Dementia in the News

MIT News (March 24, 2014): MRI Reveals Genetic Activity

Publication Date: 
Mon, 03/24/2014

Doctors commonly use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose tumors, damage from stroke, and many other medical conditions. Neuroscientists also rely on it as a research tool for identifying parts of the brain that carry out different cognitive functions.

National Public Radio (March 21, 2014): Alzheimer's Diagnosis Expanding To Catch Early Warning Signs

Publication Date: 
Fri, 03/21/2014

Alzheimer's disease isn't what it used to be. After 30 years of having doctors diagnose the disease by symptoms alone, researchers and advocacy groups are calling for new diagnostic criteria that recognize changes in the brain as well as changes in behavior.

The goal is to eventually allow doctors to diagnose "preclinical" Alzheimer's in patients who do not have problems with memory or thinking, but who do have an abnormal brain scan or some other sign that the disease may be developing.

Harvard Medical School News (March 19, 2014): The Aging Brain Needs REST

Publication Date: 
Wed, 03/19/2014

Why do neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s affect only the elderly? Why do some people live to be over 100 with intact cognitive function while others develop dementia decades earlier?

More than a century of research into the causes of dementia has focused on the clumps and tangles of abnormal proteins that appear in the brains of people with neurodegenerative diseases. However, scientists know that at least one piece of the puzzle has been missing because some people with these abnormal protein clumps show few or no signs of cognitive decline.

Boston Globe (March 7, 2014): Researcher Receives $8m to Expand Alzheimer’s Study

Publication Date: 
Fri, 03/07/2014

A Boston scientist poised to launch a pioneering Alzheimer’s prevention study was awarded an $8 million grant Thursday to expand the research and further explore potential causes of cognitive decline in the mind-robbing disease.

Dr. Reisa Sperling, a neurologist at Harvard Medical School and an Alzheimer’s specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, received the Alzheimer’s Association grant, the largest such research award the group has ever given, the association said.

Harvard Gazette (March 4, 2014): Alzheimer's in a Dish

Publication Date: 
Tue, 03/04/2014

Harvard stem cell scientists have successfully converted skins cells from patients with early onset Alzheimer’s into the types of neurons that are affected by the disease, making it possible for the first time to study this leading form of dementia in living human cells. This may also make it possible to develop therapies more quickly and accurately than before.

MGH Development Office (February 26, 2014): Mass General Brain Mapping Reveals Pathways of Human Thought

Publication Date: 
Tue, 02/25/2014

Using a little creativity and a lot of new technology, Mass General researchers have created a new generation of brain mapping images that promises to open the door to understanding and treating brain disorders.

Proto Magazine (Winter 2014): Tangled Up in Tau

Publication Date: 
Wed, 02/12/2014

Neurologist Bruce Miller calls tau—a floppy, free-form protein—“the holy grail of dementia.” That designation may come as a surprise to anyone who has even a passing interest in the science of end-of-life brain diseases. A different protein, amyloid-beta (Aß), has become famous as the culprit responsible for the so-called senile plaques that gum up the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

On The Brain (Fall 2013): The Wonders of the Middle-Aged Brain

Publication Date: 
Mon, 02/10/2014

 As if people reaching their middle years didn't have enough to keep them awake at night—mortgage payments, job demands, the angst of teenage children - a study by French and British researchers last year concluded that our brains start to decline around age 45, smack in the prime of middle age.

Washington Post (February 4, 2014): NIH, Drugmakers, Foundations Partner to Find Meds

Publication Date: 
Tue, 02/04/2014

The U.S. National Institutes of Health and numerous biopharmaceutical companies and disease foundations have teamed up on an unusual project to find and bring new medicines to patients faster.

AlzForum (January 31, 2014): A 3-D View One of Neuroscience's Most Famous Brains

Publication Date: 
Fri, 01/31/2014

Known for decades as patient H.M., Henry Molaison was familiar, indeed dear, to neuroscientists. In 1953, epilepsy surgery to remove a tiny part of his brain left him forever unable to acquire new facts and store them.

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