How Your Dreams Relate to Parkinson’s Disease

April 26, 2011

What do your dreams have to do with your likelihood of developing Parkinson’s Disease?

A new study from Denmark’s Center for Healthy Aging and the Danish Center for Sleep Medicine, among other places, suggests that people likely to develop Parkinson’s might first show signs in their sleep pattern.Researchers found that one of the earliest symptoms of Parkinson’s may be a REM sleep disorder known as REM Sleep Behavior Disorder.

With REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, individuals tend to act out their dreams. The dreams are usually unpleasant, and the person will kick, scream, punch, or grab.

The active dreaming can appear up to eight years before other symptoms of Parkinson’s. If researchers are able to find enough evidence to support this link,  they can help patients identify the disease before it becomes too severe.


Shift Workers: How to Stay Alert

April 18, 2011

After five reported cases of air traffic controllers falling asleep on the job since late March, the FAA released new guidelines in hopes of solving the problem.

Air traffic controllers will now get an extra hour off between shifts to rest up.

Dr. Russell Rosenberg, CEO of NeuroTrials Research, sat down with CNN International reporter Ralitsa Vassileva to discuss falling asleep on the job, and what you can do to stay alert while at work.

Watch the video by clicking here.

Do you have a sleep disorder? Check out our current sleep research studies.

Have COPD? Eat Your Vegetables.

April 14, 2011

According to research published in the Science Translational Medicine journal, sulforaphane, a compound found in broccoli, may help prevent lung infections in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).

The research shows that the compound may aid the lung’s immune defense and decrease lung inflammation, a common problem for COPD patients.

Researchers isolated white blood cells from the  lungs of COPD patients and examined mice exposed to cigarette smoke to mimic the lung conditions of those diagnosed with COPD. When bacteria enters the lungs of COPD patients, their white blood cells do not attack the bacteria as strongly as they do in healthy individuals.

Characterized by chronic bronchitis and emphysema, COPD is the third leading cause of death in the US. COPD affects 24 million Americans and 210 million individuals worldwide.

Further study is needed to determine if a sulforaphane-rich diet could be an effective treatment.

Read the full article.

Have you been diagnosed with COPD?

If you have COPD, you may qualify for 1 of 2 new research studies with NeuroTrials Research. We are currently conducting studies on both mild to moderate and moderate to severe COPD patients. For more information, call 404-851-9934 or fill out our 5-minute prequalification survey

Join NeuroTrials on Facebook & Win an Amazon Gift Card

April 12, 2011

Are you a fan of NeuroTrials on Facebook? If so, you have been automatically entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

Not a fan? We want to hear from you! We would like to keep in touch with our clinical trial participants and want to provide you with a single, convenient place to learn about all our current and upcoming studies.

So join & participate on our Facebook page today. Head over to our page and with 1 click you will be entered into our Amazon gift card giveaway.

The best part? We will be running a contest like this once a month- so keep following and keep chiming in to up your chances of winning!

A winner will be announced for the first giveaway next Friday, April 22. And don’t forget to spread the word to your friends- maybe they’ll share their earnings if they win.

Good luck.

New Research on Short Sleepers

April 7, 2011

We all know that one person who seems to thrive on very little sleep.

Maybe it was your best friend in middle school who always managed to earn the coveted title of last kid to fall asleep at the slumber party.

Maybe it was your college roommate who could study all night, ace a test, then go out to celebrate without even napping.

Yet study after study and expert after expert says adults needs around 7-9 hours of sleep each night. But is that the case for all adults?

An article in the Wall Street Journal investigates “the sleepless elite”- those rare individuals who can function well on less than 6 hours of sleep.

According to the article, 1-3% of the population actually qualifies as a short sleeper. Short sleepers function normally with less than 6 hours of sleep, are not tired during the day, and do not need caffeine or naps to keep their energy levels up. Short sleepers tend to be more energetic and outgoing than most people.

While there is no genetic test for short sleepers, researchers do notice some kind of link with genetics. One of the current researchers for short sleepers first noticed a genetic link during a study on extreme early risers in 2009. Dr. Ying-Hui Fu found two of the participants were a mother/daughter pair who both naturally woke up at 4 am, despite staying up past midnight.

Geneticists spotted a gene variation in short sleepers and were able to replicate this variation in mice. The mice then needed less sleep than usual.

Many people think they are short sleepers but studies show that one-third of Americans who are getting less than 7 hours of sleep are actually sleep-deprived.

Short sleepers are rare and share many of the same characteristics- they bore easily, are known to talk and think fast, are extremely upbeat, and are usually thinner than an average person.

While the researchers ultimate goal is to learn to manipulate sleep habits without comprising health, currently there is no way to teach yourself to be a short sleeper. You are either able to thrive on less amounts of sleep or you aren’t.

Check out the full article on short sleepers.

Ouch! New Study Shows Heartbreak Really Hurts

April 1, 2011

Ever experienced heartbreak? Did it ever make you physically hurt?

Contrary to what your mother may have diagnosed as simply overreacting, a new research study shows that the same regions of the brain activated for physical pain are activated when people feel rejected by a loved one.

University of Michigan social psychologist Ethan Kross, lead the study, reported in Monday’s  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study featured 40 people who had gone through a romantic breakup within the past six months, all who characterized their breakups as intense or painful. Since researchers were not present at the time of the breakup, participants underwent MRI scans while

  • viewing photos of their ex and thinking about the breakup.
  • viewing photos of friends and thinking  about a happy memory
  • wearing an arm device that simulated physical pain

Researchers then compared the results with 500 scans of other people’s brain responses to physical pain and emotion. The researchers found that intense feelings- especially a feeling of rejection- activates the same regions of the brain activated during physical pain.

The research may be used to further examine how heartbreak can cause depression or illness.