Brain Posts

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I am a physician interested in clinical neuroscience research. I will use this blog to post more detailed analysis of recent studies in addition to my @WRY999 Twitter scientific reading log. I will also post some of my wildlife/sports photography. Aim to educate and amuse. Not selling anything.

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  • January 7, 2014
  • 10:37 AM

Weight Loss Surgery Improves Memory and Cognition

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

I have reviewed some research evidence documenting the adverse effect of obesity on cognition.Dementia rates do appear increased in obese populations but the mechanism and issue of causality is unclear.If there is a direct effect of obesity on brain function, one might expect weight loss to improve cognition.There have been a series of papers examining changes in cognition following bariatric weight loss surgery using the Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery study.At baseline, about one ........ Read more »

Gunstad J, Strain G, Devlin MJ, Wing R, Cohen RA, Paul RH, Crosby RD, & Mitchell JE. (2011) Improved memory function 12 weeks after bariatric surgery. Surgery for obesity and related diseases : official journal of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery, 7(4), 465-72. PMID: 21145295  

Alosco ML, Galioto R, Spitznagel MB, Strain G, Devlin M, Cohen R, Crosby RD, Mitchell JE, & Gunstad J. (2013) Cognitive function after bariatric surgery: evidence for improvement 3 years after surgery. American journal of surgery. PMID: 24119892  

  • January 2, 2014
  • 12:08 PM

Getting Fat, Getting Old and Cognition

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

I want to start 2014 out with a focus on diet, obesity and cognitive health. I will be reviewing some recent randomized controlled trials for weight loss.However, before looking a weight loss, I wanted to frame the discussion with an overview of what is known about the general population trend for increased obesity in the context of longer mean length of life.Roger Fielding and colleagues recently published an excellent review of this issue in a manuscript entitled "The Paradox of Overnutrition ........ Read more »

Fielding RA, Gunstad J, Gustafson DR, Heymsfield SB, Kral JG, Launer LJ, Penninger J, Phillips DI, & Scarmeas N. (2013) The paradox of overnutrition in aging and cognition. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 31-43. PMID: 23682739  

  • December 18, 2013
  • 11:07 AM

A Screening Tool For Autism Spectrum in Adults

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Progress in the early diagnosis of autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is being made for young children.However, there has been less attention to the diagnosis of autism in adults.Many adults with autism and ASD passed through childhood before much was known about these disorders.This means many adults with ASD may still be not be diagnosed and are not being referred for potentially beneficial services.A recent study from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden supports the validity of a new s........ Read more »

  • December 16, 2013
  • 11:14 AM

Genetic Factors Contribute to Being Skinny

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

An increasing body of research supports a genetic contribution to obesity.However, relatively few genetic studies of the opposite or lean phenotype have been done.The lean phenotype is important to study because being very underweight is linked to mortality risk and several clinical disorders including anorexia nervosa.Typically, I review neuroscience research manuscripts from other scientists in Brain Posts.Today I want to summarize some of my own research published recently in the journal PLOS........ Read more »

Yates WR, Johnson C, McKee P, Cannon-Albright LA. (2013) Genetic Analysis of Low BMI Phenotype in the Utah Population Database. PLOS One. info:/10.1371/journal.pone.0080287

  • December 12, 2013
  • 12:56 PM

Regular Exercise Linked to Lower Dementia Risk in Men

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Tiger Woods Practices at 2010 PGA ChampionshipThere has been quite a bit of news coverage of the recent release of a study of the effects of a healthy lifestyle.This study led by Peter Elwood examined the rates of chronic diseases and dementia in a cohort of 2,235 men assessed in 1979 in the city of Caerphilly, United Kingdom.The authors identified five healthy lifestyle variables in the original assessment including smoking status, BMI, fruit and vegetable consumption, regular exercise and reas........ Read more »

  • December 10, 2013
  • 12:42 PM

Football Concussion, CTE and Brain Pathology

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The relationship between football-related head injury and brain disorders is an important research topic.Case reports of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) continue to emerge among retired NFL football players.In a previous post, I have summarized a Mayo Clinic study finding limited evidence for increased brain injury in a cohort of high school football players.In another related post, I summarized research demonstrating college football players with sport-related head trauma had evidence of........ Read more »

