Daily Archives: December 13, 2017

Urea: A Major Cause of Dementia

Urea has been pinpointed as the cause of at least two, if not all, kinds of dementia. Amazing! A common metabolite of the body can cause dementia. Hopefully ways to prevent this will be forthcoming shortly.


An international team of scientists have confirmed the discovery of a major cause of dementia, with important implications for possible treatment and diagnosis.

Professor Garth Cooper from The University of Manchester, who leads the Manchester team, says the build-up of urea in the brain to toxic levels can cause brain damage – and eventually dementia.

The work follows on from Professor Cooper’s earlier studies, which identified metabolic linkages between Huntington’s, other neurodegenerative diseases and type-2 diabetes.

The team consists of scientists from The University of Manchester, the University of Auckland, AgResearch New Zealand, the South Australian Research and Development Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University.

The latest paper by the scientists, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that Huntington’s Disease – one of seven major types of age-related dementia – is directly linked to brain urea levels and metabolic processes.

Their 2016 study revealing that urea is similarly linked to Alzheimer’s, shows, according to Professor Cooper, that the discovery could be relevant to all types of age-related dementias.

The Huntington’s study also showed that the high urea levels occurred before dementia sets in, which could help doctors to one day diagnose and even treat dementia, well in advance of its onset.

Urea and ammonia in the brain are metabolic breakdown products of protein. Urea is more commonly known as a compound which is excreted from the body in urine. If urea and ammonia build up in the body because the kidneys are unable to eliminate them, for example, serious symptoms can result.

Professor Cooper, who is based at The University of Manchester’s Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, said: “This study on Huntington’s Disease is the final piece of the jigsaw which leads us to conclude that high brain urea plays a pivotal role in dementia.

“Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s are at opposite ends of the dementia spectrum – so if this holds true for these types, then I believe it is highly likely it will hold true for all the major age-related dementias.

“More research, however, is needed to discover the source of the elevated urea in HD, particularly concerning the potential involvement of ammonia and a systemic metabolic defect.

“This could have profound implications for our fundamental understanding of the molecular basis of dementia, and its treatability, including the potential use of therapies already in use for disorders with systemic urea phenotypes.”

Dementia results in a progressive and irreversible loss of nerve cells and brain functioning, causing loss of memory and cognitive impairments affecting the ability to learn. Currently, there is no cure.

The team used human brains, donated by families for medical research, as well as transgenic sheep in Australia.

Manchester members of the team used cutting-edge gas chromatography mass spectrometry to measure brain urea levels. For levels to be toxic urea must rise 4-fold or higher than in the normal brain says Professor Cooper.

He added: “We already know Huntington’s Disease is an illness caused by a faulty gene in our DNA – but until now we didn’t understand how that causes brain damage – so we feel this is an important milestone.

“Doctors already use medicines to tackle high levels of ammonia in other parts of the body, Lactulose – a commonly used laxative, for example, traps ammonia in the gut. So it is conceivable that one day, a commonly used drug may be able to stop dementia from progressing. It might even be shown that treating this metabolic state in the brain may help in the regeneration of tissue, thus giving a tantalising hint that reversal of dementia may one day be possible.”

This article has been republished from materials provided by The University of Manchester, UK. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.


Handley, R. R., Reid, S. J., Brauning, R., Maclean, P., Mears, E. R., Fourie, I., . . . Snell, R. G. (2017). Brain urea increase is an early Huntington’s disease pathogenic event observed in a prodromal transgenic sheep model and HD cases. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201711243. doi:10.1073/pnas.1711243115

(Non) Fictional Anxiety

Yesterday I started watching the series Shooter. I made it two episodes and HAD to switch to something mindless, in this case, Kevin Can Wait. I almost never ever binge watch sitcoms (outside The Middle, Superstore, Big Bang Theory,and Teachers) but Shooter took me to a suspenseful anxiety inducing place I couldn’t handle.Which, hey, is the point of a suspense thriller type show, right?Means it’s damn good. And yet…My delicate central nervous system kept ringing the panic bells because I can fathom being framed for murder and the system working against you…I’m sort of in a similar situation, minus framed from murder or government conspiracy but still….someone owns me, for all purposes, abuses that, and I end up feeling trapped as if in a prison. So maybe it makes sense this series resonated a little too much and my anxiety receptors were already on triple load, it just caused the system to crash.

I can honestly say, having suffered from panic attacks and anxiety since I was 7 years old, I’m a high strung person and maybe my mom programmed me as she, too, is high strung. But she said her mother suffered through anxiety and that was back in the 60’s prior to all this transferrence and nature versus nurture shit, so maybe it’s genetic. My sister, and my brother (who has a different mom than me and sis) also suffers anxiety. Either way, it’s always been there and it has always been pretty brutal but I noticed after 2000, when I had the reaction to Nardil that landed me a drooling catatonic mess in the psych ward for a week, my anxiety tolerance levels have gone down. Every litttle thing sets off the alarm bells. I used to think it was a combination of the Nardil reaction, then a month later my apartment building caught fire and I had to move in 3 days without a cent to my name…Very stressful and anxiety invoking. After that, I had to give up watching my beloved soap operas because waiting the weekend to find out of Stefano killed Marlena (Days of Our Lives, anyone?) was too anxiety inducing. Whereas prior to these things, I could handle some suspense without freaking. It was more “nervous-cited” as my daughter quotes from My Little Pony. Nervous but excited to find out what happens next.

