The world’s oldest living lab rat points the way to rejuvenation
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 09, 2023
“Sima”, a 47 months-old female rat, is being treated with E5, a treatment intended to recreate the circulatory environment of a young mammal; the maximum recorded lifespan for this species is 45.5 months.
An experiment led by Dr Harold Katcher, one of the discoverers of the first breast cancer gene, is giving humanity hope of fulfilling the dream of undoing ageing.
While working at Yuvan Research Inc., he discovered which part of the blood of young animals controls the age of the organism, and tested it in eight Sprague Dawley female rats.
“Sima” is the last survivor, but the age she has reached allows us to see a path for human rejuvenation.
“Cellular ageing is a cell non-autonomous process – it doesn’t depend on the cell’s history, but on its environment”, states Katcher, Chief Scientific Officer of Yuvan, a startup based in California working on rejuvenation treatments.
This experiment is a follow-up to another experiment showing that Yuvan’s therapy caused a 54% rejuvenation in male rats according to an epigenetic clock analysis performed by then UCLA professor Dr Steve Horvath.
Afterwards, a Belgian non-profit, HEALES, decided to fund two lifespan studies, one using Yuvan’s treatment, called “E5”, and another one, led by Dr Rodolfo Goya, professor at La Plata University (Argentina), using young rat plasma.
Goya’s experiment achieved moderate life extension. Yuvan’s experiment is still ongoing as Sima is alive at 47 months of age.
Also, Sima and the other treated rats showed a grip strength 2.8 times higher than the controls. According to Goya, “muscular strength indicates prolonged health span.”
Sima is a Rattus norvegicus, a species with a maximum recorded lifespan of 45.5 months. Their average lifespan is 24-36 months. Yuvan’s treatment started when the rats were already 24 months old and even so pushed the maximum lifespan of the species with a treated group comprising only 8 rats.
The E5 production process is patent-pending, and the story of its discovery is captured in Katcher’s book The Illusion of Knowledge.
Yuvan is planning trials in other species before testing it in humans – in human terms, Sima is already 126 years old, considering 122.5 years as the human maximum lifespan.
“Sima” means “limit/boundary/frontier” in Sanskrit, and by surpassing the lifespan limit of its species, it reminds us that human history is a history of surpassing limits.
Thailand’s new Kraken, Orthrus strains evade immunity, virologist warns
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 08, 2023
The Kraken and Orthrus subvariants of Omicron recently found in Thailand can evade people’s existing immunity to Covid-19, Chulalongkorn University’s top virologist warned on Wednesday.
Writing on Facebook, Yong Poovorawan said the two new strains showed Covid-19’s ability to mutate over time to escape human immunity. Hence, people can be infected with the virus at any time, he added.
He said Kraken, or Omicron XBB.1.5, is spreading rapidly from the US and Europe and could soon become the dominant variant. The strain is named after a legendary giant octopus said to destroy ships and kill sailors.
Yong said that this dangerous new Covid-19 subvariant should be monitored closely.
Orthrus, known scientifically as CH.1.1 and named after the two-headed dog in a Greek myth, is spreading in the US but has caused fewer infections than Kraken, he added.
The dominant strain in Thailand is still Omicron BA.2.75, which accounted for 88% of infections last month, said Yong, citing a study by Chulalongkorn University’s Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology, which he heads.
However, one case of Kraken and four cases of Orthrus have been discovered in Thailand, he added.
“Even though the severity has not increased, these variants are dangerous as they can escape immunity,” he said.
Thai speakers can now test their hearing and dementia risk thanks to a new app-based test developed jointly by Chulalongkorn University’s faculties of Medicine and Science, University College London (UCL) and an industrial partner.
The EarTest, available via the Eartone app, uses Thai words to examine hearing while also enabling people to screen themselves before consulting a physician to help prevent and reduce risk of dementia.
