Brain’s ‘insulation’ continues to form throughout life
Myelin acts as insulation for millions of brain cells, allowing for swift and efficient transmission of signals across brain regions. Despite its crucial role, little is known about how stable this structure is in the adult brain and what impact aging has on its maintenance. Yale neurologists Robert Hill, Alice Li, and Jaime Grutzendler devised techniques to track and precisely image myelin throughout the lifetime of the mouse. They discovered that myelin continues to form and restructure in the adult brain — indicating the potential for lifelong change. They also learned that during aging, myelin begins to deteriorate and myelin debris accumulate over time.
Barrier Function: TREM2 Helps Microglia to Compact Amyloid Plaques
New research bolsters the case that brain-derived microglia need TREM2 to essentially wall off amyloid plaques, but exactly how they do that remains up for debate. As reported in the May 18 Neuron, scientists led by Jaime Grutzendler at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, used confocal and super-resolution microscopy to show that TREM2-positive microglia surround and encase amyloid fibrils, protecting neurons in the process. Yet TREM2 itself appears to lend little support to phagocytosis of Aβ. The technical caliber of the work and the quality of the microscopy led researchers in the AD field to call the study “stunning.” It comes on the heels of another paper, in the April 18 Journal of Experimental Medicine, which suggests the microglia that surround plaques are brain-derived, not peripheral myeloid cells as others had suggested previously.Source: Barrier Function: TREM2 Helps Microglia to Compact Amyloid Plaques
Immune cells may act as ‘trash compactors, protecting against Alzheimer’s
In the battle against Alzheimer’s disease, inflammation may be an ally, not a foe, a new study has found. Immune cells in the brain previously blamed for Alzheimer’s actually protect against the disease by corralling the damage-causing amyloid plaques, according to the Yale University study, published Wednesday in the journal Neuron. The findings suggest that inflammation byproducts of these immune cells, known as microglia, probably don’t cause Alzheimer’s, nor are they as effective as previously believed at “gobbling up” the plaques, both of which have been hypothesized, said Jaime Grutzendler,associate professor of neurology and neuroscience and the study’s lead author. Rather, he said, the cells act as a physicalbarrier that encloses the spiky plaques, preventing outward expansion and making them less toxic. “They’re sort of like garbage compactors,” he said. “They tightly surround the plaques and make them inert and less damaging . . . by creating a capsule.”
Research in the news: Hyperactive neurons may be culprit in Alzheimer’s
A long-term reduction in neuronal activity reduces amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease, Yale University researchers have found. The study, using mouse models of Alzheimer’s, found the opposite is also true — triggering an increase in neuronal activity spurs creation of plaques and toxic amyloid beta peptides believed to trigger the disease.
Immune cells are an ally, not enemy, in battle against Alzheimer’s
In Alzheimer’s disease (AD), β-amyloid plaques are tightly enveloped by microglia but the significance of this phenomenon is unknown. Here the authors used confocal and in vivo two-photon imaging in AD mouse models and revealed that microglia constitute a physical barrier that prevents the formation of neurotoxic hotspots of protofibrillar β-amyloid and shields adjacent neurons and synapses from the toxic effect of amyloid plaques
Can Diabetes Drugs Lower the Risk of Age-Related Dementia?
In patients with diabetes, recent studies have found a positive correlation between taking metformin, a blood sugar medication, and lowered risk of dementia. While promising, this link is not definitive, and experts like Yale's Arman Fesharaki-Zadeh, MD, PhD, advise that patients maintain a healthy weight and diet and exercise in order to preserve cognitive wellbeing.Source: WebMD
'Our America: Unforgettable'
Alzheimer's disease is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that not only damages the memory and identity of the people who suffer from it, but their loved ones as well. This ABC News documentary explores the impact of Alzheimer's disease on the Latinx community and pulls on the knowledge of experts in the field, including Yale Assistant Professor of Neurology Carmen Carrión, PsyD, a neuropsychologist with vast experience treating diverse patient populations.Source: ABC News
How Brain Regions Involved in Wakeful Rest May Play a Role in the Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease
Daydreaming puts the brain in a state of wakeful rest, allowing the connection of brain regions known as the Default Mode Network (DMN) to interact. The DMN is now a topic of investigation for researchers trying to understand why women are at a higher risk for Alzheimer's Disease than men.
Award-winning Associate Professor Yize Zhao Applies Innovative Statistical Methods to Advance Medical Science
In the Yale School of Public Health’s Department of Biostatistics, Associate Professor Yize Zhao is developing innovative statistical and machine learning methods to advance our knowledge of how the intricate processes within our brains impact our mental and physical well-being, and how these processes contribute to debilitating diseases like Alzheimer’s and depression.
Prior Experience Not Always A Plus For Dementia Caregiving
Millions of family caregivers provide essential emotional, physical, and social care to people living with dementia. As the global population ages, people providing care for more than one family member or close other across adulthood is becoming increasingly common. Yet little is known about the ways prior caregiving experiences shape an individual’s future preparedness when it comes to caring for additional people living with dementia.Source: Science Blog
Assistant Professor Tassos C. Kyriakides discusses the cognitive benefits of olive oil
A recent study co-authored by Yale School of Public Health Assistant Professor of Biostatistics Tassos C. Kyriakides finds that the daily consumption of extra-virgin olive oil could improve cognitive function in individuals with mild cognitive impairment
Breakthrough Alzheimer's drug slows symptoms, possible approval on horizon
Christopher Van Dyck, MD, professor of psychiatry, neurology, and neuroscience; director, Alzheimer's Disease Research Unit; and director, division of aging and geriatric psychiatry, speaks about Lecanemab, a breakthrough medication that appears to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease symptoms by almost 30%.Source: FOX61
Associate Professor Xi Chen discusses global health challenges of Alzheimer’s disease
In recognition of November as Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, Yale School of Public Health Associate Professor Xi Chen, an affiliate of Yale’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, recently discussed the latest trends in Alzheimer’s disease research and treatment.
Health Headlines: New experimental Alzheimer’s drug; COVID’s effect on the body
New research has confirmed that COVID shots do affect periods, but experts are still studying how long it will take someone to recover from long COVID. Studies also showing that an experimental Alzheimer’s drug is slowing cognitive decline. Dr. Arjun Venkatesh, chief of the Emergency Medicine Administration at Yale and associate professor at the Yale School of Medicine, joined News 8 to discuss these exciting new discoveries in medicine, as well as the questions still left unanswered.Source: News 8 WTNH
Improving emergency care for older adults
In the United States, adults aged 50 and older make more than 40 million trips to emergency departments (EDs) each year. And that number is expected to grow, Ula Hwang, MD, MPH, professor of emergency medicine at Yale School of Medicine discusses importance of making geriatric emergency care a priority.Source: YaleNews