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Neuroscientists create new resource to improve Alzheimer’s disease research models

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Genetic diversity key to new study on abnormal protein accumulation in the brain—a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease development

Jungsu Kim, PhD
« Neuroscientists create new resource to improve Alzheimer’s disease research models Credit: Indiana University School of Medicine

Newswise — INDIANAPOLIS – A new study by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers uses more genetically diverse mouse models to study the accumulation and spread of abnormal tau protein deposits in the brain—a known sign of Alzheimer’s disease and several other neurodegenerative diseases. The study’s findings, recently published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, could lead to better research models that improve understanding of how different genetic backgrounds influence neurodegenerative disease development and treatment needs.

“As the medical community aims to treat those suffering from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, it is critical for us to understand how the brain responds to these tau abnormalities,” said Dominic J. Acri, first author on the study and a PhD candidate at IU School of Medicine. “Genetically diverse animal models are an exciting new avenue to discover novel mechanisms of disease. This work is a foundational first step for genetic mapping studies that could reveal druggable targets for neurodegenerative diseases.”

The research team was led by Jungsu Kim, PhD, the P. Michael Conneally Professor of Medical and Molecular Genetics and an investigator in the Stark Neurosciences Research Institute at IU School of Medicine.

Kim said the study was made successful in part by IU School of Medicine scientists’ expertise in animal research models for Alzheimer’s disease—one of many neuroscience strengths that make the school home to one of the world’s most comprehensive Alzheimer’s disease research programs, from basic science to drug discovery.

“I am grateful for the great collaborative environment that we have created at IU,” Kim said. “It has allowed us to share ideas, learn from each other and work together on this project more efficiently. Without this type of collaborative support from the laboratories of Drs. Cristian Lasagna-ReevesStephanie Bissel, and Bruce Lamb, this project might have taken a few more years.”

To date, most preclinical studies performed in mouse models of diseases utilize one inbred genetic background.

“This means that—unlike humans—every mouse in a given study is essentially a clone containing identical genetic information,” Acri said. “We hypothesized that using genetically diverse mouse models may improve our ability to translate findings in mice to help patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases.” 

This new study is unique, Acri said, because the research team used models of mice from three different genetic backgrounds, in addition to the single genetic background often presumed to be sufficient to model various human diseases.

Their findings suggest that these different genetic strains are an ideal resource for investigating the contribution of genetic variation to the study of Alzheimer’s and other diseases caused by tau abnormalities.

The study also identified:

  • A core tau-responsive transcriptional signature that is not affected by genetic background.
  • A unique transcriptional response to tau that may indicate genetically diverse mice strains should be used to study certain risk genes.
  • A tau seeding activity associated transcriptional signature that implicates microglia.

Because most therapeutic approaches are tested in mice before progressing to clinical trials, the researchers said including genetically diverse mice may enhance the translatability of these models to treating patients with different genetic backgrounds. They plan to further explore their findings in future studies to model the newly identified genes on genetically diverse mouse, zebrafish and fly models.

About Indiana University School of Medicine

IU School of Medicine is the largest medical school in the U.S. and is annually ranked among the top medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers high-quality medical education, access to leading medical research and rich campus life in nine Indiana cities, including rural and urban locations consistently recognized for livability.

Journal Link: Journal of Experimental Medicine

Source: Indiana University

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Exploring the Healthiest Communities in the United States: California Counties Shine Bright

Discover how California’s Marin County leads the healthiest U.S. communities, boasting high life expectancy and low obesity rates in a recent study.

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A recent study by MarketWatch has unveiled a list of the healthiest communities in the United States, with California counties claiming top spots. Marin County, nestled across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, emerged as the healthiest county, boasting a remarkable life expectancy of 85, a lower-than-average adult obesity rate, and a mere 5 percent of residents without health insurance.

The study evaluated 576 U.S. counties using 14 key metrics, including food insecurity, healthcare access, life expectancy, health insurance coverage, and environmental factors like water and air quality. Western states dominated the top 10 list, with Colorado, Hawaii, and Montana also showcasing exemplary county health profiles.

The findings emphasized a correlation between community health and wealth, with affluent areas exhibiting lower rates of food insecurity and higher levels of health insurance coverage. The presence of nature parks in many of the healthiest counties underscored the positive impact of green spaces on well-being, aligning with scientific research on the subject.

