Nick Hanson (@nickhanson)
Activity by Nick Hanson
Bottom Line: A diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in older adults was associated with increased risk for mild cognitive impairment (MCI), especially MCI of skills other than memory, and the greatest risk was among patients who had COPD for more than five years. The study is published in JAMA Neurology.
Authors: Balwinder Singh, M.D., M.S., and Michelle Mielke, Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and colleagues.
Background: COPD is an irreversible limitation of airflow into the lungs, usually caused by smoking. More than 13.5 million adults 25 years or older in the U.S. have COPD. Previous research has suggested COPD is associated with cognitive impairment.
How the Study Was Conducted: The authors examined the association between COPD and MCI, as well as the duration of MCI, in 1,425 individuals (ages 70 to 89 years) with normal cognition in 2004 from Olmsted County, Minn. At baseline, 171 patients had a COPD diagnosis.
Results: Of the 1,425 patients, 370 developed MCI: 230 had amnestic MCI (A-MCI, which affects memory), 97 had nonamnestic MCI (NA-MCI), 27 had MCI of an unknown type and 16 had progressed from normal cognition to dementia. A diagnosis of COPD increased the risk for NA-MCI by a relative 83 percent during a median of 5.1 years of follow-up. Patients who had COPD for more than five years had the greatest risk for MCI.
Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Cerhan are available in the downloads.
ROCHESTER, Minn. — March 12, 2014 — Having a big belly has consequences beyond trouble squeezing into your pants. It’s detrimental to your health, even if you have a healthy body mass index (BMI), a new international collaborative study led by a Mayo Clinic researcher found. Men and women with large waist circumferences were more likely to die younger, and were more likely to die from illnesses such as heart disease, respiratory problems, and cancer after accounting for body mass index, smoking, alcohol use and physical activity. The study is published in the March edition of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
The researchers pooled data from 11 different cohort studies, including more than 600,000 people from around the world. They found that men with waists 43 inches or greater in circumference had a 50 percent higher mortality risk than men with waists less than 35 inches, and this translated to about a three-year lower life expectancy after age 40. Women with a waist circumference of 37 inches or greater had about an 80 percent higher mortality risk than women with a waist circumference of 27 inches or less, and this translated to about a five-year lower life expectancy after age 40.
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.
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.
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Feb. 12, 2014 — Not only is heroin addictive and deadly, its use is increasing among Americans. That disturbing trend parallels the spike of opioid based prescription painkiller abuse in recent years, say Mayo Clinic experts.
Heroin, a drug that can be smoked, sniffed/snorted or injected intravenously, is highly addictive. For comparison, about 9 percent of people who use marijuana will become addicted. Close to 17 percent of cocaine users will. It’s 15 percent for alcohol. But for heroin, 25 percent or more of users will become addicted. That means roughly one in four users become addicts.
Journalists: Video of Dr. Hall-Flavin talking about heroin addiction is available in the downloads.
“Heroin is prevalent, it’s out there and it is deadly,” says Dr. Daniel Hall-Flavin, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist and addiction expert. “But it doesn’t have to be. There is hope out there for people if they can get treatment.”
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Jan. 23, 2014 — The Minnesota Department of Health released its 10th annual Adverse Health Events report today and Mayo Clinic Hospital – Rochester reported only 29 events in 2013 — down from 38 in 2012. This decrease is primarily due to reductions in advanced-stage pressure ulcers and surgery-related events. Mayo's emphasis on pressure ulcer identification and prevention led to fewer pressure ulcer reports in 2013.The reporting system requires Minnesota hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers to report whenever one of 29 serious adverse events occurs and conduct a thorough analysis of causes. In 2013, the number of events reported statewide was 258. Data was collected from Oct. 6, 2012 through Oct. 7, 2013.
Journalists: Rochester campus b-roll is available in the downloads.
“The data reflect the high dedication of our nursing and medical teams, as well as our strong detection and reporting efforts,” says Timothy Morgenthaler, M.D., Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and Patient Safety Officer in Rochester. “We are encouraged by these results and hope to see even further reductions in the coming year.”
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Dec. 11, 2013 — A recent Mayo Clinic study found that people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are about twice as likely to develop mild cognitive impairment (MCI) — and chances are that it will include memory loss. The study was recently published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Researchers looked at about 2,000 people 70-89 years old in the Mayo Clinic Study on Aging. About 1,600 were cognitively normal, 317 had mild cognitive impairment and overall, about 288 had COPD. COPD was found to be associated with almost two-fold higher odds of MCI, and the odds get worse the longer someone has COPD. Rates were similar among men and women.
