Meds, Mind, Body & Benefits > Research News & Studies

Losing one's mind?

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Interesting study I came across this week and happy to share......yes it needs to be replicated in a larger study group but popping a few simple and inexpensive vitamins may just help us all to help keep somewhat our cognitive function in place.

Losing my mind due to HIV infection and/or due to meds is something that is never far from my mind......or what's left of it!!!!  ;) Efavirenz is not a poster boy to help either!!!!  :-[

Having to rely on my lover and/or family in the future to possibly take care of basic everyday living chores for me scares the bejesus out of me!!!!!!

Just wondering if our normal MD/GP doctor can test one for potential high homocysteine levels in our blood to tell us if we are at potential risk? Not going overboard here but I may just start looking more closely at my daily multivitamin specs to ensure that my VitB levels and folic acid are in order and perhaps check up on what food provides abundant VitB6 and 12 levels.......and dont forget the chia seeds!!!!  ;D
Preventing Alzheimer’s disease-related gray matter atrophy by B-vitamin treatment
Edited by Marcus E. Raichle, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, and approved March 29, 2013 (received for review January 29, 2013)


Is it possible to prevent atrophy of key brain regions related to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease (AD)? One approach is to modify nongenetic risk factors, for instance by lowering elevated plasma homocysteine using B vitamins.

In an initial, randomized controlled study on elderly subjects with increased dementia risk (mild cognitive impairment according to 2004 Petersen criteria), we showed that high-dose B-vitamin treatment (folic acid 0.8 mg, vitamin B6 20 mg, vitamin B12 0.5 mg) slowed shrinkage of the whole brain volume over 2 yrs.

Here, we go further by demonstrating that B-vitamin treatment reduces, by as much as seven fold, the cerebral atrophy in those gray matter (GM) regions specifically vulnerable to the AD process, including the medial temporal lobe.

In the placebo group, higher homocysteine levels at baseline are associated with faster GM atrophy, but this deleterious effect is largely prevented by B-vitamin treatment. We additionally show that the beneficial effect of B vitamins is confined to participants with high homocysteine (above the median, 11 µmol/L) and that, in these participants, a causal Bayesian network analysis indicates the following chain of events: B vitamins lower homocysteine, which directly leads to a decrease in GM atrophy, thereby slowing cognitive decline.

Our results show that B-vitamin supplementation can slow the atrophy of specific brain regions that are a key component of the AD process and that are associated with cognitive decline.

Further B-vitamin supplementation trials focusing on elderly subjets with high homocysteine levels are warranted to see if progression to dementia can be prevented.

Research says coffee can reduce brain rot.
I've seen Turmeric / curry on the list.
Exercise.  Fruits and veggies.
I've seen avoiding stress can help reduce brain rot.
Just saying....

If you are worried in particular about efavirenz, is it possible to get yourself off this drug?

There are many alternatives to Efavirenz. If it is causing mental difficulties or emotional problems there really won't be any point in resorting to coffee or Vitamin B. You will notice a dramatic difference as soon as you switch.

Trust me.

Thanks for the replies. Principally it is a cost issue as to why I remain on the efavirenz and this is further compacted due to my periodical international travel for meds and regular blood tests. Its ok, just happy I can access meds and blood tests without detection by authorities where I live and continue to fly under the radar.

Would prefer to move to Isentress when and if the price least 3 times the cost of efavirenz. However I am fortunate that I can tolerate efavirenz well.......just the long term side effects of this drug for long time use is somewhat disturbing. Like what I read so far about the upcoming dolutegravir though. I think many here in this forum will be moving to this new drug when it is available.  :)

You can also try meditation. In terms of neuroplasticity, it does wonders. There are hundreds of articules on the web on meditation/brain. Here is one:

Jan. 21, 2011 — Participating in an 8-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. In a study that will appear in the January 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, a team led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers report the results of their study, the first to document meditation-produced changes over time in the brain's grey matter.

Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day," says Sara Lazar, PhD, of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program, the study's senior author. "This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing."

Previous studies from Lazar's group and others found structural differences between the brains of experienced mediation practitioners and individuals with no history of meditation, observing thickening of the cerebral cortex in areas associated with attention and emotional integration. But those investigations could not document that those differences were actually produced by meditation.
For the current study, MR images were take of the brain structure of 16 study participants two weeks before and after they took part in the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness. In addition to weekly meetings that included practice of mindfulness meditation -- which focuses on nonjudgmental awareness of sensations, feelings and state of mind -- participants received audio recordings for guided meditation practice and were asked to keep track of how much time they practiced each day. A set of MR brain images were also taken of a control group of non-meditators over a similar time interval.
Meditation group participants reported spending an average of 27 minutes each day practicing mindfulness exercises, and their responses to a mindfulness questionnaire indicated significant improvements compared with pre-participation responses. The analysis of MR images, which focused on areas where meditation-associated differences were seen in earlier studies, found increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection. Participant-reported reductions in stress also were correlated with decreased grey-matter density in the amygdala, which is known to play an important role in anxiety and stress. Although no change was seen in a self-awareness-associated structure called the insula, which had been identified in earlier studies, the authors suggest that longer-term meditation practice might be needed to produce changes in that area. None of these changes were seen in the control group, indicating that they had not resulted merely from the passage of time.
"It is fascinating to see the brain's plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life." says Britta Hölzel, PhD, first author of the paper and a research fellow at MGH and Giessen University in Germany. "Other studies in different patient populations have shown that meditation can make significant improvements in a variety of symptoms, and we are now investigating the underlying mechanisms in the brain that facilitate this change."
Amishi Jha, PhD, a University of Miami neuroscientist who investigates mindfulness-training's effects on individuals in high-stress situations, says, "These results shed light on the mechanisms of action of mindfulness-based training. They demonstrate that the first-person experience of stress can not only be reduced with an 8-week mindfulness training program but that this experiential change corresponds with structural changes in the amygdala, a finding that opens doors to many possibilities for further research on MBSR's potential to protect against stress-related disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder." Jha was not one of the study investigators.
James Carmody, PhD, of the Center for Mindfulness at University of Massachusetts Medical School, is one of co-authors of the study, which was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the British Broadcasting Company, and the Mind and Life Institute.


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