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Archive for the ‘dementia’ Category

According to a December article in the Journal of the American Medical Association  (JAMA. 2009;302(24):2663-2670. http://tinyurl.com/ginko-dementiaGinkgo Biloba did not slow the rates of global or domain-specific cognitive decline in older adults.  The herbal product Ginkgo Biloba is taken frequently with the intention of improving cognitive health in aging.  However, evidence from adequately powered clinical trials is lacking regarding its effect on long-term cognitive functioning.   The Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory (GEM) study, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 3069 community-dwelling participants aged 72 to 96 years, was conducted in 6 academic medical centers in the United States between 2000 and 2008.  Twice-daily dose of 120-mg extract of G biloba or identical-appearing placebo were given.  Rates of change over time in the Modified Mini-Mental State Examination and in neuropsychological domains of memory, attention, visual-spatial construction, language, and executive functions were evaluated .  Annual rates of decline in the scores did not differ between G biloba and placebo groups in any domains, including memory, attention, visuospatial abilities, language and executive functions.  Compared with placebo, the use of G biloba, 120 mg twice daily, did not result in less cognitive decline in older adults with normal cognition or with mild cognitive impairment.

 

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internet_explorer_logoHealthDay (10/19, Gardner) reported, “Researchers found that older adults who started browsing the Web experienced improved brain function after only a few days.” In a study presented at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, researchers asked “24 neurologically normal adults, aged 55 to 78…to surf the Internet while hooked up to an MRI machine. Before the study began, half the participants had used the Internet daily, and the other half had little experience with it.” The researchers said that “at baseline, those with prior Internet experience showed a much greater extent of brain activation,” but “after at-home practice…those who had just been introduced to the Internet were catching up to those who were old hands.”  The Los Angeles Times (10/19, Healey) “Booster Shots” blog explained that the Internet-“naïve” subjects “had used many of the regions of brain associated with judgment, visual and spatial perception, and higher-order reasoning to perform their faux-search task. But a scan of their brains found that after two weeks of honing their search-skills, the newbies used those brain regions as well as several others when performing the faux-search task.” WebMD (10/19, Warner) also covered the story.

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tremor-buckeye psychiatryMedscape (8/27, Anderson) reported that, according to a study published Aug. 25 in Neurology, “older patients with essential tremor (ET) are almost twice as likely to have dementia compared with their counterparts without ET,” and “ET is associated with about a 60 percent increased risk of developing dementia.” Researchers from Columbia University studied “2,285 white, black, and Hispanic patients aged 65 years and older,” evaluating them “for depressive and neurological symptoms at baseline, and again every 18 months. To determine the presence of ET, the researchers used various handwriting tests and independent analyses by a neurologist.” The investigators found that, “of the 124 patients with ET, 31 (25.0 percent) had dementia, compared with 198 (9.2 percent) of 2,161 control patients.” Surprisingly, “ET was not associated with increased risk of developing” mild cognitive impairment (MCI), even though “many patients with MCI eventually develop dementia.”

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