Posts tagged with "Parkinson’s disease"

Appropriate Protein Intake

Okayama University research: Estimating appropriate protein intake

In a recent study published in eLife scientists at Okayama show how proteins can hamper an organism’s growth

Biochemists have shown that very high protein levels can be harmful to cells in the human body. However, exactly which proteins fall under this category remains a mystery. Mr.Yuichi Eguchi (graduate student) and Associate Professor Hisao Moriya’s research team at Okayama University recently reported a framework for discriminating between which proteins are toxic at excessive levels and which are not.

The theory behind this phenomenon, also known as the protein burden, is that accumulation of excessive protein within the cell will deplete the cell of resources, such as energy. The limit required to reach this burden though, is not the same for all proteins. Green fluorescent protein (GFP) is a harmless protein artificially introduced into cells for visualizing the insides of the cell. When GFP levels were increased within yeast cells, they found that GFP up to 15% of total protein content was harmless to the cells. Using this measure as a standard, Associate Professor Hisao Moriya’s team set out to estimate the burden limit of functional proteins in the cells. 29 proteins essential for energy production were subsequently over-produced.

While many of these proteins also had limits close to 15%, suggestive of their harmless nature, some of the proteins showed growth retardation and other unpleasant effects at lower levels. One such protein was found to accumulate within the mitochondria. Clogging the mitochondria prevents cells from producing oxygen. Another protein was found to undergo structural changes and aggregate into big pieces. Another reason for some of these proteins having a low burden limit, was due to metabolic disturbances induced when they were produced even slightly higher than usual. When these proteins were inactivated by mutations, their burden limit increased. Lastly, the researchers also found that certain proteins showed growth retardation, even at very low levels. Further investigation revealed that such proteins are programmed to remain at inherently low levels. Therefore, even small changes to their concentrations can be dangerous.

This study paved a framework for biologists to make distinctions between proteins based on how toxic they are when present in abnormal amounts. These differences could be attributed to the function, structure or genetic programming for that protein. Scientists can hope to use this framework to investigate proteins that are associated with diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease.

Background

The protein burden: Each protein has a distinct function within cells. Proteins are found in millions within the cell, and are synthesized or increased when required. Their levels subside when the cell doesn’t require them anymore. In certain conditions, such as neurodegenerative disorders, the levels of some proteins inherently remain high. Because the cell is not used to this, a battle to reduce these proteins ensues. This not only uses up the cell’s energy but damages the cell in the process.

By measuring the expression level that causes growth defect (expression limit), Eguchi and Moriya established a framework to distinguish harmful proteins from harmless proteins upon overexpression. They also found that some proteins were harmful upon overexpression because; they form aggregation through cysteine residues (S-S bond), they are transported into mitochondria, and they trigger metabolic perturbation.

About Okayama University

Okayama University is one of the largest comprehensive universities in Japan with roots going back to the Medical Training Place sponsored by the Lord of Okayama and established in 1870. Now with 1,300 faculty and 13,000 students, the University offers courses in specialties ranging from medicine and pharmacy to humanities and physical sciences. Okayama University is located in the heart of Japan approximately 3 hours west of Tokyo by Shinkansen.

Parkinsons and Medical Marijuana

Parkinson’s Foundation Hosts Its First-Ever Medical Marijuana and Parkinson’s Disease Conference

The Parkinson’s Foundation will host its first-ever conference focused on medical marijuana and Parkinson’s disease (PD) in Denver, CO, March 6-7, 2019.

The Parkinson’s Foundation is bringing together experts from across the globe to discuss the implications and recommendations of medical marijuana use for people with Parkinson’s,” said James Beck, PhD, chief scientific officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation. “Now that medical marijuana is legal in 31 states and in many other countries, people are equating access to efficacy. It is imperative that we address the clinical implications of medical marijuana use among people with PD.”

The goal of the conference is to bring together a diverse group of experts from academia, clinics, industry, government and the Parkinson’s community to establish a consensus on medical marijuana use in PD. The conference will address the potential benefits and risks of medical marijuana for people with PD, potential delivery methods, safety considerations, approval as a therapeutic for PD patients, and areas for more rigorous clinical research.

“Having worked as a clinician for the past decade in Colorado, a state at the forefront of medical marijuana use, it is clear that people with PD and their families are intensely interested in the potential of marijuana and cannabinoids in helping manage symptoms and other aspects of their disease,” said Benzi Kluger, MD, MS, associate professor of University of Colorado Hospital and co-chair of the conference. “To date, there is more hype than actual data to provide meaningful clinical information to patients with PD. There is a critical need to analyze existing data on medical marijuana and to set priorities for future research.”

