Copper and dementia

Copper and dementia

Two different studies contradict the correlation between copper and dementia. A US study on mice concluded that an excess of ‘free’ copper in the blood would favor the accumulation of beta-amyloid in the brain which is responsible for Alzheimer disease. Rashid Deane, lead author of the US study, explains that in the amyloid plaques typical of Alzheimer’s there is a high amount of this metal. A study at the British University of Keele published in the February issue of Nature, reaches a diametrically opposite conclusion in that a reduction in the level of copper in the brain may facilitate the deposit of amyloid-beta in the form of senile plaques in Alzheimer’s. The researchers analyzed 60 brains of deceased persons suffering from Alzheimer’s disease: all resulted in a lower amount of copper compared to that present in the brain of healthy individuals.What is certain is that the ‘free’ copper in the blood is highly toxic due to the oxidative stress that it...

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The type of nutrition determines the size of our brain

The type of nutrition determines the size of our brain

The idea of the social brain has been challenged by a new study published on “Nature Ecology & Evolution” by Alex DeCasien and colleagues at the New York University. The hypothesis is that in the development of the brain is really important the kind of nutrition. In particular, it has been found that primates which feed on fruit have a wider brain tissue of 25 percent than those that feed on leaves, although its reason is unknown. We must imagine the brain as multi-compartmented with a mosaic evolution in which natural selection has acted on some areas. Already the ecological theory that cognitive complexity would be linked to the selective pressure of adaptive challenges posed by the habitat, had highlighted this aspect. But enough data is still lacking in the development of neocortex in primates in order to verify this hypothesis. From Le Scienze, 2th May...

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Gut microbiota can influence the cognitive development of the child

Gut microbiota can influence the cognitive development of the child

A new research, developed at the Department of Psychiatry of the University of North Carolina, and published in Biological Psychiatry, shows that the intestinal microbiota can influence the cognitive development of the child, The researchers analyzed faecal samples from children from one year until development to determine the bacterial composition of their intestine. At the age of two, some children scored significantly better on cognitive tests than others. The differences were found in relation to the bacterial clusters that had been identified in their intestinal microbiotes. According to the researchers, if we could better understand what the real beneficial strains are in the complex microbiota community for brain development, the creation of specific therapies for cognitive development would be at the forefront. Actually this is a very promising field of research and the steps that are taking place are very fast. The first year of life is the fundamental period for microbial colonization of the intestine and the most rapid and dynamic phase of postnatal brain development. The possible competition of these processes has not been tested empirically in humans, although studies on rodent models provide convincing evidence that microorganisms inhabiting the gut affect neurodevelopment, in particular both exploratory and communicative behaviors and cognitive performance. . A number of studies replicated in animal research have shown that if you manipulate the microbiota, you can affect the behavior especially in the first two years of life since in this period is presented by both the microbiota and the neuronal component, a growth very fast and dynamic. The researchers hypothesized that samples of the intestinal microbiota can be grouped in groups of “community similarity or cluster” and that children with different groups would differ in cognitive abilities. It has been seen that overall cognitive performance would be higher in clusters with an abundance of specifically beneficial microorganisms (eg Lactobacillus or Bacteroides), while that of low alpha diversity (which indicates a less mature microbiota) would be correlated with a cognitive performance lower. The children were subsequently grouped into three groups: Cluster 1 (C1) was characterized by a relatively high abundance of Faecalibacterium, cluster 2 (C2) by a relatively high abundance of Bacteroides and cluster 3 (C3) by an abundance relatively high of an unnamed genus in the Ruminococcaceae family. Breastfeeding at the time of sample collection (1 year), the method of delivery and the paternal ethnic group were significantly different among the clusters. Children in C2 were more likely to be breastfed at the age of 1 and were less likely to be born by cesarean delivery. The paternal ethnicity in C2 was 90% white; in C3, the paternal ethnic group was 71% white; in C1, the paternal ethnic group was 57%...

