Living near cities increases oxygen supply to brain cells

An increase in ambient oxygen may be about to boost the chances of surviving an oxygen-starved brain that is continually exposed to outdoor pollution. Loyola University scientists working in partnership with millions of urban adults expressed interest in quantifying brain oxygen consumption around the world.

The study, which was conducted in collaboration with University of Chicago researchers and Hong Kong-based Brain Research via Optometry Foundation and The Romanian Mental Health Society, revealed that living near major roadways that connect cities and homogeneous neighbourhoods enhances brain oxygen uptake, which otherwise would have been lower. Homogenous parts of the municipalities may have no significant impact.

The research is based on a yearlong study conducted using oxygen fetuses attached to climate-controlled microbubbles embedded in the mothers’ abdomen, typically their first trimester. Two brain size and social performance metrics were evaluated: mean brain volume and mean force-driven oscillations per minute.

“The study supports the hypothesis that living near large roads enhances brain oxygen uptake, and that this is through an increase in the percentage of homogenous communities and the proportion living next to a major roadway,” said Loyola’s Courtney Jease, PhD, the Joan E. Kunkel Professor of Psychology and senior author of the study.

“People living in the cities in general south of the Andalusian mountains and continuously exposed to popular ambient ambient oxygen levels in the urban environment may provide a uniquely well-characterized front line of brain-immune responses,” Jease said.

“Our study offers an important starting point to help us update our findings with more concrete empirical data,” she said. “In addition, while we cannot directly quantify brain oxygen intake directly, our findings suggest that the circumstances for brain exposure to an oxygen-poor environment may support its survival.”

The brain is a sensitive organ, but not all the neurons are readily compatible with oxygen exposure. Instead, brain-high populations develop oxygen deficiency consistent with hyperoxia, which is commonly observed in urban populations and several medical conditions.

Loyola’s Brain Research via Optometry Foundation and The Romanian Mental Health Society employed a positron emission tomography (PET) and a dose-escalation dartometer that tracked brain activity over a 22-hour period. Brain imaging is done before a person is physically active. Exposure to ambient light could have constituted an stimulus, Jease said. “It is important to know what factors increased brain glucose uptake when compared to controls.”

“Utility in less-biased”

The study assessed brain oxygen peripheral oxygen uptake in 50 population groups associated with major roadways. Of the approximately 1.5 million respondents, 3,500 had no exposure to urban O2 for more than two months and the remaining population was not exposed for beyond two years.

The study compared average brain oxygen uptake of 54 groups, including 37 major roadways and 30 not linked to any roadways. In each group, mean brain oxygen uptake was considerably lower than that of their basal metabolizing capacity and in the two ovation groups, total brain oxygen uptake was 40 percent lower in comparison to wild-type control. Outside urban areas, brain blood oxygen uptake measured in the negative air included samples from the back of the head.

Loyola’s Brain Research via Optometry Foundation and The Romanian Mental Health Society researchers collaborated to develop quantitative oxygen consumption models with cities across the samples.

H Morph Hormone Therapy Improves Quality of Life for Some with Rheumatic Disease

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Patients with rheumatic disease who received improved quality of life and reduced pain activity had fewer pain-related visits, fewer pain exchanges, fewer nociceptive examinations, and greater positive health and quality-of-life ratings. Results from a retrospective study led by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Biomedical Sciences Division show the hormone therapy numbs and treatment duration increased satisfaction with life, increased efficiency of care, and increased patient safety. Results appear in Clinical Pharmacology: Clinical & Translational Research.

“Nearly 80% of patients with rheumatic disease favor treatment with short-acting drugs and approximately 15% take long-acting and/or newer nonpharmacological therapies,” said senior author Mikhail Tereshnikov, MD, the Jack and Christine Price Professor of Rheumatic Disease at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and director of the UAB Biomedical Sciences Division. “In contrast, patients who continue to receive opioids for pain, and prefer to administer them, are falling short of the treatment recommendations. My study aimed to examine the effectiveness of numbing agents and other nonpharmacologic therapies inside the joint in treating rheumatic disease patients using the amelin receptor antagonist noscarsone.”

Noscarsone is a investigational nonopioid nasal receptor antagonist used in the treatment of psoriasis and cutaneous T-cell leukemia, as well as in the treatment of rheumatic diseases. It is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in combination with other investigational medications.

Noscarsone is given to patients three times a day. The dose is initially low – about 100 mg/day in patients with active disease – and gradually increases up to 600 mg/day. Patients in this range are considered high-risk because of the potentially lethal effects of opioid withdrawal.

Sixteen patients in the study received compounding-based nausea and vomiting suppositories, three times a day. Three patients received nociceptive examinations every four weeks or so. Nine patients received pain assessments twice-daily (five with nociceptive examinations every two weeks) or twice weekly (four with nociceptive examinations every two weeks).The researchers, who had blinded participants, evaluated pain and well-being – quality of life and clinical convenience – three times a day. During the three-month study period, approximately 40 percent of patients received intensive care unit drug and nonopioid-treatment therapy. Those who received extended-release or extended-release subcutaneous nociceptive agents (extended-release hookahs, applicators, or lozenges) actually filled within the recommended range of dose (100 mg/day) and severity (moderate to severe pain, defined by the American College of Rheumatic Diseases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report data).The researchers found that patients had fewer nonpharmacologic adverse events and increased quality-of-life ratings, if any, than they would have without the extended-release drug and opioid treatment. In terms of patient safety, nine patients (two who received extended-release drug and three who received extended-release opioid) were killed. No deaths were reported among those who had fluid in the affected arm, because of adverse events.

“I don’t know if numbing agents will work to patients with chronic pain who have been successfully treated with opioid for a number of years,” Tereshnikov said. “I think it’s entirely possible that those improving and/or satisfied with their condition will not use numbing agents, with many of them staying away from the market.”

Dr. Tereshnikov is a member of the UAB Committee on Rheumatology Research. He serves as the graduate medical educator and is the lead author of several publications on rheumatology. Please see his website for more information about his research.

Study Shows Benefits of a Low Dose Aspirin Toxin

A UCLA-led study found that a low dose of a commonly prescribed dose of aspirin delivered in a single session led to a significant reversal of congestive heart failure, improving quality of life among 54 percent of study participants. The research was published in JAMA Network Open.

Certain medications and certain lifestyle changes can enhance the effect of aspirin in treating congestive heart failure. To reach these conclusions, the team conducted a trial with 954 participants determined to test the effect of a low dose aspirin treatment delivered on a single time point (1500 mg/d) among 54 patients. Their blood pressure was measured continuously during 18 months of the trial.

The researchers found a significant decline in the time to the first episode of chest pain (time to 2-4 weeks after starting aspirin treatment) with a low-dose aspirin treatment. In contrast, the proportion of participants who reported no adverse effects significantly increased.

Another incidental finding was that healthy people who had no chest pain and did not have congestive heart failure were more likely to stop or reduce doses.

In addition, those who went through a major swelling during the clinical observation period with low-dose aspirin showed no significant improvement.” The dose-escalation trial of aspirin appears to have had little impact on [clinically significant] [congested] disease[, nor the impact of] [other] factors,” the researchers wrote, adding that the avoidance of potential placebo-challenge factors for aspirin or placebo was not statistically significant.