Amylin, a pancreatic peptide, and amyloid-beta peptides (Aβ), a major component of Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain, share similar β-sheet secondary structures, but it is not known if pancreatic amylin affects amyloid pathogenesis in the AD brain. Using AD mouse models, we investigated the effects of amylin and its clinical analog, pramlintide, on AD pathogenesis. Surprisingly, chronic intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of AD animals with either amylin or pramlintide reduces the amyloid burden as well as lowers the concentrations of Aβ in the brain. These treatments significantly improve their learning and memory assessed by two behavioral tests, Y maze and Morris water maze. Both amylin and pramlintide treatments increase the concentrations of Aβ1-42 in cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). A single i.p. injection of either peptide also induces a surge of Aβ in serum, the magnitude of which is proportionate to the amount of Aβ in brain tissue. One intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injection of amylin induces a more significant surge in serum Aβ than one i.p. injection of the peptide. In 330 human plasma samples, a positive association between amylin and Aβ1-42 as well as Aβ1-40 is found only in patients with AD or amnestic mild cognitive impairment (amnestic MCI). As amylin readily crosses the blood brain barrier (BBB), our study demonstrates that peripheral amylin's action on the central nervous system results in translocation of Aβ from the brain into the CSF and blood that could be an explanation for a positive relationship between amylin and Aβ in blood. While naturally occurring amylin may play a role in regulating Aβ in brain, amylin class peptides may provide a new avenue for both treatment and diagnosis of AD.
To determine if older patients with breast cancer have cognitive impairment before systemic therapy.
Patients and Methods
Participants were patients with newly diagnosed nonmetastatic breast cancer and matched friend or community controls age > 60 years without prior systemic treatment, dementia, or neurologic disease. Participants completed surveys and a 55-minute battery of 17 neuropsychological tests. Biospecimens were obtained for APOE genotyping, and clinical data were abstracted. Neuropsychological test scores were standardized using control means and standard deviations (SDs) and grouped into five domain z scores. Cognitive impairment was defined as any domain z score two SDs below or ≥ two z scores 1.5 SDs below the control mean. Multivariable analyses evaluated pretreatment differences considering age, race, education, and site; comparisons between patient cases also controlled for surgery.
The 164 patient cases and 182 controls had similar neuropsychological domain scores. However, among patient cases, those with stage II to III cancers had lower executive function compared with those with stage 0 to I disease, after adjustment (P = .05). The odds of impairment were significantly higher among older, nonwhite, less educated women and those with greater comorbidity, after adjustment. Patient case or control status, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and surgery were not associated with impairment. However, there was an interaction between comorbidity and patient case or control status; comorbidity was strongly associated with impairment among patient cases (adjusted odds ratio, 8.77; 95% CI, 2.06 to 37.4; P = .003) but not among controls (P = .97). Only diabetes and cardiovascular disease were associated with impairment among patient cases.
There were no overall differences between patients with breast cancer and controls before systemic treatment, but there may be pretreatment cognitive impairment within subgroups of patient cases with greater tumor or comorbidity burden.
The goal was to identify which neurochemicals differ in professional athletes with repetitive brain trauma (RBT) when compared to healthy controls using a relatively new technology, in vivo Localized COrrelated SpectroscopY (L-COSY).
To achieve this, L-COSY was used to examine five former professional male athletes with 11 to 28 years of exposure to contact sports. Each athlete who had had multiple symptomatic concussions and repetitive sub concussive trauma during their career was assessed by an experienced neuropsychologist. All athletes had clinical symptoms including headaches, memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, and depression. Five healthy men, age and weight matched to the athlete cohort and with no history of brain trauma, were recruited as controls. Data were collected from the posterior cingulate gyrus using a 3 T clinical magnetic resonance scanner equipped with a 32 channel head coil.
The variation of the method was calculated by repeated examination of a healthy control and phantom and found to be 10% and 5%, respectively, or less. The L-COSY measured large and statistically significant differences (P ≤0.05), between healthy controls and those athletes with RBT. Men with RBT showed higher levels of glutamine/glutamate (31%), choline (65%), fucosylated molecules (60%) and phenylalanine (46%). The results were evaluated and the sample size of five found to achieve a significance level P = 0.05 and a power of 90%. Differences in N-acetyl aspartate and myo-inositol between RBT and controls were small and were not statistically significance.