Currently, there are 12 million elderly persons over the age of 60, among for which around 5-10 percent or about 1 million are at risk ofdementia. The most common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. If dementia occurs, it will cause difficulties for the patients and their families. Currently, dementia cannot be treated. Therefore, preventing dementia is crucial.
According to Assistant Professor Chaiyaphat Chunharasmi, M.D., a brain specialist “reduced hearing is a highest risk factor of developing dementia that can be prevented, so older people should regularly check their hearing and brain activity. If in doubt, you should see a doctor as soon as possible to check for symptoms.”
Nattawan Utoomprurkporn, M.D., a lecturer of the Department of Otolaryngology, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, tell us that this project, Eartest by Eartone Application, use speech recognition to assess the potential risks of dementia. It is a hearing test to determine the ability to comprehend words and sentences that are in the Thai language using the virtual reality (VR) technique. It simulates real situations where sounds are coming from different directions to detect the processing of the brain in native language use by the patients. This can indicate whether there will be a chance of dementia occurrence in the next 5-10 years.”
Nattawan Utoomprurkporn, M.D.
“As recommended by World Health Organization, those who should be screened for hearing loss are those over the age of 50. The application is a Thai language hearing test with an assessment of the most important of the 12 indicators of dementia risk.”
Prof. Dr. Stuart Rosen, professor of linguistics at the University College London (UCL), explained that “the Thai languageis characterized by varying tones giving different meanings. International collaboration with researchers from Chulalongkorn University is driven by a common goal and vision to develop assessments for the hearing impaired, the elderly, and those who may have dementia using virtual reality techniques. This is to make the assessment of the hearing more realistic, and beneficial at a larger scale as well as applicable in many countries while enhancing the learning and knowledge exchange in the speech science.
The Eartest by Eartone Application was developed under the Thai Speech Acoustic Virtual Reality (Thai-SAVR) Test for the Detection of Early Dementia research project with the cooperation of several relevant sectors, including the Royal Academy of Engineering, the United Kingdom through the British Embassy in Thailand and knowledge transfer from the University College London (UCL), the United Kingdom and with the support of the Program Management Unit for Competitiveness (PMUC), Office of National Higher Education Science Research and Innovation Policy Council (NXPO) together with our industrial partner. Moreover, British Council, and the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI)also support the project through the Thai-UK World-Class University Consortium, as well as cooperation from the industrial sector.
Eartest by Eartone, which is a brief screening version of the full test battery, is currently available for free download on both iOS and Android. Just install it on your phone and you can take a self-hearing test to determine your risk of dementia before going to the hospital for further diagnosis and treatment.
No point in counting Covid cases anymore as virus is here to stay: top virologist
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 06, 2023
Covid-19 is not going anywhere and will soon become another seasonal disease like influenza, Chulalongkorn University’s top virologist said on Monday.
Dr Yong Poovorawan said there is no point in counting Covid-19 cases now as the figure only represents a fraction of the true number of infections.
Over 70% of people globally, or around 5 billion, may have been infected with Covid-19 while the recorded figure is only 700 million Covid-19 cases, he said.
He added that almost 80% of Thailand’s population may have been infected with Covid-19, resulting in a high level of hybrid immunity from infection and vaccination.
“Thailand is currently reporting only the number of hospitalised patients and deaths,” he said.
He also expects the World Health Organisation to stop counting Covid cases soon, as the situation in China has improved and the severity of the disease is declining over time.
“More than 80% of Covid-19 deaths are among the elderly and those with underlying diseases.”
Yong also said it was no longer necessary for people to be vaccinated every 4-6 months as Covid-19 is now becoming a seasonal disease. Instead, he advised annual vaccination focused on the vulnerable group.
For Thailand, vaccination should be conducted in April and May to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the rainy season, he said.
Exposure to PM2.5 affects heart and can be fatal, study shows
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 02, 2023
PM2.5 dust could put people at risk of heart disease, head of Chulalongkorn University’s Information Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases said on Thursday.
