How Neurofilament Light (NfL)could track Neurodegenerative Diseases


Recently, there has been new evidence discovered in support that Neurofilament Light (NfL) protein can track neurodegeneration and disease progress within patients suffering from a wide variety of neurodegenerative disorders. NfL is a protein that is released into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) once a neuron dies.  Scientists, led by Bob Olsson and Erik Portelius, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, found high levels of NfL in the cerebrospinal fluid of people suffering with these disorders where the more severe a person’s disease, the higher his or her CSF NfL . Olsson and colleagues had previously reported higher CSF NfL among 3356 people in Sweden who had various kinds of dementia.

The current study, led by Nicholas Cullen at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and others, examined 838 patients who had been treated at UPenn’s six different neurodegenerative disease centers beginning in 1996. Baseline CSF was sampled and all patients had undergone follow up cognitive testing for one to 18 years. In all patients, above average levels of NfL were found in the sampled CSF. Mini mental state examinations (MMSE) were conducted and showed that patients with higher NfL levels scored worse on the cognitive tests. This also meant that MMSE scores declined faster on subsequent cognitive tests in these same patients with higher levels of NfL.

“The study demonstrates that NfL is a reliable biomarker for neurodegeneration” said co-author Henrik Zetterberg, also from the University of Gothenburg. Recently, Zetterburg and his colleagues discovered that NfL in plasma mirrors levels in CSF, which means that scientists can likely get the same NfL results from a simple blood test. By easing the procedure, this could potentially increase enrollment in future studies and also allow for longer studies to be conducted that track changes in NfL over longer periods of time.

NfL also has the potential to help improve clinical trials and hopefully allow researchers to monitor whether drugs could slow neurodegeneration within patients. For example, in multiple sclerosis, CSF NfL levels fall in patients that have been treated with natalizumab. This means that NfL could potentially help predict when a person’s cognition will decline.

“Future autopsy work examining whether CSF NfL levels correlate with the degree of neuronal loss within each disorder will greatly improve our understanding of what these changes truly represent” wrote William Hu, Emory University, Atlanta.


Cerveau Technologies Partners With University of Pittsburgh

In a new press release, Cerveau Technologies has signed an agreement partnering with The University of Pittsburgh and their School of Medicine. With their encouragement in research projects and clinical applications, Cerveau is always focused on providing advanced treatment options for the devastating Alzheimer’s disease. In developing commercial strategies and collaborations for product that enhance clinical application, Cerveau is committed to growing their influence in the medical and university network.

250px-PDB_1i8h_EBIThe new partnership is committed to target and trace the progression of the neurofibrillary tangles in the brain through the revolutionary imaging agent ([18F]MK-6240), utilized in PET scans. These tangles in the brain, also referred to as (NFTS) are the first signs and most common markers of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. They consist of aggregated and built up tau protein, which are mostly commonly found in our neurons.

With the facilitation of the novel PET tracer in ongoing research and studies, science will move closer to understanding how aging affects the presence of Alzheimer’s. This partnership will be a huge benefit for the University’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centre, already being leaders in the field. It will further their participation in the PET scan pharmaceutical trials and make headway in finding preventive treatments for Dementia.



Exercise Can Help Memory, According To This New Study

We’ve all heard of the wonderful health benefits that fitness and exercise are able to provide, but a new study from Australia reveals its significant positive influence on the brain.

Researchers from Australia’s National Institute of Complementary Medicine in Western Sydney University have found a correlation between aerobic exercise and brain health. This would naturally improve memory function and maintain the health of our minds even as it decreases with older age.

The average brain shrinks in size, vasculature and cognition as we reach our 40s. While some face it in drastic ways, most of us go through these changes at a natural pace.  That’s why a healthy diet and regular exercise is essential even before we start noticing these changes.

In this study conducted on clinical trials, 737 participants were scanned before and after breaking a sweat in a controlled aerobic exercise setting. The ages ranging from 24 to 76 year olds and from healthy adults to individuals with mild to severe cognitive impairments. Fitness activities included walking, treadmill running and even indoor bicycling.

In the end, changes were not as noticed in the physical change to the volume of the hippocampus, but more so in the slowing brain deterioration overall. We can think of exercise as a type of slow motion button, keeping the mind still, in time.




A Recap Of This Year’s Nobel Lectures


6The future of medical research is looking bright. Nobel week in Stockholm proved to showcase this year’s discoveries with a positive outlook on what’s to come from passionate scientists like Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Miachel Young. They took the stage in Aula Medica to share their inspiring lectures with the crowd after winning this year’s Nobel prize in Physiology and Medicine.

The speeches rose excitement with a focus on molecular mechanisms defining the way biological rhythms from living beings (animals,plants,us) are adapted to the Earth’s revolutions. In fact as Rosbash explained, more than 50% of our 20,000 genes are revealed in a rhythmic way. What’s really noteworthy is the realization that all living cells couple their mechanics to our solar system.

In attendance were plenty of different faces from students to researchers and notable international guests, all coming together in one place to celebrate, encourage and consider these exciting new discoveries. A collaborative and open mindedness sparked the lecture halls, proving that with ambition, persistence and acceptance can achieve anything.





On World Mental Health Day We’re Busting 3 Myths On Common Disorders

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Today we’ve seen the emotionally charged hashtags around #WorldMentalHealthDay shared by affected friends, families, coworkers as they’ve filled up our news feeds with staggering statistics and moving stories. In unison, this online awareness has shed light on mental health issues and sparkled significant conversations. All of them pointing towards the need for resources, answers, clarifications, branching together and fighting against the stigma that surrounds mental health illnesses.

