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Spinal tap may predict Alzheimer's years ahead
January 2nd, 2012
05:10 PM ET

Spinal tap may predict Alzheimer's years ahead

Scientists are finding more clues to help determine whether people with mild dementia symptoms are at risk for Alzheimer's.

A new study suggests that biomarkers found in cerebrospinal fluid (fluid that surrounds the spinal cord and brain and acts as a protective cushion) could predict who would develop Alzheimer's disease 90% of the time among patients with mild cognitive impairment, a condition characterized by measurable memory problems.

Researchers report these findings in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.

This is the longest clinical follow-up ever of patients who begin with mild cognitive impairment, researchers reported. Patients were tracked from four to 12 years, with a median of 9.2 years.  The research builds on a 2006 Lancet Neurology study that followed patients for a median of 5.2 years, beginning with a group of 137 volunteers with mild cognitive impairment. FULL POST


More evidence that deep brain stimulation may help treat mental illness
January 2nd, 2012
04:04 PM ET

More evidence that deep brain stimulation may help treat mental illness

A new study is advancing the possibility that mentally ill patients who do not respond to conventional therapies may benefit from battery-powered electrodes surgically implanted in their brains.

The procedure, called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), uses a pacemaker-like device to deliver small, steady electrical charges to specific brain circuits that control our moods.

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Filed under: Brain • Depression

Study: Fat hormone increases risk of dementia in women
January 2nd, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Study: Fat hormone increases risk of dementia in women

Some risk factors for dementia like getting old and having a family history cannot be prevented, but a new study shows that hormones produced in excess weight around the middle may be another risk factor, particularly for women. 

A report in Monday’s Archives of Neurology has found that an increased presence of the hormone adiponectin can increase the risk for loss of brain function and Alzheimer's disease.

According to the World Alzheimer’s Report, currently, 36 million people are affected by dementia worldwide, and that number is expected to double in the next 20 years. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, impacting 80% of the elderly. The Alzheimer’s Association says two-thirds of those with Alzheimer’s are women, and today, of the 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer’s, 96% are over the age of 65.
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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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