In a Facebook post, Dr Thiravat Hemachudha said people could die due to acute myocardial infarction if they are exposed to PM2.5 (particles less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter), PM10 and nitrogen dioxide, citing the Journal of American College of Cardiology published on January 26 last year.
“Apart from lung, this study has proved that dust particles also affect the heart,” he said.
He said forest fire, sandstorm, volcanic eruption and usage of fossil fuels caused the volume of PM2.5 to increase. He added that PM2.5 is among factors that cause people to die, along with obesity, lack of exercise and kidney failure.
“PM2.5 caused deaths to more than 50% of people through heart and blood vessel diseases,” he said.
He also pointed out that 92% of people across the globe lived in areas where air pollution exceeds safety standards. He also expects many countries to spend a lot of cash to treat patients who suffer from air pollution.
Citing a study conducted in China’s Wuhan city, he said 151,608 people had died due to heart and blood vessel diseases, while the average volume of PM2.5 was 63.4 micrograms per cubic metre (μg/m3).
“This study has proved that exposure to PM2.5 and PM10 could cause deaths,” he said.
He said the death rate would increase by 4.14% for every 10 μg/m3 increase in PM2.5, adding that nitrogen dioxide would increase the death rate by 1.3%.
He added that all people could be at risk of death due to air pollution, especially the elderly aged 70 years or above.
New specialised units boost Thailand’s chances of becoming world medical hub
SATURDAY, JANUARY 28, 2023
Thailand’s status as a world medical and wellness hub has been further enhanced thanks to special treatment options being offered by Bumrungrad International Hospital.
To meet the needs of its patients, the well-known hospital launched several specialised healthcare services last year, including a Neurocritical Care Unit, a Gastrointestinal Motility Centre, Cornea Transplants Centre, a Comprehensive Sleep Clinic, Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS), and Radiology AI Treatment.
With such a diversity of services, the hospital can take care of patients suffering from serious diseases and those who are in critical condition, Bumrungrad CEO Dr Artirat Charukitpipat said.
“We want to be the most trusted healthcare and wellness destination,” she added.
The hospital is also focusing on promoting preventive healthcare via its VitalLife wellness centre.
“The centre’s aim is to help our patients live longer, healthier lives,” she said.
The wellness centre earned as much as 1 billion baht in revenue last year, the hospital reported.
Dr Artirat said inclusion, agility, innovation and care (IAIC) and 4C1W (critical care, complicated care, cutting-edge technology, collaboration of experts and wellness) models remain at the core of the hospital’s values.
(From left) Dr Taveesin Tanprayoon, Dr Artirat Charukitpipat, Dr Nimit Taechakraichana
The hospital has been utilising technology to help patients and improve operations, deputy CEO Dr Nimit Taechakraichana said.
He added Bumrungrad is moving towards becoming a fully digitised hospital via technology, including applications, telemedicine, teleconsulting, and fast-track payments.
Some 60% of the hospital’s patients are foreigners, with most of them coming from Myanmar, Qatar, Bangladesh and Cambodia.
Chula’s Research to Ensure the Good Health of Gluten-Intolerant People
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2023
A faculty member of Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Science has researched and developed high-protein, gluten-free pasta noodles for gluten-intolerant health-lovers.
For noodle lovers, pasta is one popular item with its chewy yet soft texture and delicious taste. However, not everyone can fully enjoy pasta due to intolerance to gluten for – a type of protein commonly found in wheat products, including pasta.
“Studies show that some consumers are intolerant to gluten and are unable to consume any foods containing the protein. Ingestion could lead to the dysfunction of multiple systems in the body. In the digestive system, for example, it could cause severe damage to the small intestine, reducing the ability to digest and absorb foods. We wanted to develop a gluten-free pasta product to serve the needs of this group of consumers, as well as those who care about their health,” explained Associate Professor Kanitha Tananuwong, a lecturer at the Department of Food Technology, the Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, head of the research team, of the background of the research and development of high–protein, gluten–free pasta from mung beans.
