Young blood reverses effects of aging in mice

An old mouse, left, may benefit from the blood of a young mouse, right.

An old mouse, left, may benefit from the blood of a young mouse, right.

In a group of studies published May 4, 2014 in the journals Science and Nature Medicine, researchers say old mice who were infused with the blood of spry younger mice showed clear improvements in memory, sensory function, strength and endurance.

Led by Stanford School of Medicine in California, the study introduces the idea that age-related decline is reversible, pointing the way to potential new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Researchers say a specific protein, found in the blood of mice and humans, appears to be at the root of this rejuvenation. They say they hope to test the protein’s effect on humans in clinical trials in the next few years.

To read the Los Angeles Times article, click here

To read the study in Nature Medicine, click here

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More Perry Wolff Screenings

In case you missed them, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute @ UCLA will show the three documentaries on the works of Michelangelo, Picasso and van Gogh again this March. The speaker, Perry Wolff, is the producer, writer and narrator of each documentary to be presented to OLLI members this December.  Mr. Wolff has won 15 Emmy awards, 14 Peabody Awards, numerous Writers Guild, Du Pont and Polk awards and a Motion Picture Academy nomination.

March 6: Michelangelo Restored 1:30-3pm, Reg# 246296: For 13 years, camera crews followed the painstaking restoration of the Sistine Chapel and the cleaning of Michelangelo’s frescoes. Michelangelo, Restored documents this amazing rebirth, as well as the complexity of the great master’s extraordinary accomplishment. This one-hour award-winning documentary will be followed by Q &A. Suggested book: Michelangelo and the Ceiling, Ross King.

March 13: Picasso Paints Picasso 1:30-3pm, Reg# 246297: Pablo Picasso is the most famous painter of the 20th Century.  In his lifetime he created twenty thousand works of art. His favorite subject was himself, often disguised, and almost everything he painted was a clue to his life.  The puzzle of Picasso is that he drew a diary of his emotions every day.  Every canvas was an entry into his personal Spanish journal. This one hour documentary, which won Mr. Wolff a third Writer’s Guild award, will be followed by Q &A. Suggested book: A Life of Picasso, John Richardson.

March 20: Becoming Van Gogh 1:30-3pm, Reg# 246298: Vincent van Gogh started as a poverty stricken impressionist, but his paintings became the most valuable canvases in the history of art. The artist may have suffered from mental illness but he never lost touch with reality, which is manifested in his letters and art. He said,  “I am not strictly speaking mad, for my mind is absolutely normal in the intervals, and even more so than before. But during the attacks it is terrible – and then I lose consciousness of everything. But that spurs me on to work and to seriousness, as a miner who is always in danger makes haste in what he does.” This one hour documentary, which was nominated for an Oscar, will be followed by Q &A. Suggested book:  Dear Theo, The Autobiography of Vincent van Gogh, Irving Stone & Jean Stone.

To reserve a spot, please call Registration at 310.825.9971 with the appropriate registration number, click on the course link, or visit www.uclaextension.edu and use the Quick Enroll tab as pictured below.

Quick Enroll

Memory improves for older adults using computerized brain-fitness program

Dakim BrainFitness

Dakim BrainFitness

UCLA researchers have found that older adults who regularly used a brain-fitness program on a computer demonstrated significantly improved memory and language skills.

The UCLA team studied 69 dementia-free participants, with an average age of 82, who were recruited from retirement communities in Southern California. The participants played a computerized brain-fitness program called Dakim BrainFitness, which trains individuals through more than 400 exercises in the areas of short- and long-term memory, language, visual-spatial processing, reasoning and problem-solving, and calculation skills.

The researchers found that of the 69 participants, the 52 individuals who over a six-month period completed at least 40 sessions (of 20–25 minutes each) on the program showed improvement in both immediate and delayed memory skills, as well as language skills.

The findings suggest that older adults who participate in computerized brain training can improve their cognitive skills.