  • December 5, 2013
  • 12:39 PM

Low Testosterone and Diabetes Risk

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Several years ago I published a research study that showing testosterone augmentation improved metabolic syndrome and insulin sensitivity in men with type 2 diabetes.Testosterone appears to influence weight including abdominal fat deposition. The mechanism for this relationship is unclear. Additionally, the relationship between testosterone and diabetes risk is unclear.A recent study from Taiwan has provided some additional insight into the role of low testosterone and diabetes risk.Ho and colle........ Read more »

  • December 3, 2013
  • 12:22 PM

Testosterone Replacement Linked to Weight Loss

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The hormone testosterone has significant effects on brain function and structure.In the next few posts, I will review several recent research studies related to testosterone.Testosterone deficiency or hypogonadism is more common in obese compared to non-obese.The mechanism for this relationship is unclear. However, a recent study has outlined the effect of testosterone replacement on body weight.AA Yassin and G Doros examined the longitudinal changes in weight, waist circumference and body mass ........ Read more »

  • December 2, 2013
  • 02:02 PM

Adoption Linked to Higher Adult Alcohol and Drug Abuse

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Adoption research can provide a unique perspective for understanding genetic and environmental contributions to brain disorders.In the adoption process, biological (genetic) influences occur outside the biological environment.A variety of adoption studies show genetic influences for risk of childhood and adult brain and behavior disorders. Adoptees with a biological parent with alcohol or drug abuse have higher rates of substance disorders even when raised in adoptive family environments without........ Read more »

  • November 27, 2013
  • 12:08 PM

Tools for Measurement of Alzheimer's Disease

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Brain Hippocampus Highlighted in GreenThere are a multitude of tools that provide measurements of cognitive and physical function.Choosing the best tools to assess and monitor Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia is an important clinical task.A research team from the Netherlands recently reviewed the assessment of cognitive and physical assessment in older adults with dementia.Their goal was to provide a recommended set of tests that would improve consensus and aid in the research in ........ Read more »

  • November 26, 2013
  • 12:55 PM

Dietary Nuts, Cancer, Heart Disease and Death

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

There is a growing body of research linking dietary nut consumption with reduced risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.A recent large study adds to our understanding of this link.Ying Bao and colleagues published the results of a large epidemiological study using women participating in the Nurse's Health Study and men participating in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.Approximately 120,000 participants in these two studies were followed over a period of 30 years.During the course of t........ Read more »

Bao Y, Han J, Hu FB, Giovannucci EL, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, & Fuchs CS. (2013) Association of nut consumption with total and cause-specific mortality. The New England journal of medicine, 369(21), 2001-11. PMID: 24256379  

  • November 25, 2013
  • 12:30 PM

Brain Adaption in Developmental Mathematics Disorder

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Disability in learning mathematics is a common condition affecting about 5% of the population.I have previously posted a research review on the topic of developmental mathematics disorder, also known as dyscalculia here.A recent imaging study sheds some light on some of the brain correlates of developmental mathematics disorder.Cappelleti and Price from the University College of London studied a group of eleven individuals with developmental mathematics disorder.Subjects in the study were adults........ Read more »

Cappelletti M, & Price CJ. (2013) Residual number processing in dyscalculia. NeuroImage. Clinical, 18-28. PMID: 24266008  

  • November 20, 2013
  • 12:20 PM

Preterm Birth: Exploring the Link to Low Socioeconomic Status

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Previous posts in this series looked at the brain disorders linked to preterm birth including ADHD, autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and learning disability. There is a strong incentive for public health prevention interventions to reduce the number and severity of preterm birth.These efforts require better understanding of the specific risk factors and mechanisms for preterm labor and birth.Known risk factors for preterm birth include:Previous preterm birthFirst pregnancyLow socioec........ Read more »

