A New Target For Alzheimers Research
The analysis, conducted by a team at Imperial College London, examined the evidence around the efficacy of noradrenergic compounds, which modify the brains release of the hormone norepinephrine.
is produced in the brainstem at the base of the brain and released around the whole brain, explains study author Michael David, a clinical research fellow at the UK Dementia Research Institute. The hormone primarily affects attention, with secondary effects on memory and cognitive function. We know that in Alzheimers, the part of the brainstem that releases this chemical gets damaged very early on, David adds.
Alzheimers disease has proved notoriously hard to treat. Up until the qualified approval of aducanumab in 2021, two decades of research into the condition had produced constant failure, at a cost of billions of dollars of research funding. Previously approved drugs, which are able to slightly delay but not prevent that delay cognitive decline, tend to target another neurotransmitter, acetylcholine.
Davids team believe that the limited effects of these approved drugs could be enhanced by also addressing the decline in the noradrenergic system potentially improving patients ability to pay attention, form new memories and even behavioral deficits.
How Is It Diagnosed
ADHD and dementia are separate diagnoses.
ADHD is most often diagnosed during childhood when symptoms present in supervised settings, such as at school and at home.
While theres no definitive test for ADHD, if you were diagnosed as a child, it was likely because you displayed behavior patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity.
It may be more difficult to diagnose adult ADHD because symptoms may not be as obvious, or they may present in different ways, such as restlessness rather than overt hyperactivity.
If youre an adult who suspects youre living with ADHD, your current symptoms and your childhood behavior patterns may all be a part of determining an ADHD diagnosis.
Most Likely To Offer Effective Treatment In Alzheimer’s
Results showed a small but significant positive effect of noradrenergic drugs on overall cognition, as measured by the Mini-Mental State Exam or the Alzheimers Disease Assessment Scale.
Repurposing of established noradrenergic drugs is most likely to offer effective treatment in Alzheimers disease for general cognition and apathy, the researchers said. There is a strong rationale for further, targeted clinical trials of noradrenergic treatments in Alzheimers disease.
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The Link To Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimers disease is a serious condition that impacts cognitive health, mood, behavior, and even physical health, Dr. Mahmud Kara, a physician who founded KaraMD, told Healthline.
There is no cure for Alzheimers. It is a progressive disease that slowly destroys memory and cognitive skills. It can also interfere with a persons ability to carry out daily tasks.
Noradrenergic drugs include atomoxetine, methylphenidate, and guanfacine. They target the neurotransmitter noradrenaline , which is released in the brain by a network of noradrenergic neurons.
This network is critical in arousal and cognitive processes, including attention, learning, memory, readiness for action, and suppression of inappropriate behaviors. Noradrenergic disruption occurs early in Alzheimers and contributes to cognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms.
Currently, the treatments for Alzheimers only slow the progress of the disease.
The use of noradrenergic drugs could be another useful avenue for practitioners when treating symptoms, said Kara. However, we need to remember that these are a group of medications with potentially serious side effects and are usually not recommended for the elderly. Side effects include, but are not limited to, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, confusion, shortness of breath, and risk of addiction.
Neurotransmitter Affected By Alzheimers
One of the telltale signs of Alzheimers disease is the formation of protein aggregates throughout the brain. In 1980, a group of scientists at the University of Manchester discovered that a cluster of neurons in the brainstem, called the locus coeruleus , showed signs of deterioration in Alzheimers disease patients. Although degeneration occurs throughout the brain during Alzheimers disease, this region is particularly interesting.
The LC is remarkably small, composed of only 50,000 neurons. However, it receives input from at least 111 distinct brain regions and translates that input into noradrenaline , one of the four main neurotransmitters. NA can exert influence over almost every region of the brain, effectively regulating everything from baseline arousal to behavioral and cognitive functions, such as attention, learning, memory, and executive function. In essence, the LC listens to what individual regions of the brain have to say and then, through a release of NA, tells the whole brain what to do.
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Years 10 Trials 1300 Patients
The research, conducted by a team at Imperial College London, examined the evidence around the efficacy of noradrenergic compounds, which modify the brains release of the hormone norepinephrine. Findings were published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
There is a strong rationale for further, targeted clinical trials of noradrenergic treatments in Alzheimers disease.
Imperial College of London researchers
The study included 10 clinical trials regarding 1,300 patients published between 1980 and 2021 involving noradrenergic drugs that had been used to potentially improve cognitive or neuropsychiatric symptoms in people with neurodegenerative disease.
Overall, the researchers included 19 randomized controlled trials involving 1,811 participants that focused on noradrenergic drugs in Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment. Six trials were judged to be good quality seven were considered fair and six were considered poor. Nine studies involved norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors, with five of them examining Ritalin.
Tips To Improve Memory With Adhd
Some ADHD-related behaviors can be modified with lifestyle adjustments that can help you better adjust to the rhythms of work and home life.
