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Can protein predict mental decline before Alzhiemer’s sign?

Can protein predict mental decline before Alzhiemer’s sign?

A protein called NPTX2 that is present in the cerebrospinal fluid may be able to forecast the onset of memory and cognitive issues, according to recent research.

Researchers evaluated people who had initially been in normal mental health but later experienced dementia or mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

According to the study, the quicker start of MCI symptoms was linked to lower levels of NPTX2. The results also demonstrated that NPTX2 levels, like other Alzheimer’s disease-related indicators, appear to fluctuate over time.

Findings from a recent study could be useful for understanding cognitive decline and early Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.

The levels of a protein called NPTX2 in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), or more simply put, the fluid surrounding the brain, were evaluated by the researchers in order to better understand the brain changes connected to moderate cognitive impairment and dementia.

Lower levels of NPTX2 were discovered to be associated with a more rapid beginning of cognitive deterioration. Along with other Alzheimer’s disease-related indicators, NPTX2 levels evolved with time.

Alzheimer’s disease indicators in cerebrospinal fluid measurement

The 269 participants in the BIOCARD Study who were initially in good mental health had their brain fluid (CSF) taken by the research team.

These patients were followed for an average of 16.3 years, and their average age at the start of the study was roughly 57.7 years.

Out of these people, 77 subsequently experienced dementia or Moderate cognitive impairment (MCI).

Quantitative parallel reaction monitoring mass spectrometry was used by the researchers to evaluate three similar peptides that make up the NPTX2 protein.

Three other markers—A42/A40, p-tau181, and t-tau—that are frequently linked to Alzheimer’s disease were also measured. These measurements were made using a Lumipulse automated electrochemiluminescence test on the identical CSF samples.

The goal of this data analysis was to help the researchers better understand how these indicators changed over time and whether they might be related to the onset of MCI and dementia in the patients under study.

NPTX2 levels and cognitive issues over time

They discovered that people with lower NPTX2 protein levels in their brain fluid (CSF) exhibited cognitive issues and memory deterioration (MCI) earlier than people with higher NPTX2 protein levels.

Both those who acquired MCI within seven years of the study’s beginning and those who did so later found this link to be substantial.

Even after accounting for other well-known Alzheimer’s disease markers detected in the CSF, the researchers observed that the baseline levels of NPTX2 were able to predict when the symptoms of MCI would manifest.

This implies that the amounts of these markers may be associated with modifications in NPTX2 and may contribute to the emergence of cognitive issues.

According to the study’s first author, Anja Soldan, Ph.D., an associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University, “our study shows that low levels of the protein ‘neuropentraxin 2’ (or NPTX2) measured in the cerebrospinal fluid among cognitively healthy middle-aged and older adults may predict later onset of mild cognitive impairment (MCI).”

[NPTX2] has been connected to learning and memory in mice in the past. Our findings add to the mounting evidence that low levels of this protein in individuals could signal MCI years before symptoms manifest. Notably, our results demonstrate that low levels of the protein enhance the prediction of cognitive impairment even when traditional Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers (such as those linked to amyloid plaques and tau tangles) and well-established genetic risk factors for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease are taken into account,” according to Dr. Anja Soldan.

According to Dr. Soldan, NPTX2 is “predictive of subsequent symptoms of MCI both within and beyond seven years before symptoms occurred.”


The study does have a few drawbacks.

Namely that the majority of the participants were white, educated people with a history of dementia in their families. Therefore, it is uncertain whether the results apply to other populations, according to Dr. Soldan.

Without taking part in the study, Santosh Kesari, Ph.D., a neurologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Centre in Santa Monica, California, and the regional medical director for the Research Clinical Institute of Providence Southern California, told that “identifying blood or CSF biomarkers that predict developing dementia is critical to intervene earlier by preventative approaches or treat at the earliest onset of cognitive issues or even before when patients are aware they have dementia.”

Could this indicate new Alzheimer’s medications?

There is now just one FDA-approved treatment on the market that is known to even slightly reduce the signs of Alzheimer’s disease in its early stages, and there are no known therapies or strategies to avoid the disease, according to Dr. Soldan.

Our research demonstrates that reduced NPTX2 levels exist for many years before MCI or dementia brought on by Alzheimer’s disease, which increases the prospect of creating therapies that specifically target NPTX2.

Additionally, Dr. Soldan added, “Our findings may be relevant to other neurodegenerative diseases since this protein does not appear to be a specific marker for Alzheimer’s disease.”

Although significant work is being done to create sensitive methods of testing NPTX2 in blood rather than cerebrospinal fluid, we are not yet able to routinely measure brain levels of the substance in clinic settings. Another crucial area of research, according to Dr. Anja Soldan, is the factors that affect the levels of NPTX2 in the brain. However, we know very little about these factors.

Dr. Kesari concurred, stating that “NPTX2 may turn out to be a good target of drug development to prevent cognitive decline and will need to be further tested and validated in future studies.”

Future research will examine NPTX2 in more detail. In the end, additional study is required.


For Alzheimer’s disease medications that have been suggested by doctors worldwide are available here

Melatonin and reduction in risk of youth Self harm.

Melatonin and reduction in risk of youth Self harm.