Recent results from a survey conducted by the Parkinson’s Foundation and Northwestern University, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, found that:

  • 80% of patients with PD have used cannabis
  • 23% of doctors received formal education on medical marijuana
  • 95% of neurologists have been asked to prescribe medical marijuana

People with PD and their physicians are looking to answer whether medical marijuana can help manage PD symptoms. Few clinical studies have enrolled people with PD to investigate the effects of medical marijuana on PD symptoms. There is currently no conclusive scientific research supporting the benefits of medical marijuana for PD, however, anecdotal evidence suggests that it may help manage Parkinson’s symptoms such as pain, sleep, appetite, nausea and anxiety.

“In order to move the field forward, we need to determine which cannabinoids are likely to be beneficial or harmful, whether people with PD are at risk from side effects, what we are hoping to treat, and how to conduct informative clinical trials,” said A. Jon Stoessl, MD, co-director of the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health at the University of British Columbia, and co-chair of the conference.

The conference is invitation-only. In addition to Parkinson’s specialists, select Parkinson’s advocates living with PD will be invited to provide their perspective. The Foundation will publish suggested practices and areas for further research following the conference.

For more information on medical marijuana and PD, call our Helpline, 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636) or visit Parkinson.org/Marijuana.

About the Parkinson’s Foundation
The Parkinson’s Foundation makes life better for people with Parkinson’s disease by improving care and advancing research toward a cure. In everything we do, we build on the energy, experience and passion of our global Parkinson’s community. For more information, visit www.parkinson.org or call (800) 4PD-INFO (473-4636).

About Parkinson’s Disease
Affecting nearly one million Americans and 10 million worldwide, Parkinson’s disease is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s and is the 14th-leading cause of death in the United States. It is associated with a progressive loss of motor control (e.g., shaking or tremor at rest and lack of facial expression), as well as non-motor symptoms (e.g., depression and anxiety). There is no cure for Parkinson’s and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States alone.

New AI app reduces back pain by 40%

Boston based digital therapy startup Kaia Health launches a new app that uses AI and patent pending motion tracking technologyto personalize treatment programs tomanage and treat chronic low back pain(LBP) which has been shown in clinical studies to reduce chronic back pain by 40% and could save the US economy billions each year.

Created by Kaia Health the motion tracking technology requires no additional hardware.The app has been registered as a Class 1 medical device with the FDA which allowsusers to self-manage their back pain through physical exercise, behavioural exercise (e.g. relaxation and meditation) and education.

Earlier this year the digital therapy startup launched the Perfect Squat Challenge App, the world’s first Artificial Intelligence-powered motion tracking fitness app that turns a smartphone into a personal trainer. In Q4 2018 the company intends to roll out20 more motion tracking exercises for the app.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) LBP is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. In fact, according to the American Chiropractic Association(ACA) 31 million Americans experience LBP,and one half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.

The epidemic of prescription opioid overuse and abuse has also led many health groupsincluding the ACA, the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the American Association of Pain Management (AAPM) to reconsider the value of a non-pharmalogicalapproach to common conditions such asLBP.

The ACP, the largest medical specialty society in the world, updated its LBPtreatment guidelines in 2017 to support a conservative approach to care. Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, and based on a review of randomized controlled trials and observational studies, the ACPguidelines cite heat therapy, massage, acupuncture and spinal manipulation (a centerpiece of chiropractic care) as possible options for non-invasive, non-drug therapies for LBP. The guidelines state that only when such treatments provide little or no relief should patients move on to medicines such as ibuprofen or muscle relaxants, which research indicates have limited pain relief effects. According to the ACP, prescription opioids should be a last resort for those suffering from LBP, as the risk of addiction and overdose may outweigh the benefits.

The Kaia app has been developed by aleading digital therapy company Kaia Health in conjunction with physiotherapists, pain management physicians and clinical psychologists.

The app uses a multidisciplinary digital approach which offers users online video-based learning programmes that covereducation, physiotherapy (includingexercises for the lower back and lateral muscles) and psychological strategies(including mindfulness and muscle relaxation).

The AI tailors treatment programs for each user from over 120 exercises, and motion tracking technology ensures that the exercises are performed correctly using a smartphone, tablet or iPad without the need for additional hardware.