A study of a small cohort of professional athletes, with a history of RBT and symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy when compared with healthy controls using 2D L-COSY, showed elevations in brain glutamate/glutamine and choline as recorded previously for early traumatic brain injury. For the first time increases in phenylalanine and fucose are recorded in the brains of athletes with RBT. Larger studies utilizing the L-COSY method may offer an in-life method of diagnosis and personalized approach for monitoring the acute effects of mild traumatic brain injury and the chronic effects of RBT.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE); Concussion; Brain trauma; Traumatic brain injury (TBI); APOE; Biomarker; Tau; Football
There is a fairly consistent, albeit non-universal body of research documenting cognitive declines after cancer and its treatments. While few of these studies have included those 65 and older, it is logical to expect that older patients are at risk of cognitive decline. In this paper, we use breast cancer as an exemplar disease for inquiry into the intersection of aging and cognitive effects of cancer and its therapies. There are a striking number of common underlying potential biological risks and pathways for the development of cancer, cancer-related cognitive declines, and aging processes, including the development of a frail phenotype. Candidate shared pathways include changes in hormonal milieu, inflammation, oxidative stress, DNA damage and compromised DNA repair, genetic susceptibility, decreased brain blood flow or disruption of the blood-brain barrier, direct neurotoxicity, decreased telomere length, and cell senescence. There are also similar structure and functional changes seen in brain imaging studies of cancer patients and those seen with “normal” aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Disentangling the role of these overlapping processes is difficult since they require aged animal models and large samples of older human subjects. From what we do know, frailty and its low cognitive reserve seem to be a clinically useful marker of risk for cognitive decline after cancer and its treatments. This and other results from this review suggest the value of geriatric assessments to identify older patients at the highest risk of cognitive decline. Further research is needed to understand the interactions between aging, genetic predisposition, lifestyle factors and frailty phenotypes to best identify the sub-groups of older patients at greatest risk for decline and to develop behavioral and pharmacological interventions targeting this group. We recommend that basic science and population trials be developed specifically for older hosts with intermediate endpoints of relevance to this group, including cognitive function and trajectories of frailty. Clinicians and their older patients can advance the field by active encouragement of and participation in research designed to improve the care and outcomes of the growing population of older cancer patients.
The goal of this study was to examine the clinical presentation of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in neuropathologically confirmed cases.
Thirty-six adult male subjects were selected from all cases of neuropathologically confirmed CTE at the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy brain bank. Subjects were all athletes, had no comorbid neurodegenerative or motor neuron disease, and had next-of-kin informants to provide retrospective reports of the subjects' histories and clinical presentations. These interviews were conducted blind to the subjects' neuropathologic findings.
A triad of cognitive, behavioral, and mood impairments was common overall, with cognitive deficits reported for almost all subjects. Three subjects were asymptomatic at the time of death. Consistent with earlier case reports of boxers, 2 relatively distinct clinical presentations emerged, with one group whose initial features developed at a younger age and involved behavioral and/or mood disturbance (n = 22), and another group whose initial presentation developed at an older age and involved cognitive impairment (n = 11).
This suggests there are 2 major clinical presentations of CTE, one a behavior/mood variant and the other a cognitive variant.
The long-term consequences of repetitive head impacts have been described since the
early 20th century. Terms such as punch drunk and dementia pugilistica were first
used to describe the clinical syndromes experienced by boxers. A more generic
designation, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), has been employed since the
mid-1900s and has been used in recent years to describe a neurodegenerative disease
found not just in boxers but in American football players, other contact sport
athletes, military veterans, and others with histories of repetitive brain trauma,
including concussions and subconcussive trauma. This article reviews the literature
of the clinical manifestations of CTE from 202 published cases. The clinical features
include impairments in mood (for example, depression and hopelessness), behavior (for
example, explosivity and violence), cognition (for example, impaired memory,
executive functioning, attention, and dementia), and, less commonly, motor
functioning (for example, parkinsonism, ataxia, and dysarthria). We present proposed
research criteria for traumatic encephalopathy syndrome (TES) which consist of four
variants or subtypes (TES behavioral/mood variant, TES cognitive variant, TES mixed
variant, and TES dementia) as well as classifications of ‘probable CTE’
and ‘possible CTE’. These proposed criteria are expected to be modified
and updated as new research findings become available. They are not meant to be used
for a clinical diagnosis. Rather, they should be viewed as research criteria that can
be employed in studies of the underlying causes, risk factors, differential
diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of CTE and related disorders.
