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Why Do Some People with Alzheimer’s Disease Die Without Cognitive Impairment, While Others Do?

Posted on April 23rd, 2014 by Duska Anastasijevic

A Third Protein Provides Clue

Since the time of Dr. Alois Alzheimer himself, two proteins (beta-amyloid (Aβ) and tau) have become tantamount to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). But a Mayo Clinic study challenges the perception that these are the only important proteins accounting for the clinical features of the devastating disease.

In a large clinico-imaging pathological study, Mayo Clinic researchers demonstrated that a third protein (TDP-43) plays a major role in AD pathology. In fact, people whose brain was TDP positive were 10 times more likely to be cognitively impaired at death compared to those who didn’t have the protein, showing that TDP-43 has the potential to overpower what has been termed resilient brain aging. The study was published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica.

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Posted on March 28th, 2014 by Dana Sparks

Montage of Mayo Clinic Radio pictures

Join us Saturday, March 29, at 9 a.m. CT, when we cover as much about Alzheimer's disease as we can in one hour! Director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., will be with us to discuss a recent study listing Alzheimer's disease as the third-leading cause of death, and he'll comment on a news report that says women in their 60s are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's than breast cancer. Dr. Petersen will also share 7 tips to prevent memory loss.  Join us!

Myth or Matter of Fact: There are treatments available to help stop the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

At the top of the hour we'll also hear from David Ahlquist, M.D., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and co-inventor of the Cologuard test. This high-tech home stool test kit looks for colorectal cancer's DNA in its early stages, when this cancer is highly treatable. 

To hear the program LIVE on Saturday, click here.
Follow #MayoClinicRadio and tweet your questions.
Mayo Clinic Radio is available on iHeart Radio.

Listen to this week’s Medical News Headlines: News March 29, 2014 (right click MP3) 

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Diabetes in Middle Age May Lead to Brain Cell Loss Later in Life

Posted on March 11th, 2014 by Nick Hanson

ROCHESTER, Minn. — March 11, 2014 — People who develop diabetes and high blood pressure in middle age are more likely to have brain cell loss and other damage to the brain, as well as problems with memory and thinking skills, than people who never have diabetes or high blood pressure or who develop it in old age, according to a new study published in the March 19, 2014, online issue of Neurology. Middle age was defined as age 40 to 64 and old age as age 65 and older.

“Potentially, if we can prevent or control diabetes and high blood pressure in middle age, we can prevent or delay the brain damage that occurs decades later and leads to memory and thinking problems and dementia,” says study author and Mayo Clinic epidemiologist Rosebud Roberts M.B., Ch.B.diabetes word art

For the study, the thinking and memory skills of 1,437 people with an average age of 80 were evaluated. The participants had either no thinking or memory problems or mild memory and thinking problems called mild cognitive impairment. They then had brain scans to look for markers of brain damage that can be a precursor to dementia. Participants’ medical records were reviewed to determine whether they had been diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure in middle age or later.

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Mayo Clinic hosts concussion film premiere by Oscar-nominated director

Posted on March 4th, 2014 by Jim McVeigh

MEDIA ADVISORYMayo Clinic Arizona campus

PHOENIX – Mayo Clinic will host a special sneak preview of the highly anticipated documentary, Head Games: The Global Concussion Crisis.

WHEN - Saturday, March 8 at 6:30 p.m.

WHERE - the Phoenix campus of Mayo Clinic, 5777 East Mayo Boulevard.

BACKGROUND – From the acclaimed director Steve James (Academy Award-nominated Hoop Dreams, Emmy Award-winning The Interrupters), Head Games: The Global Concussion Crisis is a revealing documentary featuring never-before-seen neurological findings related to rugby and soccer players that will serve as a wake-up call for people who think that the devastating chronic effects of repetitive head trauma are only an American football and boxing injury. Read the rest of this entry »

Advancements in Multiple Sclerosis Research Hold Promise for Patients

Posted on February 26th, 2014 by Jim McVeigh

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Feb. 26, 2014 — The future holds promise for multiple sclerosis research based on advancements of the past two decades according to a review from Mayo Clinic neurologists published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The paper states that many people with newly diagnosed or early stage MS are overwhelmed by the combination of uncertain prognosis and the often-unsettling prospect of starting preventive measures that are used indefinitely. However, the authors say that patients and physicians can benefit from an awareness of recent and emerging developments.