Each session lasts for 15 minutes and can be accessed anywhere 24 hours a day. The app also features a chat function whichconnects users to a physiotherapist or sport scientist for motivation and exercise related questions.

Two clinical trials into the Kaia app show a significant reduction in LBP by 40%, well above the clinical threshold of pain improvement. The second study shows a40% long-term retention of users for aminimum of 6 months.

The Kaia app was developed in Germanywhere it has been downloaded over 100,000 times in its first year. The Kaia app is now being reimbursed for over 20 million patients globally.

Kaia Health is member of the Digital Therapeutics Alliance (DTA), an association of international manufacturers for digital therapeutic products that are evidence-based.

Konstantin Mehl, CEO of Kaia Health says:Opioid addiction and overdose is a huge issue in the US, and is, according to the ACP, a last resort for those suffering from LBP. Their 2017 LBP treatment guidelines support a non-pharmalogical approach to care using non-invasive, non-drug therapies. A holistic, multidisciplinary treatment of LBPhas always been a resource-intense, costlyundertaking which makes it hard forpatients to get access to the therapy.However, with the Kaia app we’re digitising therapy which offers as many patients as possible access to effective treatment ofLBP. This empowers and motivatesindividuals to take control, and self-manage their condition with evidenced-based, non-pharmacological, cost-effective alternatives and this could save the US economy billions each year. The Kaia app, and advances in technology, demonstrates why we need to rethink how we treat diseaseconditions such as LBP, and make digitalself-management a more realistic part of treatment.

The Kaia app is available on iOS and Android, and can be downloaded via GooglePlay and AppStore. The first 7 days of the program are free. To unlock the full functionality the costs are: 3 months: $23.99, 6 months: $64.99 and 12 months: $94.99.

About Kaia Health www.kaia-health.com
Founded in 2016, Kaia Health is a leading digital therapy company that creates evidence-based treatments for a range of disorders including back pain, Parkinson’s disease, osteoarthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Kaia Health uses innovative technology including artificial intelligence and apps, and works with experts in each medical field to create an interdisciplinary digital approach. This empowers and motivates individuals to take control and self-manage their condition with effective, non-pharmacological, digital alternatives at low costs.

CBD: A Neuroprotective Wonder

Over the past century, neurodegenerative illnesses have significantly increased, and some researchers believe that they will become even more prevalent going forward. A study on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia released in December 2017 suggested that 15 million Americans will suffer from either condition, or “mild cognitive impairment” by 2060, an increase of more than 150 percent on current numbers.

Neuroscience has lagged behind other fields of medicine, with the complexity of the brain proving a difficult code to crack for researchers. The demand for neuroprotective treatments to conserve the health of the brain and stave off mental illnesses caused, at least in part, by brain inflammation is great, but treatments have been hard to come by. However, cannabinoids, an uncommon but seemingly critical set of compounds found in strains of cannabis, have exhibited some intriguing neuroprotective effects in the few studies we have available.

The endocannabinoid system is responsive to these cannabinoids and appears to be neuroprotectant in enhancing deep sleep by regulating the sleep-wake cycle, and by reducing brain inflammation, which endocannabinoids can do by tweaking immune system response.

In this post, we’ll explore in-depth a few of the ways that CBD is an effective neuroprotective drug, with focus on slowing the progression of neurodegenerative illnesses, limiting the damage following brain injuries and facilitating neurogenesis in important parts of the brain, which may hold the key to alleviating depression.

CBD for neurodegenerative diseases

Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and dementia are all types of neurodegenerative illness. Nerve fiber damage occurs naturally due to aging but is also accelerated by these neurodegenerative diseases, as myelin sheath deteriorates – but it appears that CBD can halt or at least stifle this unhelpful process.

Deterioration of the myelin sheath causes a loss of cognitive function and memory, and in the case of Parkinson’s leads to a loss of motor control, hence the uncontrollable and prevalent tremors. While tremors are common among the elderly due to unavoidable neurodegeneration, these are not as severe.

Just recently, a Brazilian doctor was granted a special license by the country’s government to prescribe CBD oil to a patient diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Brazil has been a hub for medical cannabis research in South America, and in particular for studies on the brain.

Sleep is neuroprotective

Mental and physical health problems arise when the body doesn’t get enough sleep, and adults attempting to regularly get by on fewer than the recommended minimum of seven hours are likely to experience fatigue. Conditions such as insomnia and sleep apnea contribute to a lack of sleep and waking up during sleep, but there are other factors that stop the mind from winding down, including anxiety, depression, stress and physical pain.

