William Yates, M.D.

481 posts · 401,602 views

Physician, Writer and Bird Photographer. Translating Neuroscience Research Into Better Care for Brain Disorders.

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481 posts

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  • February 18, 2015
  • 11:53 AM
  • 101 views

Exercise Guidelines in Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

A series of seven guidelines for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease (AD) has recently been published.These guidelines resulted from a conference of experts in nutrition and the brain.The guidelines included a recommendation for 40 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week.Support for this exercise recommendation by experts was linked to 2 areas of research:Observational studies show lower rates of AD in regular exercise groups compared to sedentary groupsA single clinical trial found red........ Read more »

Barnard ND, Bush AI, Ceccarelli A, Cooper J, de Jager CA, Erickson KI, Fraser G, Kesler S, Levin SM, Lucey B.... (2014) Dietary and lifestyle guidelines for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiology of aging. PMID: 24913896  

  • February 4, 2015
  • 09:32 AM
  • 99 views

Exercise in the Elderly: BDNF and Executive Function

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Exercise promotes cognitive function in children, adults and elderly individuals.The mechanism for this effect is unclear. Some of the effect may be due to a general improvement in vascular function and health.Another potential mechanism is via increased neuroplasticity mediated by neurotrophic factors.Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BNDF) is a known contributor to brain neuroplasticity. Levels of BNDF can be determined with serum assays.RL Leckie and colleagues recently found support for BND........ Read more »

Leckie RL, Oberlin LE, Voss MW, Prakash RS, Szabo-Reed A, Chaddock-Heyman L, Phillips SM, Gothe NP, Mailey E, Vieira-Potter VJ.... (2014) BDNF mediates improvements in executive function following a 1-year exercise intervention. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 985. PMID: 25566019  

  • February 2, 2015
  • 11:39 AM
  • 119 views

Exercise in the Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Growing evidence links physical activity to improved cognitive outcome in elderly individuals.Few studies have examined effects of exercise on those at highest risk for Alzheimer's disease.J Carson Smith and colleagues recently published a prospective study of a cohort of older adults using structural magnetic resonance imaging.The key elements of the design of their study included the following elements:Participants: 97 adults between the ages of 65 and 89Physical activity level: Frequency and ........ Read more »

Smith JC, Nielson KA, Woodard JL, Seidenberg M, Durgerian S, Hazlett KE, Figueroa CM, Kandah CC, Kay CD, Matthews MA.... (2014) Physical activity reduces hippocampal atrophy in elders at genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease. Frontiers in aging neuroscience, 61. PMID: 24795624  

  • January 26, 2015
  • 10:02 AM
  • 67 views

Obesity, Inflammation and Cognitive Decline

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The rate of cognitive decline with aging is quite variable. Identifying important components of this process is needed for developing interventions to reduce the burden of Alzheimer's and other dementias.Excess inflammation has been linked to obesity as well as aging-related cognitive decline.Archana Singh-Manoux and colleagues recently published a study of the association between blood markers of inflammation and cognitive decline.This study used data from the U.K. Whitehall II cohort, a g........ Read more »

Singh-Manoux A, Dugravot A, Brunner E, Kumari M, Shipley M, Elbaz A, & Kivimaki M. (2014) Interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein as predictors of cognitive decline in late midlife. Neurology, 83(6), 486-93. PMID: 24991031  

  • January 19, 2015
  • 10:09 AM
  • 186 views

Mediterranean Diet and Aging

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

There is a growing research body of evidence to support beneficial effects of a Mediterranean diet on brain health.In previous posts I have reviewed research on the Mediterranean diet and:Cognitive DeclineAlzheimer's Disease PreventionA recent study adds an important element in potential mechanisms for the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet.Marta Crous-Bou and colleauges from Harvard University and the University of Washington published a study of the Mediterranean diet and chromosome ........ Read more »

Crous-Bou M, Fung TT, Prescott J, Julin B, Du M, Sun Q, Rexrode KM, Hu FB, & De Vivo I. (2014) Mediterranean diet and telomere length in Nurses' Health Study: population based cohort study. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 25467028  

  • January 14, 2015
  • 10:51 AM
  • 178 views

Obesity, Inflammation and the Brain

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Brain inflammation produces a variety of emotional, behavior and cognitive symptoms.I remember clearly a patient I cared for with central nervous system lupus erythrematosis (SLE). With SLE flairs she developed flagrant psychotic symptoms including hallucinations requiring inpatient psychiatric care.Between flares she had no significant psychiatric symptoms.Nicole Castanon and two colleagues from France have published a review of the role of obesity-associated inflammation and brain dysfunction......... Read more »