Repetitive mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), such as that experienced by contact-sport athletes, has been associated with the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Executive dysfunction is believed to be among the earliest symptoms of CTE, with these symptoms presenting in the fourth or fifth decade of life. The present study used a well-validated self-report measure to study executive functioning in football players, compared to healthy adults. Sixty-four college and professional football players were administered the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function, adult version (BRIEF-A) to evaluate nine areas of executive functioning. Scores on the BRIEF-A were compared to published age-corrected normative scores for healthy adults Relative to healthy adults, the football players indicated significantly more problems overall and on seven of the nine clinical scales, including Inhibit, Shift, Emotional Control, Initiate, Working Memory, Plan/Organize, and Task Monitor. These symptoms were greater in athletes 40 and older, relative to younger players. In sum, football players reported more-frequent problems with executive functioning and these symptoms may develop or worsen in the fifth decade of life. The findings are in accord with a growing body of evidence that participation in football is associated with the development of cognitive changes and dementia as observed in CTE.
chronic traumatic encephalopathy; executive function; football; traumatic brain injury
In recent years, the understanding of concussion has evolved in the research and medical communities to include more subtle and transient symptoms. The accepted definition of concussion in these communities has reflected this change. However, it is unclear whether this shift is also reflected in the understanding of the athletic community.
What is known about the subject
Self-reported concussion history is an inaccurate assessment of someone’s lifetime exposure to concussive brain trauma. However, unfortunately, in many cases it is the only available tool.
We hypothesize that athletes’ self-reported concussion histories will be significantly greater after reading them the current definition of concussion, relative to the reporting when no definition was provided. An increase from baseline to post-definition response will suggest that athletes are unaware of the currently accepted medical definition.
Cross-sectional study of 472 current and former athletes.
Investigators conducted structured telephone interviews with current and former athletes between January 2010 and January 2013, asking participants to report how many concussions they had received in their lives. Interviewers then read participants a current definition of concussion, and asked them to re-estimate based on that definition.
The two estimates were significantly different (Wilcoxon signed rank test: z=15.636, P<0.001). Comparison of the baseline and post-definition medians (7 and 15, respectively) indicated that the post-definition estimate was approximately twice the baseline. Follow-up analyses indicated that this effect was consistent across all levels of competition examined and across type of sport (contact versus non-contact).
Our results indicate that athletes’ current understandings of concussions are not consistent with a currently accepted medical definition. We strongly recommend that clinicians and researchers preface requests for self-reported concussion history with a definition. In addition, it is extremely important that researchers report the definition they used in published manuscripts of their work.
What this study adds to existing knowledge
Our study shows that unprompted reporting of concussion history produces results that are significantly different from those provided after a definition has been given, suggesting one possible mechanism to improve the reliability of self-reported concussion history across multiple individuals.
concussion; self-report; sports-related concussion
Our cross-sectional study showed that the interaction between apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4) and angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors was associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The aim of this longitudinal study was to differentiate whether ACE inhibitors accelerate or reduce the risk of AD in the context of ApoE alleles. Using the longitudinal data from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center (NACC) with ApoE genotyping and documentation of ACE inhibitors use, we found that in the absence of ApoE4, subjects who had been taking central ACE inhibitor use (χ2 test: 21% versus 27%, p = 0.0002) or peripheral ACE inhibitor use (χ2 test: 13% versus 27%, p < 0.0001) had lower incidence of AD compared with those who had not been taking an ACE inhibitor. In contrast, in the presence of ApoE4, there was no such association between ACE inhibitor use and the risk of AD. After adjusting for the confounders, central ACE inhibitor use (OR = 0.68, 95% CI = 0.55, 0.83, p = 0.0002) or peripheral ACE inhibitor use (OR = 0.33, 95% CI = 0.33, 0.68, p < 0.0001) still remained inversely associated with a risk of developing AD in ApoE4 non-carriers. In conclusion, ACE inhibitors, especially peripherally acting ones, were associated with a reduced risk of AD in the absence of ApoE4, but had no such effect in those carrying the ApoE4 allele. A double-blind clinical trial should be considered to determine the effect of ACE inhibitors on prevention of AD in the context of ApoE genotype.