Thankfully, slow-release CBD products like CBD gummy bears boost sleep and influences the sleep-wake cycle to promote more regenerative deep sleep, and also treats the aforementioned quartet of sleep-preventing symptoms. CBD is also effective for epilepsy patients who suffer from seizures and spasms which keep them awake at night.

Deep sleep is much more important than rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, a considerably lighter phase of sleep where we have dreams and nightmares. It is only in deep sleep where cerebrospinal fluid, which usually cushions the brain from the outside, enters the brain and flushes away neurotoxins responsible for neurodegeneration. Deep sleep also helps with the production of new cells all over the body. The all-round rejuvenation in this phase is crucial for combatting fatigue.

Reducing and limiting brain damage

Over the past few decades, cannabis has typically been accused of being bad for the brain, with its psychoactive effects triggering mental health conditions such as psychosis. But the studies on CBD have found the opposite, and in fact, administering CBD after a stroke or traumatic brain injury (TBI) may reduce the overall brain damage.

CBD is an antioxidant as well as an anti-inflammatory, which is important as oxidation in the brain has been linked to DNA damage of cells in the organ.

The brain damage that occurs from strokes is referred to as ischemic injury, and the death of brain cells can cause localized paralysis and a loss of speech. The quicker someone suffering from a stroke is treated, the less severe the damage is. Studies have found that the endocannabinoid system is active during a stroke, and that limiting the number of inflammatory cytokines released could be essential to protecting motor control and cognitive function.

Neuroprotection, neurogenesis and treating depression

Research into depression has advanced in the 21st century, although pharmaceutical treatments for the mood disorder, which affects 300 million globally, are still below par. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the most widely-used and recent class of antidepressants, can take weeks before benefits begin to show, cause side effects such as insomnia, nausea and impotence, and for some patients do not even work.

However, CBD has been found to elevate mood by promoting anandamide in the endocannabinoid system and agonising the 5-HT1A receptor in the serotonin system. And in 2016, evidence was produced showing CBD and another non-psychoactive cannabinoid called cannabichromene (CBC) to have neurogenesis effects in adult rats, helping to stimulate growth in the hippocampus. This is important, as long-term depression causes shrinkage in this part of the brain.

In 2018, a team of Brazilian and Danish researchers found CBD to be an effective medication for depression in rats from the first dose, with therapeutic effects lasting for a week after treatment was stopped. The study revealed that the number of synaptic proteins in the prefrontal cortex eventually increased, a sign that the antidepressant effects had worn off. Past research has connected a rise in these proteins to depression. Therefore, according to one professor on the study, CBD repairs neuronal circuitry in the prefrontal cortex which becomes damaged due to depression.

CBD vape oil and e-liquid and CBD edibles are both useful products for managing neurodegeneration. However, conditions with acute symptoms must be remedied more quickly, and in those situations, vaping e-juice or taking CBD oil provides the most benefit.

MagnaReady × Stylish Options × Disabilities

There are over 50 million adults in the United States with a disability or health condition that limits their mobility in some way.

As we age tasks that used to be simple that we could complete without thinking twice about it become more challenging. Just turn on late night or early morning television and you will see dozens of informercials for gadgets that make it easier to hear, read, open jars, you get the idea. Until recently though, no one had come up with a practical way to make it easier for arthritic hands, someone who is missing an arm or fingers, or someone with another type of limitation to their mobility to grip and maneuver buttons into buttonholes.

There are those loop gadgets you can use to snag the button and pull it through a buttonhole, but those are not necessarily a time-saver and can still be very hard for some people to use. Unfortunately, it took a diagnosis or Parkinson’s disease to create an alternative option. Maura Horton created her patented magnetic closures for clothing after her husband, who was a college football coach, started to struggle with the buttons on his dress shirts. Because his job required him to travel with the team, Maura could not always be there to help Don. Instead of buttons, she thought why not magnets that would essentially be able to button his shirt for him?

It took some time to research and find the right type of magnets and perfect the design, but eventually Maura was able to create a dress shirt that looked no different to the unknowing eye, but that could restore independence to someone with upper body mobility challenges. Now, the patented MagnaReady magnetic closure technology is used in pants, polos, long sleeve dress shirts and short sleeve camp shirts, creating clothing options that are an intelligent and stylish choice for seniors or people with mobility difficulties of any age.

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