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Wed Feb 20, 2013, 08:26 PM

UNC researchers say baby brains could presage Alzheimer’s or other adulthood diseases Read more her

CHAPEL HILL — Brain images from newborns are giving scientists a glimpse of the future – not just into the lives of their tiny subjects but also paths to treatment for adult patients with schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers from UNC-Chapel Hill found degeneration in the brains of 2-week-old infants, a result considered a “game changer” for the field of brain research, said Jay Giedd, a brain imaging specialist for the National Institute of Mental Health.

“Our original model was that the brain was fine until someone got the illness,” Giedd said. “This work shows that these changes are there probably from conception. It also suggests that while these traits don’t cause brain damage, they set up the brain to be slightly different.”

The researchers examined scans of 272 newborns. About 15 percent were found to have smaller medial temporal lobe sections.

“The medial temporal lobe plays an important role in memory,” said Rebecca Knickmeyer, a UNC assistant professor of psychiatry and co-author of the research, published last month in Cerebral Cortex, an online journal. “The idea is that this is an anatomical vulnerability. If you start out with less, you might hit active symptoms earlier in life.”

The researchers also found specific gene traits associated with Alzheimer’s in babies with the smaller media temporal lobes.

“We were interested because it was generally known that people’s genes contribute to psychiatric conditions later in life, but pretty much all the existing studies were in adults,” Knickmeyer said. “Our question was ‘When were these genes exerting their effect?’ Now we know it’s much earlier than previously thought, perhaps before birth.”

Research such as this would benefit from the Brain Activity Map under development through the National Institutes of Health. The project’s 10-year goal is to create a map of the brain’s nearly 30,000 genes as well as the circuitry system that transmits information via brain waves.

President Obama mentioned the project in his State of the Union address and is expected to include funding for the project in the upcoming federal budget. Foundations and some private companies have also expressed interest in assisting in the project, which is expected to push brain research to a higher level.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/02/20/2695264/unc-researchers-say-baby-brains.html#wgt=rcntnews#storylink=cpy

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Reply UNC researchers say baby brains could presage Alzheimer’s or other adulthood diseases Read more her (Original post)
littlemissmartypants Feb 2013 OP
TNDemo Feb 2013 #1
Neoma Feb 2013 #2
Ron Obvious Feb 2013 #3

Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 09:00 PM

1. Very interesting.

I guess the question would be could they treat it if they know they are at risk. And could they get insurance??

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 09:35 PM

2. I totally read that wrong at first.

I thought it meant they were going to use baby brains to cure Alzheimer's by like, eating them like zombies or something.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 12:01 PM

3. The nun study..

I also initially read that envisioning the eating of baby brains to stave off Alzheimer, btw

I remember radio host Dr. Dean Edel frequently citing a study that was done on nuns who, upon entering the convent at age 16 ot 17, had to write an essay about themselves and their vocation. By analysing these essays 100 years or so later, the scientists were able to predict with an extremely high degree of accuracy (90% I think) which nuns were going to develop Alzheimer's later in life. The better they were able to express themselves from a literary perspective, the less likely they were to develop Alzheimer's.

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