  • January 12, 2015
  • 10:56 AM
  • 200 views

Dietary Grains and Heart/Stroke Mortality

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Dietary intake of whole grains and fiber shows consistent beneficial effects on a variety of health and mortality measures.In a post in 2011, I reviewed study results from the NIH-AARP cohort. That study reported reduced cardiovascular disease but not cancer in men and women with the highest fiber intake.A recent Harvard University study examined mortality risk in a group of U.S. health professionals grouped by level of whole grain intake.Participants in this study were over 118,000 men and wome........ Read more »

  • December 15, 2014
  • 08:42 AM
  • 251 views

Who is Getting High in Europe (and Where)?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

My research training is in psychiatric epidemiology. Alcohol and drug dependence have been two of my topic areas of research.So I found a recent novel study of the epidemiology of illicit drug use in Europe intriguing.Typical methods of looking for the prevalence of drug use in populations are direct diagnostic interviews and studies of emergency room attendees or autopsy cases with medical complications of drug use.However, Christopher Ort from Switzerland along with a host of European col........ Read more »

Ort C, van Nuijs AL, Berset JD, Bijlsma L, Castiglioni S, Covaci A, de Voogt P, Emke E, Fatta-Kassinos D, Griffiths P.... (2014) Spatial differences and temporal changes in illicit drug use in Europe quantified by wastewater analysis. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 109(8), 1338-52. PMID: 24861844  

  • December 10, 2014
  • 11:46 AM
  • 183 views

Prescription Opiate Abuse: High-Risk Populations

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Prescription opiate abuse is a significant problem in the United States.I have previously written about this issue in several previous posts.One important factor for clinicians and patients is the need to identify high-risk populations that may be more vulnerable to opiate abuse and dependence.One obvious group would be those with alcohol or another non-opiate abuse diagnosis. Additionally, some psychiatric disorders are associated with increased risk for substance abuse including opiate abuse.G........ Read more »

  • December 10, 2014
  • 11:06 AM
  • 212 views

Incentives in the Treatment of Cocaine Dependence

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Relapse rates are high in treatment samples of adults with cocaine dependence.Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common standard of care for cocaine dependence.A recent clinical trial from Switzerland examined the use of financial prize incentives to augment standard CBT in the treatment of cocaine dependence.Sixty subjects participated in this trial with the following inclusion criteria: least 18 years of age, had a DSM-IV diagnosis of cocaine dependence with at least one po........ Read more »

Petitjean SA, Dürsteler-MacFarland KM, Krokar MC, Strasser J, Mueller SE, Degen B, Trombini MV, Vogel M, Walter M, Wiesbeck GA.... (2014) A randomized, controlled trial of combined cognitive-behavioral therapy plus prize-based contingency management for cocaine dependence. Drug and alcohol dependence, 94-100. PMID: 25456571  

  • December 1, 2014
  • 12:09 PM
  • 231 views

Common Genes in Neuropsychiatric Disorders

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Finding a specific genes linked to specific neuropsychiatric disorders has been a key research strategy.However, this strategy has not been entirely successful.One problem with this unitary approach is the diagnostic overlap and comorbidity common to neuropsychiatric disorders such as mood disorders and autism.A promising alternative strategy is to focus on genes that share risk with more than one neuropsychiatric condition.Amit Lotan from Israel along with colleagues from the Netherlands, Germa........ Read more »

  • November 26, 2014
  • 11:06 AM
  • 278 views

Treatment Resistance in Eating Disorders

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Clinicians treating patients with eating disorders find the challenge great with many treatment-resistant cases.To some extent, this is true of any clinical disorder. Outpatient treatment rolls and inpatient samples are over-represented by those failing to respond to initial interventions.A medical example is helpful here. Endocrinologists specializing in diabetes see more complicated cases where glucose control is difficult and diabetic complications are common.Diabetics with easy glucose contr........ Read more »

  • November 17, 2014
  • 10:55 AM
  • 184 views

Eating Disorders in Obesity: DSM-IV and DSM-5

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The recent revision of the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) altered several eating disorder diagnostic criteria.Some have expressed concern that these revisions are overly broad and may result in over diagnosis in some clinical populations. One clinical population where this is a concern is obesity.A research study has been recently published addressing this issue.Jennifer Thomas and colleagues at Harvard University a........ Read more »

