Monday, Jan 22, 2007

Altruism Is All in Your Head

Altruism may be all in the brain, according to researchers who say unselfish people have more activity in the area of the brain called the posterior superior tempral cortex (pSTC). This is the area of the brain that helps us perceive the intentions and actions of others.

"Perhaps altruism did not grow out of a warm-glow feeling of doing good for others, but out of the simple recognition that that thing over there is a person that has intentions and goals. And therefore, I might want to treat them like I might want them to treat myself," explained study author Scott Huettel, an associate professor of psychology at Duke University Medical Center, in Durham, N.C.

Why Do Good? Brain Study Offers Clues

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Sunday, Jan 21, 2007

New Alzheimer's Disease Gene Identified

Researchers at Toronto University have identified a gene that increases the risk of late-onset Alzheimer's disease by 20%.

The gene — SORL1 — stands out because it's been tested in four ethnic groups and a form of it seems to confer a risk in all of them — including North Europeans, Caribbean Latinos, African Americans and Israeli Arabs.

Gene contributes to Alzheimer's risk

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Thursday, Oct 19, 2006

Marijuana May Slow Alzheimer's Disease

According to a new study at Ohio State University, marijuana may slow or prevent the symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease. Using a synthetic marijuana-like compound, they successfully reduced inflammation in the brains of rats with memory problems similar to Alzheimer's.

The Ohio State researchers are among many investigating the effects of marijuana ingredients on Alzheimer's, which progressively damages areas of the brain involved in memory, judgment, language and behavior. Reports from various investigators indicate there might be more than one therapeutic component of marijuana against Alzheimer's.

Maybe this is one study the rats actually enjoyed!

Turns out it was better to inhale pot

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Wednesday, Oct 18, 2006

A Hair Test to Detect Eating Disorders

A new test developed by researchers at Brigham Young University may help doctors identify people with eating disorders. This may aid in making a diagnosis when the patient will not admit or is in denial about their condition.

The researchers analyzed the hairs' carbon and nitrogen levels, which they say reflect the women's current diets. The test was 80% accurate in identifying women with anorexia and women with both anorexia and bulimia.

Hair May Help Reveal Eating Disorders

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Wednesday, Oct 11, 2006

Antipsychotics Don't Benefit Alzheimer's Patients

A new study shows that antipsychotics Zyprexa, Risperdal and Seroquel often prescribed to Alzheimer's patients do very little good and may cause serious harm.

This is alarming news, considering that as many as one quarter of all Alzheimer's patients in nursing homes are on these antipsychotics. Physicians often prescribe these drugs to Alzheimer's patients off-label even though they are not approved to treat the disease.

None of the antipsychotic drugs is currently approved for Alzheimer's disease, and several short-term industry-sponsored clinical trials have failed to show a benefit. The FDA has required prominent "black box" warnings on the drugs' labels about side effects in elderly people following cases where the drugs were associated with strokes and death.

Little Benefit Seen in Antipsychotics Used in Alzheimer's

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