Tag Archives: University of Alberta

University of Alberta study: Scientists pave the way for saliva test for Alzheimer’s disease

17 Dec

The National Institute on Aging described Alzheimer’s disease in What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?:

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with the disease—those with the late-onset type—symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Early-onset Alzheimer’s occurs between a person’s 30s and mid-60s and is very rare. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.
The disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness. Her symptoms included memory loss, language problems, and unpredictable behavior. After she died, he examined her brain and found many abnormal clumps (now called amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called neurofibrillary, or tau, tangles).
These plaques and tangles in the brain are still considered some of the main features of Alzheimer’s disease. Another feature is the loss of connections between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. Neurons transmit messages between different parts of the brain, and from the brain to muscles and organs in the body. Many other complex brain changes are thought to play a role in Alzheimer’s, too.
This damage initially appears to take place in the hippocampus, the part of the brain essential in forming memories. As neurons die, additional parts of the brain are affected. By the final stage of Alzheimer’s, damage is widespread, and brain tissue has shrunk significantly.
How Many Americans Have Alzheimer’s Disease?
Estimates vary, but experts suggest that as many as 5.5 million Americans age 65 and older may have Alzheimer’s. Many more under age 65 also have the disease. Unless Alzheimer’s can be effectively treated or prevented, the number of people with it will increase significantly if current population trends continue. This is because increasing age is the most important known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
What Does Alzheimer’s Disease Look Like?
Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s, though initial symptoms may vary from person to person. A decline in other aspects of thinking, such as finding the right words, vision/spatial issues, and impaired reasoning or judgment, may also signal the very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition that can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s, but not everyone with MCI will develop the disease.
People with Alzheimer’s have trouble doing everyday things like driving a car, cooking a meal, or paying bills. They may ask the same questions over and over, get lost easily, lose things or put them in odd places, and find even simple things confusing. As the disease progresses, some people become worried, angry, or violent…. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-alzheimers-disease

Artificial Intelligence (AI) might provide clues to the early detection of Alzheimer’s. See, McGill University study: AI could predict cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s disease in the next five years https://drwilda.com/tag/alzheimers-disease/

Science Daily reported in Scientists pave the way for saliva test for Alzheimer’s disease:

University of Alberta scientists have identified three biomarkers for detecting mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease in saliva samples. The research has promising results for application in a clinical setting.
The research team combines expertise in metabolomics from Liang Li, professor in the Department of Chemistry, and neurodegenerative disorders from Roger Dixon, professor in the Department of Psychology. “All projections point to an impending and staggering global impact of neurodegenerative disease and dementia,” said Dixon of the critical importance of this research.
Li and Dixon examined saliva samples from three sets of patients, those with Alzheimer’s disease, those with mild cognitive impairment, and those with normal cognition. Using a powerful mass spectrometer, the pair examined more than 6,000 metabolites — compounds that are part of our body’s metabolic processes — to identify any changes or signatures between groups.
“In this analysis, we found three metabolites that can be used to differentiate between these three groups,” said Li. “This is preliminary work, because we’ve used a very small sample size. But the results are very promising. If we can use a larger set of samples, we can validate our findings and develop a saliva test of Alzheimer’s disease.”
A saliva test would prove useful in clinical settings for its ease and non-invasive nature. It also has the potential to detect neurodegenerative diseases earlier on, allowing for early intervention.
“So far, no disease-altering interventions for Alzheimer’s disease have been successful,” explained Dixon. “For this reason, researchers are aiming to discover the earliest signals of the disease so that prevention protocols can be implemented….” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181212121904.htm

Citation:

Scientists pave the way for saliva test for Alzheimer’s disease
Date: December 12, 2018
Source: University of Alberta
Summary:
Scientists have identified three biomarkers for detecting mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease in saliva samples. The research has promising results for application in a clinical setting.
Journal Reference:
Shraddha Sapkota, Tao Huan, Tran Tran, Jiamin Zheng, Richard Camicioli, Liang Li, Roger A. Dixon. Alzheimer’s Biomarkers From Multiple Modalities Selectively Discriminate Clinical Status: Relative Importance of Salivary Metabolomics Panels, Genetic, Lifestyle, Cognitive, Functional Health and Demographic Risk Markers. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 2018; 10 DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2018.00296