Mung Beans, the Solution for Gluten-Free Pasta
Although gluten-free pasta is now available in the market, Kanitha said such products are made from rice flour, which causes the pasta to lose the chewiness that makes it unique. They also have lower protein content than wheat pasta.
Nowadays, many attempts have been made to heighten the quality of rice flour pasta by adding ingredients. To increase the protein, animal-based proteins like egg white and whey proteins or plant-based proteins like soybeans have been added. Different types of hydrocolloids have also been used to improve the texture and cooking quality, but such ingredients may need to be imported or are expensive.
“Mung beans are an alternative ingredient which has the appropriate qualities. The best part is they can increase protein to pasta and help with the texture and cooking quality, not to mention that they’re easy to find here in Thailand,” said Kanitha.
Recipe Testing for Concentrated Mung Bean Protein Pasta The research team came up with the perfect recipes for developing gluten-free pasta using scientific and statistical methods. With three main ingredients—rice flour, mung bean flour, and concentrated mung bean protein, they developed 4 basic pasta recipes with 17-24% of protein, which is higher than wheat pasta, which contains only 14% of protein.
“After mixing the pasta dough, we ran it through a pasta extruder to make spaghetti using the extrusion process under high temperatures, pressure, and mechanical shear. Then, the cut pasta is dehydrated until the moisture is no more than 12%,” Kanitha detailed the process.
The finished pasta must be inspected for significant characteristics, such as an evaluation of the cooking quality and of cooked pasta texture under a texture analyzer. More importantly, consumers’ acceptance was tested through a tasting of cooked pasta.
Gluten-Free Pasta from Chula Well Received by Consumers Kanitha said for the appearance, taste, and texture when mixed with a sauce and overall preference, the gluten-free pasta with 20% protein, which is the best recipe developed, received similar scores to wheat pasta, but with higher protein content, making this gluten-free pasta both delicious and good for health.
Not only does this gluten-free pasta meet health demands, but it also contributes to improving the quality of life and economy of our farmers. The ingredients used in developing the pasta are domestically grown, which can increase income for Thai farmers and reduce the country’s expenses from importing ingredients.
From Research to Department Stores, a Collaboration with the Business Sector Thai Wah (Public Company Limited), which has funded the research project, has successfully received the research on high-protein, gluten-free pasta.
“A benefit of collaborating with the private sector is our research has a chance to hit the shelves in the market. With a clear research problem, we can directly respond to the needs of the industrial sector. The funding company also contributed to a pasta extruder machine to create the pasta in our project,” said Kanitha.
She also mentioned future collaborations with the private sector to refine the production of concentrated plant-based proteins to be used in making alternative protein drinks for the good health of everyone.
Innovative dining, extinct aromas, absurdist holidays just some of the top 2023 trends
TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2023
“Feel-Good Feeds” and “Absurdist Stays” are some of the business trends predicted in this year’s Wunderman Thompson Intelligence report “The Future 100: 2023”.
“Community, creativity and colour vibrantly paint 2023 as last year’s boundless optimism shifts to an exuberant need for uplift and play,” explained Emma Chiu, global director of the creative consultancy agency Wunderman Thompson Intelligence.
Here are some of the trends that promise businesses a splash of colour, inspiration and an insight into the unfolding year.
Tech & Metaverse
#16 Feel-Good Feeds
People are shifting more into the virtual realm, with 76% wanting an avatar in the Metaverse to express their individuality in ways they cannot in the physical world, according to Wunderman Thompson Intelligence’s “New Realities: Into the Metaverse and Beyond” report.
“Identity traverses both the physical and digital. I see identity design as the next important step to how we communicate and interpret multiple selves in the Metaverse,” said identity designer and beauty futurist, Alex Box.
Travel and Hospitality
#22 Absurdist Stays
Travellers are becoming more adventurous as the weird and wonderful take centre stage.