  • November 12, 2014
  • 11:14 AM
  • 263 views

Binge Eating Linked to Risk for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Binge eating is defined as the recurrent rapid consumption of high calorie meals accompanied by a feeling that eating is out of control.Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating paired with a purging behavior such as self-induced vomiting.Binge eating without purging is receiving increased clinical and research attention.Binge eating is a relative common component in elevated body mass index and obesity. Successful behavior and drug treatment for obesity often includes ........ Read more »

Peat CM, Huang L, Thornton LM, Von Holle AF, Trace SE, Lichtenstein P, Pedersen NL, Overby DW, & Bulik CM. (2013) Binge eating, body mass index, and gastrointestinal symptoms. Journal of psychosomatic research, 75(5), 456-61. PMID: 24182635  

  • November 11, 2014
  • 11:13 AM
  • 251 views

Anorexia Nervosa: Brain Connectivity Abnormalities

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Functional magnetic resonance imaging is providing a new tool for understanding brain circuitry in normal brain development and in brain disorders. Anorexia nervosa is an restrictive calorie eating disorder often resistant to treatment.No effective drug treatment for anorexia nervosa currently exists and psychotherapy is often only partially effective. A better understanding of the brain pathophysiology in anorexia nervosa is needed to aid in treatment development.Stephanie Kullman along wi........ Read more »

  • November 10, 2014
  • 10:05 AM
  • 231 views

Eating Disorders Linked to Higher Autoimmune Disease Rates

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

There is increasing evidence for inflammation contributing to risk for a variety of psychiatric disorders.I previously summarized research supporting use of anti-inflammatory drugs in the treatment of depression.A recent study from Finland supports an inflammation link to the eating disorder categories.The key elements of the design of this study included:Subjects: 2342 subjects admitted for treatment in the Eating Disorders Unit at the central hospital in Finland. Four controls were identified ........ Read more »

Raevuori A, Haukka J, Vaarala O, Suvisaari JM, Gissler M, Grainger M, Linna MS, & Suokas JT. (2014) The increased risk for autoimmune diseases in patients with eating disorders. PloS one, 9(8). PMID: 25147950  

  • November 5, 2014
  • 12:19 PM
  • 232 views

Anorexia Nervosa as a Disorder of Perception

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

A key feature in anorexia nervosa is the disturbance in perception of the body.This perceptual disturbance is encapsulated in criteria 3 from DSM-5: "Disturbance in the way in which one's body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body weight or shape evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of the current low weight" Santino Guadio from Italy and colleagues recently published a nice summary of the support for body image disturbance in anorexia nervosa. This study focused ........ Read more »

  • November 4, 2014
  • 10:52 AM
  • 236 views

Anorexia Nervosa: Fasting and Starvation Brain Effects

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Brain research in anorexia nervosa presents several challenges.Current knowledge of cognitive function in anorexia supports impairment in set shifting and global brain processing or central coherence.However, there are two issues that complicate understanding the underlying brain effects in anorexia nervosa.First, individuals with anorexia nervosa often have additional anxiety and mood disorders. It can be difficult to tease out the specific effects of anorexia nervosa from the effects of these ........ Read more »

Billingsley-Marshall RL, Basso MR, Lund BC, Hernandez ER, Johnson CL, Drevets WC, McKee PA, & Yates WR. (2013) Executive function in eating disorders: the role of state anxiety. The International journal of eating disorders, 46(4), 316-21. PMID: 23354876  

  • October 30, 2014
  • 11:20 AM
  • 269 views

Alcoholism as a Reward System Dysfunction

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Alcoholism and other addictive behaviors often occur together within individual patients.For example, individuals with alcoholism commonly also are smokers and meet criteria for a diagnosis of nicotine dependence.This co-occurrence suggests multiple types of addiction may share genetic and environmental risk factors. Additionally, there might be a common neurobiological mechanism in play for many addictions.Kenneth Blum and other leading alcoholism researchers recently published a review that pr........ Read more »

  • October 28, 2014
  • 11:59 AM
  • 266 views

Night Owls Show Increased Alcohol Use Risk

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Humans commonly display a circadian rhythm preference for getting up early in the morning or staying up late at night (night owls).This sleep timing, or diurnal preference appears to have genetic contributions.Additionally, diurnal preference may contribute to risk for alcohol consumption as more alcohol is consumed later in the day and during the night time.Nathaniel Watson and colleagues at the University of Washington and the University of Texas recently explored the relationship between diur........ Read more »

Watson NF, Buchwald D, & Harden KP. (2013) A twin study of genetic influences on diurnal preference and risk for alcohol use outcomes. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 9(12), 1333-9. PMID: 24340296  

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