Researchers examined how melatonin consumption affected children’s and teenagers’ self-harm. They discovered that melatonin consumption reduced self-harm in children and adolescents. Particularly in adolescent girls who were depressed and anxious.

These findings and the potential advantages of melatonin for mental health and wellbeing require further research to be confirmed. Young people frequently experience sleep difficulties including insomnia, particularly those who have psychiatric issues.

Some estimates place the number of young people who self-harm at roughly 17%. There aren’t many treatments for the disease among young people that have empirical backing right now.

According to a recent meta-analysis, addressing the root reasons of self-harm may lower its prevalence. Hence, some have proposed that correcting sleep issues may lower the frequency of self-harm.

Melatonin is the most frequently prescribed medication in Sweden for treating sleep disorders in kids and teenagers. A hormone that occurs naturally, melatonin supports a healthy sleep-wake cycle as well as other biological functions.

Treatment options for the habit might be improved by learning more about how melatonin influences self-harm in children and teenagers. Recently, researchers looked at the risk of self-harm and unintentional injuries in young people with and without psychiatric problems before and after melatonin administration.

They discovered that taking melatonin was associated with lower rates of self-harm, particularly among adolescent girls who were depressed and anxious. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry published the paper.

Why Do Young People Self Harm?

There are several reasons why kids and teenagers self-harm. A traumatic event, like abuse, or a mental illness, like anxiety or depression, are frequently to blame.

Youth who self-harm may also be unable to articulate their emotions or feel like they have no control over their lives. Self-harm is not a healthy behaviour and should be seen as a cry for help rather than a coping mechanism for uncomfortable emotions.

It’s possible that kids and teenagers have trouble expressing their emotions. You can encourage kids to start talking about what’s going on in their lives by paying attention to what they are saying and doing.

Decreased risk of self-harm with melatonin

For the study, the researchers analyzed public healthcare data from 25,575 youths in Sweden who began melatonin treatment between ages 6 and 18.

The children and adolescents were followed for a year prior to melatonin prescription and a year following. They began treatment at an average of age 13 years old, and most commonly initiated treatment in November. Treatment lasted for an average of 6.4 months.

The researchers found that 87.2% of melatonin users received at least one psychiatric diagnosis by age 18. Over 50% received an ADHD diagnosis. Self-harm was around five times more common in girls than boys.

In the end, the researchers found that melatonin use decreased the risk of self-harm by 42% and poisoning risk by 41%. Effects were especially prevalent among girls and adolescents with depression and or anxiety.

They noted, however, that melatonin use did not decrease rates of bodily injuries, falls, or transport accident rates.


Even though he was not engaged in the study, Dr. Lokesh Shahani, an associate professor of psychiatry at UTHealth Houston’s McGovern Medical School, commented:

“Some cases were overlooked since the study employed a national registration to obtain patient diagnosis, prescription, and death records. Moreover, no research was done in this city on the impact of various sleep aids on suicidal behaviour.

As several of the study participants also took antidepressants, Dr. McGrath continued, it’s probable that their use had an impact on the study’s findings.

Dr. Johnson-Arbor cautioned that the findings might not be applicable to other nations. Where melatonin is sold as a dietary supplement rather than a prescription, is less strictly regulated. This may be tainted with other drugs.

How melatonin may help mental health?

Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, a medical toxicologist, co-medical director, and interim executive director of the National Capital Poison Center who was not involved in the study, responded to a question on how melatonin can decrease self-harm in young people by saying:

Melatonin, a hormone naturally produced by the brain, aids in controlling circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycles. Young persons with psychiatric disorders frequently experience sleep disruptions, and childhood emotional and behavioural problems have also been linked to sleep issues.

It’s feasible that changes in sleep quality will lead to gains in emotional stability and behavioural control given that sleep issues can affect mood and conduct, said Kelly Johnson-Arbor, M.D.

Because of this, she explained, the authors of the study “sought to explore if management of the sleep cycle, through the use of melatonin, might potentially help avoid self-harm, body injuries, and falls in young individuals between the age of 6 and 18 years old.”

Melatonin during puberty

Depending on the animal species, melatonin administration was found to either hasten or postpone the onset of puberty in animal studies. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which controls puberty in humans, is produced by the brain. It may be altered by melatonin treatment, according to Dr. Johnston-Arbor.

“The development of female reproductive organs may be affected by melatonin as well. Yet, numerous human trials including kids who received melatonin for extended periods of time did not reveal any negative impacts on puberty, she continued.

Dr. Michael J. McGrath, a board-certified psychiatrist and medical director of The Ohana Luxury Alcohol Rehab who was also not engaged in the study, responded when asked the same question by saying:

Melatonin should be used with caution in prepubescent children because there is conflicting information and no conclusive evidence linking it to changes in the timing of puberty.

Melatonin dosage recommendations are still unclear.

The results “suggest that children with sleep disorders may experience additional benefits, other than sleep control, after the use of melatonin,” Dr. Johnson-Arbor stated in response to a question regarding the study’s implications.

“More studies are needed to confirm the appropriate amount and duration of usage of melatonin needed to achieve the effects discovered in this analysis,” she said. “This study’s results may not generalise to other populations, and these findings warrant further exploration.”


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