The top three destinations for 2023 have been identified as Morocco, Kyoto and Tanzania.
With its mild climate, rich history, desert, beaches, and relative affordability, Morocco is attracting a new wave of remote workers.
Kyoto, meanwhile, is offering a more meaningful experience through a more tailored itinerary to tourists, including private tours of castles, celebrating local tastes and small excursions.
Tanzania is “perfect for solo travellers, particularly women who may not feel comfortable alone”, said Chanice “Queenie” Williams from the “Fly with Queenie” site in an interview in the Washington Post.
#53 Resurrected Ingredients
Brands are using rare flowers and forgotten sensory ingredients for their latest creations. One project aims to revive lost scents by engineering fragrances from DNA extracted from samples of extinct flowers.
The Odeuropa project in Europe is using artificial intelligence to recreate aromas going back to the 16th century to identify “how the smell was expressed in different languages, places, events and linking them to emotions”, Odeuropa says.
Resurrected ingredients simultaneously help preserve nature as it is today, while securing its history for future generations.
#76 Wellness Guilds
Luxury brands are pushing the boundaries of reality by looking into the magical and mystical world for inspiration along with reflecting a desire for exploration as well as wonder.
Luxury brands like Gucci and Burberry are venturing into the unknown with campaigns that are inspired by mystical encounters, mythological places, fairy tales and otherworldly creatures.
“It’s not a hieroglyph for an elite; it talks about life. It’s a mirror,” says Gucci director Alessandro Michele.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is fast becoming a vital tool for companies as they seek to improve efficiency and automate tasks.
Chinese gaming company NetDragon Websoft, which operates multiplayer online games and apps, has even appointed an AI-powered virtual humanoid robot as CEO of its subsidiary company, Fujian NetDragon Websoft.
The virtual CEO will be tasked with streamlining the company’s processes, enhancing the quality of its outputs, improving the speed of execution, as well as supporting daily decision-making.
Virtual leadership “will change the world as we know it, forever”, says Marek Szoldrowski, president at Dictador Europe.
Apart from these topics, the report also addresses other subjects, such as Culture becoming more vibrant and empowered with “Elevated Expressionism”, Brands and Marketing introducing “Meta-inclusivity”, with a trend towards authenticity, and “Intrepid Dining”, with innovative menus, theatrical preparation and extreme locations.
Similarly, Retail and Commerce trends focus on “Cocreative Commerce” as brands adjust to the changing consumer landscape by reimagining the presentation of products, and Health, with a new focus on the “Superself” as populations age and people get “supercharged” with self-care.
Culture of well-being and the 8 keys to constructing it
FRIDAY, JANUARY 20, 2023
“If well-being is the destination, then wellness translates to the choices that we all make in the pursuit of that end,” reads the “Road Map Towards Transformational Well-Being Culture” report.
The report was written by the property management company, Accor Group, in partnership with Technogym and Well Intelligent.
The report highlights eight key pathways for businesses, governments and organisations to consider as they plot their own roadmaps to a culture of well-being.
These findings draw on insights shared by speakers in the “Health to Wealth” podcast series.
The eight keys to well-being include mind and body, measuring well-being, financial health, equal access, interconnectedness, digital opportunities, sustainable living and global relevance.
Mind and body
The link between mental and physical well-being has been widely documented and has resulted in innovative neuroscientific technology with psychological and physiological benefits.
Brock Chisholm, one of the founders of the World Health Organisation (WHO), said: “Without mental health, there can be no true physical health.”
WHO reports that obesity has also tripled globally since 1975. It’s our responsibility to make the choices and take the right step in painting good health.
Governments, health organisations, and corporations are called upon to collect more comprehensive and meaningful health data – and act on it to improve the numbers.
Technology has an obvious role to play when it comes to measuring well-being. Fitbits and similar wearables can help measure your daily exercise routine and record key information such as sleep patterns.
