25 September 2018

Weight Loss can be Boosted Fivefold Thanks to Novel Mental Imagery Technique

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 0
www.trendsnowdays.com
Overweight people who used a new motivational intervention called Functional Imagery Training (FIT) lost an average of five times more weight than those using talking therapy alone, shows new research published today by the University of Plymouth and Queensland University.



In addition, users of FIT lost 4.3cm more around their waist circumference in six months -- and continued to lose weight after the intervention had finished.

Led by Dr Linda Solbrig from the School of Psychology, the research involved 141 participants, who were allocated either to FIT or Motivational Interviewing (MI) -- a technique that sees a counsellor support someone to develop, highlight and verbalise their need or motivation for change, and their reasons for wanting to change.

FIT goes one step further than MI, as it makes use of multisensory imagery to explore these changes by teaching clients how to elicit and practice motivational imagery themselves. Everyday behaviours and optional app support are used to cue imagery practice until it becomes a cognitive habit.

Maximum contact time was four hours of individual consultation, and neither group received any additional dietary advice or information.

Dr Solbrig, who completed the work as part of a PhD funded by The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) South West Peninsula, said: "It's fantastic that people lost significantly more weight on this intervention, as, unlike most studies, it provided no diet/physical activity advice or education. People were completely free in their choices and supported in what they wanted to do, not what a regimen prescribed."

The study showed how after six months people who used the FIT intervention lost an average of 4.11kg, compared with an average of 0.74kg among the MI group.

After 12 months -- six months after the intervention had finished -- the FIT group continued to lose weight, with an average of 6.44kg lost compared with 0.67kg in the MI group.

Dr Solbrig continued: "Most people agree that in order to lose weight, you need to eat less and exercise more, but in many cases, people simply aren't motivated enough to heed this advice -- however much they might agree with it. So FIT comes in with the key aim of encouraging someone to come up with their own imagery of what change might look and feel like to them, how it might be achieved and kept up, even when challenges arise.

"We started with taking people through an exercise about a lemon. We asked them to imagine seeing it, touching it, juicing it, drinking the juice and juice accidently squirting in their eye, to emphasise how emotional and tight to our physical sensations imagery is. From there we are able to encourage them to fully imagine and embrace their own goals. Not just 'imagine how good it would be to lose weight' but, for example, 'what would losing weight enable you to do that you can't do now? What would that look / sound / smell like?', and encourage them to use all of their senses.

"As well as being delighted by the success of the study in the short term, there are very few studies that document weight loss past the end of treatment, so to see that people continued to lose weight despite not having any support shows the sustainability and effectiveness of this intervention."

Trisha Bradbury was one of the participants allocated to the FIT study, and she explains: "I lost my mum at 60, and being 59 myself with a variety of health problems, my motivation was to be there for my daughter. I kept thinking about wearing the dress I'd bought for my daughter's graduation, and on days I really didn't feel like exercising, kept picturing how I'd feel.

"I've gone from 14 stone to 12 stone 2 and have managed to lower the dosage I need for my blood pressure tablets. I'd still like to lose a touch more, but I'm so delighted with the mind-set shift."

Professor Jackie Andrade, Professor in Psychology at the University of Plymouth, is one of the co-creators of FIT, and she explains: "FIT is based on two decades of research showing that mental imagery is more strongly emotionally charged than other types of thought. It uses imagery to strengthen people's motivation and confidence to achieve their goals, and teaches people how to do this for themselves, so they can stay motivated even when faced with challenges. We were very excited to see that our intervention achieved exactly what we had hoped for and that it helped our participants achieve their goals and most importantly to maintain them."

Story Source:
Materials provided by University of Plymouth. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
Linda Solbrig, Ben Whalley, David J. Kavanagh, Jon May, Tracey Parkin, Ray Jones, Jackie Andrade. Functional imagery training versus motivational interviewing for weight loss: a randomised controlled trial of brief individual interventions for overweight and obesity. International Journal of Obesity, 2018; DOI: 10.1038/s41366-018-0122-1

Cite This Page:
University of Plymouth. "Weight loss can be boosted fivefold thanks to novel mental imagery technique." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 September 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180924095729.htm>.

