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.

bldg D.JPG

Flyer

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Autism Like Behaviors in Children Linked to Low Vitamin D Levels in Mothers

Autism Like Behaviors in Children Linked to Low Vitamin D Levels in Mothers

Summary: Researchers have identified a link between low vitamin D levels in pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, and autism like behaviors in their offspring. The study reveals low levels vitamin D in mothers may be associated with altered brain development that can lead to social behavioral deficits in their children.

Source: Society for Endocrinology.

Low levels of vitamin D during pregnancy and breast feeding may be related to an unusual pattern of brain development that can lead to differences in social behaviour of children in later life, according to a study published in the Journal of Endocrinology. Rats with vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy and lactation produced offspring that displayed altered social behaviours in adulthood. Differences in social behaviours are a hallmark of numerous human conditions, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and these findings provide further evidence of the importance of maternal vitamin D levels during pregnancy for brain development of offspring.

ASD is a lifelong condition that ranges in severity and impacts on how individuals interact and communicate with the world. Human studies have found that lower levels of maternal Vitamin D during pregnancy are associated with an increased risk of ASD in children. However, the biological mechanisms underpinning this relationship remain unclear.

To examine how maternal vitamin D levels may influence brain development, Dr Caitlin Wyrwoll and colleagues at the University of Western Australia, assessed alterations in markers of brain function and social behaviours of adult rats, born to mothers that were vitamin D deficient during pregnancy and lactation. They found that rats with vitamin D-deficient mothers displayed abnormal social behaviours, altered brain chemistry and impaired learning and memory.

Dr Caitlin Wyrwoll states, “Our work reinforces that vitamin D levels in early life influence brain development and can impact on how the brain functions in later life.”

pregnant belly

Dr Wyrwoll comments, “We know that early life environment can be a powerful determinant of health outcomes in offspring and, although this is a rat study, these data indicate that vitamin D levels during pregnancy are important for brain development, and may point to a contributing factor in the development of neurodevelopmental conditions, such as ASD. However, further work is needed to establish whether these associations also apply to humans.”

ABOUT THIS NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH ARTICLE

Source: Society for Endocrinology
Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com.
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Open access research for “Vitamin D is crucial for maternal care and offspring social behaviour in rats” by Nathanael J Yates, Dijana Tesic, Kirk W Feindel, Jeremy T Smith, Michael W Clarke, Celeste Wale, Rachael C Crew, Michaela D Wharfe, Andrew J O Whitehouse and Caitlin S Wyrwoll in Journal of Endocrinology. Published online March 2018.
doi:10.1530/JOE-18-0008

CITE THIS NEUROSCIENCENEWS.COM ARTICLE
Society for Endocrinology “Autism Like Behaviors in Children Linked to Low Vitamin D Levels in Mothers.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 26 March 2018.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/vitamin-d-autism-8686/&gt;.

Vitamin D is crucial for maternal care and offspring social behaviour in rats

Early life vitamin D plays a prominent role in neurodevelopment and subsequent brain function, including schizophrenic-like outcomes and increasing evidence for an association with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Here, we investigate how early life vitamin D deficiency during rat pregnancy and lactation alters maternal care and influences neurodevelopment and affective, cognitive and social behaviours in male adult offspring. Sprague–Dawley rats were placed on either a vitamin D control (2195 IU/kg) or deficient diet (0 IU/kg) for five weeks before timed mating, and diet exposure was maintained until weaning of offspring on postnatal day (PND) 23. MRI scans were conducted to assess brain morphology, and plasma corticosterone levels and neural expression of genes associated with language, dopamine and glucocorticoid exposure were characterised at PND1, PND12 and 4 months of age. Compared to controls, vitamin D-deficient dams exhibited decreased licking and grooming of their pups but no differences in pup retrieval. Offspring neurodevelopmental markers were unaltered, but vitamin D-deficient pup ultrasonic vocalisations were atypical. As adults, males that had been exposed to vitamin D deficiency in early life exhibited decreased social behaviour, impaired learning and memory outcomes and increased grooming behaviour, but unaltered affective behaviours. Accompanying these behavioural changes was an increase in lateral ventricle volume, decreased cortical FOXP2 (a protein implicated in language and communication) and altered neural expression of genes involved in dopamine and glucocorticoid-related pathways. These data highlight that early life levels of vitamin D are an important consideration for maternal behavioural adaptations as well as offspring neuropsychiatry.