Incidence of dementia progresses with age, and in the absence of any effective therapy for treatment or management of dementia/Alzheimer’s disease, identification of risk factors is critical, says Balwinder Singh, M.D., first author of the study and a Mayo Clinic neurology research collaborator who is a psychiatry resident at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences.
“COPD is reversible in early stages, especially in smokers,” Dr. Singh says. “These findings are important because they highlight the importance of COPD as a potential risk factor for MCI and will hopefully lead to early intervention to prevent incidence or progression.”
MCI is a stage between normal cognitive aging and dementia. People with mild cognitive impairment are at increased risk of progressing to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
ROCHESTER, Minn. — People with epilepsy may have a new high-tech way to manage hard-to-control seizures. A new implantable medical device that delivers responsive neurostimulation has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The technology is designed to detect abnormal activity in the brain and respond and deliver subtle levels of electrical stimulation to normalize brain activity before an individual experiences seizures. The treatment is available at all Mayo Clinic sites.
The device is indicated for use as an adjunctive therapy in reducing the frequency and severity of seizures in people 18 years of age or older with partial onset seizures who have undergone diagnostic testing that localized no more than two epileptogenic foci, are refractory to two or more antiepileptic medications, and currently have frequent and disabling seizures (motor partial seizures, complex partial seizures and/or secondarily generalized seizures).
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Oct. 16, 2013 — A string of public mass shootings during the past decade-plus have rocked America leaving policymakers and mental health experts alike fishing for solutions to prevent these heinous crimes. A Mayo Clinic physician, however, argues that at least one proposal won't stop the public massacres: restricting gun access to the mentally ill. J. Michael Bostwick, M.D., a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist and author of the editorial published online in Mayo Clinic Proceedings today, argues several points including that mass shootings are carefully planned — often spanning weeks or months. There is plenty of time for a meticulous planner and determined killer to get a gun somewhere in that time, he argues.
MULTIMEDIA ALERT: For audio and video of Dr. Bostwick talking about the editorial, visit the Mayo Clinic News Network.
Dr. Bostwick's editorial is a commentary on an essay in the same issue of Proceedings titled "Guns, Schools, and Mental Illness: Potential Concerns for Physicians and Mental Health Professionals." The authors focus on recent mass shootings and argue that these actions were not and could not have been prevented by more restrictive gun legislation. They further contend that a diagnosis of mental illness does not justify stripping Second Amendment rights from all who carry such a diagnosis, most of whom will never commit violent acts toward others.
Before reading the essay Dr. Bostwick — who is generally in favor of gun control — expected to disagree with its contents. Instead, he agreed.
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic researchers have found a surprising occupational hazard for teachers: progressive speech and language disorders. The research, recently published in the American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease & Other Dementias, found that people with speech and language disorders are about 3.5 times more likely to be teachers than patients with Alzheimer's dementia.
MULTIMEDIA ALERT: For audio and video of Dr. Josephs talking about the study, visit the Mayo Clinic News Network.
Speech and language disorders are typically characterized by people losing their ability to communicate — they can't find words to use in sentences, or they'll speak around a word. They may also have trouble producing the correct sounds and articulating properly. Speech and language disorders are not the same as Alzheimer's dementia, which is characterized by the loss of memory. Progressive speech and language disorders are degenerative and ultimately lead to death anywhere from 8-10 years after diagnosis.
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Sept. 18, 2013 — A genetic mutation, known as GBA, that leads to early onset of Parkinson's disease and severe cognitive impairment (in about 4 to 7 percent of all patients with the disease) also alters how specific lipids, ceramides and glucosylceramides are metabolized. Mayo Clinic researchers have found that Parkinson's patients who do not carry the genetic mutation also have higher levels of these lipids in the blood. Further, those who had Parkinson's and high blood levels were also more likely to have cognitive impairment and dementia. The research was recently published online in the journal PLOS ONE.
MULTIMEDIA ALERT: For audio and video of Dr. Mielke talking about the study, visit Mayo Clinic News Network.
The discovery could be an important warning for those with Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's disease. There is no biomarker to tell who is going to develop the disease — and who is going to develop cognitive impairment after developing Parkinson's, says Michelle Mielke, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic researcher and first author of the study.