Interferon Beta-1A May Lessen Brain Atrophy in MS Patients

Specialists in neuroimaging at the University at Buffalo have proposed a mechanism by which interferon beta-1a may limit brain atrophy in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. The positive effect of interferon beta-1a, a standard treatment for MS, on brain atrophy is well known, but the process through which that occurs remains a mystery. UB scientists have shown that the treatment appears to limit atrophy by minimizing the toxic effect of pathologic iron deposits found in gray-matter structures of MS patients.

Experimental 'coffee cocktail' tested as way to limit stroke damage

An experimental drug delivering the potency of two cups of strong coffee and a mixed drink has been shown to limit stroke-induced brain damage in animals. Now, this agent has been demonstrated to be safe in a small pilot study of ischemic stroke patients reported in today’s rapid access issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Study identifies changes in the eyes of Alzheimer's sufferers

A research team led by investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has discovered that amyloid-beta (A-beta), the protein that forms plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, can also be detected in the lens of the human eye. The investigators were able to identify A-beta in lens samples from elderly individuals with and without the disorder; however, an unusual pattern of amyloid deposits was found only on the lenses of Alzheimer’s patients.

Men really do have higher pain tolerance

Men’s higher tolerance for pain is not just macho posturing but has a physiological underpinning, suggests a study in which subjects were given a monetary incentive to keep their hand submerged in ice water. Sex differences in pain perception have been noted in multiple studies, with women typically displaying lower pain tolerance than men, but it is unknown whether the mechanisms underlying these differences are hormonal, genetic or psychosocial in origin. For example, some researchers have suggested that men are more motivated to express a tolerance for pain because masculine stereotyping encourages it, while feminine stereotyping encourages pain expression and lower pain tolerance.

Uninsured cancer patients pay more, get less

Uninsured cancer patients pay more than twice as much out of pocket for their medical care than insured patients, but end up receiving half as much care, according to a new report. Hispanic cancer patients may be especially vulnerable within this trend: 20 percent of Hispanic cancer patients under age 65 lack insurance, compared with 11 percent of all uninsured cancer patients under age 65.

Sharp spike in Type 2 diabetes among children

Baby fat may be cuddly to new parents but pediatricians are increasingly warning families about serious medical problems resulting from baby fat that never goes away. Type 2 diabetes is on the increase in overweight and obese children in America. According to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center pediatric endocrinologist David Geller, M.D., Ph.D. “Childhood obesity is the primary reason we are seeing such a huge increase in type 2 diabetes in kids today. Clearly there is an inexorable increase in body girth and body mass in our children which needs to be taken seriously in order to avoid a lifetime of physical and psychological problems.”

FBI reports Internet fraud complaints tripled in 2002

Fraud on the Internet rose sharply in 2002, with the FBI reporting more than 48,000 complaints referred to prosecutors — triple the number of the year before. By far the most common complaint was auction fraud, followed by non-delivery of promised merchandise, credit card fraud and fake investments, according to the report Wednesday from the Internet Fraud Complaint Center, run by the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center based in Richmond, Va.

DHEA Supplement Shows No Effect on Alzheimer's Disease

The supplement dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, which has been touted by some as an anti-aging hormone and a treatment for diseases such as cancer, AIDS, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, showed no effect for Alzheimer’s disease patients who took the supplement for six months, according to a study published in the April 8 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. DHEA is a hormone produced naturally in the adrenal glands. The body then converts it into the hormones estrogen and testosterone. DHEA as a supplement is made from plant chemicals.

Physical Mimicry of Others Jump-starts Key Brain Activity

A child falls from his bicycle and his father winces. A bride says “I do” and the maid of honor grins from ear to ear. A mother frowns with displeasure and her infant son frowns back. UCLA neuroscientists using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) are the first to demonstrate that empathetic action, such as mirroring facial expressions, triggers far greater activity in the emotion centers of the brain than mere observation.

Brain Atrophy, Lesions Found in Type 1 Diabetics

Cerebral atrophy is common in young persons with juvenile-onset diabetes, and there is evidence that small blood vessels within the brain’s white matter are damaged in these patients, neurologists at the University at Buffalo and the University of Western Ontario have found. Both findings, which are preliminary, may be important in understanding the development of cognitive impairment seen in older diabetics.

Genetic Risk Factor for Parkinson's Disease Discovered

Inherited variations in proteins that produce energy for the body may provide protection from developing Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study by scientists at Duke University Medical Center. Furthermore, the inherited gene variations seem particularly to protect white women, which may help explain why Parkinson’s disease is seen more often in men.

New treatment results in less brain damage following stroke

Stroke patients will be welcoming the news of a discovery by a University of Alberta scientist that may have significant future implications for treatment of the disease. Dr. Fred Colbourne, from the Faculty of Science, has shown that a novel rehabilitation regimen has proven remarkably effective in promoting recovery in hemorrhagic stroke–or ruptured blood vessels–in rats.