That's News

By Steve Barrett
Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Exercise Combats Mild Cognitive Impairment

A new guideline from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) states that patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may gain better memory and thinking ability by exercising semiweekly.

Milder than dementia, MCI affects reading comprehension and the completion of complex tasks. The guideline stems from studies showing exercising twice a week boosts memory.

No drugs are FDA-approved to treat MCI, which affects approximately 6 percent of people ages 60–69 and almost 40 percent of people 85 or older.

“It’s exciting that exercise may help improve memory at this stage, as it’s something most people can do, and of course it has overall health benefits,” lead author Ronald C. Petersen, MD, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, stated in a news release about the guideline. “Because MCI may progress to dementia, it is particularly important that MCI is diagnosed early.”

The guideline appears in AAN’s journal, Neurology.

Diabetes Drug May Aid Alzheimer’s Patients

A drug designed to treat Type 2 diabetes yields significant reversal of memory loss among mice, according to a study in Brain Research. Scientists now hope it will aid treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

The triple-receptor drug incorporates growth factors GIP, GLP-1 and glucagon. When aged mice that express human mutated genes that lead to Alzheimer’s received the treatment, their memory formation and learning improved, and they had reduced levels of amyloid plaque in their brains. They also benefited from slower rates of nerve cell loss and reductions in oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.

The treatment “holds clear promise” for addressing Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, lead researcher Christian Holscher, a Professor at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, said in a news release.

Approximately 5.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Teleneurology Training Lagging, Researchers Say

Medical training in teleneurology has not kept up with the benefits of this approach to care, according to research at the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

Valuable technologies are available for remotely treating patients in areas with a shortage of neurologists, says Raghav Govindarajan, MD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology at the School of Medicine and lead author of the study.

“Despite this, teleneurology training in residency programs is currently nonexistent, or it is sporadic and inconsistent at best,” Dr. Govindarajan stated in a news release about the study, which appears in Neurology.

He and other researchers have developed an American Telemedicine Association-approved teleneurology curriculum for students, resident physicians and other providers.

The team notes key factors for providers who wish to practice teleneurology: They should be adept with the relevant technologies; understand states’ differing licensure rules; be committed to upholding patient privacy; provide the same standard of care as for in-person patients; and be able to develop strong provider-patient relationships despite not being physically present.