Here is the press release from the University of Alberta:

Scientists pave the way for saliva test for Alzheimer’s disease
UAlberta researchers have identified biomarkers for identifying Alzheimer’s and mild cognitive impairment in saliva samples.
By Katie Willis on December 5, 2018
University of Alberta scientists have identified three biomarkers for detecting mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease in saliva samples. The research has promising results for application in a clinical setting.
The research team combines expertise in metabolomics from Liang Li, professor in the Department of Chemistry, and neurodegenerative disorders from Roger Dixon, professor in the Department of Psychology. “All projections point to an impending and staggering global impact of neurodegenerative disease and dementia,” said Dixon of the critical importance of this research.
Li and Dixon examined saliva samples from three sets of patients, those with Alzheimer’s disease, those with mild cognitive impairment, and those with normal cognition. Using a powerful mass spectrometer, the pair examined more than 6,000 metabolites—compounds that are part of our body’s metabolic processes—to identify any changes or signatures between groups.
“In this analysis, we found three metabolites that can be used to differentiate between these three groups,” said Li. “This is preliminary work, because we’ve used a very small sample size. But the results are very promising. If we can use a larger set of samples, we can validate our findings and develop a saliva test of Alzheimer’s disease.”
A saliva test would prove useful in clinical settings for its ease and non-invasive nature. It also has the potential to detect neurodegenerative diseases earlier on, allowing for early intervention.
“So far, no disease-altering interventions for Alzheimer’s disease have been successful,” explained Dixon. “For this reason, researchers are aiming to discover the earliest signals of the disease so that prevention protocols can be implemented.”
Another added benefit of identifying these biomarkers is the ability to conduct efficacy testing for treatments. “Using the biomarkers, we can also do testing to see what types of treatments are most effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease—from diet to physical activity to pharmaceuticals,” added Li.
The research has been published in two papers. The first, “Metabolomics Analyses of Saliva Detect Novel Biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease,” was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (doi: 10.3233/JAD-180711). The second, “Alzheimer’s Biomarkers From Multiple Modalities Selectively Discriminate Clinical Status: Relative Importance of Salivary Metabolomics Panels, Genetic, Lifestyle, Cognitive, Functional Health and Demographic Risk Markers,” was published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience (doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2018.00296).

In order for the U.S. to control health care costs, diseases such as Alzheimer’s which are costly end of life diseases must be managed.

Resources:

What Is Alzheimer’s?                                                                           https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers

Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease: the Basics https://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/understanding-alzheimers-disease-basics

What’s to know about Alzheimer’s disease? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/159442.php

Alzheimer’s Disease                                          https://www.cdc.gov/aging/aginginfo/alzheimers.htm

What is Artificial Intelligence? https://www.computerworld.com/article/2906336/emerging-technology/what-is-artificial-intelligence.html

Artificial Intelligence: What it is and why it matters https://www.sas.com/en_us/insights/analytics/what-is-artificial-intelligence.html

Alzheimer’s Disease                                                                        https://drwilda.com/tag/alzheimers-disease/

Brain                                                                                                          https://drwilda.com/tag/brain/

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University of Alberta Medical School study: Prenatal fruit consumption boosts babies’ cognitive development

29 May

The Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services explains why healthy babies are important. “Healthy babies are more likely to develop into healthy children, and healthy children are more likely to grow up to be healthy teenagers and healthy adults.” http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/earlychildhood/health/index.aspx

Science Daily reported in Prenatal fruit consumption boosts babies’ cognitive development: Study discovers previously unknown benefits of fruit consumption in expectant mothers:

Most people have heard the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” It’s an old truth that encompasses more than just apples–eating fruit in general is well known to reduce risk for a wide variety of health conditions such as heart disease and stroke. But now a new study is showing the benefits of fruit can begin as early as in the womb.