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Eye Infection in Contact Lens Wearers can Cause Blindness

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 0
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A new outbreak of a rare but preventable eye infection that can cause blindness, has been identified in contact lens wearers in a new study led by UCL and Moorfields Eye Hospital researchers.

The research team found a threefold increase in Acanthamoeba keratitis since 2011 in South-East England.



Reusable contact lens wearers with the eye infection are more likely to have used an ineffective contact lens solution, have contaminated their lenses with water or reported poor contact lens hygiene, according to the findings published today in the British Journal of Ophthalmology. "This infection is still quite rare, usually affecting 2.5 in 100,000 contact lens users per year in South East England, but it's largely preventable. This increase in cases highlights the need for contact lens users to be aware of the risks," said the study's lead author, Professor John Dart (UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust).

Acanthamoeba keratitis is an eye disease that causes the front surface of the eye, the cornea, to become painful and inflamed, due to infection by Acanthamoeba, a cyst-forming microorganism.

The most severely affected patients (a quarter of the total) have less than 25% of vision or become blind following the disease and face prolonged treatment. Overall 25% of people affected require corneal transplants to treat the disease or restore vision.

Anyone can be infected, but contact lens users face the highest risk, due to a combination of increased susceptibility to infection, for reasons not fully established, as a result of contact lens wear and contamination of lens cases.

The researchers collected incidence data from Moorfields Eye Hospital, from 1985 to 2016. They found an increase dating from 2000-2003, when there were eight to 10 cases per year, to between 36-65 annual cases in the past few years. As Moorfields treats more than one in three cases of the disease in the UK, the researchers expect their findings are relevant to the UK more broadly.

Alongside these findings, they conducted a case-control study of people who wear reusable contact lenses on a daily basis (although the disease is also associated with disposable lenses), comparing those who had a diagnosis of Acanthamoeba keratitisto those who had come in to Moorfields A&E for any other reason, from 2011 to 2014.

The case-control study included 63 people with Acanthamoeba keratitis and 213 without. They all completed a questionnaire, from which the researchers found that the risk of developing the disease was more than three times greater amongst people with poor contact lens hygiene, people who did not always wash and dry their hands before handling their lenses, those who used a lens disinfectant product containing Oxipol (now phased out by the manufacturer), and for people who wore their contacts while in swimming pools or hot tubs. Showering and face washing while wearing contact lenses are also likely to be risk factors.

Acanthamoeba is more commonly found in the UK than in other countries, likely due to higher levels found in domestic (as opposed to mains) water supplies, so that water contamination of contact lenses is of particular concern in the UK.

The researchers say the current outbreak is unlikely to be due to any one of the identified risk factors in isolation.

"People who wear reusable contact lenses need to make sure they thoroughly wash and dry their hands before handling contact lenses, and avoid wearing them while swimming, face washing or bathing. Daily disposable lenses, which eliminate the need for contact lens cases or solutions, may be safer and we are currently analysing our data to establish the risk factors for these," said Professor Dart.

"We now need to share this information as widely as possible with clinicians, contact lens practitioners and contact lens wearers, a strategy that has proved effective in the past in decreasing the incidence and burden of this severe eye infection," said co-author Dr Nicole Carnt, who completed the study at Moorfields before moving to the University of New South Wales. "This research confirms what those of us affected by Acanthamoeba keratitis have suspected for some time: that incidence of this awful, life-changing infection are on the increase, and there's more that should be done to prevent people from losing their sight to Acanthamoeba keratitis," said Irenie Ekkeshis, who is part of Acanthamoeba Keratitis Patient Support Group UK. "It is absolutely imperative that regulators and those working in the optical sector take the findings seriously, and use the recommendations to take immediate and urgent action on prevention. Contact lenses are medical devices and should be supplied with warnings regarding safe use."


