Keeping our brain healthy from birth to 100

Keeping our brain healthy from birth to 100

December 1,2018 at JCC in Palo Alto California

Speakers and event sponsors are welcome. All older adults are invited.

2-5pm, Bldg D room

Tips for healthy brain

Other speakers:
Connie Dello Buono – Health blogger and Motherhealth caregivers founder at www.clubalthea.com

Contact motherhealth@gmail.com for details or text 408-854-1883

Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, Room in Building D.

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Flyer

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Vagus Nerve Stimulation Boosts Post-Stroke Motor Skill Recovery

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Boosts Post-Stroke Motor Skill Recovery

Summary: Vagus nerve stimulation coupled with physical therapy following a stroke can significantly help to boost motor skill recovery, researchers report.

Source: University of Texas at Dallas.

Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas have demonstrated a method to accelerate motor skill recovery after a stroke by helping the brain reorganize itself more quickly.

In a preclinical study, the scientists paired vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) with a physical therapy task aimed at improving the function of an upper limb in rodents. The results showed a doubled long-term recovery rate relative to current therapy methods, not only in the targeted task but also in similar muscle movements that were not specifically rehabbed. Their work was recently published in the journal Stroke.

A clinical trial to test the technique in humans is underway in Dallas and 15 other sites across the country.

Dr. Michael Kilgard, associate director of the Texas Biomedical Device Center (TxBDC) and Margaret Forde Jonsson Professor of Neuroscience in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, led the research team with Dr. Seth Hays, the TxBDC director of preclinical research and assistant professor of bioengineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, and postdoctoral researcher Eric Meyers PhD’17.

“Our experiment was designed to ask this new question: After a stroke, do you have to rehabilitate every single action?” Kilgard said. “If VNS helps you, is it only helping with the exact motion or function you paired with stimulation? What we found was that it also improves similar motor skills as well, and that those results were sustained months beyond the completion of VNS-paired therapy.”

Kilgard said the results provide an important step toward creating guidelines for standardized usage of VNS for post-stroke therapy.

“This study tells us that if we use this approach on complicated motor skills, those improvements can filter down to improve simpler movements,” he said.

Building Stronger Cell Connections

When a stroke occurs, nerve cells in the brain can die due to lack of blood flow. An arm’s or a leg’s motor skills fail because, though the nerve cells in the limb are fine, there’s no longer a connection between them and the brain. Established rehab methods bypass the brain’s damaged area and enlist other brain cells to handle the lost functions. However, there aren’t many neurons to spare, so the patient has a long-lasting movement deficit.

The vagus nerve controls the parasympathetic nervous system, which oversees elements of many unconscious body functions, including digestion and circulation. Electrical stimulation of the nerve is achieved via an implanted device in the neck. Already used in humans to treat depression and epilepsy, VNS is a well-documented technique for fine-tuning brain function.

The UT Dallas study’s application of VNS strengthens the communication path to the neurons that are taking over for those damaged by stroke. The experiments showed a threefold-to-fivefold increase in engaged neurons when adding VNS to rehab.

“We have long hypothesized that VNS is making new connections in the brain, but nothing was known for sure,” Hays said. “This is the first evidence that we are driving changes in the brain in animals after brain injury. It’s a big step forward in understanding how the therapy works — this reorganization that we predicted would underlie the benefits of VNS.”

In anticipation of the technique’s eventual use in humans, the team is working on an at-home rehab system targeting the upper limbs.

“We’ve designed a tablet app outlining hand and arm tasks for patients to interact with, delivering VNS as needed,” Meyers said. “We can very precisely assess their performance and monitor recovery remotely. This is all doable at home.”

Expanding the Possibilities for Therapy

The researchers are motivated in part by an understanding of the practical limitations of current therapeutic options for patients.