The study, published in the journal EbioMedicine, found that mothers who consumed more fruit during pregnancy gave birth to children who performed better on developmental testing at one year of age. Piush Mandhane, senior author of the paper and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, made the discovery using data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study–a nationwide birth cohort study involving over 3,500 Canadian infants and their families. Mandhane leads the Edmonton site of the study….

The study examined data from 688 Edmonton children, and controlled for factors that would normally affect a child’s learning and development such as family income, paternal and maternal education, and the gestational age of the child.

Using a traditional IQ scale as a model, the average IQ is 100 and the standard deviation is 15; two thirds of the population will fall between 85 and 115. Mandhane’s study showed that if pregnant mothers ate six or seven servings of fruit or fruit juice a day, on average their infants placed six or seven points higher on the scale at one year of age….

To further build on the research, Mandhane teamed with Francois Bolduc, an associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry’s Division of Pediatric Neurology, who researches the genetic basis of cognition in humans and fruit flies. Both researchers believe that combining pre-clinical models and epidemiological analysis is a novel approach that may provide useful new insights into future medical research.

“Flies are very different from humans but, surprisingly, they have 85 per cent of the genes involved in human brain function, making them a great model to study the genetics of memory,” says Bolduc. “To be able to improve memory in individuals without genetic mutation is exceptional, so we were extremely interested in understanding the correlation seen between increased prenatal fruit intake and higher cognition.”

According to Bolduc, fruit flies have a long track record in the field of learning and memory. Several genes known to be necessary in fly memory have now been found to be involved in intellectual disability and autism by Bolduc and others. In a subsequent series of experiments, he showed that flies born after being fed increased prenatal fruit juice had significantly better memory ability, similar to the results shown by Mandhane with one-year-old infants. He believes it suggests that brain function affected by fruit and the mechanisms involved have been maintained through evolution, and conserved across species.

While the findings are encouraging, Mandhane cautions against going overboard on fruit consumption as potential complications such as gestational diabetes and high birthweight–conditions associated with increased intake of natural sugars–have not been fully researched. Instead, he suggests that expectant mothers meet the daily intake recommended in Canada’s Food Guide and consult with their doctors…..                                                                                                         https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160525161548.htm

Citation:

Prenatal fruit consumption boosts babies’ cognitive development

Study discovers previously unknown benefits of fruit consumption in expectant mothers

Date:      May 25, 2016

Source:  University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

Summary:

The benefits of eating fruit can begin as early as in the womb. A new study, using data from nearly 700 Edmonton children, demonstrates that infants do significantly better on developmental tests when their mothers consume more fruit during pregnancy.

Journal Reference:

      Francois V. Bolduc, Amanda Lau, Cory S. Rosenfelt, Steven Langer, Nan Wang, Lisa Smithson, Diana Lefebvre, R. Todd Alexander, Clayton T. Dickson, Liang Li, Allan B. Becker, Padmaja Subbarao, Stuart E. Turvey, Jacqueline Pei, Malcolm R. Sears, Piush J. Mandhane.

Cognitive Enhancement in Infants Associated with Increased Maternal Fruit Intake During Pregnancy: Results from a Birth Cohort Study with Validation in an Animal Model

      .

EBioMedicine

      , 2016; DOI:

10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.04.025Cognitive Enhancement in Infants Associated with Increased Maternal Fruit Intake During Pregnancy: Results from a Birth Cohort Study with Validation in an Animal Model

Francois V. Bolduc  Amanda Lau1    Cory S. Rosenfelt1   Steven Langer

,Nan Wang, Lisa Smithson, Diana Lefebvre, R. Todd Alexander, Clayton T. Dickson,

Liang Li, Allan B. Becker, Padmaja Subbarao, Stuart E. Turvey  Jacqueline Pei,

Malcolm R. Sears, Piush J. Mandhane

, The CHILD Study Investigatorsi

1These authors contributed equally to this paper.