- Try to avoid certain ingredients in your diet. FD& C Red No. 40 and sodium benzoate have been linked to increased hyperactive behaviors in children. Further research is needed to confirm this.
- Try avoiding allergy triggers that can affect brain function. If you suspect that allergen exposure makes ADHD symptoms worse, consider getting an allergy test to help avoid triggers.
- Look into ADHD management tools. Try an app or calendar that tracks dates and times for events, a key-dropping bin, or a charging station where devices can be stored. These can help reduce the stress you might feel trying to remember everything you need to.
- Consider cutting out caffeine. Try replacing caffeinated beverages with an herbal brew that uses calming ingredients. Ginseng and chamomile tea may be a good swap for starting your mornings off focused and refreshed. Some research suggests that drinking tea can improve your memory.
- Take a look at herbal supplements. These types of supplements may help you reduce the stress you may experience from ADHD behaviors.
These tips arent a replacement for an action plan for treatment that you make with a doctor or ADHD specialist, but they can help with behaviors or memory issues that you find interfere with your daily activities.
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What Is An Adhd Medication Vacation
Some people stop taking their ADHD medication for a while, especially stimulant medications. This is called a medication vacation. For example, parents might decide to stop giving ADHD medication to their child over summer break.
People do this for different reasons. Maybe a child isnt gaining enough weight. Or sometimes parents dont think it is necessary during the summer, when a child doesnt need to focus as they would in school. Sometimes you just might want to see how a person responds to being off their medication.
Medication vacations can be helpful for some people. However, its best to plan them with your healthcare provider. Your doctor might suggest a lowered dosage or switching to a different ADHD medication instead.
Paying Attention To Adhd Drugs
The teams analysis also produced the surprising result that, over the meta-analysis, noradrenergic drugs failed to have any impact on attention in dementia patients a surprising result, given these drugs widespread use in ADHD. David suggests a few reasons for this finding: the inconsistent methods used to assess attention across the papers may have caused any effect to be muted, the measures used may have missed the type of attention boosts caused by these drugs or maybe just didnt work.
Whatever the reason, the mixed picture from the analysis will require more research to be done, which will need to remedy the failures of past research. The teams analysis of the 19 studies rated them individually for the quality of their study design, and just six were rated to be of good quality, with an additional seven rated fair and six found to be poor in their design.
A number of the studies included in this meta-analysis were conducted many years ago, in the 80s or 90s, when practice was not as well-honed in terms of what makes a good clinical trial, says David. Its important that that we do collect good quality evidence going forward. That will means mimicking high patient numbers and rigorous controls that are more common in modern research.
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But Its Not Quite That Simple
There are ways that meds help indirectly with memory. If one of your husbands issues with memory has to do with distractioni.e., he wasnt paying full attention to what was going on around him and, therefore, couldnt remember it adequately because he didnt notice it in the first placethen meds might help a little. Medication to improve attention, combined with some mindfulness training to help him focus in the present moment and take it all in, could address memory lapses due to lack of attention.
Medications that change one’s emotional state might also help peripherally with memory, though that’s not their primary function. One man with ADHD also recently noted that his ability to “stay with things” has improved with ADHD medication because he feels less anxious and is, therefore, able to engage better with his tasks and with his partner. His wifes experience of this is that her husband is more “present” for her, which includes an improved ability to follow through. She experiences this as a better memory, as well as greater care for her.
Fly Strains And Fly Husbandry
Flies were developed on standard lab food at 25°C, and for spontaneous activity measurement the adults were transferred within 0-4 days of eclosion to yeast extract diet as described previously . The AL diet contained 5% yeast extract and 5% sucrose while the DR diet had 0.5% yeast extract and 5% sucrose. Males carrying the RU-486 inducible Elav-GS driver or the Elav-Gal4 driver were crossed to virgin females carrying the UAS-APP and UAS-hBACE1 genes ).
High-level expression of hAPP/hBACE1 was achieved by crossing Elav-Gal4/y +/+ +/+ males and +/+ +/+ TM6B/UAS-hAPP,UAS-hBACE1 virgin females. RU486 inducible expression of hAPP/hBACE1 was achieved by crossing +/y +/+ Elav-GS/Elav-GS males and +/+ +/+ TM6B/UAS-hAPP,UAS-hBACE virgin females .
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From Alzheimers Concerns To A Mid
Ironically, it was my Twitter habit that pulled me out of my do I have Alzheimers funk. Because I have kids with ADHD, I follow #ADHD Twitter. And one day, I started to recognize some of the things adults with ADHD were saying about their own lives. It finally dawned on me: Maybe it wasnt Alzheimers. Maybe my kids had ADHD because I had ADHD.
I got my diagnosis just after my 50th birthday, and I learned that ADHD in older people sometimes mimics the symptoms of Alzheimers or mild cognitive impairment. Forgetting words, misplacing things, occasionally blanking out completely these ADHD symptoms can become more pronounced as you age, and can look a lot like cognitive decline.
