Prolonged exposure to air pollution leads to genetic changes in rat brains, study finds: Insight into potential health effects of dirty air in the Los Angeles basin -- ScienceDaily

Prolonged exposure to particulate matter in
air pollution in the Los Angeles Basin triggered inflammation and the
appearance of cancer-related genes in the brains of rats, a Cedars-Sinai
study has found.
While previous research has documented the association between air
pollution and a variety of diseases, including cancer, the study found
markers indicating certain materials in coarse air pollution -- nickel,
in particular -- may play a role in genetic changes related to disease
development, said Julia Ljubimova, MD, PhD.

Reaction of Amyloid-β Peptide Antibody with Different Infectious Agents Involved in Alzheimer’s Disease - IOS Press

As early as the 1980s, molecular virologist Ruth Itzhaki began to
investigate if there was a causal connection between infections and
neurodegenerative disorder. Although the theory has yet to be
universally embraced, in 2016 Itzhaki and 33 other scientists from all
over the world published a review
article in this very journal presenting evidence for the causal role of
pathogens in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Exactly how and in what way
pathogens affect the induction of AD has yet to be determined, but one
possible answer may involve the cross-reactivity of different pathogens
with amyloid-β (Aβ). Aβ autoantibodies have been detected in the serum
and cerebrospinal fluid of AD patients and in some healthy individuals.
In the present study our major goal was to investigate whether
antibodies made against Aβ would react both with other brain proteins as
well as pathogens associated with AD as a result of molecular mimicry
or the binding of bacterial toxins to Aβ42. Our study used a specific
monoclonal antibody made against Aβ42, which not only reacted strongly
with Aβ42, tau protein, and α-synuclein, but also had from weak to
strong reactions with 25 different pathogens or their molecules, some of
which have been associated with AD. The homology between peptide
stretches of microbial origin and proteins involved in AD could be a
mechanism by which antibodies to homologous peptides mount attacks
against autoantigens in AD. We concluded that bacterial molecules bind
to Aβ protein, forming small oligomers, then encasing pathogens and
their molecules to form amyloid plaques, the tell-tale markers of AD.
Conversely, these same Aβ peptides induce the production of antibodies
to both Aβ42 and bacterial molecules, which may inhibit bacterial
pathogenesis, but in the process may promote amyloid plaque formation.

Israeli research links acetaminophen during pregnancy to autism, ADHD |

An extensive Israeli study has found that mothers who continuously
use a popular pain relief medication during their pregnancy face an
increased risk of the newborn suffering from autism or ADHD.

The meta-analysis by a team of researchers from the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem, published Tuesday in the American Journal of
Epidemiology, showed that prolonged exposure to acetaminophen — also
known as paracetamol — during pregnancy is associated with a 30 percent
increase in relative risk for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
(ADHD) and a 20% increase in relative risk for autistic spectrum
disorder (ASD), compared with those who did not take acetaminophen
during pregnancy.

Commensal Microbes May Initiate and Drive Immune Responses in Lupus | Taconic Biosciences

At the end of March, researchers at Yale University published a paper entitled "Commensal orthologs of the human autoantigen Ro60 as triggers of autoimmunity in lupus"
in the journal Science Translational Medicine in which the authors
demonstrated that Ro60 orthologs exist in commensal bacteria commonly
found in or on the human body.

Greiling et al. demonstrated in human and mouse studies that
these bacterial orthologs of Ro may generate autoimmune responses that
drive lupus. The authors revealed that a high level of homology exists
between the major T and B cell epitopes within human Ro60 (hRo60) and
commensal Ro60 orthologs. Antibodies from anti-Ro60 positive lupus
patients, but not negative control patients preferentially
coimmunoprecipitated Ro60 ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) from a Ro60
ortholog-containing commensal organism. Further demonstrating the
cross-reactivity of orthologous Ro60, hRo60-reactive T cell clones, and
freshly isolated anti-Ro60-positive memory T cells responded to epitopes
derived from commensal Ro60 in vitro.