However, the study also shed light on disparities, highlighting that residents in the unhealthiest counties face challenges such as limited access to grocery stores, higher rates of food insecurity, and inadequate primary care services. Harris County, Texas, home to Houston, was identified as the least healthy county due to high uninsured rates and poor environmental quality.

In California, 37 out of 58 counties were ranked, with Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties clinching top positions. The data revealed a stark contrast in median incomes between the healthiest and unhealthiest counties, with Marin County boasting a median income well above the national average.

This comprehensive analysis serves as a valuable resource for policymakers and healthcare professionals striving to address disparities and promote well-being across communities. It underscores the importance of factors such as access to healthcare, environmental quality, and socioeconomic status in shaping overall community health outcomes.

https://patch.com/california/sanrafael/ca-has-3-10-healthiest-counties-u-s-new-study-says

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Empoderar a los afroamericanos con el aprendizaje de habilidades que salvan vidas

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(Family Features) En el espíritu del Mes de la Historia Afroamericana, usted puede empoderarse, educar a otros y mejorar la salud cardíaca de su comunidad convirtiéndose en un defensor de la RCP (reanimación cardiopulmonar) y del DEA (desfibrilador externo automático). Compartir la importancia de estas habilidades que salvan vidas puede ayudar a crear un futuro más saludable para las generaciones futuras.

Según la American Heart Association, los afroamericanos tienen la mayor incidencia de paro cardíaco fuera del hospital y tienen muchas menos probabilidades de sobrevivir. El paro cardíaco en las colonias negros se asocia con bajas tasas de tratamiento y supervivencia; los estudios han demostrado tasas más bajas tanto de RCP como de uso de DEA por parte de transeúntes en estas colonias.

En Estados Unidos, las desigualdades en salud son diferencias sistemáticas en el estado sanitario de diferentes grupos demográficos y, a menudo, son el resultado de barreras como el racismo, la pobreza, la discriminación, la falta de vivienda asequible, educación de calidad y acceso a la atención médica.

El Mes de la Historia Afroamericana sirve como telón de fondo relevante para la campaña Nation of Lifesavers de la American Heart Association, cuyo objetivo es alinear los principios de empoderamiento, participación comunitaria y equidad en salud. Al celebrar la abundante herencia y la resiliencia de la comunidad afroamericana, también se puede reconocer la importancia de fomentar la educación sobre la salud cardíaca y construir un legado de salud.

Puede defender la importancia de la capacitación en RCP y DEA compartiendo esta importante información en su comunidad.

RCP
Debido a que alrededor del 70% de los paros cardíacos fuera del entorno hospitalario ocurren en el hogar, aprender RCP puede salvar la vida de alguien que conoce y ama. De hecho, si bien el 90% de las personas que sufren un paro cardíaco fuera de un entorno hospitalario no sobreviven, se pueden duplicar o triplicar las posibilidades de supervivencia de una víctima realizando RCP de inmediato. Consta de dos sencillos pasos:

  1. Llamar al 9-1-1 (o enviar a alguien para que lo haga).
  2. Presionar fuerte y rápido en el centro del pecho.

DEA
Un DEA es un dispositivo portátil y liviano que administra una descarga eléctrica a través del pecho hasta el corazón cuando detecta un ritmo anormal y luego cambia el ritmo a la normalidad. Más del 15% de los paros cardíacos fuera de un entorno hospitalario ocurren en lugares públicos, lo que significa que los DEA de acceso público y la capacitación comunitaria desempeñan un papel importante en la desfibrilación temprana. La RCP combinada con el uso de un DEA ofrece las mejores posibilidades de salvar una vida.

Las ambulancias, los vehículos policiales, muchos camiones de bomberos y otros vehículos de primera respuesta contienen DEA. Además, se pueden encontrar en áreas públicas, como recintos deportivos, centros comerciales, aeropuertos y aviones, empresas, centros de convenciones, hoteles, escuelas, piscinas y consultorios médicos. Por lo general, puede buscar cerca de ascensores, cafeterías, áreas de recepción y en las paredes de los pasillos principales donde se reúne un gran número de personas.