Story Source:

Materials provided by University College London. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:
Nicole Carnt, Jeremy J Hoffman, Seema Verma, Scott Hau, Cherry F Radford, Darwin C Minassian, John K G Dart. Acanthamoeba keratitis: confirmation of the UK outbreak and a prospective case-control study identifying contributing risk factors. British Journal of Ophthalmology, 2018; bjophthalmol-2018-312544 DOI: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2018-312544
Cite This Page:
University College London. "Eye infection in contact lens wearers can cause blindness." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 September 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180921082952.htm>.


Image credit: © kai / Fotolia

Air Pollution may be Linked to Heightened Dementia Risk

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 0
Associations found not explained by known influential factors
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Air pollution is now an established risk factor for heart disease/stroke and respiratory disease, but its potential role in neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia, isn't clear.

To try and explore this further, the researchers used carefully calculated estimates of air and noise pollution levels across Greater London to assess potential links with new dementia diagnoses.



To do this, they drew on anonymised patient health records from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD). This has been collecting data from participating general practices across the UK since 1987.

For the purposes of this study, the researchers focused on just under 131,000 patients aged 50 to 79 in 2004, who had not been diagnosed with dementia, and who were registered at 75 general practices located within the London orbital M25 motorway.

Based on the residential postcodes of these patients, the researchers estimated their yearly exposure to air pollutants-specifically nitrogen dioxide (NO2), fine particulate matter (PM2.5), and ozone (O3)-as well as proximity to heavy traffic and road noise, using validated modelling methods, validated with recorded measurements.

The health of these patients was then tracked for an average of 7 years, until a diagnosis of dementia, death, or deregistration from the practice, whichever came first.

During the monitoring period, 2181 patients (1.7%) were diagnosed with dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.

These diagnoses were associated with ambient levels of NO2and PM2.5, estimated at the patients' homes at the start of the monitoring period in 2004.

Those living in areas in the top fifth of NO2 levels ran a 40 per cent heightened risk of being diagnosed with dementia than those living in the bottom fifth. A similar increase in risk was observed for higher PM2.5 levels.

These associations were consistent and unexplained by known influential factors, such as smoking and diabetes, although when restricted to specific types of dementia, they remained only for patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

This is an observational study, and as such, can't establish cause, and the findings may be applicable only to London. Nor were the researchers able to glean long term exposures, which may be relevant as Alzheimer's disease may take many years to develop.

Many factors may be involved in the development of dementia, the exact cause of which is still not known, the researchers point out, and while there are several plausible pathways for air pollutants to reach the brain, how they might contribute to neurodegeneration isn't clear.

But they suggest: "Traffic related air pollution has been linked to poorer cognitive development in young children, and continued significant exposure may produce neuroinflammation and altered brain innate immune responses in early adulthood."

And they conclude that even if the impact of air pollution were relatively modest, the public health gains would be significant if it emerged that curbing exposure to it might delay progression of dementia.


Story Source:

Materials provided by BMJ. Original written by Emma Johnson. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:
Iain M Carey, H Ross Anderson, Richard W Atkinson, Sean D Beevers, Derek G Cook, David P Strachan, David Dajnak, John Gulliver, Frank J Kelly. Are noise and air pollution related to the incidence of dementia? A cohort study in London, England. BMJ Open, 2018; 8 (9): e022404 DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-022404


Cite This Page:
BMJ. "Air pollution may be linked to heightened dementia risk: Associations found not explained by known influential factors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 September 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180918195347.htm>.


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24 September 2018

Current Rates of Diagnosed Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes in American Adults

Monday, September 24, 2018 0
www.trendsnowdays.com
A new study from the University of Iowa finds that type 2 diabetes remains overwhelmingly the most common type of diabetes diagnosed in American adults who have the disease.

The study found that 8.5 percent of American adults have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and .5 percent with type 1 diabetes. Among those who are diagnosed with diabetes, 91.2 percent have type 2 diabetes and 5.6 percent have type 1 diabetes. The study was published this month in the British Medical Journal.



Although previous survey studies have reported the rate of diabetes in the United States, the rates by diabetes subtypes -- type 1 , type 2, or other type -- were virtually unknown. Study lead author Wei Bao, assistant professor of epidemiology in the College of Public Health, says the results are important because it allows health care professionals and policy makers to better allocate resources to treat each type of the disease.

