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Prenatal nicotine exposure to cause ADHD

Researchers including an Indian-origin scientist have said that prenatal exposure to nicotine could manifest as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children born a generation later.

Professors Pradeep G Bhide and Jinmin Zhu from Florida State University College of Medicine have found evidence that ADHD associated with nicotine can be passed across generations.

Bhide said that what their research shows is that some of the changes in one’s genome - whether induced by drugs or by experience - may be permanent and will be transmitted that to their offspring.

Bhide and Zhu used a mouse model to test the hypothesis that hyperactivity induced by prenatal nicotine exposure is transmitted from one generation to the next. Their data demonstrated that there is a transgenerational transmission via the maternal, but not the paternal, line of descent.

Bhide said that genes are constantly changing, asserting that some are silenced and others are expressed, and that happens not only by hereditary mechanisms, but because of something in the environment or because of what we eat or what we see or what we hear.

Memory decline in elderly may soon be history

Researchers have claimed to have found a drug therapy that could potentially reverse memory decline in seniors someday.

Researcher Jennifer Bizon, PhD, an associate professor in the department of neuroscience and a member of UF’s Evelyn F and William L McKnight Brain Institute, said that graduate student Cristina Banuelos’ work suggests that cells that normally provide the brake on neural activity are in overdrive in the aged prefrontal cortex.
This chemical, an inhibitory brain neurotransmitter called GABA, is essential. Without it, brain cells can become too active, similar to what happens in the brains of people with schizophrenia and epilepsy. To determine the culprit behind working memory decline, the researchers tested the memory of young and aged rats in a “Skinner box.” In the Skinner box, rats had to remember the location of a lever for short periods of up to 30 seconds.

The scientists found that while both young and old rats could remember the location of the lever for brief periods of time, as those time periods lengthened, old rats had more difficulty remembering the location of the lever than young rats.

But not all older rats did poorly on the memory test, just as not all older adults have memory problems. The study shows the older brains of some people or rats with no memory problems might compensate for the overactive inhibitory system — they are able to produce fewer GABA receptors and therefore bind less of the inhibitory chemical.

Calcium and vitamin D improve women’s cholesterol profiles

Researchers have claimed that calcium and vitamin D supplements after menopause can improve women’s cholesterol profiles and much of that effect is tied to raising vitamin D levels.

The study led by NAMS Board of Trustees member Peter F Schnatz, DO, NCMP, is helping to settle those questions because it looked both at how a calcium and vitamin D supplement changed cholesterol levels and how it affected blood levels of vitamin D in postmenopausal women.

Daily, the women in the WHI CaD trial took either a supplement containing 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D3 or a placebo.

The women who took the supplement were more than twice as likely to have vitamin D levels of at least 30 ng/mL (normal according to the Institute of Medicine) as were the women who took the placebo. Supplement users also had low-density lipoprotein (LDL—the “bad” cholesterol) levels that were between 4 and 5 points lower.

The investigators discovered, in addition, that among supplement users, those with higher blood levels of vitamin D had higher levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL—the “good” cholesterol) and lower levels of triglycerides (although for triglycerides to be lower, blood levels of vitamin D had to reach a threshold of about 15 ng/mL).

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