an unhealthy diet, and close to 70 percent lacked exercise and were overweight. Secondary conditions related to these factors, such as hypertension, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia, afflicted a significant percentage of these individuals. The authors endorse campaigns to promote health, which are focused on education, and the introduction of preventive screening programs in this population. Read the final article.

AAIDD F.Y.I. is compiled by Anu Prabhala, Editor and is published by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Formerly AAMR). Please submit comments, suggestions, tips, and news to anu@aaidd.org. To learn about AAIDD products, visit http://bookstore.aaidd.org. For more information on becoming an AAIDD member, visit http://www.aaidd.org/Membership/index.shtml.

Subscribe for free at http://www.responsetrack.net/aaidd/sign_up

Access past issues of AAIDD F.Y.I. at www.aaidd.org/FYI/

To view the AAIDD F.Y.I. webpage, please click on the link above.

Alzheimer's Researchers Find High Protein Diet Shrinks Brain

Researchers studying Alzheimer's disease found that, unexpectedly, a high protein diet apparently led to a smaller brain. (Credit: iStockphoto/Kelly Cline

ScienceDaily (Oct. 21, 2009) — One of the many reasons to pick a low-calorie, low-fat diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and fish is that a host of epidemiological studies have suggested that such a diet may delay the onset or slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Now a study published in BioMed Central's open access journal Molecular Neurodegeneration tests the effects of several diets, head-to-head, for their effects on AD pathology in a mouse model of the disease. Although the researchers were focused on triggers for brain plaque formation, they also found that, unexpectedly, a high protein diet apparently led to a smaller brain.

A research team from the US, Canada, and the UK tested four differing menus on transgenic mouse model of AD, which express a mutant form of the human amyloid precursor protein (APP). APP's role in the brain is not fully understood; however it is of great interest to AD researchers because the body uses it to generate the amyloid plaques typical of Alzheimer's. These mice were fed either
  • a regular diet,
  • a high fat/low carbohydrate custom diet,
  • a high protein/low carb version or
  • a high carbohydrate/low fat option.
To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Come Out and Enjoy a Pat Conroy Event!!

The South Carolina Autism Society Presents

The Palmetto State's Favorite Story Teller...


With Walter Edgar, Ph.D. as Master of Ceremony

A benefit supporting S.C. Autism Society's mission to enable all individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders in South Carolina to reach their maximum potential

South Carolina State Museum
301 Gervais Street
Columbia, SC 29203
*Basic admission $75 and supporting admission $100
*Please call 803-750-6988 for more information

No Scientific Link Between Childhood Vaccines And Autism, Review Shows

ScienceDaily (Oct. 10, 2009) — A new article recently published in the Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing explored vaccination history, vaccine safety monitoring systems in the U.S., and the two most publicized theoretical vaccine-related exposures associated with autism – the vaccine preservative thimerosal and the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. A review of published research shows that there is not convincing scientific evidence supporting a relationship between vaccines and autism. The article is part of a special issue, which includes five articles focusing on the topic of autism. By definition, the onset of autism occurs prior to age three. No clear cause of autism has been identified, although various possible

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Does Diabetes Speed Up Memory Loss In Alzheimer's Disease?

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ScienceDaily (Oct. 28, 2009) — Research has shown that diabetes increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease and the risk of memory loss in people who don't have Alzheimer's disease. But it hasn't been clear whether people with Alzheimer's disease and diabetes have more rapid memory loss than those who have Alzheimer's disease but no diabetes.

New research published in the October 27, 2009, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, suggests that those with both diseases actually have a slower rate of memory loss than people who had only Alzheimer's disease.

"This result was surprising," said study author Caroline Sanz, MD, of INSERM, the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research in Toulouse. "Our initial hypothesis was that diabetes would increase the rate of cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer's disease."

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Why Antidepressants Don't Work For So Many

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ScienceDaily (Oct. 27, 2009) — More than half the people who take antidepressants for depression never get relief.

Why? Because the cause of depression has been oversimplified and drugs designed to treat it aim at the wrong target, according to new research from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The medications are like arrows shot at the outer rings of a bull's eye instead of the center.

A study from the laboratory of long-time depression researcher Eva Redei, presented at the Neuroscience 2009 conference in Chicago this week, appears to topple two strongly held beliefs about depression. One is that stressful life events are a major cause of depression. The other is that an imbalance in neurotransmitters in the brain triggers depressive symptoms.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Scientists Show How Tiny Cells Deliver Big Sound In Cochlea

illustration of cochlea
Medical illustration of the human osscous labyrinth, from "1870 Gray's Anatomy Descriptive And Surgical Book - First Edition". (Credit: iStockphoto/Mark Strozier)

ScienceDaily (Oct. 23, 2009) — Deep in the ear, 95 percent of the cells that shuttle sound to the brain are big, boisterous neurons that, to date, have explained most of what scientists know about how hearing works. Whether a rare, whisper-small second set of cells also carry signals from the inner ear to the brain and have a real role in processing sound has been a matter of debate.

Now, reporting on rat experiments in the October 22 issue of Nature, a Johns Hopkins team says it has for what is believed to be the first time managed to measure and record the elusive electrical activity of the type II neurons in the snail-shell-like structure called the cochlea. And it turns out the cells do indeed carry signals from the ear to the brain, and the sounds they likely respond to would need to be loud, such as sirens or alarms that might be even be described as painful or traumatic.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Master Regulator Found For Regenerating Nerve Fibers

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ScienceDaily (Oct. 26, 2009) — Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston report that an enzyme known as Mst3b, previously identified in their lab, is essential for regenerating damaged axons (nerve fibers) in a live animal model, in both the peripheral and central nervous systems.

Their findings, published online by Nature Neuroscience on October 25, suggest Mst3b -- or agents that stimulate it -- as a possible means of treating stroke, spinal cord damage and traumatic brain injury. Normally, neurons in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) cannot regenerate injured nerve fibers, limiting people's ability to recover from brain or spinal cord injuries.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Is It A Visual Problem Or Alzheimer's? New Data Helps Doctors Make The Diagnosis

ScienceDaily (Oct. 27, 2009) — Sometimes when a patient tells his ophthalmologist that he "can't see," what he really means is "I can see, but I can no longer read or write." In a minority of Alzheimer's patients the disease shows up first as problems with vision rather than memory or other cognitive functions. But diagnosis can be difficult because standard eye exams are often inconclusive for these patients.

Neuro-ophthalmologists Pierre-Francois Kaeser, MD, and Francois-Xavier Borruat, MD, Jules Gonin Eye Hospital, Switzerland, examined and followed 10 patients with unexplained vision loss who were ultimately diagnosed with the visual variant of Alzheimer's disease (VVAD). Their study -- presented at the 2009 Joint Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO) -- describes clinical clues that may improve ophthalmologists' ability to detect VVAD and refer patients for further tests. When patients receive neurological assessment, treatment and family counseling early in the disease, outcomes may be better for all concerned.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.