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author:("Amtul, sareen")
1.  A randomized controlled longitudinal naturalistic trial testing the effects of automatic self transcending meditation on heart rate variability in late life depression: study protocol 
Background
The prevalence and socioeconomic cost of late life depression (LLD) is on the rise, while the response rate to antidepressant trials remains poor. Various mind-body therapies are being embraced by patients as they are considered safe and potentially effective, yet little is known regarding the effectiveness of such therapies to improve LLD symptoms. Among the mind-body therapies currently in practice, the results of our pilot study have shown that a particular meditation technique called Sahaj Samadhi Meditation, which belongs to the category of meditation termed automatic self-transcending meditation (ASTM) may have some promise in improving cardiovascular autonomic disturbances associated with LLD as well as ameliorating symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Methods/Design
Patients between the ages of 60 and 85 with LLD will be randomized either to ASTM plus treatment as usual (TAU) or TAU alone to assess changes in cardiovascular autonomic parameters, neuropsychological symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as quality of life. The instructional phase of the intervention consists of 4 consecutive days of meditation training, after which participants are encouraged to meditate twice daily for twenty minutes each time at home. The intervention also includes once weekly follow up sessions for the subsequent 11 weeks. The planned study has one and a half year recruitment period. Participants will be assessed at baseline and at 4, 8, 12 and 24 weeks post intervention.
Discussion
This study should provide a unique data source from a randomized, controlled, longitudinal trial to investigate the effects of a form of ASTM on cardiovascular autonomic and neuropsychological health in LLD.
Trial registration
Clinicaltrials.gov NCT02149810, date registered: 05/28/2014.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-307
PMCID: PMC4147184  PMID: 25134497
Cardiovascular autonomic testing; Automatic self transcending meditation; Late life depression; Heart rate variability
2.  Hemodynamic Effects of Combined Focal Cerebral Ischemia and Amyloid Protein Toxicity in a Rat Model: A Functional CT Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100575.
Background/Objective
Clinical evidence indicates that cerebral ischemia (CI) and a pathological factor of Alzheimer's disease, the β-amyloid (Aβ) protein, can increase the rate of cognitive impairment in the ageing population. Using the CT Perfusion (CTP) functional imaging, we sought to investigate the interaction between CI and the Aβ protein on cerebral hemodynamics.
Methods
A previously established rat model of CI and Aβ was used for the CTP study. Iodinated contrast was given intravenously, while serial CT images of sixteen axial slices were acquired. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) and blood volume (CBV) parametric maps were co-registered to a rat brain atlas and regions of interest were drawn on the maps. Microvascular alteration was investigated with histopathology.
Results
CTP results revealed that ipsilateral striatum of Aβ+CI and CI groups showed significantly lower CBF and CBV than control at the acute phase. Striatal CBF and CBV increased significantly at week 1 in the CI and Aβ+CI groups, but not in the Aβ alone or control group. Histopathology showed that average density of dilated microvessels in the ipsilateral striatum in CI and Aβ+CI groups was significantly higher than control at week 1, indicating this could be associated with hyperperfusion and hypervolemia observed from CTP results.
Conclusion
These results demonstrate that CTP can quantitatively measure the hemodynamic disturbance on CBF and CBV functional maps in a rat model of CI interacting with Aβ.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100575
PMCID: PMC4074060  PMID: 24971942
3.  DHA Supplemented in Peptamen Diet Offers No Advantage in Pathways to Amyloidosis: Is It Time to Evaluate Composite Lipid Diet? 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e24094.
Numerous reports have documented the beneficial effects of dietary docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on beta-amyloid production and Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, none of these studies have examined and compared DHA, in combination with other dietary nutrients, for its effects on plaque pathogenesis. Potential interactions of DHA with other dietary nutrients and fatty acids are conventionally ignored. Here we investigated DHA with two dietary regimes; peptamen (pep+DHA) and low fat diet (low fat+DHA). Peptamen base liquid diet is a standard sole-source nutrition for patients with gastrointestinal dysfunction. Here we demonstrate that a robust AD transgenic mouse model shows an increased tendency to produce beta-amyloid peptides and amyloid plaques when fed a pep+DHA diet. The increase in beta-amyloid peptides was due to an elevated trend in the levels of beta-secretase amyloid precursor protein (APP) cleaving enzyme (BACE), the proteolytic C-terminal fragment beta of APP and reduced levels of insulin degrading enzyme that endoproteolyse beta-amyloid. On the contrary, TgCRND8 mice on low fat+DHA diet (based on an approximately 18% reduction of fat intake) ameliorate the production of abeta peptides and consequently amyloid plaques. Our work not only demonstrates that DHA when taken with peptamen may have a tendency to confer a detrimental affect on the amyloid plaque build up but also reinforces the importance of studying composite lipids or nutrients rather than single lipids or nutrients for their effects on pathways important to plaque development.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024094
PMCID: PMC3169579  PMID: 21931647

Results 1-3 (3)