Hallmarks of Alzheimer disease are evolving relentlessly in Metropolitan Mexico City infants, children and young adults. APOE4 carriers have higher suicide risk and higher odds of reaching NFT stage V at ≤ 40 years of age - ScienceDirect

Exposures to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone (O3)
above USEPA standards are associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD)
risk. Metropolitan Mexico City (MMC) residents have life time exposures
to PM2.5 and O3 above USEPA standards. We
investigated AD intra and extracellular protein aggregates and
ultrastructural neurovascular pathology in 203 MMC residents age
25.36 ± 9.23 y. Immunohistochemical methods were used to identify AT8
hyperphosphorilated tau (Htau) and 4G8 (amyloid β 17-24). Primary
outcomes: staging of Htau and amyloid, per decade and cumulative PM2.5 (CPM2.5) above standard. Apolipoprotein E allele 4 (APOE4), age and cause of death were secondary outcomes.
pretangle stage b was identified in an 11month old baby. Cortical tau
pre-tangles, neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) Stages I-II, amyloid phases
1–2, Htau in substantia nigrae, auditory, oculomotor, trigeminal and
autonomic systems were identified by the 2nd decade. Progression to NFT
stages III-V was present in 24.8% of 30–40 y old subjects. APOE4
carriers have 4.92 times higher suicide odds (p = 0.0006), and 23.6
times higher odds of NFT V (p < 0.0001) v APOE4 non-carriers having
similar CPM2.5 exposure and age. Age (p = 0.0062) and CPM2.5 (p = 0.0178) were significant for developing NFT V. Combustion-derived nanoparticles
were associated with early and progressive damage to the neurovascular
unit. Alzheimer's disease starting in the brainstem of young children
and affecting 99.5% of young urbanites is a serious health crisis. Air pollution control
should be prioritised. Childhood relentless Htau makes a fundamental
target for neuroprotective interventions and the first two decades are
critical. We recommend the concept of preclinical AD be revised and
emphasize the need to define paediatric environmental, nutritional,
metabolic and genetic risk factor interactions of paramount importance
to prevent AD. AD evolving from childhood is threating the wellbeing of
our children and future generations.

Ketamine nasal spray rapidly relieves depression and suicidal thoughts, finds trial | The Independent

People with serious mental illness could one day be offered a nasal
spray of ketamine after a clinical trial showed the drug can rapidly
tackle bouts of severe depression and suicidal thoughts.
In just a matter of hours, doctors, and the patients themselves,
measured a significant improvement in symptoms of patients classed as
being at high risk of suicide.
The trial of antidepressant esketamine by Yale University researchers
and the manufacturer, Janssen, suggests it could be effective in
bridging the gap where conventional antidepressants take weeks to
be fully effective.

Neuroscientists say daily ibuprofen can prevent Alzheimer's disease -- ScienceDaily

A Vancouver-based research team led by Canada's most cited
neuroscientist, Dr. Patrick McGeer, has successfully carried out studies
suggesting that, if started early enough, a daily regimen of the
non-prescription NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) ibuprofen
can prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease. This means that by taking
an over-the-counter medication, people can ward off a disease that,
according to Alzheimer's Disease International's World Alzheimer Report
2016, affects an estimated 47 million people worldwide, costs health
care systems worldwide more than US$818 billion per year and is the
fifth leading cause of death in those aged 65 or older.

Here's the paper:-

Conquering Alzheimer’s Disease by Self Treatment JAD

Brain development disorders in children linked to common environmental toxin exposures -- ScienceDaily

Exposures of pregnant women and children to common
thyroid-hormone-disrupting toxins may be linked to the increased
incidence of brain development disorders, according to a review
published in Endocrine Connections. The review describes how
numerous, common chemicals can interfere with normal thyroid hormone
actions, which are essential for normal brain development in foetuses
and young children, and suggests a need for greater public health

Here's the paper from "Endocrine connections":-

Thyroid disrupting chemicals and brain development: an update

Anti-herpetic Medications and Reduced Risk of Dementia in Patients with Herpes Simplex Virus Infections—a Nationwide, Population-Based Cohort Study in Taiwan

This retrospective cohort study is to investigate the association
between herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections and dementia, and the
effects of anti-herpetic medications on the risk involved, using
Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD). We
enrolled a total of 33,448 subjects, and identified 8362 with newly
diagnosed HSV infections and 25,086 randomly selected sex- and
age-matched controls without HSV infections in a ratio of 1:3, selected
from January 1, to December 31, 2000. A multivariable Cox proportional
hazards regression model was used to evaluate the risk of developing
dementia in the HSV cohort. This analysis revealed an adjusted hazard
ratio of 2.564 (95% CI: 2.351-2.795, P < 0.001)
for the development of dementia in the HSV-infected cohort relative to
the non-HSV cohort. Thus, patients with HSV infections may have a
2.56-fold increased risk of developing dementia. A risk reduction of
dementia development in patients affected by HSV infections was found
upon treatment with anti-herpetic medications (adjusted HR = 0.092 [95%
CI 0.079-0.108], P < 0.001).
Theusage of anti-herpetic medications in the treatment of HSV infections
was associated with a decreased risk of dementia. These findings could
be a signal to clinicians caring for patients with HSV infections.
Further research is, therefore, necessary to explore the underlying
mechanism(s) of these associations.