Acetaminophen use during pregnancy linked to increased risk of behavioral problems in kids

The image shows a section of the sheet music score for The Music of Bohemia.

MUSIC’S ROLE IN REDUCING STRESS FOR CANCER PATIENTS

A new study is to investigate whether music affects the health of cancer patients by soothing them and making them less anxious. Depending on the outcomes, future research could hone in on how much anxiety levels decreased after music therapy and how reduced anxiety affects a patient’s recovery time, complications and willingness to comply with treatment.  READ MORE…

Possible Roots of Schizophrenia Uncovered

Possible Roots of Schizophrenia Uncovered

Summary: Researchers report increased levels of methionine during pregnancy can alter the expression of genes linked to schizophrenia in offspring.

Source: UC Irvine.

Excess of methionine during pregnancy alters prenatal brain development related to the psychiatric disease.

An abundance of an amino acid called methionine, which is common in meat, cheese and beans, may provide new clues to the fetal brain development that can manifest in schizophrenia, University of California, Irvine pharmacology researchers report in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

The findings point to the role methionine overload can play during pregnancy and suggest that targeting the effects of this amino acid may lead to new antipsychotic drugs.

The UCI study also provides detailed information on the neural developmental mechanisms of the methionine effect, which results in changes in the expression of several genes important to healthy brain growth and, in particular, to one linked to schizophrenia in humans.

Amal Alachkar and colleagues based their approach on studies from the 1960s and 1970s in which schizophrenic patients injected with methionine experienced worsened symptoms. Knowing that schizophrenia is a developmental disorder, the UCI team hypothesized that administering three times the normal daily input of methionine to pregnant mice may produce pups that have also schizophrenia-like deficits, which is what occurred.

The pups of the injected mothers displayed deficits in nine different tests encompassing the three schizophrenia-like symptoms behaviors – “positive” symptoms of overactivity and stereotypy, “negative” symptoms of human interaction deficits, and “cognitive impairments” memory loss.

Image shows the chemical  structure of methionine.

The research team treated the mice with anti-schizophrenic drugs well used in therapy. A drug that in schizophrenics treats mostly the positive symptoms (haloperidol) did the same in the mice, and a drug that treat preferentially the negative symptoms and the cognitive impairments (clozapine) did the same.

Alachkar, an associate adjunct professor of pharmacology, said that the study is the first to present a mouse model based on methionine-influenced neural development that leads to schizophrenic-like behaviors.

“This mouse model provides much broader detail of biological processes of schizophrenia and thus reflect much better the disorder than in the animal models presently widely used in drug discovery,” said Olivier Civelli, chair and professor of pharmacology and an author on the paper.

“Our study also agrees with the saying, ‘we are what our mothers ate’,” Alachkar added. “Methionine is one of the building blocks of proteins. It is not synthesized by our bodies, and it needs to be ingested. Our study points at the very important role of excess dietary methionine during pregnancy in fetal development, which might have a long-lasting influence on the offspring. This is a very exciting area of research that we hope can be explored in greater depth.”

ABOUT THIS NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH ARTICLE

Funding: The study received support from the National Institutes of Health (DA024746), the UCI’s Center for Autism Research & Translation, the Eric L and Lila D Nelson Chair of Neuropharmacology, and the Institute of International Education.

Source: Tom Vasich – UC Irvine
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research:Abstract for “Prenatal one-carbon metabolism dysregulation programs schizophrenia-like deficits” by A Alachkar, L Wang, R Yoshimura, A R Hamzeh, Z Wang, N Sanathara, S M Lee, X Xu, G W Abbott and O Civelli in Molecular Psychiatry. Published online August 15 2017 doi:10.1038/mp.2017.164

UC Irvine “Possible Roots of Schizophrenia Uncovered.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 16 August 2017.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/schizophrenia-roots-brain-development-7315/&gt;.