The study is published in the July issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Drinking Champagne could Improve Memory

champagne

New research shows that drinking one to three glasses of champagne a week may counteract the memory loss associated with aging, and could help delay the onset of degenerative brain disorders, such as dementia. Scientists at the University of Reading have shown that the phenolic compounds found in champagne can improve spatial memory, which is responsible for recording information about one’s environment, and storing the information for future navigation.

The compounds work by modulating signals in the hippocampus and cortex, which control memory and learning. The compounds were found to favorably alter a number of proteins linked to the effective storage of memories in the brain. Many of these are known to be depleted with age, making memory storage less efficient, and leading to poorer memory in old age and conditions such as dementia. Champagne slows these loses and therefore may help prevent the cognitive losses that occur during typical and atypical brain aging.

Champagne has relatively high levels of phenolics compared to white wine, deriving predominantly from the two red grapes, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, which are used in its production along with the white grape Chardonnay. It is these phenolic compounds which are believed to be responsible for the beneficial effects of champagne on the brain.

Professor Jeremy Spencer, Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Reading, said: “These exciting results illustrate for the first time that the moderate consumption of champagne has the potential to influence cognitive functioning, such as memory. Such observations have previously been reported with red wine, through the actions of flavonoids contained within it.

“However, our research shows that champagne, which lacks flavonoids, is also capable of influencing brain function through the actions of smaller phenolic compounds, previously thought to lack biological activity. We encourage a responsible approach to alcohol consumption, and our results suggest that a very low intake of one to two glasses a week can be effective.”

Dr. David Vauzour, the researcher on the study, added: “in the near future we will be looking to translate these findings into humans. This has been achieved successfully with other polyphenol-rich foods, such as blueberry and cocoa, and we predict similar outcomes for moderate Champagne intake on cognition in humans.”

Previous research from the University of Reading revealed that two glasses of champagne a day may be good for your heart and circulation and could reduce the risks of suffering from cardiovascular disease and stroke.

The study can be found here.

This article was republished from medicalexpress.com.

Older Adults Invited to be part of UCLA Research Study

The UCLA Psychology Department is seeking healthy older adults, ages 65-80, to be part of a non-invasive fMRI study on neural mechanisms of memory.The study will typically last for about 4 hours, with up to 2 hours in the MRI scanner. Qualified participants will receive reimbursement for time, parking and travel. You can also get a picture of your brain if you would like.

Qualifications: Right-handed, native English speaker with no current neurological or psychiatric disorders, no history of brain damage, and no non-removable, magnetresponsive metal in or on your body.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Michael Cohen, lead researcher, at mcohen1@ucla.edu, or Saskia Giebl, studycoordinator, at (818) 357-9786 or sgiebl@psych.ucla.edu

UCLA IRB#: 11-002443

The Art of Aging

UCLA Institute of Society and Genetics 10th Annual Symposium presents The Art of Aging on May 11 + 12, 2012

How do we age?
Why do we age?
Can we extend life greatly, or indefinitely?
Should we?

The two-day symposium pursues our questions with a Friday evening (May 11) panel bringing leading scientists, artists, and historians together in discussion, and a Saturday (May 12) festival where attendees can explore over a dozen interactive artworks, presentations, and exhibits.

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. SEATING LIMITED.  INFO & REGISTER HERE
Parking $11

It Could Be Old Age, or It Could Be Low B12

After a new study found that a deficiency in vitamin B-12 was associated with memory and thinking problems, as well as brain shrinkage; the New York Times reported that an 85-year old woman, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, was prescribed Aricept, which only made matters worse. She was also found to be deficient in vitamin B12 and her doctor thought it could be contributing to her symptoms.  He was right. After prescribing vitamin B12, the woman’s memory became much better.  The New York Times article can be read here.

UCLA Biologists Slow the Aging Process in Fruit Flies

UCLA life scientists have identified a gene that when activated in the intestine of a fruit fly, extend their lives by as much as 50 percent. Fruit flies have a life span of about two months. They start showing signs of aging after about one month, and they slow down, become less active and die. They are a great model for studying aging, because scientists know every one of their genes and can switch individual genes on and off.

Read about the study here.