01/02/2023, 09:15 AM | Being overweight causes brain mass to decrease with age
Obese people and people with Alzheimer’s disease show similar patterns of tissue decline in the brain. This is the conclusion reached by a study by Canadian neuroscientists. They took samples from 1,300 people and compared the extent of gray matter decline in the brain of obese and normal-weight people. Obesity has been shown to lead to a similar thinning of gray matter in the cerebral cortex as in Alzheimer’s disease. Dilution may be one of the causes of dementia symptoms. The researchers concluded that aggressive weight reduction can also slow the decline in cognitive performance and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
01/02/2023, 07:05 | Esophageal cancer: Robotic assistance during surgery increases the chances of cure
In esophageal cancer, esophageal resection with chemotherapy is an important factor in potential treatment. Dresden researchers have now discovered that robotic assistance can reduce the risk of excessive reduction in muscle mass (sarcopenia).
In the study, data on 168 patients with oesophageal cancer who had their esophagus removed surgically at the University Hospital Dresden between 2013 and 2020 were analysed. Half underwent open surgery, while the other half underwent minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgery. The latter method showed a significantly lower propensity for sarcopenia.
01/31/2023, 3:11 PM | Breast cancer patients are less likely to be exposed to radiation at age 70 than at age 69
In breast cancer treatment, the age jump from 69 to 70 seems to make a big difference. According to a US study using data from 500,000 patients, women age 69 were 53 percent more likely to be exposed to radiation after the recommended two surgeries than they were 70. They were 39 percent more likely to receive radiation.
The researchers did not find any similar differences, for example between 68 and 69 or 70 and 71 years old. Study author Susan B.
The researchers say that, in contrast to the recommendations for a gradual reduction in some treatments with age, there appears to be a sharp decline in these therapies from ages 69 to 70. They demand that future physicians, when making decisions about medical measures, pay more attention to a patient’s condition rather than merely classifying them as “older” or “younger”.
01/31/2023, 3:11 PM | Rembrandt’s Night Watch: Unusual lead compound discovered
During an extensive research project on Rembrandt van Rijn’s painting The Night Watch, experts discovered a key compound not found in historical oil paintings before. This is lead formate, the salt of formic acid. With Plumponakrite, the researchers also found another rare lead compound.
The results of the study provide new information on Rembrandt’s painting practices. For example, an oil-drying agent for paint was apparently made by heating linseed oil, the most common binder for paint at the time, with lead oxide. The research team now wants to investigate the composition and stability of lead formate in formate oil paints.
01/31/2023, 12:39 PM | Major depression before the days: the responsible serotonin messenger
The severe form of premenstrual syndrome, the so-called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), is associated with the fact that the transmission of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain increases shortly before menstruation. This is the result of researchers at Leipzig University Hospital, who examined a total of 59 study participants over the course of several monthly cycles.
It has been shown that the density of the serotonin transporter in the brain increases before menstrual bleeding, which leads to a deficiency of this messenger substance in the brain. This loss can then lead to symptoms such as insomnia, depression, loss of control, or irritability. Until now, it was thought that the serotonin transporter was an individual trait that did not change in the short period of two weeks—and in that respect, Leipzig’s discovery was surprising.
The knowledge can now also be used to treat PMDD symptoms. For example, patients will have to take antidepressants that have serotonin reuptake inhibitors as the active ingredient for only a few days. Study author Julia Sacher explains that serotonin levels can also be affected by eating habits: “Serotonin precursors, such as tryptophan, can be found in cheese, poultry, soybeans, tofu, nuts, and dark chocolate.” Daytime running lights can also have a positive effect, especially in winter.
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