Tag Archives: brain

Dietary Supplement May Prevent and Reverse Severe Damage to Aging Brain, Research Suggests

A dietary supplement containing a blend of thirty vitamins and minerals—all natural ingredients widely available in health food stores—has shown remarkable anti-aging properties that can prevent and even reverse massive brain cell loss, according to new research from McMaster University.

It’s a mixture scientists believe could someday slow the progress of catastrophic neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, ALS and Parkinson’s.

“The findings are dramatic,” says Jennifer Lemon, research associate in the Department of Biology and a lead author of the study. “Our hope is that this supplement could offset some very serious illnesses and ultimately improve quality of life.”

The formula, which contains common ingredients such as vitamins B, C and D, folic acid, green tea extract, cod liver oil and other nutraceuticals, was first designed by scientists in McMaster’s Department of Biology in 2000.

A series of studies published over the last decade and a half have shown its benefits in mice, in both normal mice and those specifically bred for such research because they age rapidly, experiencing dramatic declines in cognitive and motor function in a matter of months.

The mice used in this study had widespread loss of more than half of their brain cells, severely impacting multiple regions of the brain by one year of age, the human equivalent of severe Alzheimer’s disease.

The mice were fed the supplement on small pieces of bagel each day over the course of several months. Over time, researchers found that it completely eliminated the severe brain cell loss and abolished cognitive decline.

“The research suggests that there is tremendous potential with this supplement to help people who are suffering from some catastrophic neurological diseases,” says Lemon, who conducted the work with co-author Vadim Aksenov, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biology at McMaster.

“We know this because mice experience the same basic cell mechanisms that contribute to neurodegeneration that humans do. All species, in fact. There is a commonality among us all.”

In addition to looking at the major markers of aging, they also discovered that the mice on the supplements experienced enhancement in vision and most remarkably in the sense of smell—the loss of which is often associated with neurological disease—improved balance and motor activity.

The next step in the research is to test the supplement on humans, likely within the next two years, and target those who are dealing with neurodegenerative diseases.

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Former NFL Pro-Bowler, Actor Bubba Smith Diagnosed with CTE

The Concussion Legacy Foundation reports thatBubba Smith, a two-time NFL Pro Bowl defensive end, College Football Hall of Famer, and the first overall pick of the 1967 National Football League (NFL) draft was diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) after his death by researchers affiliated with the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, a collaboration between the Department of Veterans Affairs, Boston University.

Smith began his NFL career with the Baltimore Colts (1967–1971), where he was a member of the Super Bowl V championship team, then played for the Oakland Raiders (1973–1974), and finally the Houston Oilers (1975–1976). He was an All-American defensive end at Michigan State University and was part of the famous 10-10 tie with Notre Dame in 1966 that was billed the “Game of the Century.”Smith, who died in 2011 at age 66, is among the 90 of 94 former NFL players diagnosed with CTE since 2008 at the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank. He had stage 3 CTE out of a 4 stage severity, with 4 being the most advanced and usually associated with dementia. Prior to his death, Smith was reported to have developed significant cognitive decline, including memory impairment and poor judgment. He was also unable to complete many tasks of daily living on his own, such as paying bills, shopping, or traveling. The findings are now being released by the representative of his estate Elias Goldstein to raise awareness of CTE. Smith had no children, no surviving siblings, and was not married at the time of his death.

Last month was the 50th iteration of the modern NFL draft. Bubba Smith was the first overall pick in 1967 draft, the first draft to take place after the NFL and American Football League (AFL) merger.

“CTE is an important discussion within the context of the NFL draft and rookie minicamps,” said Chris Nowinski, co-founder and president of the Concussion Legacy Foundation. “Despite its perception as an NFL problem, our team has also identified 45 cases of CTE in former college players. While we discuss and celebrate the future of former college players preparing for their first year in the NFL, we need to also discuss that CTE may be part of that future. It is time for entire football community to rally behind the research aimed at accelerating a cure for CTE.”

Smith was a teammate of Hall of Famers Ken Stabler, who it was announced in February had CTE when he died in 2015, and John Mackey, who was diagnosed with CTE after his death in 2011. Since then, Former Oakland Raiders George Atkinson, Phil Villapiano, George Buehler and Art Thoms, all former teammates of both Stabler and Smith, have pledged their brains to the Concussion Legacy Foundation as part of My Legacy, which encourages athletes to leave their legacy by helping solve the concussion crisis through brain donation or other means.

Last month VA Secretary Robert McDonald pledged to donate his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation, joining NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. and soccer legend Brandi Chastain among over 1,100 others. The VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank is the largest sports concussion and CTE repository in the world with over 330 brains donated and over 200 cases confirmed, comprising an estimated 75% of the confirmed CTE cases globally.

In December the National Institutes of Health (NIH) gave a seven-year, $16 million dollar grant aimed at learning to diagnose CTE in living athletes to a consortium of 10 leading universities led by principal investigator Dr. Robert Stern, professor of neurology, neurosurgery and anatomy at Boston University School of Medicine, and three co-principal investigators from the Cleveland Clinic, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

For more information on donating to the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank or to get involved, visit: concussionfoundation.org/get-involved

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Concussion Litigation Reporter Table of Contents January 2016

January 2016, Vol. 4, No. 7

Timely reporting on developments and legal strategies at the intersection of sports and concussions—articles that benefit practicing attorneys who may be pursuing a claim or defending a client.


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