Alzheimer’s disease; apolipoprotein E4 allele (ApoE4); angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor
To perform a critical review of the literature on the mood and cognitive changes associated with subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH), with an emphasis on the elderly. To evaluate these data against the Consensus Statement on management of SCH from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the American Thyroid Association, and The Endocrine Society.
A comprehensive literature review.
SCH may be associated with an increased risk of mood and cognitive dysfunction, though the strength of this association and the efficacy of replacement hormone therapy requires further investigation.
It remains unclear whether SCH leads to significant mood and cognitive impairments in most elderly patients. More research is required to determine the nature and extent of this association and whether thyroid hormone replacement therapy is appropriate and effective in treating SCH-associated neurobehavioral impairments.
Thyroid; Depression; Cognition; Subclinical Hypothyroidism; Dementia
The effect of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors on Alzheimer disease (AD) remains unclear, with conflicting results reported. We studied the interaction of the Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) genotype and ACE inhibitors on AD.
This was a cross-sectional study of homebound elderly with an AD diagnosis and documentation of medications taken. ApoE genotype was determined.
A total of 355 subjects with status on ApoE alleles and cognitive diagnoses were studied. The average age (mean ± SD) of this population was 73.3 ± 8.3 years old, and 73% were female. Cross-sectionally, there was no difference in the number of AD cases between ApoE4 carriers and ApoE4 non-carriers or between ACE inhibitor users and non-users in the homebound elderly. ApoE4 carriers treated with ACE inhibitors, however, had more diagnoses of AD compared with those who did not have the treatment (28% versus 6%, p = 0.01) or ApoE4 non-carriers treated with an ACE inhibitor (28% versus 10%, p = 0.03). ACE inhibitor use was associated with AD diagnosis only in the presence of an E4 allele. Using multivariate logistic regression analysis, we found that in diagnosed AD cases there was a significant interaction between ApoE4 and ACE inhibitor use (odds ratio: 20.85; 95% confidence interval: 3.08–140.95; p = 0.002) after adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, and education.
The effects of ACE inhibitors on AD may be different depending on ApoE genotype. A prospective study is needed to determine whether ACE inhibitor use accelerates or poorly delays AD development in ApoE4 carriers compared with ApoE4 non-carriers.
Alzheimer disease; Apolipoprotein E4 allele (ApoE4); angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE); ACE inhibitor
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a progressive tauopathy that occurs as a consequence
of repetitive mild traumatic brain injury. We analysed post-mortem brains obtained from a
cohort of 85 subjects with histories of repetitive mild traumatic brain injury and found
evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in 68 subjects: all males, ranging in age
from 17 to 98 years (mean 59.5 years), including 64 athletes, 21 military veterans
(86% of whom were also athletes) and one individual who engaged in self-injurious
head banging behaviour. Eighteen age- and gender-matched individuals without a history of
repetitive mild traumatic brain injury served as control subjects. In chronic traumatic
encephalopathy, the spectrum of hyperphosphorylated tau pathology ranged in severity from
focal perivascular epicentres of neurofibrillary tangles in the frontal neocortex to
severe tauopathy affecting widespread brain regions, including the medial temporal lobe,
thereby allowing a progressive staging of pathology from stages I–IV. Multifocal
axonal varicosities and axonal loss were found in deep cortex and subcortical white matter
at all stages of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. TAR DNA-binding protein 43
immunoreactive inclusions and neurites were also found in 85% of cases, ranging
from focal pathology in stages I–III to widespread inclusions and neurites in stage
IV. Symptoms in stage I chronic traumatic encephalopathy included headache and loss of
attention and concentration. Additional symptoms in stage II included depression,
explosivity and short-term memory loss. In stage III, executive dysfunction and cognitive
impairment were found, and in stage IV, dementia, word-finding difficulty and aggression
were characteristic. Data on athletic exposure were available for 34 American football
players; the stage of chronic traumatic encephalopathy correlated with increased duration
of football play, survival after football and age at death. Chronic traumatic
encephalopathy was the sole diagnosis in 43 cases (63%); eight were also diagnosed
with motor neuron disease (12%), seven with Alzheimer’s disease (11%),
11 with Lewy body disease (16%) and four with frontotemporal lobar degeneration
(6%). There is an ordered and predictable progression of hyperphosphorylated tau
abnormalities through the nervous system in chronic traumatic encephalopathy that occurs
in conjunction with widespread axonal disruption and loss. The frequent association of
chronic traumatic encephalopathy with other neurodegenerative disorders suggests that
repetitive brain trauma and hyperphosphorylated tau protein deposition promote the
accumulation of other abnormally aggregated proteins including TAR DNA-binding protein 43,
amyloid beta protein and alpha-synuclein.