“If you have a stroke, you may have a limited time with a therapist,” Hays said. “So when we create guidelines for a therapist, we now know to advise doing one complex activity as many times as possible, as opposed to a variety of activities. That was an important finding — it was exciting that not only do we improve the task that we trained on, but also relatively similar tasks. You are getting generalization to related things, and you’re getting sustained improvement months down the line.”

vns

For stroke patients, the opportunity to benefit from this technology may not be far off.

“A clinical trial that started here at UTD is now running nationwide, including at UT Southwestern,” Kilgard said. “They are recruiting patients. People in Dallas can enroll now — which is only fitting, because this work developed here, down to publishing this in a journal of the American Heart Association, which is based here in Dallas. This is a homegrown effort.

“The ongoing clinical trial is the last step in getting approved as an established therapy,” Kilgard said. “We’re hopefully within a year of having this be standard practice for chronic stroke.”

ABOUT THIS NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH ARTICLE

Funding: his research was funded by the National Institutes of Health. Other UT Dallas researchers involved include Dr. Robert Rennaker, director of the TxBDC, Texas Instruments Distinguished Chair in Bioengineering and chairman of the Department of Bioengineering; research assistant and Green Fellow Elaine S. Lai, research assistant Bleyda R. Solorzano BS’14 and neuroscience senior Justin James.

Source: Stephen Fontenot – University of Texas at Dallas
Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com.
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to Manu5. Licensed CC BY SA 4.0.
Original Research: Abstract for “Vagus Nerve Stimulation Enhances Stable Plasticity and Generalization of Stroke Recovery” by Eric C. Meyers, Bleyda R. Solorzano, Justin James, Patrick D. Ganzer, Elaine S. Lai, Robert L. Rennaker, Michael P. Kilgard, Sand eth A. Hays in Stroke. Published online January 25 2018.
doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.117.019202

 

University of Texas at Dallas “Vagus Nerve Stimulation Boosts Post-Stroke Motor Skill Recovery.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 28 March 2018.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/stroke-motor-skill-vn-8703/&gt;.

Abstract

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Enhances Stable Plasticity and Generalization of Stroke Recovery

Background and Purpose—Chronic impairment of the arm and hand is a common consequence of stroke. Animal and human studies indicate that brief bursts of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) in conjunction with rehabilitative training improve recovery of motor function after stroke. In this study, we tested whether VNS could promote generalization, long-lasting recovery, and structural plasticity in motor networks.

Methods—Rats were trained on a fully automated, quantitative task that measures forelimb supination. On task proficiency, unilateral cortical and subcortical ischemic lesions were administered. One week after ischemic lesion, rats were randomly assigned to receive 6 weeks of rehabilitative training on the supination task with or without VNS. Rats then underwent 4 weeks of testing on a task assessing forelimb strength to test generalization of recovery. Finally, the durability of VNS benefits was tested on the supination task 2 months after the cessation of VNS. After the conclusion of behavioral testing, viral tracing was performed to assess synaptic connectivity in motor networks.

Results—VNS enhances plasticity in corticospinal motor networks to increase synaptic connectivity to musculature of the rehabilitated forelimb. Adding VNS more than doubled the benefit of rehabilitative training, and the improvements lasted months after the end of VNS. Pairing VNS with supination training also significantly improved performance on a similar, but untrained task that emphasized volitional forelimb strength, suggesting generalization of forelimb recovery.

Conclusions—This study provides the first evidence that VNS paired with rehabilitative training after stroke (1) doubles long-lasting recovery on a complex task involving forelimb supination, (2) doubles recovery on a simple motor task that was not paired with VNS, and (3) enhances structural plasticity in motor networks.


Connie’s comments at http://www.clubalthea.com

Observations with one of our clients (65 yr old female hispanic) where we sent caregivers for her to help with daily living after a stroke:

We massage (softer in the neck) her head, neck, legs and arms with rosemary and coconut oil. We serve soup daily. We ensured that when she walked , we are at her side. We taught her to move her legs in sitting position. Calming music and soft lights are used.

We ensured that family members give her a hug and kiss and avoid fights and verbal abuse.

She is thriving slowly.

