In the News: Menopause May Lead to Alzheimer’s Disease, Liver Disease Risk May Be Exacerbated By Certain Drugs, Brain Waves Indicate Learning Types

Menopause may lead to Alzheimer’s disease. A new study has found that a drop in estrogen could make women more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. In terms of risk factors for this condition, the leading risk is old age, followed by being female. According to recent estimates, a whopping two-thirds of people with Alzheimer’s are female. While it’s not fully clear why those numbers are so high, it now looks like menopause may be a leading cause. In a study on the link between women and Alzheimer’s disease, 15 of the participants were premenopausal, 14 were perimenopausal, and 14 were postmenopausal. Researchers found that the women in the perimenopausal and postmenopausal groups had noticeably lower glucose metabolism level in the brain leading scientists to believe that a drop in estrogen may hurt brain cells in a way that impacts memory.  (MN)

Liver disease risk may be worsened by gastric acid drugs. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are used by many people every day to lower the amount of acid in the stomach, specifically when they are suffering from conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease. After recent findings have suggested that PPI prescriptions are on the rise, researchers have found that when this medication kills off the gastric acid, it can also change the gut microbiome. When the acid is eliminated, Enterococcus bacteria grows in the intestines and makes its way to the liver, which can cause inflammation and even serious conditions like liver disease. After these findings, physicians may be a bit wary about prescribing PPIs, especially if patients have a history of liver conditions. Currently dealing with a liver condition? You may want to try this reboot plan. (MN)

Brain waves indicate different learning types. For the first time ever, researchers have been able to analyze brain waves to determine different learning types. By being able to recognize these unique neural signatures, scientists can gain more insight into the human brain and help people with learning issues and memory problems, especially in cases such as Alzheimer’s. Understanding the brain signatures can also help teach a person how to do a certain task, by monitoring if they are using implicit skills (also known as muscle memory, like learning how to ride a bike or juggle), more versus explicit (consciously learning something like a chapter in a book or the steps of a chess game) skills. Want to test your brain health? Learn more here. (SD)