In the nine months or so since I started taking ADHD medication, things are different. Ive mostly avoided putting baking supplies in inappropriate places. I still sometimes need to replace stuff thats gone missing, and sometimes I still reach for words. But, for the most part, Im more focused, more organized, and less forgetful. My symptoms dont scare me anymore.
My messy house, I admit, still scares me. Medication cant fix everything.
What About Computer Memory Training
Some computer training programs were touted as helping to improve memory. Research on their impact with ADHD suggested that while they helped with “near transfer” tasks , those gains did not translate into “far transfer” tasks. So if the program trained you to remember a string of numbers backward, you got better at that, but it didnt transfer to more easily remembering to pick up the kids.
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Adhd And Dementia: What To Do Now
Meanwhile, is there anything an adult with ADHD might do to minimize later risk of dementia?
“I always tell people we don’t know how to prevent this disease,” Leverenz says of LBD. “However, we do know that people who maintain their general health — the old boring stuff, exercise, proper diet — they seem to be able to resist the effect of the disease better.”
Arnold agrees. “Those two things will do a lot to prevent or delay most diseases.”
Adhd Drugs And People With Dementia:
More than 1800 people participated in the clinical trials the scientists reviewed. They took medications such as guanfacine , methylphenidate or atomoxetine . In addition, they completed assessments of overall cognitive capability, specific cognitive skills, attention and apathy. People with Alzheimer disease often experience apathy starting fairly early in the development of the condition.
ADHD and Alzheimer disease do not seem to have very much in common. However, the researchers found that the noradrenergic drugs in the trials improved overall cognition. The change was modest but statistically significant. Even more striking, volunteers taking the medications had significantly less apathy, even though they were no better able to pay attention.
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Adhd Now Dementia Later
Jan. 20, 2011 — Adults with symptoms of ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, are more than three times as likely as other adults to develop a form of dementia later in life, according to new research from Argentina.
”We found a higher risk of dementia with Lewy bodies in patients with preceding adult ADHD symptoms,” write the researchers from Hospital Italiano Buenos Aires. The study is published in the European Journal of Neurology.
Lewy body dementia affects about 1.3 million people in the U.S., according to the Lewy Body Dementia Association. Lewy bodies is the name given to the abnormal protein deposits that disrupt the brain’s normal functioning.
The symptoms include cognitive impairment, like the more well-known dementia, Alzheimer’s disease. However, in the Lewy body form, patients can also have visual hallucinations, fluctuation in cognition — sometimes appearing fine, other times not — and motor abnormalities similar to those in Parkinson’s disease patients.
But a U.S.-based expert cautions that the study found an association between ADHD symptoms and the dementia, not cause and effect. “It may be that both of these disorders are linked to some other risk factor that is common for both,” says James B. Leverenz, MD, chair of the Lewy Body Dementia Association’s scientific advisory council and professor of neurology and psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle. He reviewed the study for WebMD.
The Ebbs And Flows Of Adhd Symptoms
We have stereotypes that people with ADHD are all hyperactive, poor students and dont get very far in life, Nadeau said. Those people certainly exist. But ADHD exists across a huge span of abilities.
Nadeau had a patient who was a successful student with an undergraduate and a graduate degree at Harvard. Faced with the daunting task of completing his dissertation for his Doctor of Philosophy degree, however, his symptoms of ADHD worsened.
He just couldnt organize himself to do this very long-term project, Nadeau said.
What we find is that if people are bright, live in supportive and well-organized households, and go to schools that are not terribly challenging for them, they can be honorable students. And yet they have ADHD, and the ADHD begins to manifest itself as school becomes more demanding.
Symptoms of ADHD may also flare when people lose the structure in their lives. For older adults, this may happen concurrent with retirement.
Many find the abandonment of the daily routine of work to be a massive adjustment, and for adults with ADHD, it can cause symptoms to emerge. Those symptoms can cause difficulties with sleeping and eating, which in turn can exacerbate the condition further. Older adults with ADHD may feel restless, or begin to miss social cues, interrupting others in conversations and speaking impulsively. They could experience moments of blankness and memory lapses.
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Do I Have Alzheimers Genetic Concerns
Both my grandmothers died from Alzheimers disease. I watched my maternal grandmother decline in bits and pieces when I went home on holidays. She asked the same questions over and over and said things that were out of character. When my paternal grandmother died from the same condition, I thought to myself, Well, thats it. I guess Im going out that way, too.
Meanwhile, I was raising four kids with either diagnosed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or obvious-but-undiagnosed ADHD. My house usually looked like someone dumped an oversized stuffed trash bag on the floor and then used a broom to spread it around. Staying on top of my kids schedules was difficult staying on top of housework was impossible.
After my husband found the powdered sugar in the utensil drawer, I Googled dementia self-tests, then spent a couple of days making lists, describing common household objects, and drawing lines between numbers and letters. None of those pointed to anything alarming, but just in case, I made an appointment with my doctor. Then I chickened out. Maybe I didnt really want to know if I had Alzheimers disease.