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The brain circuit of the couple’s relationship

The brain circuit of the couple’s relationship

In an article published on “Nature“, a group of researchers of the Emory University in Atlanta has discovered brain circuits that preside over the couple’s relationship. It is called “corticostriatal” and connects the prefrontal cortex, an area involved in decision-making process, with the nucleus accumbens, the brainstem of the reward system, exercising a control action on the neuronal activation rhythms within the latter. The study was conducted on prairie voles, small monogamous rodents that establish permanent bonds with partners, a feature that makes them an excellent model of couple’s bond. Elizabeth Amadei, co-author of the research, said: “Prairie voles have been crucial for our group’s discoveries, because it has always been very difficult to study from a neurobiological point of view the couple’s relationship between humans. As humans, we know the feelings we experience when we see the images of our partners, but so far we do not know as deeply as the brain brings us to those feelings and how it brings the vole to the couple’s...

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Almonds and dark chocolate heart friend

Almonds and dark chocolate heart friend

In a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association it was shown that the complete introduction into a normal healthy diet of almonds, dark chocolate and cocoa can help reduce the risk factors for coronary heart disease. The researchers found that taking almost a third of a cup of almonds a day – alone or in combination with almost a quarter cup of dark chocolate and just over 2 tablespoons of cocoa a day – improves the rate of lipids / lipoproteins, compared to the average American diet without almonds and chocolate. This diet led to a significant reduction in LDL cholesterol. It is important that the population is allowed to have about 270 discretional calories a day along with foods such as almonds, dark chocolate and cocoa in such a way as to confer health benefits unlike other discretionary foods such as foods rich in saturated fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acids, polyphenols and flavonoids. The study involved 31 adults who took combined or isolated dark chocolate, cocoa and almonds with final evaluation of lipid, lipoprotein and apolipoprotein concentrations: patients were overweight or obese and with total cholesterol and high LDL (TC , 210.0 mg / dL) (138.3 mg / dL) but with good general health conditions. In this study, the participants consumed each of the four weight maintenance diets: No “treatment” food (average American diet). Almonds 42.5 g / day (almond based diet). 18 g / day of cocoa powder and 43 g / day of dark chocolate (chocolate diet). Almonds, cocoa powder and dark chocolate (chocolate / almond diet). The diets were similar, except for the presence or absence of these treatment foods, which explained the main differences in the nutritional profile. Each diet period lasted for 4 weeks, followed by a 2-week compliance break. Compared to the average American diet, after the almond diet the values ​​of CT, HDL, and LDL were reduced by 4%, 5% and 7%, respectively. The double chocolate and almond diet has reduced apolipoprotein B by 5% compared to the average American diet. The values ​​of LDL were more influenced by the introduction of the combination of almonds and dark chocolate in the diet. The researchers point out that these results are specific to the population of overweight, overweight and obese overweight adult patients with high levels of CT and LDL. According to the researchers, this very well controlled study showed that the substitution of saturated fats from animal fats (such as butter and cheese) with unsaturated fats from nuts (such as almonds) had a positive effect on the plasma concentrations of...

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The genes for sweets

The genes for sweets

A Danish genetic study edited on Cell Metabolism about heart disease has shown that those who possessed one of the two variants of the FGF21 gene, had 20 percent more likely to prefer and look for sugary substances. In the study, involving 6500 Danish citizens, this gene has provided instructions for the synthesis of a hormone secreted by the liver that controls insulin resistance and sends information directly to the brain. An area of the brain called nucleus accumbens is considered the epicenter of reward, desire and dependency mechanisms. “It is possible that the desire for sugar and other substances may converge in this region” says David Ludwig, professor at Boston Children’s Hospital, specialized in nutrition and obesity, not involved in the new study. It is therefore assumed that FGF21, such as leptin, are both hormones that regulate appetite. “We are still investigating why the liver develops this type of mechanism, but we hypothesize that it might be to limit excessive sugar consumption or preventing deleterious effects or promoting diet diversification” says Matthew Gillum, a researcher at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Metabolic Research at the University of Copenhagen and co-author of the study. In addition, Gillum hopes to undertake further genetic studies about the effect of these variants on body weight and type 2 diabetes, among other issues. “We’ve seen mice without FGF21 consume twice as much sucrose as those who own it,” he says. “We want to study subjects who are completely devoid of FGF21 and answer the question: will they be super greedy for alcohol or...

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