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Monday, 28 November 2011

High blood pressure increases risk of cognitive decline

Published 7 November 2011
Vascular risk factors, including high blood pressure and signs of heart disease, increase your chance of developing cognitive problems according to a study published in Neurology on 7 November.
Since 2003 researchers in the United States have been following more than 30,000 people aged 45 and older to track their risk of stroke and monitor their cognitive health.
Existing evidence shows that stroke increases the risk of cognitive decline anddementia. However, this study reveals that people who have not experienced a stroke are still at increased risk if they have vascular risk factors.
Alzheimer's Society comment:
'We've known for some time that high blood pressure increases your chances ofdeveloping dementia. High blood pressure narrows the blood vessels making it harder for blood to reach the brain which restricts oxygen and kills brain cells. This study adds weight to the fact that high blood pressure must be treated early, even if the condition is not so severe as to lead to a stroke. We estimate that effective treatment could reduce the number of people dying from dementia by 15,000 a year.
'Having a low salt diet, maintaining a healthy weight, taking regular exercise and regulating your alcohol intake can help. If you are over 40 with a family history of dementia or cardiovascular disease you should get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly.'
Dr Anne Corbett
Research Manager
Alzheimer's Society
Research Reference: Unverzagt FW et al. "Vascular Risk Factors and Cognitive Impairment in a Stroke-free Cohort." Neurology, Nov. 8, 2011, Vol. 77 (19), p. 1729

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Study suggests link between early Alzheimer's disease and low body mass index (BMI)

Published 22 November 2011
People in the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease may be more likely to have a lower body mass index according to a study published in Neurology (Monday 21 November 2011).
Scientists at the Department of Neurology and School of Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Centre, used advanced brain imaging techniques and analyses of cerebrospinal fluid to look for biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease in 506 people.
The study found that people with a low BMI were more likely to have biomarkers forAlzheimer's disease, whether they had mild cognitive impairment or not.
Alzheimer's Society comment:
'As yet it is unclear whether a low BMI is actually part of Alzheimer's, or a side effect caused by the disease. Although this study shows a link between it and changes in the brain common to Alzheimer's, there was no association between BMI and symptoms of the disease such as memory loss. More work is needed before we can say if these findings could be used to develop better ways ofdiagnosing the early stages of the condition.
What we do know is that living well will reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's Society recommends people eat healthily and exercise regularly.'

Dr Anne Corbett
Research Manager
Alzheimer's Society
Research Reference:
Alzheimer disease biomarkers are associated with body mass index by J.M Burns et al in NEUROLOGY® the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

How can musicians keep playing despite amnesia?

Scientists are trying to understand how amnesiacs can lose all memory of their past life - and yet remember music. The answer may be that musical memories are stored in a special part of the brain.

When British conductor and musician Clive Wearing contracted a brain infection in 1985 he was left with a memory span of only 10 seconds.
The infection - herpes encephalitis - left him unable to recognise people he had seen or remember things that had been said just moments earlier.
But despite being acknowledged by doctors as having one of the most severe cases of amnesia ever, his musical ability and much of his musical memory was intact.
Now aged 73, he is still able to read music and play the piano and once even conducted his former choir again.
Now researchers believe they are closer to understanding how musical memory is preserved in some people - even when they can remember almost nothing of their past.
At a Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington this month, a group of German neurologists described the case of a professional cellist, referred to as PM, who contracted herpes encephalitis virus in 2005.
He was unable to retain even simple information, such as the layout of his apartment.
But Dr Carsten Finke of Charite University Hospital in Berlin says he was "astonished" that the cellist's musical memory was largely intact and that he was still able to play his instrument.
The brain's medial temporal lobes, which are largely destroyed by severe cases of herpes encephalitis are "highly relevant" for remembering things such as facts and how, where and when an event happened.
"But this case and also the Clive Wearing case suggest that musical memory seems to be stored independently of the medial temporal lobes," Dr Finke says.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Financial Aid for Study Online for Developing Countries, University of Manchester

Distance Learning Scholarships for International Students from Developing Countries 2012, University of Manchester, UK. Scholarship for Study by Distance Learning starting Jan 2012