"These two types of diabetes differ not only by their causes, but also by their clinical manifestations and treatment strategies," he says. Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease that typically develops in childhood. Patients with type 1 diabetes also have problems in producing insulin, and therefore they require insulin treatment for survival.

Type 2 diabetes mostly develops in adulthood and is caused by a complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors such as obesity, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. Type 2 diabetes is treated with lifestyle change, medication, and/or insulin.

"Type 2 diabetes can be prevented through lifestyle changes, but so far, there is no established method for preventing type 1 diabetes," Bao says.

The study is based on data gathered by the CDC's National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which is conducted annually by survey-takers who visit peoples' homes and ask them about their health. Bao says the NHIS is the first and only national health survey that attempts to determine how many adults have each type of diabetes. Since 2016, survey takers started to ask respondents who had been diagnosed with diabetes if they had type 1, type 2, or other type.

Bao acknowledges that the present study has a limitation in that it relies on self-reported data from respondents, so it could be subject to reporting errors. However, he says the results provide a benchmark for future surveys to better determine the prevalence of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes in adults. In addition, this study only has data on diagnosed diabetes and could not determine the rate of undiagnosed diabetes.

Bao emphasizes the need to continue monitoring the dynamic changes of these two types of diabetes in American population. He expects more Americans to report type 2 diabetes as a result of the ongoing obesity epidemic. But he also wouldn't be surprised if more adults have type 1 diabetes because of improved treatments that keep patients alive longer.

"Type 1 diabetes used to be lethal for children years ago and so children who had the disease had shorter lifespans," he says. "Now, treatment has been improved to be so effective that a lot of children will survive well into adulthood."

Story Source:
Materials provided by University of Iowa. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
Guifeng Xu, Buyun Liu, Yangbo Sun, Yang Du, Linda G Snetselaar, Frank B Hu, Wei Bao. Prevalence of diagnosed type 1 and type 2 diabetes among US adults in 2016 and 2017: population based study. BMJ, 2018; k1497 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.k1497

Cite This Page:
University of Iowa. "Current rates of diagnosed type 1 and type 2 diabetes in American adults." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 September 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180917191843.htm>.

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Discovery Could Explain Failed Clinical Trials for Alzheimer's, and Provide a Solution

Monday, September 24, 2018 0
www.trendsnowdays.com
Researchers at King's College London have discovered a vicious feedback loop underlying brain degeneration in Alzheimer's disease which may explain why so many drug trials have failed. The study also identifies a clinically approved drug which breaks the vicious cycle and protects against memory-loss in animal models of Alzheimer's.



Overproduction of the protein beta-amyloid is strongly linked to development of Alzheimer's disease but many drugs targeting beta-amyloid have failed in clinical trials. Beta-amyloid attacks and destroys synapses -- the connections between nerve cells in the brain -- resulting in memory problems, dementia and ultimately death.

In the new study, published in Translational Psychiatry, researchers found that when beta-amyloid destroys a synapse, the nerve cells make more beta-amyloid driving yet more synapses to be destroyed.

"We show that a vicious positive feedback loop exists in which beta-amyloid drives its own production," says senior author Dr Richard Killick from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN). "We think that once this feedback loop gets out of control it is too late for drugs which target beta-amyloid to be effective, and this could explain why so many Alzheimer's drug trials have failed."

"Our work uncovers the intimate link between synapse loss and beta-amyloid in the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease," says lead author Dr Christina Elliott from the IoPPN. "This is a major step forward in our understanding of the disease and highlights the importance of early therapeutic intervention."

The researchers also found that a protein called Dkk1, which potently stimulates production of beta-amyloid, is central to the positive feedback loop. Previous research by Dr Killick and colleagues identified Dkk1 as a central player in Alzheimer's, and while Dkk1 is barely detectable in the brains of young adults its production increases as we age.

Instead of targeting beta-amyloid itself, the researchers believe targeting Dkk1 could be a better way to halt the progress of Alzheimer's disease by disrupting the vicious cycle of beta-amyloid production and synapse loss.