  • November 19, 2013
  • 12:06 PM

Maternal Influenza A (H1N1) As A Risk Factor for Preterm Birth

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

This is the fourth in a series of posts examining recent research related to preterm birth.Preterm birth appears to significantly increase for a variety of brain disorders. Reducing the number of preterm births is a promising prevention strategy for childhood and adult brain disorders.Multiple types of infection appear to increase risk for preterm birth. A recent study examined the effect of maternal H1N1 influenza infection on preterm birth risk.Doyle and colleagues conducted a linkage study us........ Read more »

  • November 14, 2013
  • 01:00 PM

Preterm Birth and Risk of Adult Bipolar Disorder

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

In the previous two posts, I reviewed recent studies of childhood outcome following preterm birth.These posts highlighted the increased risk for childhood anxiety, ADHD and autism as well as increased risk for learning disability and cerebral palsy.Preterm birth appears related to the risk for adult brain disorders including schizophrenia.A recent study from Sweden provides some additional insight into the common risk for preterm birth to influence rates for a variety of adult brain disorders.No........ Read more »

Nosarti C, Reichenberg A, Murray RM, Cnattingius S, Lambe MP, Yin L, MacCabe J, Rifkin L, & Hultman CM. (2012) Preterm birth and psychiatric disorders in young adult life. Archives of general psychiatry, 69(6). PMID: 22660967  

  • November 13, 2013
  • 01:29 PM

Preterm Birth and Childhood Brain Disorders II

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

This is the second in a series of three posts examining the role of preterm birth in later child and adult brain disorders.In a previous post, I reviewed a recent study showing evidence on increased risk for anxiety disorder, ADHD and autism in preterm birth children by age 7 years of age.In this post I want to review and comment on a large French study of outcome in a cohort of very preterm children.Marrett and colleagues summarized the key elements in the design of their research:Sample: All p........ Read more »

  • November 12, 2013
  • 12:14 PM

Preterm Birth and Risk of Childhood Brain Disorders I

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

This will be the first in a series of posts on preterm birth. Preterm birth may not seem on the surface important in brain disorders.However, an increasing body of research is showing the importance of preterm birth in later development of childhood and adult brain disorders.An important contribution to this area of research is an Australian study using structured psychiatric assessment in a series of children at age seven who had been born prematurely.The key elements of this study design inclu........ Read more »

Treyvaud K, Ure A, Doyle LW, Lee KJ, Rogers CE, Kidokoro H, Inder TE, & Anderson PJ. (2013) Psychiatric outcomes at age seven for very preterm children: rates and predictors. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines, 54(7), 772-9. PMID: 23347471  

  • November 1, 2013
  • 01:19 PM

Speech Markers of Alzheimer's Disease Progression

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Sensitive, reliable and inexpensive markers of disease progression in Alzheimer's disease are needed.It is known that language and speech domains are impaired with Alzeimer's disease.What is not known is whether speech performance can be used in the diagnosis and monitoring of progression in Alzheimer's disease (AD).A recent case series published in the journal Brain supports the potential for expanded use of speech assessment in AD.Ahmed and colleagues reported their findings in a group of 15 p........ Read more »

  • October 31, 2013
  • 11:34 AM

Genetic Testing for Alzheimer's Disease Risk

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Molecular model image of Apolipoprotein ERisk for Alzheimer's disease and other brain disorders is a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors.A recent research mansuscript published novel candidate genes for Alzheimer's disease risk.Some of these new genes are likely to advance our understanding of the genetics and molecular biology of the disease.Alzheimer's disease has been know to be linked to the Apolipoprotein E gene for quite some time. Individuals with one or two........ Read more »

  • October 30, 2013
  • 12:26 PM

The Genetics of Educational Attainment

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

I ran across an interesting genetic study examining the potential genetic contributions to educational attainment. There have been quite a few genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of intelligence quotient (IQ).... Read more »

Rietveld CA, Medland SE, Derringer J, Yang J, Esko T, Martin NW, Westra HJ, Shakhbazov K, Abdellaoui A, Agrawal A.... (2013) GWAS of 126,559 individuals identifies genetic variants associated with educational attainment. Science (New York, N.Y.), 340(6139), 1467-71. PMID: 23722424  

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