Posts Tagged ‘brain’

New study suggests low vitamin D causes damage to brain

In addition to being essential for maintaining bone health, newer evidence shows that vitamin D serves important roles in other organs and tissue, including the brain. Published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine, the UK study showed that middle-aged rats that were fed a diet low in vitamin D for several months developed free radical damage to the brain, and many different brain proteins were damaged as identified by redox proteomics. These rats also showed a significant decrease in cognitive performance on tests of learning and memory.

"Given that vitamin D deficiency is especially widespread among the elderly, we investigated how during aging from middle-age to old-age how low vitamin D affected the oxidative status of the brain," said lead author on the paper Allan Butterfield, professor in the UK Department of Chemistry, director of the Center of Membrane Sciences, faculty of Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, and director of the Free Radical Biology in Cancer Core of the Markey Cancer Center. "Adequate vitamin D serum levels are necessary to prevent free radical damage in brain and subsequent deleterious consequences."

Previously, low levels of vitamin D have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease, and it’s also been linked to the development of certain cancers and heart disease. In both the developed world and in areas of economic hardship where food intake is not always the most nutritious, vitamin D levels in humans are often low, particularly in the elderly population. Butterfield recommends persons consult their physicians to have their vitamin D levels determined, and if low that they eat foods rich in vitamin D, take vitamin D supplements, and/or get at least 10-15 minutes of sun exposure each day to ensure that vitamin D levels are normalized and remain so to help protect the brain.

source : http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202121101.htm

Hospitals Vary in Monitoring, Treatment of Children with Brain Injury

The November Neurosurgery also reports on unusual language side effects in patients undergoing electrical brain stimulation for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and presents plans for a pilot study of a new vaccine therapy for patients with aggressive brain cancers called gliomas.

Variations in Management of Child Brain Injury

Dr. William Van Cleve of University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues analyzed data on more than 7,000 children with moderate to severe brain injury treated at 156 US hospitals over seven years. The study focused on two evidence- based interventions for brain injury: ICP monitoring, done to measure pressure within the skull; and craniectomy, a surgical procedure to prevent or relieve excessive pressure.

Overall, about 27 percent of children had ICP monitoring, while 12 percent underwent craniectomy. Rates of both interventions varied significantly between hospitals. Children treated at combined pediatric adult/trauma centers were one-fifth less likely to undergo ICP monitoring, compared to those at adult-only centers.

The variation remained significant after adjustment for other factors. The researchers call for further studies to understand "the institutional and regional factors associated with variability in the use of these invasive but potentially outcome-modifying technologies."

Brain Stimulation for OCD Leads to ‘Foreign Accent Syndrome’

A. Rosaura Polak, MSc, of University of Amsterdam, Academic Medical Center and colleagues report on an unusual effect of deep brain stimulation in two Dutch patients with OCD. Now commonly used for Parkinson’s disease, brain electrical stimulation has also emerged as a new treatment for treatment-refractory OCD that doesn’t improve with medications. In both patients, OCD symptoms improved with brain stimulation.

However, there were also some unexpected language-related side effects. Both patients began speaking in a different accent, either in an accent that was common in their native region or with a more distinguished pronunciation. The changes were similar to a rare "foreign accent syndrome" reported in stroke patients.

Other changes included a more "aggressive vocabulary," such as swearing; and "hypomanic" behaviors, such as hyperactivity and excitability. In both patients, the language changes persisted after adjustment to the brain stimulation patterns. The results suggest that deep brain stimulation for OCD "influences not only mood and behavior but also linguistically related circuitry," the researchers write.

Plans for Trial of New Vaccine for Recurrent Gliomas

John Goldberg and colleagues of University of Miami Miller School of Medicine outline plans for a clinical pilot study to assess a "dendritic cell vaccine" for patients with gliomas that recur after surgery. The vaccine consists of the patients’ own immune cells, mixed with fragments of destroyed tumor cells.

The goal of the vaccine is to stimulate the patients’ own immune system to attack the tumor cells. Similar dendritic cell vaccines have shown promising results in previous studies — in one small study, one-third of patients were alive and free of brain cancer at five years’ follow-up.

Before vaccination, patients will receive an approved topical medication (imiquimod) that appears to promote immune activity of dendritic cells. The authors plan to enroll 20 patients over two years. If the results show promising effects on patient survival with acceptable side effects, it will pave the way for larger studies of approaches using dendritic cell vaccines to reduce the risk of recurrence after surgery for glioma.

source : http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131111112521.htm