“MS is the second most common disabling disease of young adults - it is a lifelong disease with an unpredictable clinical course for the most part,” said Dean Wingerchuk, M.D., Mayo Clinic neurologist and co-author of the review. “That means that people are challenged with making decisions about treatment. It’s important for both the patient and physicians to be aware of current and emerging therapies  to make appropriate decisions going forward.”

Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Wingerchuk are available in the downloads.

Dr. Wingerchuk said that MS research has been prolific and that scientific advances in understanding the relapsing form of the disease have led to the recent development of several new treatments. Read the rest of this entry »

Mayo Clinic Study Finds Standardized Protocol and Surgery Improve Mortality Outcomes

Posted on January 27th, 2014 by Micah Dorfner

Research helps identify stroke patients most at risk for mortality, treatments to reduce death rate

MANKATO, Minn. — Jan. 27, 2014 — For patients who have experienced a large stroke that cuts off blood supply to a large part of the brain, the use of standardized medical management protocol and surgery to decompress swelling can improve life expectancy, Mayo Clinic researchers found in a recent study.

The medical protocol provided each patient with consistent procedures for airway management, ventilator settings, blood pressure control, fluid and electrolyte management, gastrointestinal and nutritional management, hematologic monitoring and management, intracranial pressure monitoring, sedation, use of medication, anticonvulsants, prevention against deep-vein thrombosis and rehabilitation.

illustration of human head profile with brain structure visible

Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Chayatte (shy-ott) are available in the downloads.

Surgery involved removing a large portion of the skull over the area of the stroke to provide extra room for the brain swelling. This reduced pressure in the head and risk of death. For surviving patients, the piece of skull was replaced via a second surgery after the brain swelling had resolved.

“We discovered who – out of this patient group – was most at risk for mortality. We also determined that by using a standardized medical protocol – in other words, treating every patient in the exact same way and preparing for each issue we may encounter – we were able to reduce patient mortality by about 50 percent,” says Douglas Chyatte, M.D., a study author and neurosurgeon at Mayo Clinic Health System. “In addition, when we examined surgery, there was a positive trend in reducing mortality in this group of patients.

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Parkinson’s Saliva Test: Mayo Clinic Radio Health Minute

Posted on December 26th, 2013 by Admin

In this Mayo Clinic Radio Health Minute, Dr. Charles Adler explains research that could lead to a diagnostic test for Parkinson's disease.

To listen, click the link below.

Parkinson's Saliva Test

Multiple Sclerosis

Posted on December 23rd, 2013 by McCray

Multiple Sclerosis

Out of the blue and for no apparent reason, multiple sclerosis strikes young men and women in the prime of their life.  On Saturday, Dec. 28, we will replay the episode of Mayo Clinic Radio with Orhun Kantarci, M.D., discussing how patients are diagnosed and live with this disease.  What is MS and what are the symptoms?  Is there a genetic marker for MS and how close are we to a cure?

Myth or Matter of Fact: MS is more common in women than men.

Mayo Clinic Radio MS Podcast 12-30-13

Window for Treating Memory: Mayo Clinic Radio Health Minute

Posted on December 20th, 2013 by Admin

In this Mayo Clinic Radio Health Minute, Dr. Clifford Jack outlines the findings of a study which identified a time-frame in which a treatment could be effective in treating the plaques thought to cause memory conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.

To listen, click the link below.

Window for Treating Memory


Concussion History Associated with Risk of Alzheimer’s

Posted on December 18th, 2013 by Dana Sparks

A new study suggests that a history of concussion involving at least a momentary loss of consciousness may be related to the buildup of Alzheimer’s-associated plaques in the brain.

Study author and Mayo Clinic researcher Michelle Mielke, Ph.D., says, “Interestingly, in people with a history of concussion, a difference in the amount of brain plaques was found only in those with memory and thinking problems, not in those who were cognitively normal.”

The research is published in the December 26, 2013, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Read news release.

Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Mielke are available in the downloads.