Mitochondria Dysfunction Occurs Early in Alzheimer’s Disease Prior to Memory Loss, Amyloid Deposits

Mitochondria are specialized subunits inside a cell that produce the cell’s energy and regulate its metabolism. Research suggests that mitochondria may play a central role in neuronal cell survival because they regulate both energy metabolism and cell death pathways. Using genetic mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers from Mayo Clinic have found that mitochondria in the brain are dysfunctional early in the disease. The findings were recently published in the open access journal PLoS ONE.


Body Clock Strength Impacts Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder, also known as manic–depressive disorder, is a condition characterized by alternating states of elevated energy, cognition and mood, with periods of irritable mood and depression. The extreme mood swings experienced by patients with bipolar disorder have been strongly associated with disruptions in circadian rhythms — the 24-hour cycle of biological processes that govern our day and night activity.

Lithium is one of the most common treatments for bipolar disorder. However, little research has been done to find out if and how lithium impacts the brain and peripheral body clockwork. A new study published in the open access journal PLoS ONE reveals a novel link between lithium, bipolar disorder and circadian rhythms [1].

Bipolar Disorder

Study Suggests that Alzheimer’s Disease Spreads Through the Brain

Scientists have long debated whether Alzheimer’s disease starts in separate regions of the brain independently and at different times, or if it begins in one region and then spreads. Data from researchers at Columbia University Medical Center supports the latter model, showing that abnormal tau protein — a key feature observed in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease — propagates along anatomically connected networks, between connected and vulnerable neurons. The study was published earlier this month in the online journal PLoS ONE [1].

Neural network in human brainImage credit: Neurons network in human brain via Shutterstock

Eating Behavior May Be Influenced By Dining Companions

A new study published in the online journal PLoS ONE demonstrates that diners mimic the eating patterns of their dining companions, matching them bite-for-bite [1]. The researchers studied pairs of young women who did not know one another, and found that they influenced each other with regard to eating patterns. Particularly within the first ten minutes of dining together, the women tended to mimic each other, taking bites of food within five seconds of one another.

Women eating saladImage credit: Women eating salad via Shutterstock