If she was my mom, I would buy whole foods rich in folate and Vitamin B complex, probiotic, CQ10 and omega 3 supplements , sunshine exposure early morn and late afternoon, clean water, and a routine with less clutter, obstruction, confusion and calming environment.

And to remind her deep breathing exercises and bed exercises similar to Pilates.

Email motherhealth@gmail.com as your health coach ($500 per year, family plan) and to order essential supplements for your heart delivered at your door monthly from Life Extension. Paypal conniedbuono@gmail.com or mail check at 1708 Hallmark Lane San Jose CA 95124. Chase Bank is still processing our merchant service account.

Massage oil tips

Caregivers, massage therapists, physical therapists and families can create their own massage oil based on the current health issues of the client.

Massage stroke: One motion, downward or upward. Circular in the abdomen.

Top base oil (90% of the mixture): coconut oil, avocado oil, apricot oil, castor oil and almond oil

Top essential oils (5-10% of the mixture): eucalyptus, rosemary, tea tree, spearmint, lemon grass, peppermint, ginger, thyme, lemon

Email Connie at motherhealth@gmail.com for any questions or suggestions.

 

Kidney health

Mix a base of coconut oil and add eucalyptus essential oil (anti-fungal properties) to the massage oil mix. In downward motion, press lightly from top of lungs to the buttocks. Massage lower legs and feet.

Sprain and strain in joints and muscles

Mix turmeric powder, rosemary and eucalyptus essential oil to base of coconut or apricot oil. Spend more time to do light massage to let oil absorbed by the skin. You can also add Vitamin C powder and MSM.

Immune system, heart and lungs

Any oil combo can be used to massage armpit and inner thigh. Add peppermint or spearmint to aid in lung function. Add garlic, ginger , fish oil , Vitamin E and CQ10 gel (from capsule).

Free massage oil tips training for rehab facilities in the bay area. Call 408-854-1883

Story: My grandma from Pototan Iloilo uses a massage mix of coconut, salt, garlic, ginger, oregano leaves and other herbs. She died at 94 from poor nutrition. She worked hard during her early years as farmer, seamstress, cook and massage therapist for her family of 6 children and 30 grandchildren.

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Nurture is every influence from without that affects man after his birth

Summary: A new study reveals a diverse array of genetic changes that occur in the brain following sensory experiences.

Source: Harvard.

“Nature and nurture is a convenient jingle of words, for it separates under two distinct heads the innumerable elements of which personality is composed. Nature is all that a man brings with himself into the world; nurture is every influence from without that affects him after his birth.” – Francis Galton, cousin of Charles Darwin, 1874.

Is it nature or nurture that ultimately shapes a human? Are actions and behaviors a result of genes or environment? Variations of these questions have been explored by countless philosophers and scientists across millennia. Yet, as biologists continue to better understand the mechanisms that underlie brain function, it is increasingly apparent that this long-debated dichotomy may be no dichotomy at all.

In a study published in Nature Neuroscience on Jan. 21, neuroscientists and systems biologists from Harvard Medical School reveal just how inexorably interwoven nature and nurture are in the mouse brain. Using novel technologies developed at HMS, the team looked at how a single sensory experience affects gene expression in the brain by analyzing more than 114,000 individual cells in the mouse visual cortex before and after exposure to light.

Their findings revealed a dramatic and diverse landscape of gene expression changes across all cell types, involving 611 different genes, many linked to neural connectivity and the brain’s ability to rewire itself to learn and adapt.

The results offer insights into how bursts of neuronal activity that last only milliseconds trigger lasting changes in the brain, and open new fields of exploration for efforts to understand how the brain works.

“What we found is, in a sense, amazing. In response to visual stimulation, virtually every cell in the visual cortex is responding in a different way,” said co-senior author Michael Greenberg, the Nathan Marsh Pusey Professor of Neurobiology and chair of the Department of Neurobiology at HMS.

“This in essence addresses the long-asked question about nature and nurture: Is it genes or environment? It’s both, and this is how they come together,” he said.