Paints, pesticides, and other consumer products now add as much to air pollution as cars | Science | AAAS

Cars are no longer the top contributor to urban air pollution. That’s
the conclusion of a new study presented here at the annual meeting of
AAAS, which publishes Science, that finds pesticides,
paints, adhesives, and other consumer and industrial products add about
as much to air pollution as transportation does. For the new work,
researchers examined volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs react with
air to create ozone and, separately, produce fine particulate matter,
which contributes to haze. Both of these air pollutants are health
hazards and contribute to respiratory diseases, particularly in urban
areas where emissions tend to be highest. Emissions from cars and other
automobiles have long been considered the major contributor to these
kinds of air pollutants. But the new work, which examined the chemical
productions statistics from industrial and government agencies, found
pesticides, coatings, inks, adhesives, and personal care products such
as perfumes produce more than double the emissions of cars.
That means U.S. inventories underestimate VOC emissions from these
products by as much as a factor of three while overestimating car VOC
emissions by 40%, researchers also report today in Science.
Because most people use the products that make VOCs indoors, the
researchers also compared emissions from residential and commercial
buildings to outdoor measurements in Los Angeles, California. They found
the concentration of emission compounds indoors was seven times higher
than in ambient air. That means air pollution is increasingly from
consumer and industrial products rather than from the transportation
sector. These products are used indoors where people spend most of their
time, which means their use poses a health risk that requires updated
regulations, the researchers say.

Half of all dementias start with damaged 'gatekeeper cells': Once the cells are compromised, the brain's protective fort becomes leaky and allows blood toxins to trespass into the brain, damaging critical connections between brain areas, esearchers say. -- ScienceDaily

Half of all dementias start with damaged 'gatekeeper cells', or Pericytes: Once the cells are compromised, the brain's protective fort becomes leaky and allows blood toxins to trespass into the brain, damaging critical connections between brain areas, researchers say. -- ScienceDaily

Dye kills malaria parasites at speed not seen before -- ScienceDaily

Research shows that the dye methylene blue is a safe antimalarial that
kills malaria parasites at an unprecedented rate. Within two days,
patients are cured of the disease and no longer transmit the parasite if
they are bitten again by a mosquito. This discovery was made by Radboud
university medical center scientists and international colleagues
during a research project conducted in Mali. The results are
published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases .

Epstein-Barr virus is present in the brain of most cases of multiple sclerosis and may engage more than just B cells. - PubMed - NCBI

 Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neuroinflammatory condition of the
central nervous system (CNS). It is a major cause of neurological
disability in young adults, particularly women. What triggers the
destruction of myelin sheaths covering nerve fibres is unknown. Both
genetic and infectious agents have been implicated. Of the infectious
agents, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a common herpesvirus, has the
strongest epidemiological and serological evidence. However, the
presence of EBV in the CNS and demonstration of the underlying
mechanism(s) linking EBV to the pathogenesis of MS remain to be
elucidated. We aimed at understanding the contribution of EBV infection
in the pathology of MS. We examined 1055 specimens (440 DNA samples and
615 brain tissues) from 101 MS and 21 non-MS cases for the presence of
EBV using PCR and EBER-in situ hybridization (EBER-ISH). EBV was
detected by PCR and/or EBER-ISH in 91/101 (90%) of MS cases compared to
only 5/21 (24%) of non-MS cases with other neuropathologies. None of the
samples were PCR positive for other common herpesviruses (HSV-1, CMV,
HHV-6). By quantitative PCR, EBV viral load in MS brain was mainly low
to moderate in most cases. However, in 18/101 (18%) of MS cases,
widespread but scattered presence of EBV infected cells was noted in the
affected tissues by EBER-ISH. Immunohistochemical analysis of EBV gene
expression in the 18 heavily infected cases, revealed that the EBV
latent protein EBNA1, and to a lesser extent the early lytic protein
BZLF1 were expressed. Furthermore, using double-staining we show for the
first time that astrocytes and microglia, in addition to B-cells can
also be infected. To the best of our knowledge, this is the most
comprehensive study demonstrating that EBV is present and
transcriptionally active in the brain of most cases of MS and supports a
role for the virus in MS pathogenesis. Further studies are required to
address the mechanism of EBV involvement in MS pathology.