Measuring well-being means collecting data and acting on it.
With a longer-term goal to achieve a more equal distribution of wealth, it is essential to help people manage money and financial stress while offering affordable well-being solutions.
Money may not equal happiness, but it does open the door to many aspects of well-being.
There is direct evidence that overall experience of well-being rises along with income.
The more financially secure you are, the better you feel about life. However, it’s not just about wealth; it is about managing your expectations and your liabilities to meet your level of wealth.
Well-being must be inclusive, available, accessible, and achievable for everyone, regardless of wealth, gender, race, nationality, sexuality or ability.
Societies that are more equal enjoy better health and a stronger sense of well-being.
The corporate world is increasingly playing its part in eliminating inequality, particularly through the adoption of diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) measures. DEI contributes to that by creating a culture of fairness, openness and psychological safety.
As organisations, corporations, and nations connect their ideas and actions to a wider ecosystem, the improving health of their populations leads to richer and more robust economies.
The purpose of the economy is to deliver well-being in its many forms, including good mental and physical health for everyone and the welfare of the planet rather than delivering financial wealth and power to individuals.
Business needs to prioritise making well-being part of their DNA.
Empowering individuals to have control over their data, privacy and safety, while improving the quality of data that is shared, collected and used, is a positive force for change.
Digital technology has made us more productive, yet it has also caused techno-stress such as slow connection speeds, disruption of sleep and fear of missing out (FOMO).
Manuel Muñiz, provost of IE University Madrid said: “If we do not determine how technology is deployed and distributed, it will empower some and not others.”
Your own well-being is entwined with our planet. Spending time in nature has been shown to improve our mood and health but more importantly is the health of the Earth itself.
How we use the world’s precious resources is critical to a sense of well-being in the world, ensuring our air, food and water supplies are safe, nourishing and sustainable.
We all have a part in protecting our environment because in effect we are looking after ourselves.
Well-being transcends cultural differences. The desire to be well is a universal aspiration that is essential to being human. If recognised as a cornerstone of public policy, it can be the engine that transforms the world.
The London School of Economics Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science explains well-being as playing a major role in our experience of the world and our interactions with it.
Therefore, universal aspiration needs to be treated as an essential priority.
Chula develops blood test for markers of Alzheimer’s 10 years before onset
THURSDAY, JANUARY 12, 2023
The Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases Health Science Center at the Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University has unveiled research on a blood test for markers of Alzheimer’s that can give a 10-year warning. The test may enable people to slow the development of dementia in old age.
Alzheimer’s is a disease that many people pray that they or their loved ones do not experience. But looking at today’s social context, there’s no denying that the disease is more relevant to us than it seems because it usually manifests itself when we are 60 years old and above. The fact that we are in an ageing society, dementia, therefore, becomes more common.
Currently, 50 million people are suffering from dementia around the world. In Thailand, there are 700 thousand such patients, 500 thousand of which suffer from Alzheimer’s. Without individual and social measures to slow or prevent dementia, the number of cases will increase. It is estimated that the global population of elderly people suffering from dementia will increase threefold within thirty years!
Dementia and Alzheimer’s are incurable, so it’s best to prevent them from developing or slow them down as soon as possible.
Poosanu Thanapornsangsuth, M.D., lecturer of Neurology, the Department of Medicine, and head of the Neurodegenerative Disease Biomarker Project at the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases Health Science Center, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, discusses the approach to Alzheimer’s prevention: “Alzheimer’s has an incubation period of 10 – 15 years before the onset of symptoms, and can be called latent Alzheimer’s. Patients do not show any symptoms. They can work normally. By the time the disease has progressed to the point where symptoms manifest, the patient would have already lost a lot of brain cells, and rehabilitating or salvaging the brain is difficult. Now, we have a medical technology allowing us to detect the presence of the disease ahead of people’s retirement age so that we can take care of ourselves and stay away from dementia before the symptoms appear.”