One out of many

Neuroscientists have known that stimuli–sensory experiences such as touch or sound, metabolic changes, injury and other environmental experiences–can trigger the activation of genetic programs within the brain.

Composed of a vast array of different cells, the brain depends on a complex orchestra of cellular functions to carry out its tasks. Scientists have long sought to understand how individual cells respond to various stimuli. However, due to technological limitations, previous genetic studies largely focused on mixed populations of cells, obscuring critical nuances in cellular behavior.

To build a more comprehensive picture, Greenberg teamed with co-corresponding author Bernardo Sabatini, the Alice and Rodman W. Moorhead III Professor of Neurobiology at HMS, and Allon Klein, assistant professor of systems biology at HMS.

Spearheaded by co-lead authors Sinisa Hrvatin, a postdoctoral fellow in the Greenberg lab, Daniel Hochbaum, a postdoctoral fellow in the Sabatini lab and M. Aurel Nagy, an MD-PhD student in the Greenberg lab, the researchers first housed mice in complete darkness to quiet the visual cortex, the area of the brain that controls vision.

They then exposed the mice to light and studied how it affected genes within the brain. Using technology developed by the Klein lab known as inDrops, they tracked which genes got turned on or off in tens of thousands of individual cells before and after light exposure.

The team found significant changes in gene expression after light exposure in all cell types in the visual cortex–both neurons and, unexpectedly, nonneuronal cells such as astrocytes, macrophages and muscle cells that line blood vessels in the brain.

Roughly 50 to 70 percent of excitatory neurons, for example, exhibited changes regardless of their location or function. Remarkably, the authors said, a large proportion of non-neuronal cells–almost half of all astrocytes, for example–also exhibited changes.

The team identified thousands of genes with altered expression patterns after light exposure, and 611 genes that had at least two-fold increases or decreases.

Many of these genes have been previously linked to structural remodeling in the brain, suggesting that virtually the entire visual cortex, including the vasculature and muscle cell types, may undergo genetically controlled rewiring in response to a sensory experience.

There has been some controversy among neuroscientists over whether gene expression could functionally control plasticity or connectivity between neurons.

“I think our study strongly suggests that this is the case, and that each cell has a unique genetic program that’s tailored to the function of a given cell within a neural circuit,” Greenberg said.

Question goldmine

These findings open a wide range of avenues for further study, the authors said. For example, how genetic programs affect the function of specific cell types, how they vary early or later in life and how dysfunction in these programs might contribute to disease, all of which could help scientists learn more about the fundamental workings of the brain.

“Experience and environmental stimuli appear to almost constantly affect gene expression and function throughout the brain. This may help us to understand how processes such as learning and memory formation, which require long-term changes in the brain, arise from the short bursts of electrical activity through which neurons signal to each other,” Greenberg said.

brainbow of the cerebral cortex

One especially interesting area of inquiry, according to Greenberg, includes the regulatory elements that control the expression of genes in response to sensory experience. In a paper published earlier this year in Molecular Cell, he and his team explored the activity of the FOS/JUN protein complex, which is expressed across many different cell types in the brain but appears to regulate unique programs in each different cell type.

Identifying the regulatory elements that control gene expression is critical because they may account for differences in brain function from one human to another, and may also underlie disorders such as autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disease, the researchers said.

“We’re sitting on a goldmine of questions that can help us better understand how the brain works,” Greenberg said. “And there is a whole field of exploration waiting to be tapped.”

ABOUT THIS NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH ARTICLE

Additional authors on the study include Marcelo Cicconet, Keiramarie Robertson, Lucas Cheadle, Rapolas Zilionis, Alex Ratner and Rebeca Borges-Monroy.

Funding: This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (R01NS028829, R01NS046579, T32GM007753, R33CA212697, 5T32AG000222-23), F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., the William F. Milton Fund, a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award and an Edward J. Mallinckrodt Scholarship.