Study finds bacteria in milk linked to rheumatoid arthritis

A team of UCF College of Medicine researchers has discovered a link between rheumatoid arthritis and Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis,
known as MAP, a bacteria found in about half the cows in the United
States. The bacteria can be spread to humans through the consumption of
infected milk, beef and produce fertilized by cow manure.

$1 Million Prize for Alzheimer’s Disease Germ Announced by Dr. Leslie Norins on

Leslie Norins, MD, PhD, CEO of Alzheimer’s Germ Quest, Inc., announces a
$1 million challenge award for the scientist who provides persuasive
evidence that an infectious agent is the root cause of Alzheimer’s
disease. The three-year contest begins January 16, 2018. Details are
provided at

Benefits of a healthy diet greater in people at high genetic risk for obesity: Genetic predisposition to obesity is no barrier to successful weight management -- ScienceDaily

The benefits of sticking to a healthy diet to prevent long term weight gain are greater in people at high genetic risk for obesity than in those with low genetic risk, finds a study in The BMJ today.
The researchers say their findings indicate that improving dietquality over time might lead to greater weight loss for people who are genetically susceptible to obesity. The study also indicates that the
genetic risk of weight gain is attenuated by improving diet quality.

Comment: In other words, certain susceptibility genes are no longer susceptibility genes when unhealthy eating is replaced by healthy eating.  

The paper is published in The British Medical Journal

Improving adherence to healthy dietary patterns, genetic risk, and long term weight gain: gene-diet interaction analysis in two prospective cohort studies

Monocyte activation detected prior to a diagnosis of schizophrenia in the US Military New Onset Psychosis Project (MNOPP)

 : Low-grade inflammation is present in some cases of schizophrenia, particularly in
the early stages of this disorder. The inflammation source is not known but may be
the result of dysbiotic processes occurring in the gut. We examined peripheral biomarkers
of bacterial translocation, soluble CD14 (sCD14) and lipopolysaccharide binding protein
(LBP), and of general inflammation, C-reactive protein (CRP), in a unique, pre-onset
study of schizophrenia. This sample was composed of 80 case-control matched pairs
of US military service members from whom blood samples were obtained at time of entry
to service, before a psychiatric diagnosis was made.

Defective cholesterol clearance limits remyelination in the aged central nervous system | Science

Age-associated decline in regeneration capacity limits the restoration of nervous system functionality after injury. In a model for demyelination, we found that old mice fail to resolve the inflammatory response initiated after myelin damage. Aged phagocytes accumulated excessive amounts of myelin debris, which triggered cholesterol crystal formation, phagolysosomal membrane rupture, and stimulated inflammasomes. Myelin debris clearance required cholesterol transporters including apolipoprotein E. Remarkably, stimulation of reverse cholesterol transport was sufficient to restore the capacity of old mice to remyelinate lesioned tissue. Thus, cholesterol-rich myelin debris can overwhelm the efflux capacity of phagocytes, resulting in a phase transition of cholesterol into crystals thereby inducing a maladaptive immune response that impedes tissue regeneration.

Artificial Sugar Trehalose Linked to Clostridium difficile Epidemics | Medicine |

An artificial sugar called trehalose enhances the virulence of epidemic lineages of Clostridium difficile, a Gram-positive spore forming bacterium that causes life-threatening inflammation of the colon, according to a new study published in the journal Nature.

Hydraulic fracturing negatively impacts infant health -- ScienceDaily

Health risks increase for infants born to mothers living within 2 miles
of a hydraulic fracturing site, according to a study published Dec. 13
in Science Advances. The research team found that infants born
within a half a mile from a fracking site were 25 percent more likely to
be born at low birth weights, leaving them at greater risk of infant
mortality, ADHD, asthma, lower test scores, lower schooling attainment
and lower lifetime earnings.

Hydraulic fracturing and infant health: New evidence from Pennsylvania
Science Advances  13 Dec 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 12, e1603021