Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Man in Vegetative State "Communicates" with Doctors, Creates New Memories

  A man that has been in a persistent vegetative state for 12 years was asked questions while undergoing an fMRI (functional MRI) of brain. Researchers obtained correct responses with limited questioning that suggested to them meaningful brain activity. In fact, PET scans of vegetative patients, although they demonstrate reduced brain glucose utilization compared to healthy subjects...the appearance of their scans resembled healthy persons under anesthetic.
  Possibly even more striking, the vegetative patient when asked questions about a change in status a close family member related to the birth of a niece...responded correctly suggesting additionally that new memories might be able to be formed even in these patients.
Special thanks to Amir A. Aminmadani,BS...aspiring neuroscientist for sharing this with me.

A Preventative Treatment for Alzheimer's Disease ?

  In transgenic mice and humans citalopram reduced beta-amyloid production in cerebrospinal fluid.
  12-month-old aged mice given a dose equal to a 50 mg/day human dose demonstrated a dose-dependent reduction in brain interstitial Abeta concentrations of 24.5%.
  Citalopram given to 6-month-old mice markedly reduced the rate of plaque growth and the number of new plaques, but did not induce reduction in plaques already present.
  In a small double-blind study in 23 healthy volunteers (ages 18-50) were randomized to 60 mg of citalopram or placebo. Cerebrospinal fluid was sampled hourly for up to 37 hours. Citalopam was associated with an average reduction of 38% in Abeta concentration. The reduction was due to reduced Abeta production not clearance.
  Further studies are required in humans to determine if Abeta reduced production persists with long term SSRI administration.
   These studies suggest a potential preventative treatment strategy particularly in those at greatest risk.
Sci Transl Med 2014 May;6:236re4