axonal injury; brain trauma; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; neurodegenerative disorders; traumatic brain injury
Neuropsychological tests are useful for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease (AD), yet for many tests, diagnostic accuracy statistics are unavailable. We present diagnostic accuracy statistics for seven variables from the Neuropsychological Assessment Battery (NAB) that were administered to a large sample of elderly adults (n = 276) participating in a longitudinal research study at a national AD Center. Tests included Driving Scenes, Bill Payment, Daily Living Memory, Screening Visual Discrimination, Screening Design Construction, and Judgment. Clinical diagnosis was made independent of these tests, and for the current study, participants were categorized as AD (n = 65) or non-AD (n = 211). Receiver operating characteristics curve analysis was used to determine each test’s sensitivity and specificity at multiple cut points, which were subsequently used to calculate positive and negative predictive values at a variety of base rates. Of the tests analyzed, the Daily Living Memory test provided the greatest accuracy in the identification of AD and the two Screening measures required a significant tradeoff between sensitivity and specificity. Overall, the seven NAB subtests included in the current study are capable of excellent diagnostic accuracy, but appropriate understanding of the context in which the tests are used is crucial for minimizing errors.
This study determined the reliability, validity, and factor structure of self-report emotions in persons with mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) relative to controls.
Participants (mild AD, n = 73; MCI, n = 159; controls, n = 96) rated current emotions with the Visual Analogue Mood Scales (Stern, 1997).
Internal consistency reliabilities were comparable across groups, as were the factor structures of emotion. Persons with AD reported more negative affect (NA) than persons with MCI and controls. The emotion that most differentiated groups was confusion. NA and PA may be more bipolar in persons with AD than for persons with MCI and controls.
The underlying structure of affect was similar in persons with mild AD, MCI, and controls. Further, persons with MCI appeared to be “transitional” between cognitive health and dementia with regard to mood and affect. That is, participants with MCI tended to have affect scores that were intermediate between those with AD and controls. Implications for interventions to improve emotional well-being in AD and MCI are discussed.
visual analogue scales; positive affect; negative affect; factor structure; emotion; self-report; dementia
Recently, Walters (2010) published a taxometric study suggesting a dimensional latent structure for the construct of dementia. However, because that study did not conceptualize dementia according to accepted conventions (i.e., there were no measures of cognitive change or independent functioning), its results may represent a false negative error caused by insufficient content coverage. We replicated Walters (2010), using the same taxometric methods and the same data source, but with indicators of cognitive change and functional independence. The current results support a categorical interpretation of dementia, while Walters’ (2010) results suggest that cognitive ability, rather than dementia, is dimensional in nature.
taxometrics; latent structure; dementia; neuropsychological
Blast exposure is associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI), neuropsychiatric symptoms, and long-term cognitive disability. We examined a case series of postmortem brains from U.S. military veterans exposed to blast and/or concussive injury. We found evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a tau protein–linked neurodegenerative disease, that was similar to the CTE neuropathology observed in young amateur American football players and a professional wrestler with histories of concussive injuries. We developed a blast neurotrauma mouse model that recapitulated CTE-linked neuropathology in wild-type C57BL/6 mice 2 weeks after exposure to a single blast. Blast-exposed mice demonstrated phosphorylated tauopathy, myelinated axonopathy, microvasculopathy, chronic neuroinflammation, and neurodegeneration in the absence of macroscopic tissue damage or hemorrhage. Blast exposure induced persistent hippocampal-dependent learning and memory deficits that persisted for at least 1 month and correlated with impaired axonal conduction and defective activity-dependent long-term potentiation of synaptic transmission. Intracerebral pressure recordings demonstrated that shock waves traversed the mouse brain with minimal change and without thoracic contributions. Kinematic analysis revealed blast-induced head oscillation at accelerations sufficient to cause brain injury. Head immobilization during blast exposure prevented blast-induced learning and memory deficits. The contribution of blast wind to injurious head acceleration may be a primary injury mechanism leading to blast-related TBI and CTE. These results identify common pathogenic determinants leading to CTE in blast-exposed military veterans and head-injured athletes and additionally provide mechanistic evidence linking blast exposure to persistent impairments in neurophysiological function, learning, and memory.