Abstract

Prenatal one-carbon metabolism dysregulation programs schizophrenia-like deficits

The methionine-folate cycle-dependent one-carbon metabolism is implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Since schizophrenia is a developmental disorder, we examined the effects that perturbation of the one-carbon metabolism during gestation has on mice progeny.

Pregnant mice were administered methionine equivalent to double their daily intake during the last week of gestation.

Their progeny (MET mice) exhibited schizophrenia-like social deficits, cognitive impairments and elevated stereotypy, decreased neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity, and abnormally reduced local excitatory synaptic connections in CA1 neurons.

Neural transcript expression of only one gene, encoding the Npas4 transcription factor, was >twofold altered (downregulated) in MET mice; strikingly, similar Npas4 downregulation occurred in the prefrontal cortex of human patients with schizophrenia.

Finally, therapeutic actions of typical (haloperidol) and atypical (clozapine) antipsychotics in MET mice mimicked effects in human schizophrenia patients. Our data support the validity of MET mice as a model for schizophrenia, and uncover methionine metabolism as a potential preventive and/or therapeutic target.

“Prenatal one-carbon metabolism dysregulation programs schizophrenia-like deficits” by A Alachkar, L Wang, R Yoshimura, A R Hamzeh, Z Wang, N Sanathara, S M Lee, X Xu, G W Abbott and O Civelli in Molecular Psychiatry. Published online August 15 2017 doi:10.1038/mp.2017.164


Toxicity of methionine in humans.

Abstract

The literature has been searched to identify evidence relating to the possible toxicity of the amino acid methionine in human subjects.

Nutritional and metabolic studies have employed amounts of methionine, including the d and dl isomers, both below and above the requirement and have not reported adverse effects in adults and children.

Although methionine is known to exacerbate psychopathological symptoms in schizophrenic patients, there is no evidence of similar effects in healthy subjects. The role of methionine as a precursor of homocysteine is the most notable cause for concern.

A “loading dose” of methionine (0.1 g/kg) has been given, and the resultant acute increase in plasma homocysteine has been used as an index of the susceptibility to cardiovascular disease. Although this procedure results in vascular dysfunction, this is acute and unlikely to result in permanent damage.

However, a 10-fold larger dose, given mistakenly, resulted in death. Longer-term studies in adults have indicated no adverse consequences of moderate fluctuations in dietary methionine intake, but intakes higher than 5 times normal resulted in elevated homocysteine levels. These effects of methionine on homocysteine and vascular function are moderated by supplements of vitamins B-6, B-12, C, and folic acid. In infants, methionine intakes of 2-5 times normal resulted in impaired growth and extremely high plasma methionine levels, but no adverse long-term consequences were observed.

When Lovers Touch, Their Breathing and Heartbeat Syncs While Pain Wanes

Summary: Study explores how interpersonal synchronization could help to decrease pain.

Source: University of Colorado at Boulder.

Fathers-to-be, take note: You may be more useful in the labor and delivery room than you realize.

That’s one takeaway from a study released last week that found that when an empathetic partner holds the hand of a woman in pain, their heart and respiratory rates sync and her pain dissipates.

“The more empathic the partner and the stronger the analgesic effect, the higher the synchronization between the two when they are touching,” said lead author Pavel Goldstein, a postdoctoral pain researcher in the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab at CU Boulder.

The study of 22 couples, published in the journal Scientific Reports last week, is the latest in a growing body of research on “interpersonal synchronization,” the phenomenon in which individuals begin to physiologically mirror the people they’re with.

Scientists have long known that people subconsciously sync their footsteps with the person they’re walking with or adjust their posture to mirror a friend’s during conversation. Recent studies also show that when people watch an emotional movie or sing together, their heart rates and respiratory rhythms synchronize. When leaders and followers have a good rapport, their brainwaves fall into a similar pattern. And when romantic couples are simply in each other’s presence, their cardiorespiratory and brainwave patterns sync up, research has shown.

The new study, co-written with University of Haifa Professor Simone Shamay-Tsoory and Assistant Professor Irit Weissman-Fogel, is the first to explore interpersonal synchronization in the context of pain and touch. The authors hope it can inform the discussion as health care providers seek opioid-free pain relief options.