After those things…It became too much. And as the years passed, it metastasized into paranoia and mistrust and a sense of impending doom that I live with daily. Some days are bearable, others (like today) make me feel like the outlet is overloading and a fire is waiting to happen. After having my daughter, my chemistry changed so much I went through months long bouts of thinking the neighbors were trying to drive me out of my mind with their barking dog tied outside. Illogical? Yep. But the rapid heartbeat, the sweating, the trembling, the sheer sense of terror…it’s all very real every time my disorder picks up another quirk, like hearing sirens and being sure my home is the one on fire. Which hey, I woke to a burning building, so it seems a pretty legit fear…

Today what sparked my anxiety, as well as my fury and disgust, wasn’t waking at 6 in the morning. It wasn’t taking the godawful Vistaril, waiting two hours for it to kick in, then still waking up three hours later. And two hours after that. Nope, that stuff is irritating but it’s become natural (and isn’t that sad that my mental health care professional doesn’t have more concern for my plight? Just sayin’.)

Today’s trigger was being beckoned by His Highness R to his ‘real’ job to wait in the parking lot and get his credit card then go get him a new phone charger. Which he didn’t want me to bring back to him, mind you, just wanted it left at the shop. Now, the place where I got the charger is directly in his path from the real job to the shop, he could have easily been in and out 5 minutes without making me drive 5 miles out of town with a car that shimmies over 30 miles an hour, not to mention using my own gas. R prides himself on being Mr. Spock, so logical, and yet the entire thing was preposterous. And it made me late getting to the shop because he ‘forgot’ he’d told me to be waiting in the parking lot for him. Not to mention for this extra effort he didn’t even offer to buy me a pack of smokes. Pardon me, but his personal cell phone has NOTHING to do with helping at the shop and it damn well could have waited and he could have done it himself.

I feel taken advantage of. Neglected. Disrespected. Am I wrong? Am I the selfish one?

At this point beind so completely under his thumb has me wishing I could just risk broken legs and get money for a different car from a fucking loan shark. This is not worth being under someone’s absolute control and manipulation. And it’s not like it’s new, I’ve been complaining for years then second guessing myself cos I am the one with mental issues and if I am gonna be honest…while I don’t reject people based on their looks or whatever…I can be pretty intolerante of their quirks (all the while expecting them to accept mine) so consider me humbled…But this whole thing was unnecessary and even Kenny said R simply doesn’t want to do anything for himself but go to his jobs and he needs to control me by having me do all these things for him even when it’d be more practical to do it himself. So the fact someone else sees it sort of the way I do means I’m not distorting or operating on hysteria or hormones…

Next Friday cannot come soon enough. I am out of this hell hole, and away from R, hopefully, for 2 weeks and hey, if he can find someone else to come be his indentured servant with empty promises and illogical demands, I’ll adjust my budget so I don’t need him for a damned thing. No one ever died without internet, right? It’s no longer worthwhile, and it is so stressing me out and setting off both anger and anxiety, I am a fuse about to burn to the end and explode the powderkeg. Fuck a different car. I’ll drive mine til it falls in the middle of the road into pieces then I will start doing a lot of walking. Being run around like a minion is too much. Maybe for a decent wage and benefits I could swallow my pride for the 4 months of stability I get every year but this has gone too far.

Feel free to comment if you think I am being a brat. I don’t mind reality checks as long as they’re fair. But the ship sailed on fairness about four years ago when I had a meltdown and he told me to stand on my own two feet so we didn’t speak for 5 months. Maybe it’s time to make the sacrifices and stand on my own two feet. And he can damn well do the same because without a minion, he’s gonna have to start doing stuff for himself just as much as I might have to give up some extras like internet.

Regaining some calm, and some self esteem, somehow seems more important than binge watching though I’d prefer to keep rotting my brain with binge watching. I learn way more from TV shows than I ever did at school. Ya know, when they aren’t triggering my “the sky is falling!” issues.


So I gave my final and have done all the grades except for my remote student.  I’ve already gotten an email asking me to change a grade.  I didn’t respond.

Now my oldest is going to the doctor this afternoon as well.  We will see what she has come down with. The middle one is not acting too perky either, so I’m not sure how this weekend is going to go with them being sick.

I’m managing things fairly well so far.  We go shopping tomorrow for the rest of the Christmas gifts and will do all our wrapping and whatnot once we get home.  I am hoping for lunch at Biaggi’s at Renaissance but we will see what happens.

I have an appointment with Tillie next week and we will see how everything is going then.  Then I have a lunch date with an old high school friend that I have seen occasionally going and coming different places but not had a substantive conversation with in over 20 years.  And we live like ten miles apart.  SO that is going to be interesting.

Hope everyone has a good rest of the week.  Merry Christmas!


Penny Positive #40

From An Optimist’s Calendar

Thinking of next week when I’ll be in Oklahoma with my family.

My family.

It’s been a long time since that concept felt so good.