Dementia in the News

MIT News (December 9, 2013): Balancing Old and New Skills

Publication Date: 
Mon, 12/09/2013

To learn new motor skills, the brain must be plastic: able to rapidly change the strengths of connections between neurons, forming new patterns that accomplish a particular task. However, if the brain were too plastic, previously learned skills would be lost too easily.
This works well for learning one skill, but complications arise when the brain is trying to learn many different skills at once.  Because the same distributed network controls related motor tasks, new modifications to existing patterns can interfere with previously learned skills.

Alzheimer's Disease International (December 5, 2013): Dementia Biggest Global Health Challenge Facing Our Generation

Publication Date: 
Thu, 12/05/2013

In a policy brief launched today, Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) has announced that the number of people living with dementia worldwide in 2013 is now estimated at 44 million (estimated at 35 million in 2010) reaching 76 million in 2030 (66 million) and 135 million by 2050 (115 million).   

The Policy Brief entitled ‘The Global Impact of Dementia 2013-2050’ reports a staggering 17% increase in global estimates of people living with dementia, compared to the original ADI estimates in the 2009 World Alzheimer’s Report.

U.S. News & World Report (December 4, 2013): Deciphering the DNA of Alzheimer's Patients

Publication Date: 
Wed, 12/04/2013

Data that details every gene in the DNA of 410 people with Alzheimer's disease can now be studied by researchers, the U.S. National Institutes of Health announced this week.

This first batch of genetic data is now available from the Alzheimer's Disease Sequencing Project, launched in February 2012 as part of an intensified national effort to find ways to prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease.

Genome sequencing outlines the order of all 3 billion chemical letters in an individual's DNA, which is the entire set of genetic data every person carries in every cell.

Health Canal (November 26, 2013): Brain Imaging Differences in Infants at Genetic Risk for Alzheimer’s

Publication Date: 
Tue, 11/26/2013

Researchers from Brown University and Banner Alzheimer's Institute have found that infants who carry a gene associated with increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease tend to have differences in brain development compared to children without the gene. The study, published in JAMA Neurology, demonstrates some of the earliest developmental differences associated with a gene variant called APOE ε4, a common genotype and a known risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s.

CNN (November 9, 2013): Alzheimer's Risk Before Symptoms: Do You Want to Know?

Publication Date: 
Sat, 11/09/2013

Anne Kolesar thought she had packed well for her biking trip last month in Pennsylvania's "Grand Canyon," with clothes for cold weather and snacks. But after driving about a hundred miles, she looked through her rearview mirror and realized: Oops, no bike!

Kolesar, 61, laughs heartily as she tells this story. But hovering over the incident is her knowledge that she has an elevated genetic risk of Alzheimer's disease.

PR Newswire (November 7, 2013): Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer's Disease Announces a Big Data Challenge to Find New Predictors of Cognitive Decline

Publication Date: 
Thu, 11/07/2013

The Global CEO Initiative (CEOi) on Alzheimer's Disease, Sage Bionetworks, and IBM's DREAM, today announced the Alzheimer's Disease Big Data (AD#1) Challenge at the Alzheimer's Disease Summit: The Path to 2025.

The Summit, hosted by CEOi and the New York Academy of Sciences, is convening key industry, academic, government, and patient stakeholders to build on the current National Institutes of Health (NIH) milestones designed to achieve a means of prevention and effective treatment of Alzheimer's by 2025.

CBS News (October 28, 2013): 11 New Gene Variants Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

Publication Date: 
Mon, 10/28/2013

In the largest genetic analysis of Alzheimer's ever completed, scientists have discovered 11 new genes that may be tied to the late-onset form of the dementia disease.

Scientists scanned the brains of 74,076 older volunteers with Alzheimer's and others who did not have the disease in 15 countries to come up with their findings. The study was published in Nature Genetics on Oct. 27.

Forbes (October 24, 2013): Medical Researchers Predict Progress in Battles Against Alzheimer's, Cancer

Publication Date: 
Thu, 10/24/2013

The frenzied pace of medical innovation was much in evidence at the Fourth Annual Galien Forum on Tuesday, at New York City’s Alexandria Center for Life Sciences. The world’s leading pharmaceutical researchers gathered to discuss the recent, significant advances in their understanding of human cellular biology, which hold out hope that doctors will be able to more effectively attack the scourges of Alzheimer’s, cancer, and diabetes in the not too distant future.

BBC News (October 10, 2013): Alzheimer's Breakthrough Hailed as 'Turning Point'

Publication Date: 
Thu, 10/10/2013

The discovery of the first chemical to prevent the death of brain tissue in a neurodegenerative disease has been hailed as the "turning point" in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.

More work is needed to develop a drug that could be taken by patients.

But scientists say a resulting medicine could treat Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's and other diseases.

In tests on mice, the Medical Research Council showed all brain cell death from prion disease could be prevented.

Harvard Medical School News (October 10, 2013): Exercising the Mind

Publication Date: 
Thu, 10/10/2013

A protein increased by endurance exercise has been isolated and given to non-exercising mice, turning on genes that promote brain health and encourage the growth of new nerves involved in learning and memory, scientists from Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have reported.

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