Pancreatitis is a complex, progressively destructive inflammatory disorder. Alcohol was long thought to be the primary causative agent, but genetic contributions have been of interest since the discovery that rare PRSS1, CFTR, and SPINK1 variants were associated with pancreatitis risk. We now report two significant genome-wide associations identified and replicated at PRSS1-PRSS2 (1×10-12) and x-linked CLDN2 (p < 1×10-21) through a two-stage genome-wide study (Stage 1, 676 cases and 4507 controls; Stage 2, 910 cases and 4170 controls). The PRSS1 variant affects susceptibility by altering expression of the primary trypsinogen gene. The CLDN2 risk allele is associated with atypical localization of claudin-2 in pancreatic acinar cells. The homozygous (or hemizygous male) CLDN2 genotype confers the greatest risk, and its alleles interact with alcohol consumption to amplify risk. These results could partially explain the high frequency of alcohol-related pancreatitis in men – male hemizygous frequency is 0.26, female homozygote is 0.07.
We used data from a 2003 survey of US physicians to examine differences between Jewish and other religiously affiliated physicians on 4-D of physicians' beliefs and practices regarding religion and spirituality (R/S) in the clinical encounter. On each dimension, Jewish physicians ascribed less importance to the effect of R/S on health and a lesser role for physicians in addressing R/S issues. These effects were partially mediated by lower levels of religiosity among Jewish physicians and by differences in demographic and practice-level characteristics. The study provides a salient example of how religious affiliation can be an important independent predictor of physicians' clinically-relevant beliefs and practices.
Religion; Spirituality; Judaism; Physician; Clinical encounter
A large number of licensed elderly drivers are demented or are likely to become demented. On-road driving tests, a method often used to assess driver competency, are likely anxiety-provoking for elderly individuals. This article examines the relationship between anxiety and driving performance in a mildly demented and elderly control (EC) sample.
Anxiety ratings of fear and tension, as assessed by visual analog scales, of 84 patients clinically diagnosed with mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD) (68 safe/marginal and 16 unsafe drivers) were compared with those of 44 age- and education-equated safe/marginal EC participants, both before and after a standardized on-road driving test.
Analyses revealed significant positive correlations between AD patients’ pre–road test and post–road test tension and post–road test fear ratings and total road test score. Subsequent analyses of variance showed no significant pre–road test differences in fear ratings between the three groups but significantly higher levels of tension among the unsafe AD participants. After adjusting for baseline group differences, unsafe AD drivers experienced stable or higher anxiety levels after road test, whereas both the EC and safe/marginal AD drivers endorsed a significant reduction in anxiety.
Unlike their safe EC and safe AD driver counterparts, unsafe AD patients reported continued elevated levels of fear and tension after the road test. Given these findings, we suggest that the most appropriate time for driving instructors to counsel patients regarding their driving skills might be directly after the road test.
