Volume 11 Issue 331
Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 16-Dec-2009 
Next Update - 14:00 UC 08:00 EST 17-Dec-2009






Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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For older adults, participating in social service activities can improve brain functions

Volunteer service, such as tutoring children, can help older adults delay or reverse declining brain function, according to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the researchers found that seniors participating in a youth mentoring program made gains in key brain regions that support cognitive abilities important to planning and organizing one’s daily life. more  

Gene identified as cause of some forms of intellectual disability

A gene involved in some forms of intellectual disability has been identified by scientists at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), as published this month in The American Journal of Human Genetics. The gene is called TRAPPC9. more

First immunological clue to why some H1N1 patients get very ill or die

An international team of Canadian and Spanish scientists have found the first potential immunological clue of why some people develop severe pneumonia when infected by the pandemic H1N1 virus. more  

Higher levels of protein hormone associated with lower risk of dementia, Alzheimer's disease

Persons with higher levels of leptin, a protein hormone produced by fat cells and involved in the regulation of appetite, may have an associated reduced incidence of Alzheimer disease and dementia, according to a study in the December 16 issue of JAMA. more

Drug for Alzheimer's disease does not appear to slow cognitive decline  

Although there were promising results in a phase 2 trial, patients with mild Alzheimer disease who received the drug tarenflurbil as part of a phase 3 trial did not have better outcomes on measures of cognitive decline or loss of activities of daily living compared to patients who received placebo, according to a study in the December 16 issue of JAMA. more

Low cholesterol transfer protein activity associated with heart disease risk  

Although seen as a potential heart disease therapy, raising high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels by inhibiting activity of a transfer protein may not be effective, a new study suggests. Scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University and Boston University School of Medicine found an association between low plasma cholesterol ester transfer protein (CETP) activity and increased risk of heart disease in the Framingham Heart Study population. more

Septic shock: Nitric oxide beneficial after all

Scientists at VIB and Ghent University in Flanders, Belgium have found an unexpected ally for the treatment of septic shock, the major cause of death in intensive care units. By inducing the release of nitric oxide (NO) gas in mice with septic shock, researchers Anje Cauwels and Peter Brouckaert discovered that the animal's organs showed much less damage, while their chances of survival increased significantly. That's contrary to all expectations, since it is generally assumed that nitric oxide is responsible for the potentially lethal drop in blood pressure in septic shock. more

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Persons with higher levels of leptin, a protein hormone produced by fat cells and involved in the regulation of appetite, may have an associated reduced incidence of Alzheimer disease and dementia