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Head Imaging News

Chuck Norris Says MRI Dye Harmed Wife's Brain, But Study Finds No Link

Posted 19 days ago by

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 29, 2017 – Despite recent claims from actor Chuck Norris that a dye commonly used during MRI scans seriously sickened his wife, a new study finds no evidence to support such a link. The substance in question is gadolinium. It's a metal found in contrast agents that are injected into the body during an MRI scan, to enhance the quality of the images. Earlier this month, Norris filed a lawsuit alleging that his wife fell ill after being exposed to gadolinium during MRI scans. The suit says that Gena Norris was left weak, tired and suffering bouts of pain and burning sensations. Doctors have been using gadolinium-based agents for 30 years – totaling more than 300 million doses, said Dr. Vikas Gulani, an associate professor of radiology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. But, Gulani explained, researchers have only recently discovered that trace amounts of the ... Read more

Related support groups: Dementia, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Diagnosis and Investigation, Head Imaging

Brain Beats Brawn in Quest for Energy

Posted 8 Nov 2017 by

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 8, 2017 – The brain gets priority over muscles when both are competing for energy, a new study finds. Tests with 62 elite rowers at a British university, who averaged 21 years old, revealed that when they had to think fast and exert themselves at the same time, the brain was first in line to receive energy-providing glucose. This is likely an evolutionary trait because quick thinking rather than fast moving may have helped human ancestors survive, according to researchers from the University of Cambridge. "The development of an enlarged and elaborated brain is considered a defining characteristic of human evolution, but one that has come as a result of trade-offs," study lead author Danny Longman, from the archaeology department, said in a university news release. "At the evolutionary level, our brains have arguably cost us decreased investment in muscle as well as a ... Read more

Related support groups: Mild Cognitive Impairment, Diagnosis and Investigation, Head Imaging

Human vs. Animal Brainpower: More Alike Than You Might Think

Posted 7 Nov 2017 by

MONDAY, Nov. 6, 2017 – Your brain's energy use is not as unique as experts have thought, a new study finds. It's been long believed that the human brain consumed a larger portion of total body energy than did the brains of many animals. The human brain accounts for 2 percent of body weight but consumes more than 25 percent of available energy. However, researchers who compared brain energy use in humans and 22 other species found that some of those species' brain energy demands are similar. "We don't have a uniquely expensive brain," said study author Doug Boyer, an assistant professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University. "This challenges a major dogma in human evolution studies." The findings "shouldn't come as too much of a surprise," he said in a university news release. "The metabolic cost of a structure like the brain is mainly dependent on how big it is, and many ... Read more

Related support groups: Diagnosis and Investigation, Head Imaging

Resilient Brain Connections May Help Against Alzheimer's

Posted 2 Nov 2017 by

THURSDAY, Nov. 2, 2017 – Certain pieces of brain structure may make some people less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. That's the conclusion of a new study that could lead to new ways to prevent or slow the memory-destroying disease, researchers said. For the study, the researchers analyzed brain samples from patients at memory clinics and found that the presence of healthy dendritic spines (connections between neurons) provide protection against Alzheimer's in people whose brains have proteins associated with the disease. The findings, published recently in the Annals of Neurology, are the first of their kind, the study authors said. "One of the precursors of Alzheimer's is the development in the brain of proteins called amyloid and tau, which we refer to as the pathology of Alzheimer's," said the study's lead author, Jeremy Herskowitz. He's an assistant professor with the ... Read more

Related support groups: Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Head Imaging

Long Spaceflights Could Put Pressure on the Brain

Posted 1 Nov 2017 by

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 1, 2017 – The brains of astronauts who spend months in space appear to shift upward inside their skulls by the time they return to Earth, a new study finds. The repercussions, if any, are uncertain for now, researchers said. It's not clear how quickly the brain might settle back into its rightful place once Earth's gravity has taken hold, said lead researcher Dr. Donna Roberts. But one concern is this: If the brain moves upward, it could compress a major vein that drains blood from the head – possibly increasing pressure within the skull. And in fact, it's already known that some astronauts have returned from the International Space Station with vision problems. NASA has dubbed the phenomenon "visual impairment and intracranial pressure" syndrome, or VIIP. Roberts said her team suspects the brain's upward shift can help explain VIIP – though it's too early to say for ... Read more

Related support groups: Diagnosis and Investigation, Papilledema Associated with Increased Intracranial Pressure, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Head Imaging

