John Becklenberg says his wife, Mary Ann, still cooks their dinner, although her favorite recipes are simplified to one or two steps. She also hasn't relinquished tidying up the kitchen of their Dyed, Ind., home, but there's more clattering of pots and pans than ever before.
The simple act of picking up a pencil requires the coordination of dozens of muscles: The eyes and head must turn toward the object as the hand reaches forward and the fingers grasp it. To make this job more manageable, the brain's motor cortex has implemented a system of shortcuts. Instead of controlling each muscle independently, the cortex is believed to activate muscles in groups, known as "muscle synergies." These synergies can be combined in different ways to achieve a wide range of movements.
At this year's Alzheimer's Association International Conference, 14-19 July 12, in sunny Vancouver, Canada, some sessions unfolded, somewhat lonesomely, in large, sparsely populated lecture halls. This could not have been more different for a session titled "Collaboration for Alzheimer's Prevention: Common Issues Across Presymptomatic Treatment Trials," People streamed into the room long after every seat was filled, and the crowd standing around them grew so large that fire safety rules forced closure of the room, resulting in dozens of conference attendees being turned away.
The deadly march of Alzheimer's disease is slower in people aged 80 or older than the younger elderly, researchers have found.
The risk of developing Alzheimer's disease increases with age, and by 85, the risk is about 50 percent. But those who develop the progressive brain disorder that late in life will experience a less aggressive disease than those whose symptoms appear at 60 or 70 years, according to investigators at the University of California, San Diego.
Can high levels of stress really make you age faster? That seems to be the case judging by all the gray hair President Obama has spouted since his inauguration. Researchers, though, have more scientific ways to measure aging - using telomeres - the caps at the end of our cell's chromosomes that protect DNA from damage. These caps shorten over time, and a new study suggests that a common form of anxiety is associated with short telomeres and perhaps an earlier risk of dying.
Inouye, director of the Aging Brain Center at Hebrew SeniorLife and a gerontologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, helped writed a recent paper in the New England Journal of Medicine about delirium in older surgery patients.
A Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School neurologist was honored for his research into the causes of dementia Sunday at an Alzheimer's Association conference in Vancouver, Canada.
Dr. Bradley T. Hyman, director of the Massachusetts Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Mass. General and a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical, received the Henry Wisniewski Lifetime Achievement Award, the Alzheimer's Association said in a statement.
Two decades ago, researchers began discovering rare gene mutations that cause Alzheimer's disease in all who inherit them. Now, they have found the opposite: a mutation that prevents the devastating brain disorder. The protective mutation also is very rare - it is not the reason most people do not develop Alzheimer’s disease. But what intrigues researchers is how it protects the brain. It does the reverse of what the mutations that cause Alzheimer’s do. Those mutations lead to excessive amounts of a normal substance, beta amyloid, in the brain.
Picture this: Your husband gets fired from his college professorship. He had written his student's final essays himself and graded his work as theirs; they turned him in. Soon after, he buys a sports car he can ill afford and you beg his neurologists to get the dealer to take it back. Or this: Seized with chest pain, you drop onto the floor and urge your spouse to call 911. Unmoved, he replies, "Oh. What's for dinner?" Such vignettes of executive and emotional dysfunction hint at why frontotemporal degeneration is a crushing disease, particularly for caregivers.