November 5, 2012

Health round-up: Boosting brain power, LMTZ for Alzheimer's, Diagnosing cancer in 20 minutes, Redheads and melanoma

Taking up sport in middle age boosts brain power

‘You can give someone a cholesterol-lowering pill, you can give someone blood sugar-lowering medicine, but they have no impact on cognitive function.  But exercise can do all of that – and more.’

Exercise Prevents Dementia in Some Seniors

Older people who are living independently but have signs of cerebral damage may lower their risk of having progressive cognitive impairment or dementia if they remain physically active, researchers found.

Everyday drugs 'can help fight dementia as developing new medicines is too costly and slow

Experts believe antibiotics, acne pills and other routine treatments already in bathroom cabinets could double as dementia drugs.  They said it is time to re-examine medicines already in circulation as cheaper, quicker alternatives to new treatments.
Professor Clive Ballard said: ‘Defeating dementia is one of the biggest challenges facing both  medicine and society as a whole. Developing new drugs is incredibly important but it comes with a huge price tag and, for those affected by dementia, an unimaginable wait.  Everyday drugs will have passed multiple tiers of expensive safety tests and so could be prescribed for dementia in five to ten years."

Some of the drugs they are looking at.
• Diabetes medications eventide and liraglutide, which have been shown to stimulate the brain.
• Minocycline, an antibiotic for acne, and acitretin
• Acitretin, a drug used to treat psoriasis which researchers found modifies the way proteins linked to dementia form.
• High blood pressure medications including Nilvadipine, from the calcium channel blockers family.

Pill that halts Alzheimers could be here in four years

A pill said to halt the devastating onset of Alzheimer’s disease could be on the market within four years, scientists said yesterday.  Believed to be more than twice as good as anything already available, it could greatly slow or even halt the progression of the cruel illness.  Given early enough, it could stop Alzheimer’s from ever developing, an international dementia conference was told yesterday.

A version of the twice-a-day pill – developed by British scientists – has already been tested on patients, with ‘unprecedented’ results.  Its inventor, Professor Claude Wischik, of Aberdeen University, said: ‘It flatlines the disease. If you get in early, you can pull people back from the brink.’
The new drug, known only as LMTX, works in a different way to current treatments and to many of the Alzheimer’s tablets and jabs in development, which target the brain’s chemistry or the build-up of a brain-clogging protein called beta-amyloid.  LMTX, in contrast, dissolves the ‘tangles’ of protein that are a hallmark of the disease and spread through the brain like an infection, stopping them working from within.

An earlier version of LMTX, called Remember, has already been tested on patients with promising results.  Given to men and women with mild to moderate dementia, the Remember capsules slowed the progression of the disease by 90 per cent for two years.

The groundbreaking device that diagnoses cancer in just 20 minutes - AND tells doctors which drug will treat it

A groundbreaking device that can diagnose cancer in just 20 minutes is being developed by British scientists.  The world's first tumor profiler, as it is known, will allow doctors, nurses and pharmacists to quickly identify all known types of cancer while the patient waits.
Scientists say the Q-Cancer device will have a dramatic impact on the rapid and accurate diagnosis of cancer….The device makes use of advanced nanotechnology, analyzing submicroscopic amounts of tissue to work out the type of cancer, its genetic make-up and how far it has developed.
'As far as we are aware, QuantuMDx’s current underlying technologies, which can break up a sample and extract the DNA in under five minutes represents a world first for complex molecular diagnostics.

Redheads at a higher risk of melanoma even without the sun

It is well-known that redheads and others with fair skin have a higher risk of developing skin cancer, because they have less natural protection against the damaging effect of the sun.  Now researchers have found another cancer risk factor apart from being sensitive to UV radiation. Redheads have a pigment in their skin that can actively contribute to the development of melanoma.
The study, published in the journal Nature, explains that several types of the pigment melanin are found in the skin. A dark brown or black form called eumelanin is usually found in people with dark hair or skin while a blond-to-red pigment called pheomelanin is predominant in people with red hair, freckles and fair skin.
Posted by Jill Fallon at November 5, 2012 10:56 AM | Permalink