Open Access

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.04.025

Article Info

Highlights

  • •Gestational fruit intake positively correlates with infant cognitive performance.
  • •Similar findings in a birth cohort and in Drosophila learning and memory scores
  • •Cyclic adenylate monophosphate (cAMP) pathway may be a major regulator of this effect.
  • •Postnatal fruit intake did not enhance cognitive outcomes in humans or Drosophila.

Fruits have been an important part of the human diet for thousands of years. We wanted to know if more fruit intake improves our ability to learn. Using data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study, we found that mothers who ate more fruit during pregnancy had children who did better on developmental testing at 1 year of age. Similarly, fruit flies had improved learning and memory if their parents had more fruit juice in their diet. In both humans and in the flies, there was no improvement in learning when only the babies were fed fruit.

Abstract

In-utero nutrition is an under-studied aspect of cognitive development. Fruit has been an important dietary constituent for early hominins and humans. Among 808 eligible CHILD-Edmonton sub-cohort subjects, 688 (85%) had 1-year cognitive outcome data. We found that each maternal daily serving of fruit (sum of fruit plus 100% fruit juice) consumed during pregnancy was associated with a 2.38 point increase in 1-year cognitive development (95% CI 0.39, 4.37; p < 0.05). Consistent with this, we found 30% higher learning Performance index (PI) scores in Drosophila offspring from parents who consumed 30% fruit juice supplementation prenatally (PI: 85.7; SE 1.8; p < 0.05) compared to the offspring of standard diet parents (PI: 65.0 SE 3.4). Using the Drosophila model, we also show that the cyclic adenylate monophosphate (cAMP) pathway may be a major regulator of this effect, as prenatal fruit associated cognitive enhancement was blocked in Drosophila rutabaga mutants with reduced Ca2+-Calmodulin-dependent adenylyl cyclase. Moreover, gestation is a critical time for this effect as postnatal fruit intake did not enhance cognitive performance in either humans or Drosophila. Our study supports increased fruit consumption during pregnancy with significant increases in infant cognitive performance. Validation in Drosophila helps control for potential participant bias or unmeasured confounders.

Here is the press article from the University of Alberta:

An apple a day

UAlberta study shows infants do better on developmental tests when their mothers consume more fruit during pregnancy

By Ali Dotinga and Ross Neitz on May 25, 2016

Piush Mandhane, senior author of the study, found that prenatal fruit consumption boosts babies’ cognitive development

Most people have heard the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” It’s an old truth that encompasses more than just apples—eating fruit in general is well known to reduce risk for a wide variety of health conditions such as heart disease and stroke. But now a new study is showing the benefits of fruit can begin as early as in the womb.

The study, published in the journal EbioMedicine, showed that mothers who consumed more fruit during pregnancy gave birth to children who performed better on developmental testing at one year of age. Piush Mandhane, senior author of the paper and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, made the discovery using data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study—a nationwide birth cohort study involving over 3,500 Canadian infants and their families. Mandhane leads the Edmonton site of the study.

“We wanted to know if we could identify what factors affect cognitive development,” Mandhane explains. “We found that one of the biggest predictors of cognitive development was how much fruit moms consumed during pregnancy. The more fruit moms had, the higher their child’s cognitive development.”

In the study, researchers examined data from 688 Edmonton children, controlling for factors that would normally affect a child’s learning and development, such as family income, paternal and maternal education, and the gestational age of the child.

Using a traditional IQ scale as a model, the average IQ is 100 and the standard deviation is 15; two-thirds of the population will fall between 85 and 115. Mandhane’s study showed that if pregnant mothers ate six or seven servings of fruit or fruit juice a day, on average their infants placed six or seven points higher on the scale at one year of age.

“It’s quite a substantial difference—that’s half of a standard deviation,” Mandhane explains. “We know that the longer a child is in the womb, the further they develop—and having one more serving of fruit per day in a mother’s diet provides her baby with the same benefit as being born a whole week later.”