Course: MSc Management and Information Systems, University of Manchester, UK
Study Type: Online
Brief Scholarship Description: The School of Environment and Development invites applications for a fully-funded scholarship for candidates from developing countries for Master’s study by distance learning on our MSc Management & Information Systems.
The scholarship will cover all study costs including tuition and examining fees and course material costs.
MSc Management and Information Systems
The MSc in M&IS develops the “hybrid” mix of management and information systems skills that we know from experience is essential to the successful and strategic application of information and communication technologies by today’s organisations. Follow this link for full details of the MSc Management and Information Systems: Change and Development by Distance Learning programme.
Who can Apply?
The scholarships are intended to support students from developing countries who would not otherwise be able to study for a UK qualification. Applicants should:
# Applicants must not have previously studied abroad;
# Be a national of and resident in a developing country of Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America or Oceania;
# Have at least two years’ work experience in a post relevant to their MSc M&IS studies;
# Hold a UK Second Class Honours, Upper Division, or above, or its international equivalent, in their Bachelor’s degree. To verify the equivalency of international qualifications applicants should refer to information on the University’s website at:
Applicants must also not have previously studied in a developed country (short/language courses excluded).
How to apply:
You can apply online here.
Important: You must follow Step 1, 2 and 3 to complete your application described on this page.
About University of Manchester:
Based on any analysis of the results, Manchester emerges amongst the country’s top four or five major research universities and is proving competitive with the University College London and Imperial College and just behind Oxford and Cambridge. The University of Manchester, which is renowned for excellence in both teaching and research, combines a rich academic heritage with innovative plans for the future.

Read more: Financial Aid for Study Online for Developing Countries, University of Manchester, UK : College Scholarships, PhD Scholarships, Postdoctoral, Graduate International Scholarships Fellowships 

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Attention runners: Increase speed and power while preventing injury

Whether your sport is soccer, basketball, lacrosse, tennis, football, baseball or track and field improving your speed, power and agility will make you a better player. Recent studies have shown that plyometric exercises can help to improve all of these elements. Beyond this, this type of exercise can also help to prevent an injury of the lower extremity.

Plyometric exercise involves a rapid muscle lengthening movement (eccentric phase), followed by a short resting phase (amortization phase), and then an explosive muscle shortening movement (concentric phase). Overall, plyometric movements help to train our fast twitch muscles (muscle fibers involved in short bursts of speed), which are responsible for quickness, agility, and power.

Plyometric exercise also improves the reaction time of muscles around a given joint. This increased reaction time of muscle contraction helps to prevent injury of the ankle, knee, and hip.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Shown To Prevent Or Slow Progression Of Osteoarthritis

New research has shown for the first time that omega-3 in fish oil could "substantially and significantly" reduce the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis. 

According to the University of Bristol study, funded by Arthritis Research UK and published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, omega-3-rich diets fed to guinea pigs, which naturally develop osteoarthritis, reduced disease by 50 per cent compared to a standard diet. 

The research is a major step forward in showing that omega-3 fatty acids, either sourced from fish oil or flax oil, may help to slow down the progression of osteoarthritis, or even prevent it occurring, confirming anecdotal reports and "old wives' tales" about the benefits of fish oil for joint health. 

Measuring Quality Of Life Important In Cancer Survival Research

Cancer survival studies should treat questions about how well people are surviving with the same importance as how long: putting quality of life on an equal footing with survival years, say researchers writing in a scientific journal this month.

Effective and reliable quality of life measures offer increasingly valuable information for cancer patients and their doctors when they discuss treatment options, their potential consequences and the likely rehabilitation needs, write Drs Paul B. Jacobsen and Heather S. Jim, of the Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, in the October issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

Quality of life is often as keenly discussed as cancer survival in years, and has a number of important applications in research on cancer survivorship. 

But just how to measure quality of life for cancer survivors is still being developed, say the authors, who give an overview of how quality of life is defined and constructed as a scientific measure, and the ways it is commonly used in research involving adult cancer survivors.

In conclusion, they offer several priorities for future research, including how quality of life should be measured, in whom, and how such measures should be used by clinicians caring for cancer survivors.
Read full article:

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Manual Wheelchair Use, Exercise, And Calorie Burning

A person who uses a manual wheelchair can burn up to 120 calories in half an hour while wheeling at 2 mph on a flat surface, which is three times as much as someone doing the same action in a motorized wheelchair. 

The same person can expend 127 calories while mopping and as much as 258 calories while fencing in a thirty-minute timeframe if the activities are done in a manual wheelchair. 

This is according to a review article written by Professor David R. Bassett Jr. of the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. It calculates the calorie costs of various physical activities for people who use manual wheelchairs and summarizes them into a single source - a first of its kind. 

The article, which Bassett co-authored with former UT graduate student Scott A. Conger, was published this month in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, a journal issued by Human Kinetics Inc. 
Read full article: