Protocol Report on the Transcranial Photobiomodulation for Alzheimer"™s Disease (TRAP-AD) Study
Background: Alzheimer"™s disease"™s (AD) prevalence is projected to increase as the population ages and current treatments are minimally effective. Transcranial photobiomodulation (t-PBM) with near-infrared (NIR) light penetrates into the cerebral cortex, stimulates the mitochondrial respiratory chain, and increases cerebral blood flow. Preliminary data suggests t-PBM may be efficacious in improving cognition in people with early AD and amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). Methods: In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study with aMCI and early AD participants, we will test the efficacy, safety, and impact on cognition of 24 sessions of t-PBM delivered over 8 weeks. Brain mechanisms of t-PBM in this population will be explored by testing whether the baseline tau burden (measured with 18F-MK6240), or changes in mitochondrial function over 8 weeks (assessed with 31P-MRSI), moderates the changes observed in cognitive functions after t-PBM therapy. We will also use changes in the fMRI Blood-Oxygenation-Level-Dependent (BOLD) signal after a single treatment to demonstrate t-PBM-dependent increases in prefrontal cortex blood flow. Conclusion: This study will test whether t-PBM, a low-cost, accessible, and user-friendly intervention, has the potential to improve cognition and function in an aMCI and early AD population.
Does obesity-associated insulin resistance affect brain structure and function of adolescents differentially by sex?
Metabolic abnormalities affect the adolescent brain. For equivalent abnormalities in metabolism young people exhibit deficits in more cognitive domains than adults. We examine sex differences performance for adolescents with obesity/insulin resistance (IR) and evaluated how sex and IR effected frontal lobe structures and executive functioning. 125 adolescents underwent medical, cognitive, and brain-imaging assessments. Participants were categorized as insulin sensitive (IS) (QUICKI â‰¥ 0.350) or IR (QUICKI < 0.350). Degree of IR may affect brain and cognition differentially by sex. Females had positive associations between QUICKI and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) volume, medial orbito-frontal cortex (OFC) thickness, and scores on the Stroop and Digit Symbol Substitution (DSST) tests. Females with IR tended to have thinner insular cortices. No such associations were found in males. In female adolescents, IR may negatively affect brain structure and function. No such effects were found for males. Although needing more development, hormonal effects and inflammation are potential contributors.
Consensus report from the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) 2019 Oral Immunotherapy for Food Allergy Summit
Food allergy is a major health problem affecting 5% to 10% of the population in developed nations, including an estimated 32 million Americans. Despite the large number of patients suffering from food allergies, up until the end of January 2020, no treatment for food allergies had been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. The only options were avoidance of food allergen triggers and acute management of allergic reactions. A considerable body of data exists supporting oral immunotherapy (OIT) as a promising, novel treatment option, including that for the now Food and Drug Administration-approved peanut OIT product Palforzia (Aimmune Therapeutics, Brisbane, Calif). However, data for long-term quality-of-life improvement with OIT varies, depending on the measures used for analysis. Like many therapies, OIT is not without potential harms, and burdens, and the evaluation of patient-specific risk-benefit ratio of food OIT produces challenges for clinicians and patients alike, with many unanswered questions. Food Allergy Research & Education organized the Oral Immunotherapy for Food Allergy Summit on November 6, 2019, modeled after the PRACTALL sessions between the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology to address these critical issues. Health care providers, patient representatives, researchers, regulators, and food allergy advocates came together to discuss OIT and identify areas of common ground as well as gaps in existing research and areas of uncertainty and disagreement. The purpose of this article was to summarize that discussion and facilitate collaboration among clinicians and patients to help them make better-informed decisions about offering and accepting OIT, respectively, as a therapeutic option.
Cognitive functions among predominantly minority urban adolescents with metabolic syndrome
The rise in the rate of adolescent obesity has led to a concurrent rise in the rate of metabolic syndrome (MetS) among young people. In addition to diabetes and cardiovascular disease, MetS has also been linked to cognitive dysfunction. The goal of this study was to assess whether cognitive differences exist between minority urban adolescents carrying excess weight who meet criteria for MetS as compared to their peers without MetS. Two hundred and ninety-six urban adolescents, predominantly Hispanic and carrying excess weight as defined by a BMI above 25 kg/m2, were screened for MetS and divided into MetS and no MetS groups. All participants completed the CNS Vital Signs (CNS-VS) computerized neurocognitive battery that assesses cognitive domains of Memory, Processing Speed, Reaction Time, Executive Function, Complex Attention, and Cognitive Flexibility. The MetS group (29.2%, n = 84) performed significantly lower on 2 of the 7 cognitive domains: Executive Function (EF) and Cognitive Flexibility. Additionally, waist circumference was determined to be a significant predictor of both these domains. These findings suggest EF is negatively impacted in adolescents with MetS, despite there being no statistical differences between MetS groups on most other measured cognitive domains. Due to the interrelated nature of obesity, waist circumference, and MetS, these findings have larger implications for the obesity epidemic as well.
CDK4/6 Inhibition Augments Antitumor Immunity by Enhancing T-cell Activation
Immune checkpoint blockade, exemplified by antibodies targeting the PD-1 receptor, can induce durable tumor regressions in some patients. To enhance the efficacy of existing immunotherapies, we screened for small molecules capable of increasing the activity of T cells suppressed by PD-1. Here, we show that short-term exposure to small-molecule inhibitors of cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 (CDK4/6) significantly enhances T-cell activation, contributing to antitumor effectsin vivo, due in part to the derepression of NFAT family proteins and their target genes, critical regulators of T-cell function. Although CDK4/6 inhibitors decrease T-cell proliferation, they increase tumor infiltration and activation of effector T cells. Moreover, CDK4/6 inhibition augments the response to PD-1 blockade in a novelex vivoorganotypic tumor spheroid culture system and in multiplein vivomurine syngeneic models, thereby providing a rationale for combining CDK4/6 inhibitors and immunotherapies.Significance:Our results define previously unrecognized immunomodulatory functions of CDK4/6 and suggest that combining CDK4/6 inhibitors with immune checkpoint blockade may increase treatment efficacy in patients. Furthermore, our study highlights the critical importance of identifying complementary strategies to improve the efficacy of immunotherapy for patients with cancer.Cancer Discov; 8(2); 216-33. Â©2017 AACR.See related commentary by Balko and Sosman, p. 143See related article by Jenkins et al., p. 196This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 127.
Asian Adolescents with Excess Weight are at Higher Risk for Insulin Resistance than Non-Asian Peers
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether Asian American adolescents have higher metabolic risk from excess weight than non-Asians. METHODS: Seven hundred thirty-three students, aged 14 to 19 years old, completed a school-based health screening. The 427 Asian and 306 non-Asian students were overall equivalent on age, sex, and family income. Height, weight, waist circumference, percent body fat, and blood pressure were measured. Fasting triglycerides, high- and low-density lipoproteins, glucose, and insulin levels were measured. Asian and non-Asians in lean or overweight/obesity groups were contrasted on the five factors that make up the metabolic syndrome. RESULTS: Asian adolescents carrying excess weight had significantly higher insulin resistance (IR), triglyceride levels, and waist-height ratios (W/H), despite a significantly lower overall BMI than corresponding non-Asians. Similarly, Asians had a stronger relationship between W/H and the degree of IR than non-Asian counterparts; 35% and 18% of the variances were explained (R2 = 0.35, R2 = 0.18) respectively, resulting in a significant W/H by racial group interaction (Fchange [1,236] = 11.56, P < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Despite lower overall BMI, Asians have higher IR and triglyceride levels from excess weight than their non-Asian counterparts. One-size-fits-all public health policies targeting youth should be reconsidered and attention paid to Asian adolescents, including those with mild degrees of excess weight.
Obese Adolescents Show Reduced Cognitive Processing Speed Compared with Healthy Weight Peers
BACKGROUND: Childhood obesity and obesity-associated diabetes and metabolic syndrome (MetS) continue to rise. Obesity has been linked to structural and functional brain abnormalities, particularly in the frontal lobe. METHODS: One hundred sixty-two adolescents (aged 19.53 +/- 1.53 years) underwent medical, neurocognitive, and brain magnetic resonance imaging assessments. Participants were either healthy weight (BMI <25.0 kg/m2 or BMI percentile <85%) or obese (BMI >/=30.0 kg/m2 or BMI percentile >/=95%). We evaluated frontal lobe cognitive functions and the size of the corpus callosum (CC). RESULTS: Groups differed on four measures of processing speed contained in four different cognitive tests, but not on executive function. A confirmatory factor analysis verified that the significant processing speed variables loaded on the same factor. We also found differences between the weight groups on the area of the anterior portion of the CC, but not the overall CC. Only the Controlled Oral Word Association Test (COWAT) was significantly correlated with the area of the anterior portion of the CC. In the obese group, 32.4% met criteria for MetS. No differences were found between obese participants with or without MetS and none of the MetS factors contributed consistently to cognitive performance. CONCLUSIONS: Obese adolescents show slower cognitive processing speed while maintaining equivalent performance on executive functioning compared with their healthy weight peers. The group differences in the anterior portion of the CC, responsible for frontal lobe interhemispheric communication, may in part explain our processing speed findings. Future studies should include a longitudinal design and diffusion tensor imaging to examine the integrity of white matter.
Hispanic Youth With Excess Weight Display Psychological Distress: Do the Youth Self-Report Norms Accurately Capture This Phenomenon?
Adolescent overweight/obesity (OW/O) has reached epidemic proportions. The Youth Self-Report (YSR) was administered to 514 primarily Hispanic urban high school students to examine the relationship between weight and psychological distress. YSR and study population-specific norms were used to assess risk on Anxious/Depressed, Withdrawn/Depressed, Somatic Complaints, and Social Problems scales. OW/O status increased Social Problems regardless of norms. OW/O students endorsed greater Withdrawn/Depressed symptoms with YSR norms; greater Anxious/Depressed and Somatic Complaints were endorsed with population-specific norms. Females drive results. Findings suggest norms need to incorporate minority and economically disadvantaged groups.
Impact of metabolic syndrome on cognition and brain: a selected review of the literature
Metabolic syndrome (MetS), a clustering of risk factors for type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease, has been associated with cognitive dysfunction and brain abnormalities. This review describes the literature on the impact of MetS on brain and cognition and suggests directions for future research. A literature search for reports of MetS and cognition and brain imaging was conducted for both nonelderly adults and adolescents. No studies were found describing MetS and brain or cognition among adolescents; therefore, we also included studies investigating individual components of MetS in this age group. Most studies found associations between MetS and cognitive dysfunction. Multiple cognitive domains were affected by MetS in adults. In adolescents, the majority of findings were in executive functioning. Brain imaging literature in adults implicated MetS in ischemic stroke, white matter alterations, and altered brain metabolism. For adolescents, individual MetS factors were linked to volume losses in the hippocampus and frontal lobes. MetS negatively impacts cognitive performance and brain structure. Potential explanatory models include impaired vascular reactivity, neuroinflammation, oxidative stress, and abnormal brain lipid metabolism. We posit that insulin resistance-associated impairment in cerebrovascular reactivity is an important mechanism underlying brain deficits seen in MetS.
Obesity, orbitofrontal structure and function are associated with food choice: a cross-sectional study
Objectives Obesity is on the rise in the US and is linked to the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Emerging evidence over the last decade suggests that obesity may also adversely affect executive function and brain structure. Although a great deal of research focuses on how diet affects the brain and cognitive performance, no study focuses on how food choice may be associated with brain integrity. Here we investigated how lean and overweight/obese (o/o) adults differed in their food choices and how brain structure and cognition may be associated with those choices. Design As part of an ongoing study on diabetes and the brain, participants had routine blood work and a research MRI, received a battery of neurocognitive tests, and were instructed to keep a 3-day food diary. Results and conclusions The lean group ate more high quality foods and less low quality foods compared to the o/o group. In the o/o group, high quality food choices were associated with orbitofrontal cortex volume. The lean group performed better than the o/o group on neurocognitive measures of executive function, such as the Stroop Interference Test, the Wisconsin Card Sort Test and the Trail Making Test B-A, and on attention and concentration tasks such as the Digit Symbol Substitution Test. Taken together, these preliminary data suggest that in obesity poor food choices may be associated with frontal cognitive impairments that may be the result of, or contribute to, decreases in orbitofrontal cortex volume. Therefore, longitudinal studies are warranted to investigate a causal link between food choice and executive functioning