"Importantly, our work has shown that we may already be in a position to block the feedback loop with a drug called fasudil which is already used in Japan and China for stroke." says Dr Killick. "We have convincingly shown that fasudil can protect synapses and memory in animal models of Alzheimer's, and at the same time reduces the amount of beta-amyloid in the brain."

The researchers found that in mice engineered to develop large deposits of beta-amyloid in their brains as they age, just two weeks of treatment with fasudil dramatically reduced the beta-amyloid deposits.

Researchers at King's College London are now seeking funding to run a trial in early stage sufferers of Alzheimer's to determine if fasudil improves brain health and prevents cognitive decline.

Professor Dag Aarsland from the IoPPN said "As well as being a safe drug, fasudil appears to enter the brain in sufficient quantity to potentially be an effective treatment against beta-amyloid. We now need to move this forward to a clinical trial in people with early stage Alzheimer's disease as soon as possible."

The research was funded by the Medical Research Council.

Story Source:
Materials provided by King's College London. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
Christina Elliott, Ana I. Rojo, Elena Ribe, Martin Broadstock, Weiming Xia, Peter Morin, Mikhail Semenov, George Baillie, Antonio Cuadrado, Raya Al-Shawi, Clive G. Ballard, Paul Simons, Richard Killick. A role for APP in Wnt signalling links synapse loss with β-amyloid production. Translational Psychiatry, 2018; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41398-018-0231-6

Cite This Page:
King's College London. "Discovery could explain failed clinical trials for Alzheimer's, and provide a solution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 September 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180919200332.htm>.

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11 September 2018

Dementia Symptoms Peak in Winter and Spring, Study Finds

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 0
www.trendsnowdays.com
Adults both with and without Alzheimer's disease have better cognition skills in the late summer and early fall than in the winter and spring, according to a new study published this week in PLOS Medicineby Andrew Lim of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the University of Toronto, Canada, and colleagues.



There have been few previous studies concerning the association between season and cognition in older adults. In the new work, researchers analyzed data on 3,353 people enrolled in three different cohort studies in the U.S., Canada, and France. Participants had undergone neuropsychological testing and, for some participants, levels of proteins and genes associated with Alzheimer's disease were available.

The authors found that average cognitive functioning was higher in the summer and fall than the winter and spring, equivalent in cognitive effect to 4.8 years difference in age-related decline. In addition, the odds of meeting the diagnostic criteria for mild cognitive impairment or dementia were higher in the winter and spring (odds ratio 1.31, 95% CI: 1.10-1.57) than summer or fall. The association between season and cognitive function remained significant even when the data was controlled for potential confounders, including depression, sleep, physical activity, and thyroid status. Finally, an association with seasonality was also seen in levels of Alzheimer's-related proteins and genes in cerebrospinal fluid and the brain. However, the study was limited by the fact that each participant was only assessed once per annual cycle, and only included data on individuals from temperate northern-hemisphere regions, not from southern-hemisphere or equatorial regions.

"There may be value in increasing dementia-related clinical resources in the winter and early spring when symptoms are likely to be most pronounced," the authors say. "By shedding light on the mechanisms underlying the seasonal improvement in cognition in the summer and early fall, these findings also open the door to new avenues of treatment for Alzheimer's disease."

Story Source:
Materials provided by PLOS. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
Andrew S. P. Lim, Chris Gaiteri, Lei Yu, Shahmir Sohail, Walter Swardfager, Shinya Tasaki, Julie A. Schneider, Claire Paquet, Donald T. Stuss, Mario Masellis, Sandra E. Black, Jacques Hugon, Aron S. Buchman, Lisa L. Barnes, David A. Bennett, Philip L. De Jager. Seasonal plasticity of cognition and related biological measures in adults with and without Alzheimer disease: Analysis of multiple cohorts. PLOS Medicine, 2018; 15 (9): e1002647 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002647

Cite This Page:
PLOS. "Dementia symptoms peak in winter and spring, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 September 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180904140617.htm>.

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