Latest News in Brain Science

New Substance improves brain function of Alzheimer’s disease

Dated: 28 July 2017

Read More: Dementia: new substance improves brain function

Summary:

Alzheimer’s disease is at this moment an incurable disease and affects 50 million people worldwide. Amyloid beta, which are chunks of organic compounds, that is responsible for Alzheimers. These organic compounds, simply put, are leftovers from when the Amyloid precursor protein is broken down by two enzymes known as Beta-secretase 1 (BACE) and Gamma Secretase.

Recently, scientists from the Technical University of Munich discovered that a substance which inhibit the enzyme, BACE, improves the memory performance and restore normal function of nerve cells in animal models, and that the substance must be given as early as possible. A clinical trial is being planned with 1000 participant and the scientists are hoping that the discoveries found in animal models is also applicable in humans.

New drug found to provide longer relief for Parkinson’s disease sufferers

Dated: 31 July 2017

Read More: New drug may treat and limit progression of Parkinson’s disease

Summary:

Like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease is also an incurable disease. The only difference is that it comes on slowly over time and is manageable through drugs and surgery until the patients develop dementia. As of 2015, it affects 6.2 million people and caused 117,400 deaths globally 1.

Currently, the drugs given to Parkinson’s sufferers are intended to help manage the condition rather than cure. Sufferers need to take multiple medication, multiple times a day.

Researchers at Binghamton University developed a new drug called D-512, which is currently in pre-clinical phase. The new drug has fewer side effects than current drugs such as ropinirole, and last longer when providing relief. The drug itself is also an antioxidant which is important since oxidative stress is a major cause of Parkinson’s disease.

Autistic people are less likely to be surprised by the unexpected

Dated: 31 July 2017

Read More: People with autism are less surprised by the unexpected

Summary:

Normal people tends to get surprised by the unexpected due to their expectations. However, researchers found that autistic people, especially those with more pronounced symptoms, were less surprised when dealing with sudden changes.

Paraphrasing Dr. Lawson, “When we are uncertain about our own beliefs, we are driven more by our senses rather than prior expectations. People with autism may be expecting more volatility and thus it may be the reason why they tend to suffer from sensory overload, and their enhanced perceptual functioning and context insensitivity.”

The study also found that the ability to form expectations was related to the severity of communication problem in autistic people.

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