Brain Scans May Have Spotted People Thinking About Suicide

Posted 31 Oct 2017 by

TUESDAY, Oct. 31, 2017 – Brain scans may be able to identify when people are having suicidal thoughts, researchers report. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young adults in the United States, but suicidal risk is difficult to assess and predict. This study included 17 people with known suicidal tendencies and a control group of 17 people without such tendencies. While in a brain scanner, the participants were presented with and asked to think about words relating to six concepts: death, cruelty, trouble, carefree, good and praise. The researchers said an algorithm they developed was 91 percent accurate in identifying whether a person was from the suicidal or control group and 94 percent accurate in identifying people who had attempted suicide. The study, published Oct. 30 in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, suggests a new way to assess mental health disorders, ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Lexapro, Zoloft, Prozac, Cymbalta, Effexor, Major Depressive Disorder, Celexa, Citalopram, Paxil, Sertraline, Pristiq, Amitriptyline, Venlafaxine, Effexor XR, Fluoxetine, Escitalopram, Savella, Nortriptyline, Elavil

Belly Fat Widens Odds of Emergency Surgery Troubles

Posted 30 Oct 2017 by

MONDAY, Oct. 30, 2017 – Excess belly fat dramatically increases the risk of complications and death after emergency surgery, a new study finds. The research included more than 600 patients who had emergency surgery and underwent CT scans of the abdomen and pelvis before surgery. These scans were used to calculate waist-to-hip ratios, a measure of belly fat. A healthy ratio should not exceed .90 in men and .85 in women, according to the World Health Organization. Nearly 70 percent of the patients in the study had an unhealthy waist-to-hip ratio equal to or higher than 1. "Our main goal is to identify those at risk for developing complications so we can intervene appropriately and improve the health care delivered," said study lead author Dr. Faisal Jehan, a research fellow in the department of surgery at the University of Arizona, Tucson. Overall, the complication rate was 33 percent ... Read more

Related support groups: Obesity, Weight Loss, Heart Attack, Myocardial Infarction, Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction, Myocardial Infarction - Prophylaxis, Head Imaging

Hockey Study Suggests Injured Kids Sent Back on the Ice Too Soon

Posted 25 Oct 2017 by

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 25, 2017 – After-effects of a concussion continue to wrack the brains of young hockey players long after they appear ready to return to play, new research finds. MRI scans of concussed teen hockey players revealed brain changes persist for at least three months – weeks after other symptoms resolve and skaters are cleared to hit the ice, a Canadian research team found. Scores on thinking and memory tests – two current measures of recovery – returned to normal about 24 days (on average) following a concussion, the study findings showed. These results indicate that current clinical tests used to judge an athlete's recovery could be improved, said senior researcher Ravi Menon. He's a professor and chair of functional and molecular imaging with the University of Western Ontario's Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. "Clearly those tests are not very sensitive," ... Read more

Related support groups: Head Injury, Diagnosis and Investigation, Head Injury with Intracranial Hemorrhage, Head Injury w/ Intracranial Hemorrhage and Loss of Consciousness, Head Imaging, Head Injury with Loss of Consciousness

Schizophrenia Affects Brain's Communication Network

Posted 18 Oct 2017 by

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18, 2017 – The mental illness schizophrenia disrupts the brain's entire communication network, a new study suggests. This research disputes a theory that schizophrenia is caused by wiring problems only in certain parts of the brain. The findings could help direct future research into the disorder that affects more than 21 million people worldwide, the researchers said. "We can definitively say for the first time that schizophrenia is a disorder where white matter wiring is frayed throughout the brain," said study co-lead author Sinead Kelly, formerly a researcher at the Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine. The study included a review of brain scans from more than 1,900 people worldwide with schizophrenia. The researchers analyzed the "white matter" – the fatty brain tissue that enables brain cells ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Diagnosis and Investigation, Head Imaging

Scientists Spot Marker for CTE in Living Football Players

Posted 26 Sep 2017 by

TUESDAY, Sept. 26, 2017 – A potential marker, or warning sign, for a devastating brain disease caused by repeated concussions has been identified in living people for the first time by researchers. Until now, it has only been possible to diagnose chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after death. Scientists in Boston studied the brains of 23 former college and professional football players, 50 non-athletes with Alzheimer's disease, and 18 non-athletes without brain disease. Levels of the biomarker CCL11 were normal in the brains of the non-athletes without brain disease and the non-athletes with Alzheimer's disease, but were significantly elevated in the brains of former football players with CTE. In the former players with CTE, there was also a link between the number of years playing football and CCL11 levels. "Not only did this research show the potential for CTE diagnosis during ... Read more

