Trending Clinical Topics for March 2019

Ryan Syrek


March 29, 2019

Trending Clinical Topic of the Week (March 9-15): Memory

Various prevention and treatment strategies to combat mental decline resulted in this week's top trending clinical topic. "An apple a day" may "keep the doctor away," but daily consumption of pomegranate juice may help protect memory. A randomized trial of more than 200 participants found that those who received pomegranate juice scored higher on memory tests than those who received a placebo drink. The findings presented at the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry annual meeting complement earlier research about various foods, such as blueberries, which have been associated with preserved mental faculties.

Hunger may also play a separate role in the prevention of memory loss and related conditions. Researchers found that higher levels of cholecystokinin (CCK), an amino acid involved in appetite regulation, is associated with decreased risk for mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer disease. Data on around 300 patients suggest that those with higher levels of CCK have better memory and overall cognitive skills, as well as a reduced likelihood of developing Alzheimer disease. Preventive strategies may also focus on vitamin D deficiency. A separate study found that this deficiency disrupts structural brain connectivity and harms memory. Patients who were vitamin D–deficient had a significant decline in their ability to remember and learn, compared with a control group.

For those who are already struggling with cognition-related complaints and depression, a new study suggests that the drug memantine may help improve executive function and reduce depressive symptoms in patients being treated with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Patients who received memantine in addition to an SSRI demonstrated immediate improvement of anxiety, depression, and apathy, as well as improved cognitive outcomes at 12 months. Given the concerns about memory loss and associated impairments in all aging populations, any potential preventive tools and treatment strategies are always likely to become a trending clinical topic.

Read more information on memory loss and mild cognitive impairment.


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