Source: Ekaterina Pesheva – Harvard
Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com.
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to Lichtman Lab, Harvard University.
Original Research: Abstract in Nature Neuroscience.
DOI:10.1038/s41593-017-0029-5

CITE THIS NEUROSCIENCENEWS.COM ARTICLE
Harvard “Nature, Meet Nurture.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 8 February 2018.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/genetic-nature-experience-8455/&gt;.

Abstract

Single-cell analysis of experience-dependent transcriptomic states in the mouse visual cortex

Activity-dependent transcriptional responses shape cortical function. However, a comprehensive understanding of the diversity of these responses across the full range of cortical cell types, and how these changes contribute to neuronal plasticity and disease, is lacking. To investigate the breadth of transcriptional changes that occur across cell types in the mouse visual cortex after exposure to light, we applied high-throughput single-cell RNA sequencing. We identified significant and divergent transcriptional responses to stimulation in each of the 30 cell types characterized, thus revealing 611 stimulus-responsive genes. Excitatory pyramidal neurons exhibited inter- and intralaminar heterogeneity in the induction of stimulus-responsive genes. Non-neuronal cells showed clear transcriptional responses that may regulate experience-dependent changes in neurovascular coupling and myelination. Together, these results reveal the dynamic landscape of the stimulus-dependent transcriptional changes occurring across cell types in the visual cortex; these changes are probably critical for cortical function and may be sites of deregulation in developmental brain disorders.

 


Connie’s comments:

I massaged my babies after birth before each bath and even up to now when they are sick. I train all caregivers to massage home-bound older adults or seniors needing 24/7 care.

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Knee pain relief

kneeExercise, good shoes, nutrition (sulfur rich foods) and adequate sleep.

Safer, and very effective, options to help relieve joint pain include:

  • Eggshell membrane: The eggshell membrane is the unique protective barrier between the egg white and the mineralized eggshell. The membrane contains elastin, a protein that supports cartilage health, and collagen, a fibrous protein that supports cartilage and connective tissue strength and elasticity.

    It also contains transforming growth factor-b, a protein that supports tissue rejuvenation, along with other amino acids and structural components that support the stability and flexibility of your joints by providing them with the building blocks needed to build cartilage.

  • Hyaluronic acid (HA): Hyaluronic acid is a key component of your cartilage, responsible for moving nutrients into your cells and moving waste out. One of its most important biological functions is the retention of water… second only to providing nutrients and removing waste from cells that lack a direct blood supply, such as cartilage cells.

    Unfortunately, the process of normal aging reduces the amount of HA synthesized by your body. Oral hyaluronic acid supplementation may effectively help most people cushion their joints after just 2 to 4 months.

  • Boswellia: Also known as boswellin or “Indian frankincense,” this Indian herb is one treatment I’ve found to be particularly useful against arthritic inflammation and associated pain. With sustained use, boswellia may help maintain steady blood flow to your joints, supporting your joint tissues’ ability to boost flexibility and strength.
  • Turmeric / curcumin: A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that taking turmeric extracts each day for six weeks was just as effective as ibuprofen for relieving knee osteoarthritis pain. This is most likely related to the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin — the pigment that gives the turmeric spice its yellow-orange color.
  • Animal-based omega-3 fats: These are excellent for arthritis because omega-3s are well known to help reduce inflammation. Look for a high-quality, animal-based source such as krill oil.
  • Astaxanthin: An anti-inflammatory antioxidant that affects a wide range of inflammation mediators, but in a gentler, less concentrated manner and without the negative side effects associated with steroidal and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. And it works for a high percentage of people. In one study, more than 80 percent of arthritis sufferers improved with astaxanthin.

How do we provide comfort to our seniors in pain?

It has been 5 weeks that I and other caregivers are taking care of a 92 year old with Dementia, leg and knee pain and depression. After 5 weeks, she grimaces less and complain less of pain as we provide comforting words and massages to her. She likes the hugs and comforting words as she lives alone , feeling like abandoned for many years.

