The following script is from “The Alzheimer’s Laboratory,” which aired on Nov. 27, 2016, and was rebroadcast on Feb. 26, 2017. Lesley Stahl is the correspondent. Shari Finkelstein, producer. Nieves Zuberbuhler, associate producer.
Nobel-prize-winning Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez once wrote of a mythical town in the middle of the jungle whose residents suffer from a mysterious affliction that erases their memories. Today, in a region of Colombia called Antioquia, reality appears to be imitating fiction -- in a way that may answer questions for all of us.
Rambling and long-winded anecdotes could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, according to research that suggests subtle changes in speech style occur years before the more serious mental decline takes hold.
The scientists behind the work said it may be possible to detect these changes and predict if someone is at risk more than a decade before meeting the threshold for an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Last summer, deep disappointment befell the Alzheimer disease (AD) community when study results showed that the widely heralded experimental drug LMTX had failed to help AD patients. In November, another promising drug, solanezumab, also dashed hopes. Because these drugs target either amyloid β (solanezumab) or tau (LMTX), proteins that aggregate into the plaques and tangles in brain tissue characteristic of AD, some have suggested that researchers are following the wrong path by attacking these proteins and that AD research is back to square one after decades of work.
Many older adults want to live at home independently as they age. Sometimes all they need is a little help from their family and friends - and the right technology. A new initiative led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) aims to help seniors age in place by developing a research platform to study the use of health-related in-home sensors and other technologies.
The announcement came the day before Thanksgiving, but there was nothing in it to be thankful for: An experimental Alzheimer’s drug many thought would slow the disease’s steady cognitive decline had failed to make a significant difference in a massive trial of people with early signs of the illness.
Marty Reiswig took the news hard. “I was just sad,” he says. “I was really hopeful that it would be life-changing for us.”
A concussion today could increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life, but only if your genes already tip the odds toward dementia, according to a study published in the journal Brain on January 11, 2017.
When Yakeel Quiroz, PhD, Co-Director, MUNDOS, joined the Psychology Assessment program at Mass General in 2011, she worried when she noticed that some of the test questions given to Latino patients did not seem to be culturally appropriate.
Many know the unique tragedy of this disease, but few know that Alzheimer’s is one of the most critical public health crises facing America. This powerful documentary illuminates the social and economic consequences for the country unless a medical breakthrough is discovered for this currently incurable disease.
To those outside the field of neuroscience, the process may have seemed a little ghoulish. Rudolph Tanzi and Robert Moir took autopsied brain tissue from patients who had died of Alzheimer’s disease and “homogenized” it, grinding up the tissue using a sterile, laboratory-grade mortar and pestle. “Not terribly elegant, but highly effective,” says Moir, assistant professor in neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital.
A new study led by Jubin Abutalebi of the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, provides a possible explanation for why speaking a second language slows the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The researchers reported in the January 30 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that bilingual people form stronger connections between some regions of their brains than do monolinguals. These beefed-up networks might allow people to adapt to age-related reductions in brain functions.