Siga estos pasos para utilizar un DEA:

  1. Encienda el DEA y siga las indicaciones de voz.
  2. Retire toda la ropa que cubra el pecho. Si es necesario, seque el pecho.
  3. Retire el protector de las almohadillas y colóquelas en el pecho desnudo de la persona siguiendo la ilustración de las almohadillas.
  4. Enchufe el conector de las almohadillas al DEA, si es necesario.
  5. El DEA verificará si la persona necesita una descarga y le indicará cuándo administrarla. Mientras el DEA analiza, asegúrese de que nadie toque a la persona.
  6. Reanude la RCP si no es necesaria ninguna descarga. Si es necesaria una descarga, asegúrese de que nadie toque a la persona y presione el botón de “descarga” y luego reanude inmediatamente la RCP.
  7. Continúe la RCP hasta que llegue el personal de emergencia.

Obtenga más información y descubra cómo empoderarse a sí mismo y a su comunidad en heart.org/blackhistorymonth.

Foto cortesía de Shutterstock


SOURCE:
American Heart Association

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4 Tips to Get High Cholesterol Under Control

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(Family Features) Heart disease is the nation’s leading cause of death for men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but many people aren’t aware they may be at elevated risk. More than 71 million adults in the United States have high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and nearly 50 million don’t have it under control, which puts them at higher risk for cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke.

What’s more, nearly one-third (31%) of U.S. adults are not aware that having high cholesterol puts them at greater risk for heart attack and stroke, according to the findings of a recent study conducted by The Harris Poll commissioned by Esperion Therapeutics, Inc. The poll also revealed some inconsistent understanding about treatment options available for those with uncontrolled cholesterol. Fully 3 in 10 (30%) of those taking statins believe statins are the only LDL lowering treatment available for those with high LDL cholesterol.

“In auto racing, the red flag means danger on the track, stopping the race immediately,” said Dr. JoAnne Foody, chief medical officer at Esperion. “We are launching a patient education program, ‘Wave the Red Flag,’ to encourage people with uncontrolled high cholesterol to have their levels checked right away and discuss appropriate treatment options with their health care provider.”

If your high cholesterol is uncontrolled, understanding how you can achieve greater control can reduce your risk for serious health conditions, including potentially life-threatening cardiovascular events.

Consider these tips to get high cholesterol under control.

Talk with your doctor. Speaking with your physician is an important first step to managing any health condition. Your doctor can help you understand the severity of your condition and whether a treatment plan should be moderate or aggressive.

Check your progress. Keeping tabs on your cholesterol can help you and your health care team gauge whether your treatment plan is working. If you don’t have heart disease, you may not need to check as frequently, but your doctor can recommend the appropriate intervals to help manage your cholesterol most effectively.

Take medications as prescribed. Statins are the medications most often recommended by treatment guidelines for the management of blood cholesterol, and nearly one-third (30%) of those taking statins believe they are the only cholesterol-lowering treatment available, according to the survey. However, even with maximal statin therapy, some patients with chronic disease do not meet recommended LDL cholesterol levels. Taking your medications regularly and as instructed helps your doctor determine whether additional therapies – including non-statin treatments – could be useful to help manage your blood cholesterol.

Make lifestyle adjustments. Your diet plays a major role in lowering LDL cholesterol. Limiting fatty foods, especially those that are high in saturated and trans fats, is key. Monitoring your overall diet and exercising can also help reduce your risk of high cholesterol. Even if you don’t have high cholesterol, adopting more cholesterol-friendly habits can help prevent your levels from rising to unhealthy levels in the future.

To find additional information about managing your high cholesterol, talk to your health care provider and visit WaveTheRedFlag.info.

Fast Facts About Cholesterol

What is cholesterol?
The liver creates a fat-like waxy substance called cholesterol. It serves useful purposes for the body, including producing hormones and helping digest food.

How do you get high cholesterol?
The human body makes all the cholesterol it needs naturally, so any cholesterol you eat is cholesterol you don’t need. However, it can be difficult to avoid because you can find dietary cholesterol in many common foods, including meat, seafood, poultry, eggs and dairy. Other non-dietary contributing factors include health conditions like obesity and diabetes, as well as family history and advancing age.

What is a normal cholesterol level?
An average optimal level of LDL cholesterol is about 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
An average optimal level of high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, cholesterol is at least 40 mg/dL for men and 50 mg/dL for women. HDL cholesterol can actually lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Are there symptoms of high cholesterol?
Unlike many health conditions, there are rarely any symptoms that your cholesterol is high. That’s what makes regular screening so important.

Photos courtesy of Shutterstock


SOURCE:
Esperion

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