We use all kinds of massage oil from coconut oil with fresh ginger and turmeric powder to Desitin, as she is bed-ridden and can be prone to bed sores. Sunlight is very important to her to remove her blues and move her from bed to wheelchair with exercise. It warms her body and she loves to be in the sun.

We are hoping to help her live for 10 more years as she is unmedicated. We cook gourmet meals from healthy soups, scrambled eggs with lots of onions and garlic. She does not like to eat sugar and eats in small servings.

Now she is triving and able to live with less pain in her knees and legs as we massage her 3x a day. Call 408-854-1883 for loving caregivers who massage your seniors and provide real comfort, free from pain and uses holistic care.

We ensure she has turmeric and ginger capsules and Vitamin B complex. We also have calcium and magnesium and melatonin to help her sleep. She has no constipation.

For quality supplementation , AGELOC family of products and Lifepak, visit:

http://www.clubalthea.pxproducts.com

Vitamin B complex helps relieve pain.

Benfothiamine – Benfotiamine reduces elevated levels of intracellular glucose and alters the body’s biochemical response to the toxic breakdown products of excess sugar. It is helpful for those suffering from neuropathy because B vitamin is crucial for repairing nerve damage.
Riboflavin – Our bodies need vitamin B2 or riboflavin to help break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. It plays a vital role in maintaining the body’s energy supply. It also helps in the regeneration of glutathione; an enzyme that rids the body of free radicals alleviating glucose related stress conditions and chronic fatigue.
Rutin – Rutin is a bioflavanoid with strong antioxidant properties.
It also nutritionally supports the pancreas and helps other B vitamins do their job, making an all rounded dietary supplement to boost nerve function and regeneration.
Vitamin B6 – B6 is essential for the proper function of sugars, fats, and proteins in the body. It is also required for the proper growth and development of the brain, nerves, skin, and many other parts of the body. So vital to your health!
Vitamin B12 – Is needed for healthy nerve cell activity and DNA replication that is found in clinically advised amounts in Neurabic. Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that keeps your nerves and red blood cells healthy. It is possible for the body to develop a vitamin B12 deficiency. This deficiency is usually reported with symptoms of fatigue.
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) – Involved in metabolic pathways that influence weight control and plays a crucial role in regulating energy metabolism and metabolizing fats and carbohydrates. Vitamin B5 is also important in maintaining a healthy digestive tract, and it helps the body use other vitamins, particularly B2 or riboflavin.
Acetyl – L – Carnitine – Used by your body to support healthy nerve fibers, it works in alleviating symptoms, particularly nerve related pain and pain from touch. Acetyl-L-Caritine also helps the body turn fat into energy.
Gingko Biloba – Has amazing qualities exhibiting anti-diabetic activities in a variety of clinical studies. Ginkgo has shown to help people who experience leg pain when they walk due to poor bloodflow, allowing them to walk farther. Ginkgo biloba has been used medicinally for thousands of years which has remarkable healing virtues that have been recorded as far back as 2800B.C
Choline – Choline (2-hydroxy-N,N,N-trimethylethanaminium) is a water soluble nutrient that is closely related to the B complex of Vitamins. While your body naturally makes a small amount of this compound, we require external sources from our diet and supplements in order to meet our daily needs.
Inositol – When combined with choline, Inositol helps in relieving mild symptoms of hypertension and improves nerve transmission. This is particularly important for patients suffering from neuropathy having damaged nerves thus interfering with critical signals causing considerable pain and discomfort.
Niacin – Niacin, also called vitamin B-3, is a vitamin your body needs for a variety of functions, especially the metabolism of energy from food. Niacin is water-soluble, so your body cannot store it and you need to make sure you get enough every day. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, a niacin deficiency is called pellagra, and it can result in nerve damage that causes neurological symptoms. Without enough niacin, your nerves are unable to maintain healthy functions, leaving your nervous system susceptible to damage. A chronic deficiency in niacin leading to widespread nerve damage can result in a variety of symptoms in addition to peripheral neuropathy symptoms, including headaches, fatigue and memory loss.

 

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