To further build on the research, Mandhane teamed with Francois Bolduc, an associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry’s Division of Pediatric Neurology, who researches the genetic basis of cognition in humans and fruit flies. Both researchers believe that combining pre-clinical models and epidemiological analysis is a novel approach that may provide useful new insights into future medical research.

“Flies are very different from humans but, surprisingly, they have 85 per cent of the genes involved in human brain function, making them a great model to study the genetics of memory,” says Bolduc. “To be able to improve memory in individuals without genetic mutation is exceptional, so we were extremely interested in understanding the correlation seen between increased prenatal fruit intake and higher cognition.”

According to Bolduc, fruit flies have a long track record in the field of learning and memory. Several genes known to be necessary in fly memory have now been found to be involved in intellectual disability and autism by Bolduc and others. In a subsequent series of experiments, he showed that flies born after being fed increased prenatal fruit juice had significantly better memory ability, similar to the results shown by Mandhane with one-year-old infants. He believes it suggests that brain function affected by fruit and the mechanisms involved have been maintained through evolution, and conserved across species.

Though the findings are encouraging, Mandhane cautions against going overboard on fruit consumption, because potential complications such as gestational diabetes and high birth weight—conditions associated with increased intake of natural sugars—have not been fully researched. Instead, he suggests that expectant mothers meet the daily intake recommended in Canada’s Food Guide and consult with their doctors.

Mandhane also says he will continue work in the field, with plans to examine whether the benefits of prenatal fruit consumption persist in children over time. He will also be looking to determine whether fruit can influence childhood development related to executive functioning—in areas such as planning, organizing and working memory.

Funding information

Funding for Mandhane’s study was provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute at the U of A.

https://www.med.ualberta.ca/news/2016/may/an-apple-a-day

The key is regular prenatal care.

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reports in What is prenatal care and why is it important?

Prenatal Care

Women who suspect they may be pregnant should schedule a visit to their health care provider to begin prenatal care. Prenatal visits to a health care provider include a physical exam, weight checks, and providing a urine sample. Depending on the stage of the pregnancy, health care providers may also do blood tests and imaging tests, such as ultrasound exams. These visits also include discussions about the mother’s health, the infant’s health, and any questions about the pregnancy.

Preconception and prenatal care can help prevent complications and inform women about important steps they can take to protect their infant and ensure a healthy pregnancy. With regular prenatal care women can:

  • Reduce the risk of pregnancy complications. Following a healthy, safe diet; getting regular exercise as advised by a health care provider; and avoiding exposure to potentially harmful substances such as lead and radiation can help reduce the risk for problems during pregnancy and ensure the infant’s health and development. Controlling existing conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, is important to avoid serious complications in pregnancy such as preeclampsia.
  • Reduce the infant’s risk for complications. Tobacco smoke and alcohol use during pregnancy have been shown to increase the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Alcohol use also increases the risk for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, which can cause a variety of problems such as abnormal facial features, having a small head, poor coordination, poor memory, intellectual disability, and problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones.2 According to one recent study supported by the NIH, these and other long-term problems can occur even with low levels of prenatal alcohol exposure.3

In addition, taking 400 micrograms of folic acid daily reduces the risk for neural tube defects by 70%.4 Most prenatal vitamins contain the recommended 400 micrograms of folic acid as well as other vitamins that pregnant women and their developing fetus need.1,5 Folic acid has been added to foods like cereals, breads, pasta, and other grain-based foods. Although a related form (called folate) is present in orange juice and leafy, green vegetables (such as kale and spinach), folate is not absorbed as well as folic acid.

  • Help ensure the medications women take are safe. Certain medications, including some acne treatments6 and dietary and herbal supplements,7 are not safe to take during pregnancy.

Learn more about prenatal and preconception care.

http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/preconceptioncare/Pages/default.aspx

http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pregnancy/conditioninfo/Pages/prenatal-care.aspx

See, Prenatal care fact sheet http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/prenatal-care.html

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©

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Dr. Wilda Reviews ©

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Dr. Wilda ©

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