Related support groups: Alzheimer's Disease, Encephalopathy, Diagnosis and Investigation, Head Imaging

Youth Football Ups Odds of Brain Problems in Adulthood

Posted 19 Sep 2017 by

TUESDAY, Sept. 19, 2017 – Kids who start playing tackle football before age 12 have a higher risk of mental and behavioral problems in adulthood than their counterparts who began playing at older ages, a new study suggests. Researchers say playing tackle football at a younger age boosted the odds of later problems with behavioral control, apathy, thinking and decision-making by twofold compared to other players. They also said the risk of clinical depression rose by threefold in these players compared to their counterparts who started playing at older ages. "These findings were independent of the total number of seasons the participants played football or at what level they played, such as high school, college or professional," said study lead author Michael Alosco, a post-graduate fellow at Boston University's Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Center. However, these findings ... Read more

Related support groups: Head Injury, Head Injury with Intracranial Hemorrhage, Head Injury w/ Intracranial Hemorrhage and Loss of Consciousness, Head Injury with Loss of Consciousness, Head Imaging

Football Fans Still Loyal Despite Concerns About Players' Brains

Posted 10 Sep 2017 by

SUNDAY, Sept. 10, 2017 – Football remains America's favorite professional sport, even though a majority of fans admit they're concerned about brain injuries to players, according to a new survey. Among 1,000 Americans questioned, 77 percent of those who follow pro football believe head injuries for players pose a major problem for the sport. Fifteen percent said it is a minor problem, while 6 percent don't consider it a problem. In addition, the University of Massachusetts Lowell-Washington Post poll revealed that more than 80 percent believe there is either certainly or probably settled science that playing football causes brain injuries. Only one in 10 said that is either probably false or certainly false. Long-term damage caused by repeated blows to the head has garnered much attention in recent years. A study published in July in the Journal of the American Medical Association said ... Read more

Related support groups: Alzheimer's Disease, Head Injury, Encephalopathy, Head Injury with Intracranial Hemorrhage, Head Imaging, Head Injury with Loss of Consciousness

Does General Anesthesia Affect Babies' Brains?

Posted 1 Sep 2017 by

FRIDAY, Sept. 1, 2017 – Babies who receive general anesthesia for surgery before they're 1 year old may have less white matter in their brains, a small study suggests. The researchers said they also found that the integrity, or structure, of the white matter might have been affected. White matter is tissue that connects different parts of the brain. "The most rigorous previous study in humans looked at the effects of general anesthesia during infancy on cognitive [brain] functions of 2-year-olds, and results showed no effect," said study first author Robert Block. He is an associate professor of anesthesia at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. "This study is looking specifically at the white matter structure and how it is affected," Block said in a university news release. The University of Iowa Health Care study included 34 healthy children aged 12 to 15. Half of these ... Read more

Related support groups: Anesthesia, Light Anesthesia, Head Imaging

Brain Scans Offer Clues to Why Some Teens Pile on Pounds

Posted 1 Sep 2017 by

THURSDAY, Aug. 31, 2017 – How come some people can just walk on by a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, while others grab a handful as they pass? Brain scans done on teenagers may provide a clue. Researchers found that the brains of overweight teens were less active in areas that help with impulse control when teens were shown pictures of food. Even thin kids who has risk factors for becoming overweight – such as a family history of obesity – showed less activity in the area of the brain linked to impulse control. "Our findings suggest that we may be able to predict which teens will ultimately become obese adults by effectively looking at how their brains respond when they read a food menu," said study first author Susan Carnell. She's an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. For the study, ... Read more

Related support groups: Obesity, Weight Loss, Head Imaging

Do Fewer Nightly Dreams Mean Higher Dementia Risk in Seniors?

Posted 23 Aug 2017 by

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 23, 2017 – Seniors who spend less time each night in the dream stage of sleep may be more likely to succumb to dementia as they age, new research suggests. Known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, this critical phase "occurs in intervals throughout the night, and is characterized by more dreaming and rapid eye movements," explained study author Matthew Pase. He is a senior research fellow with Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, and a visiting researcher in the department of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine. "We found that persons experiencing less REM sleep over the course of a night displayed an increased risk of developing dementia in the future," Pase said. He noted that for every 1 percent drop in REM sleep, the seniors in his study saw their dementia and Alzheimer's disease risk go up by about 9 percent. While prior research has ... Read more

Related support groups: Sleep Disorders, Insomnia, Fatigue, Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Arteriosclerotic Dementia, Head Imaging

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