Celebrities too, have come forth to express their ties to mental health with their personal stories to their fans while tweets with powerful imagery have weighed on the online world to champion today’s movement. In an effort to join into the global conversation surrounding today, we’re exploring the top 3 myths surrounding mental illnesses and the truths behind each one.



Myth: Anxiety can be resolved by just avoiding stressful situations all together or bringing rubber bands or paper bags along your day to day’s to get over those panic attacks. 

Reality:  Though anxiety is treatable, it remains as the most familiar mental illness affecting 40 million adults every year. In a perfect world, avoiding stressful situations would be an easy fix but we all know that this simply isn’t how our day to day lives work. Situations happen, at times quite sporadically and even the smallest things can affect an individual suffering from anxiety. Additionally, suppressing situations will actually work against someone with anxiety, as the anticipation will snowball every time a situation is avoided or ignored, becoming stronger and louder. The more you resist, the likely anxiety persists. As for the hyperventilation techniques used with paper bags, they create a dependancy on that chosen object, which in turn, makes you anxious about being anxious.



Myth: Depression is all in your head, and there are no physical repercussions that come from it. It can easily be cured by the right antidepressant. 

Reality:  There are many types of depression that can be diagnosed, and though they predominantly affect the emotional, mental state they can also be noticed through physical signs that are often overlooked. Indications like insomnia, fatigue, lack of appetite, muscle aches or chest pains are all noticeable ways that depression can affect our bodies.  Since depression comes in many shapes and forms, finding the right antidepressant can become quite the challenge for many folks. One pill simply does not work for everyone and it the process when starting the treatment can take up to six weeks. Though medication is one of the common ways to fight depression, others find treatments in therapy.



Myth: Schizophrenia means you have multiple personalities talking to you in real time. It makes you dangerous and untrustworthy.

Reality:  Schizophrenia can be spotted through a wide array of different symptoms, but not one of those allude to having multiple personalities.  Though there are 5 different types, schizophrenia as a whole, affects the way a person thinks, acts, expresses emotions or perceives reality. Since this often comes with psychotic symptoms like delusions and hallucinations, main stream society has time and time again portrayed schizophrenic patients as dangerous, criminals that violently act out. This couldn’t be further from the truth: reports show that the majority of patients suffering are non violent, and if the crimes were incidentally tied to an individual with the schizophrenia, that it was not correlated to their symptoms.

There are many other mental health illnesses that surround us everyday, often living through people we know or begin to know. Today, we urge you to do your part in joining to fight the stigma against these diseases that affect so many of us. For #MentalHealthAwarenessDay take a moment to research, read or simply reach out and speak to someone suffering.















Cellular Oxidation


Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer. We all know someone that has been affected by one of these afflictions. We’ve heard them mentioned at some point of our lives through a friend, a coworker or perhaps even a family member. These are illnesses directly linked to cellular oxidation and in part, due to the overload of free radicals.

But what exactly is oxidation? Surely, we’ve seen the way iron rusts when we leave it out or the variety of anti-oxidant capsules available on the market today. Oxidation in the body, however, can lead to health complications and problems in the long run.

When the process of oxidation takes over, it damages the human body by deteriorating cell membranes along with many other structures such as cellular proteins, lipids and DNA. Then, once the oxidation is metabolized, free radicals appear, stealing electrons, which they need to function properly.

These free radicals are fine in a controlled number, but if there is an overload and they get out of hand, then there is the risk of heart disease, liver disease and some cancers to develop with various degrees of severity. Oxidation can even be fuelled by many other outside factors, some we’re not initially aware of, such as pollution, stress and even sunlight. In fact, solar radiation (UVAS) play a huge part in the process, especially in the production of free radicals.


Some degenerative conditions caused by free radicals can include:

  • Arthritis
  • Parkinson’s
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Premature aging
  • Cancers
  • Increased heart disease

There are several solutions to neutralize the overload of free radicals that can cause us harm and make us susceptible to these illnesses.


Maintaining a healthy diet, rich with antioxidants will greatly reduce the risk of encountering many of these diseases. These are the superheroes that will come to your rescue and put out the internal fires caused by oxidation. The protective properties of antioxidants have been studied for years, and continue to be found in great sources of food we can enjoy everyday.


Check out the list below for some you may find around your kitchen:

  • If you like Leeks, onions and garlic: Allium Sulphur compounds 
  • If eggplant, grapes and berries are more your liking : Anthocyanin
  • If you enjoy a nice glass of red wine or a long cup of tea: Catechins
  • If seafood, lean meat, milk and nuts are on the menu: Copper (seafood also goes for Zinc!)
  • If you’re thirsty for some oranges or mangoes: Vitamin C
  • If you need your leafy greens like spinach and corn: Lutein
  • Soybeans and tofu contain: Isoflavonoids
  • Whole grains and seeds: Lignans
  • Herbs such as thyme and oregano: Polyphenols
  • Vegetable oils, avocados: Vitamin E
  • Watermelon, tomatoes, grapefruits: Lycopene
  • Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower: Indoles

Vitamin Supplements:

Research still has not confirmed if the use of supplements are more or less effective than those of eating whole foods and grains from the list above, so we recommend seeking supplements that contain all nutrients instead of isolating them.

What are some of your favourite anti-oxidants? Leave us your thoughts in the comments below!