Saturday, May 20, 2017

Dementia link to stroke: One in three 'will develop brain condition within five years'

One in three stroke victims will be struck down within five years and one in 10 will get dementia within 12 months, say experts.

It means that more than 33,000 people will be ravaged by the incurable condition – with three quarters having vascular dementia, the second most common type after Alzheimer’s, which is linked with blood supply problems to the brain.

The crisis has prompted three of Britain’s biggest charities to join forces and fund a research programme to try to defuse the looming health timebomb.

Symptoms of a stroke

A stroke is serious life-threatening condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Look out for these signs for a better chance of a good recovery

The British Heart Foundation, Alzheimer’s Society and Stroke Association are investing £2.2million in a world-first project to try to unpick the causes of vascular dementia.

Professor Joanna Wardlaw, of Edinburgh University, said: “By comparing those who develop vascular dementia after stroke with those who don’t we hope to find out what causes it and find a way to prevent it.”

Researchers to use Zika virus to fight brain tumour

Researchers will test the possibility of using the Zika virus as a weapon to target and destroy brain tumour cells, which might lead to new cancer treatments, Cancer Research UK announced on Friday.

The project, funded by Cancer Research UK, will be carried out by a team led by Harry Bulstrode at the University of Cambridge, Xinhua reported.

The team will use tumor cells in the lab and in mice to test the effect of the Zika virus on glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive form of brain tumour.

Zika virus infection in pregnancy causes severe disability in babies by attacking stem cells in the developing brain.

But since the brain of an adult is fully developed, Zika usually causes no more than mild flu-like symptoms, according to Cancer Research UK.

The Zika virus is believed to be able to cross the blood-brain barrier, and could target cancer cells, sparing normal adult brain tissue and potentially opening up a new way to attack the disease.

"Zika virus infection in babies and children is a major global health concern, and the focus has been to discover more about the virus to find new possible treatments," said Bulstrode.

"We're taking a different approach, and want to use these new insights to see if the virus can be unleashed against one of the hardest-to-treat cancers," Bulstrode also said.

For this early stage research, the team plans to explore how the virus targets stem cells and provide the starting point to develop new treatments that seek out the tumour and spare the surrounding healthy brain tissue.

"Bulstrode's research is an incredibly innovative way to expand our understanding of how we can beat this disease, which remains a notorious challenge," said Iain Foulkes, director of research and innovation at Cancer Research UK.


Eating foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids may raise blood flow to areas in the brain associated with memory and learning, thus reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease, a study has showed.

Alzheimer's is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions.

Omega-3 fatty acids commonly found in -- flaxseed oil, walnuts, salmon, soybeans, and spinach -- have shown anti-amyloid, anti-tau and anti-inflammatory actions in the brains of animals.

The study showed positive relationships between omega-3 EPA+DHA status, brain perfusion, and cognition.

"This is very important research because it shows a correlation between lower omega-3 fatty acid levels and reduced brain blood flow to regions important for learning, memory, depression and dementia," said lead author Daniel G. Amen, CEO, the Amen Clinics Inc in the US.

Further, the study also demonstrates the value of nutritional intervention for brain health by using the latest brain imaging technique known as Single photon emission computed tomography, or SPECT, which can measure blood perfusion in the brain.

"This study opens the door to the possibility that relatively simple dietary changes could favorably impact cognitive function," added William S. Harris, from the University of South Dakota

In the study, appearing in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, the images acquired from participants performing various cognitive tasks will show higher blood flow in specific brain regions.

In the study, the team analysed the brain images acquired from 166 participants with high Omega 3 levels performing various cognitive tasks and found higher blood flow in specific brain regions involved with memory, and neurocognitive testing.

In addition, they also found that omega-3 levels also correlated with various psychological feelings of the participants.