Archive for Parkinson’s Awareness

Blackcurrant Fruit Provides Brain Health Benefits

Scientists from Plant & Food Research in New Zealand, in collaboration with Northumbria University in the United Kingdom, assessed the effects of blackcurrants on cognitive health and found that the fruit improved attention and regulated mood.

New Zealand BlackcurrantsThe study was conducted on 36 healthy participants aged 18 to 35 years old who consumed one of three drinks: a sugar and taste-matched placebo which did not contain blackcurrant, an anthocyanin-enriched New Zealand blackcurrant extract (Delcyan™), or a cold-pressed juice from the New Zealand blackcurrant variety called ‘Blackadder’. After consuming 250ml of their assigned drink, the participants underwent mental performance tests and a blood test.

Results showed that both of the blackcurrant juices improved attention and mood and reduced mental fatigue. Blood tests also revealed that the blackcurrant juice decreased the activity of the monoamine oxidase enzyme (MAO), a family of enzymes that break down serotonin and dopamine in the brain.

Chemicals that inhibit the activity of MAO enzymes are often used to treat depression and other mood disorders such as stress and anxiety. They also work as treatments for neurodegenerative symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s occurs when neurons in the area of the brain controlling movement die and produce less dopamine, which contributes to the physical motor symptoms. Chemicals that can inhibit MAO enzymes prolong the effects of dopamine by preventing its breakdown and may also prevent the removal of dopamine between nerve cells, all of which help to combat symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Previous research on berries has found a multitude of benefits, including the slowing of cognitive decline associated with aging. Blueberries, in particular, have been proven to promote heart health, thereby increasing blood flow to the brain to boost cognitive health. Try incorporating some berries into your next smoothie along with a nutrient-rich, varied diet and a regimen of light physical activity for a brain-health boost.


Tumeric Could Encourage Brain’s Ability to Heal Itself

Aromatic-turmerone, a compound that is naturally found in the spice turmeric, could potentially boost the brain’s ability to self-repair. Researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine in Germany have studied the effects of aromatic-turmerone and identified its’ potential to encourage the growth of nerve cells believed to help the brain’s ability to repair itself.

Using rodents, the research team injected the compound into areas of the brain involved in nerve cell growth and studied the resulting brain scans. They found that these areas were much more active after the injection, which indicates a correlation between turmeric and brain cell proliferation. In a separate trial, the team bathed rodent neural stem cells in petri dishes with the compound, where they observed that 80 percent of the stem cells rapidly transformed into neurons or other cells.

Dr. Maria Adele Rueger from the research team said, “It is interesting that it might be possible to boost the effectiveness of the stem cells with aromatic-turmerone, and it is possible this in turn can help boost repair in the brain.”

Dr. Rueger and the team are looking into human trials. The rapid growth and specialization of nerve cells could potentially impact treatment of neuro-degenerative diseases, which are the deterioration of cells in the brain and spinal cord. Turmeric’s compound may provide new hope for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.

Although these results are encouraging, one should also eat a healthy diet, partake in physical activity and keep engaged mentally as is the goal of the Cognitive Therapeutics program.




Liftware spoon released

Remember that spoon we wrote about that was made to assist eating with a tremor rather than trying to stop the tremor? They have released it and are planning new attachments.

You can watch the video here:

Learn more about the technology behind the spoon here:

Tremors that present with a handful of disorders, most prominently Parkinson’s Disease, create a barrier for normal activity for the person with the tremor.  A common complaint of a tremor is having to focus so hard on getting the food to one’s mouth that they cannot socialize naturally during a meal.  Previous assistance devices for eating with a tremor attempted to restrain the tremor rather than working with it. This new view of assisting normal activity without fighting the tremor shows a new view of finding ways to function with the disease rather than difficult and sometimes painful efforts to fight it every step of the way.

Parkinson’s is a serious, life-changing disease, to learn more about the disease, visit:

LiftWare Creates Spoon to Cancel Out Parkinson’s Tremors

Parkinson’s disease is a nervous system disorder that often involves symptoms of dementia.  The tremor exhibited in Parkinson’s disease is one of the most common and most widely recognized symptoms of the disease.  This tremor is not only upsetting to the person with Parkinson’s, but also can interfere with his or her daily activities, including basic hygiene, recreational activities and eating.  Previously a person who wished to correct the tremor to assist in eating would have to wear cumbersome tremor suppression equipment, but new research has led to a device that allows the tremor to happen freely, providing for greater comfort, while cancelling out the movement in the spoon itself to prevent food from being spilled.
Technology like this helps improve the lives of those who have to live with active tremors and allows for a more normal experience in daily life.