Goldstein came up with the idea after witnessing the birth of his daughter, now 4.

“My wife was in pain, and all I could think was, ‘What can I do to help her?’ I reached for her hand and it seemed to help,” he recalls. “I wanted to test it out in the lab: Can one really decrease pain with touch, and if so, how?”

Goldstein recruited 22 long-term heterosexual couples, age 23 to 32, and put them through a series of tests aimed at mimicking that delivery-room scenario.

Men were assigned the role of observer; women the pain target. As instruments measured their heart and breathing rates, they: sat together, not touching; sat together holding hands; or sat in separate rooms. Then they repeated all three scenarios as the woman was subjected to a mild heat pain on her forearm for 2 minutes.

As in previous trials, the study showed couples synced physiologically to some degree just sitting together. But when she was subjected to pain and he couldn’t touch her, that synchronization was severed. When he was allowed to hold her hand, their rates fell into sync again and her pain decreased.

“It appears that pain totally interrupts this interpersonal synchronization between couples,” Goldstein said. “Touch brings it back.”

Goldstein’s previous research found that the more empathy the man showed for the woman (as measured in other tests), the more her pain subsided during touch. The more physiologically synchronized they were, the less pain she felt.

It’s not clear yet whether decreased pain is causing increased synchronicity, or vice versa.

“It could be that touch is a tool for communicating empathy, resulting in an analgesic, or pain-killing, effect,” said Goldstein.

Image shows a painting of lovers embracing.

Further research is necessary to figure out how a partner’s touch eases pain. Goldstein suspects interpersonal synchronization may play a role, possibly by affecting an area of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex, which is associated with pain perception, empathy, and heart and respiratory function.

The study did not explore whether the same effect would occur with same-sex couples, or what happens when the man is the subject of pain. Goldstein did measure brainwave activity and plans to present those results in a future study.

He hopes the research will help lend scientific credence to the notion that touch can ease pain.

For now, he has some advice for partners in the delivery room: Be ready and available to hold your partner’s hand.

ABOUT THIS NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH ARTICLE

Funding: Funding provided by Binational Science Foundation.

Source: Lisa Ann Marshall – University of Colorado at Boulder
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Full open access research for “The role of touch in regulating inter-partner physiological coupling during empathy for pain” by Pavel Goldstein, Irit Weissman-Fogel & Simone G. Shamay-Tsoory in Scientific Reports. Published online June 12 2017 doi:10.1038/s41598-017-03627-7

CITE THIS NEUROSCIENCENEWS.COM ARTICLE
University of Colorado at Boulder “When Lovers Touch, Their Breathing and Heartbeat Syncs While Pain Wanes.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 20 June 2017.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/empathy-neurobiology-lovers-6951/&gt;.

Abstract

The role of touch in regulating inter-partner physiological coupling during empathy for pain

The human ability to synchronize with other individuals is critical for the development of social behavior. Recent research has shown that physiological inter-personal synchronization may underlie behavioral synchrony. Nevertheless, the factors that modulate physiological coupling are still largely unknown. Here we suggest that social touch and empathy for pain may enhance interpersonal physiological coupling. Twenty-two romantic couples were assigned the roles of target (pain receiver) and observer (pain observer) under pain/no-pain and touch/no-touch conditions, and their ECG and respiration rates were recorded. The results indicate that the partner touch increased interpersonal respiration coupling under both pain and no-pain conditions and increased heart rate coupling under pain conditions. In addition, physiological coupling was diminished by pain in the absence of the partner’s touch. Critically, we found that high partner’s empathy and high levels of analgesia enhanced coupling during the partner’s touch. Collectively, the evidence indicates that social touch increases interpersonal physiological coupling during pain. Furthermore, the effects of touch on cardio-respiratory inter-partner coupling may contribute to the analgesic effects of touch via the autonomic nervous system.

“The role of touch in regulating inter-partner physiological coupling during empathy for pain” by Pavel Goldstein, Irit Weissman-Fogel & Simone G. Shamay-Tsoory in Scientific Reports. Published online June 12 2017 doi:10.1038/s41598-017-03627-7