Older adults at risk of dementia Dementia can be caused by many reasons and many diseases, but the most important culprit is Alzheimer’s and the second is vascular diseases. The cause of Alzheimer’s is not known, however, there are many contributing factors, including genetics, the environment, pollution, stress, etc.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s often occur in the elderly aged 60 and older, with 1 in 16 people over the age of 60 having a chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease, while in those 80 and older, the ratio increases to 1 in 6.
“The longer a person lives, the greater the likelihood of dementia.” Dementia begins with forgetfulness about past events. As symptoms grow, patients become less and less able to help themselves until they are unable to perform their daily activities on their own, as they used to, requiring constant supervision. And when the disease has reached the final stage, they are at risk of dying from infections.
“This disease is a nightmare for the patients as it erases the patient’s identity that was forged over time. Living is filled with challenges, affecting loved ones in the family,” Poosanu said.
Predicting dementia before symptoms appear In general, there are two ways to check for Alzheimer’s disease before the symptoms show:
1. PET Scan (Positron Emission Tomography) is a nuclear diagnostic technology that uses imaging to evaluate the function of organs and tissues within the body. The cost of the examination is quite high and takes 2-3 days to complete.
2. Spinal tap and subsequent measurement of the level of Alzheimer’s-causing protein in spinal fluid. In Thailand, this procedure must be done only by a physician. This method has been used sparingly because many people are afraid of possible pain.
Dr Poosanu reveals that currently, the Emerging Infectious Diseases Health Science Center uses immunological techniques to perform blood tests instead of lumbar puncture, and analysis is done by Simoa (Single molecule array) or LC-MS (Mass spectrometry) to detect phosphorylated Tau in the blood which can indicate the presence of latent Alzheimer’s, and Neurofilament light chan, a brain cells loss test. The project is funded by the Institute of Health Systems Research Institute (HSRI).
This approach offers a more affordable solution with a less complex and less painful procedure yielding more accurate results.
“Alzheimer’s protein detection with a blood test is a new and cost-effective procedure that can yield up to 88 % accuracy. Similar to the techniques used abroad, the cost of the test is low compared to the traditional methods. Importantly, it also increases accessibility to the service,” said Dr Poosanu elaborated. “The test is simple and safe. The test subject does not need to fast before the blood draw. Only 10 cc. of blood is needed for a single test and analysis takes 2 months to get results.”
The subjects will also be required to take a cognitive test to assess their “brain reserve”.
“Alzheimer’s or other latent illnesses don’t always manifest, especially in those with good brain reserve,” said Dr Poosanu.
The blood test result has to be analyzed in conjunction with the cognitive test result. The whole process, especially digesting the results, is complicated and must only be carried out by an expert!
Take care of yourself today to reduce the chance of latent dementia For people with risk factors for dementia or Alzheimer’s, whether due to genetic, environmental, pollution, or ageing factors, good self-care will reduce the additional risk factors and the likelihood of dementia by 40 %. Dr Phusanu further recommends a course of action to prevent dementia:
Take care not to have non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, high blood pressure, etc., or if you do have NCDs, treat and control them well.
People who suffer from deafness, are hard of hearing, their brain doesn’t get stimulated, and this can easily lead to dementia. Seek doctor’s treatment.
Eat nutritious foods, especially foods that help prevent dementia such as fruits and vegetables. Meat should be seafood. Refrain from desserts, salted foods, and fried foods. Eat vegetable fats such as olive oil or nuts oil, etc. No smoking. Reduce or stop drinking.
“Most importantly, exercise every day for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Exercise can reduce dementia because it helps the body to produce the brain-regenerating substance,” Doctor Phusanu concluded.
However, in addition to the risk factors that each person can take care of to maintain their physical and mental health, there are other social risk factors involved, such as air pollution, depression, and social isolation that come from living alone. These risk factors require the collaboration of people in society to take care of their environment and relationships so that we can stay away from Alzheimer’s.