Monday, May 7, 2018

Nutrition in a Child's First 1,000 Days Critical for Proper Brain Development

  The most active period of neural development is from conception to age 2. During this time structures and processes develop that influence behavior and provide a basis for later-developing structures such as the visual and auditory systems, myelination and social development brain circuits.
  The American Academy of Pediatrics has released a policy statement with 10 recommendations emphasizing the importance of early proper nutrition.
  In these recommendations,  proper macronutrition (diets that are high-calorie, high-protein) and micronutrition (vitamins B12, D, B6, A and minerals such as zinc, folate, iodine, iron, choline as well as long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids ) is emphasized. 
  An important source of micronutrients is human breast milk. Previous studies have shown that babies that are fed breast milk have improved cognitive performance compared to those fed formula milk. The AAP recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months then continued as a supplement to food for the first year.
Pediatrics. 2018;141(2). pii: e20173716

Sunday, May 6, 2018

GENIUS: Managing Blood Pressure in Barbershops to Decrease Stroke and Heart Attack

  African American men are more likely than other groups to have high blood pressure that is not adequately controlled and tend to have less contact with the health care system.
  In a stroke of true genius that if scaled up could save millions of lives and prevent many strokes and heart attacks.
  African American men who received medical intervention aimed at controlling their blood pressure at their monthly barbershop visits showed a marked reduction in their systolic blood pressure by 21 mm Hg or more. Amazing.
NEJM 2018;378:1291-1301

Brain Structure is Different in Noise Sensitive Folks

  Larger grey matter volume has been found in a study of noise sensitive individuals in their amygdala and hippocampal brain regions by MRI analyses.
  People with higher noise sensitivity enjoy music as much as others, however, they prefer NOT to have music in the background.
  This new physiologic finding with an anatomic correlate is important as noise sensitivity is a recognized risk factor for heart disease and disturbed sleep.
Neuroimage. 2018;167:309-315 

Pollution Affects Brain Structure in the Unborn

  Exposure to fine pollutant particles during fetal life was found to be associated with brain abnormalities (thinner cortex in several brain regions). These affected brain regions were found to be associated with impaired inhibitory control in these children.
  Researchers further identified these relationships despite the fact that the levels of particulate pollutant particles found in this study are at levels considered to be "safe"!
  It was further suggested that we cannot accept current "safe" levels of pollution in or cities to truly be safe.
Biol Psychiatry . 2018 Jan 31

Think POSITIVE, CHILL OUT: Decrease Dementia Risk !

  Older people who hold positive beliefs about old age from their culture are less likely to develop dementia. Further, people with APOE4 (associated with a genetic increased risk of Alzheimer's) with positive age beliefs are 49.8% less likely to develop dementia than those with negative cultural beliefs. 
  Therefore, positive age beliefs (a modifiable thing) reduces stress and can be neuro-protective.
PLoS One. 2018 Feb 7;13(2):e0191004

Migraine: A potent Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Disease

  Previous studies have suggested migraine is a risk factor for ischemic stroke and ischemic heart disease. Two new studies support migraine as an important risk factor for ischemic stroke, myocardial infarction, hemorrhagic stroke, venous thromboembolism, atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter.
  Strategies to reduce cardiovascular risk factors in migraine sufferers is therefore critical.
  Further study is necessary to determine if decreasing the frequency and severity of migraine is associated with less cardiovascular risk.
BMJ 2018;360:k96

MEMORY : New Science to Improve Memory in Older Folks !

  Researchers at UC Irvine have discovered the ability to create lasting memories is linked to a newly discovered process: an enzyme blocking the release of of a gene called Period1 in the hippocampus of our brains. When we're young, turning this gene on is easy but as we get older this becomes harder.
  In each cell in our body there is 6 feet of DNA. As we age this spooled up length of DNA becomes less flexible (like our joints, eh?). This stiffness in our DNA is due to a "molecular brake pad" called HDAC3 that has become over-active in the aged brain and is compacting DNA too much and blocks the release of Period1.
  Removing the HDCA3 restores the flexibility and allows internal cell machinery to access Period1 to begin to form new memories.
  New drugs that target HDCA3 could allow older persons to improve memory formation