Alzheimer’s disease; Driving; Road test; Anxiety; Visual analog mood scales
Hyaluronan is a high-molecular-weight glycosaminoglycan (GAG) prominent in the extracellular matrix. Emerging relatively late in evolution, it may have evolved to evade immune recognition. Chondroitin is a more ancient GAG and a possible hyaluronan precursor. Epimerization of a 4-hydroxyl in N-acetylgalactosamine in chondroitin to N-acetylglucosamine of hyaluronan is the only structural difference other than chain length between these two polymers. The axial 4-hydroxyl group extends out perpendicular from the equatorial plane of N-acetylgalactosamine in chondroitin. We suspect that this hydroxyl is a prime target for immune recognition. Conversion of a thumbs-up hydroxyl group into a thumbs-down position in the plane of the sugar endows hyaluronan with the ability to avoid immune recognition. Chitin is another potential precursor to hyaluronan. But regardless whether of chondroitin or of chitin origin, an ancient chondroitinase enzyme sequence seems to have been commandeered to catalyze the cleavage of the new hyaluronan substrate. The evolution of six hyaluronidase-like sequences in the human genome from a single chondroitinase as found in Caenorhabditis elegans can now be traced. Confirming our previous predictions, two duplication events occurred, with three hyaluronidase-like sequences occurring in the genome of Ciona intestinalis (sea squirt), the earliest known chordate. This was probably followed by en masse duplication, with six such genes present in the genome of zebra fish onwards. These events occurred, however, much earlier than predicted. It is also apparent on an evolutionary time scale that in several species, this gene family is continuing to evolve.
chondroitin; evolution; hyaluronan; hyaluronidase; immunology
Each year in the United States, approximately 1.7 million people are diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI); an estimated 75% of these injuries are classified as mild TBIs (mTBI) or concussions. The symptoms of such injuries include a variety of somatic, cognitive, and behavioral deficits. While these symptoms typically resolve in a matter of weeks, both children and adults may suffer from Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) for months or longer. Suffering from PCS-related symptoms for an extended time may delay an individual’s return to work, adversely affect one’s quality of life, and result in additional social and economic costs. Though a consensus has not been reached on the cause of long-term PCS, it is likely that biological, physiological, psychological, and social elements all play a role in symptom persistence. Additionally, persistent PCS may adversely affect one’s developmental trajectory. The enduring effects of head trauma are not limited to PCS-related effects, however. A progressive tauopathy, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is believed to stem from repeated brain trauma. While CTE was originally associated with boxing, it has recently been found in other cases of repetitive head injury including former football and hockey players, and professional wrestlers. In addition to this observed pathology, repetitive brain trauma is also associated with Alzheimer’s-like dementia, Parkinsonism, and motor neuron disease including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). With these significant long-term effects of head injuries, there is a clear need to develop effective diagnoses, treatments, and education plans to reduce future burden and incidence.
concussion; development; chronic traumatic encephalopathy; postconcussion syndrome; youth
The Driving Scenes test of the new Neuropsychological Assessment Battery (NAB; [Stern, R.A., & White, T. (2003a). Neuropsychological Assessment Battery. Lutz, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc.]) measures several aspects of visual attention thought to be important for driving ability. The current study examined the relationship between scores on the Driving Scenes test and on-road driving performance on a standardized driving test. Healthy participants performed significantly better on the Driving Scenes test than did very mildly demented participants. A correlation of 0.55 was found between the brief, office-based Driving Scenes test and the 108-point on-road driving score. Furthermore, the Driving Scenes test scores differed significantly across the driving instructor’s three global ratings (safe, marginal, and unsafe), and results of a discriminant function analysis indicated that the Driving Scenes test correctly classified 66% of participants into these groups. Thus, the new NAB Driving Scenes test appears to have good ecological validity for real-world driving ability in normal and very mildly demented older adults.
Driving; Aging; Dementia; Neuropsychology; Attention; Visual
Every year, millions of athletes in the United States experience concussions. With athletes at all levels of play getting bigger, faster, and stronger, it has been suggested that newer technologies may provide an opportunity to reduce the risk and severity of these all too frequent injuries. Although helmets have been shown to decrease the rate of catastrophic head injuries, and mouth guards have decreased the risk of dental and oral injuries, the protective effect of helmets and mouth guards on concussions has not been conclusively demonstrated. In this review, the current literature pertaining to the effect that equipment has on concussions is evaluated. Understanding the role that this equipment plays in preventing concussions is complicated by many factors, such as selection bias in non-randomized studies, variations in playing style, and risk compensation in sports with mandatory protective equipment. At this point, there is little evidence supporting the use of specific helmets or mouth guards to prevent concussions outside of specific sports such as cycling, skiing, and snowboarding. Improving coach and player education about proper concussion management, encouraging neck strengthening exercises, and minimizing high-risk impacts may provide a more fruitful avenue to reduce concussions in sports.
concussion; equipment; helmet; headgear; mouth guard; face shield; sport