Ultra-high resolution imaging tools like 7-Tesla MRI now allowresearchers to glimpse the brain in extraordinary detail, openingthe door to new diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders.
Two imaging advances in particular – focused ultrasound andneuroimaging diagnostics in neurodegenerative and psychiatricillnesses – were featured in the 2015 Disruptive Dozen, the listof 12 technologies predicted to have the greatest impact onneurological care in the coming decade by Partners faculty.
When Jamie Tyrone found out that she carries a gene that gives her a 91 percent chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease beginning around age 65, she sank into a depression so deep that at times she wanted to end her life.
Tyrone, a registered nurse who lives in San Diego, decided to fight back. She exercised, changed her diet, and began taking supplements, including fish oil, vitamin D, vitamin B12, curcumin, turmeric, and an antioxidant called CoQ10.
We will be posting a new pay line for Alzheimer’s research, and I want to alert you to two important facts around it. First, the new pay lines are nine percentage points higher than our general RPG pay line and show advantages in other lines too, such as career awards and small business research. Second, we are now coding applications as Alzheimer’s when the NIH Research, Condition, and Disease Categorization (RCDC) coding system includes the proposed work in the Alzheimer’s category.
Clare has adjusted incredibly well to life in the dementia unit of her assisted living facility. I know that she has made some friends but she cannot tell me any of their names. I have also observed her enjoying many of her daily activities, especially those dealing with music and art. When Clare is engaged in activities, she is happy and has told me many times how much she has enjoyed various programs. But when there is "down time" between activities, Clare will sometimes become anxious and repetitively ask: "Has anyone seen my husband? Do you know where my husband is?"
For 67-year-old Joe Fabiano, every morning is the same. After helping his wife, Anita, also 67, out of bed, he helps her bathe and dress, then guides her through their home of 45 years to the kitchen.
"This way, just turn to the right," Joe tells Anita, holding her hands as she walks.
Anita, who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's in 2008, is now in the middle stage of the disease. She has problems finding the bathroom, kitchen and front door, even though the layout of their Staten Island home has never changed.
It’s the conversation no adult child wants to have, the family dynamic few want to discuss publicly. But the pain pours out on an Alzheimer’s help line, where middle-aged sons and daughters call crying, afraid to tell mom or dad it’s time to stop driving, and equally afraid not to.
“That role reversal is overwhelming,” said Ronda Randazzo, the manager of care consultation for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Massachusetts/New Hampshire chapter .
Researchers at MIT have proven that the brain’s cortex doesn’t process specific tasks in highly specialized modules — showing that the cortex is, in fact, quite dynamic when sharing information.
Previous studies of the brain have depicted the cortex as a patchwork of function-specific regions. Parts of the visual cortex at the back of the brain, for instance, encode color and motion, while specific frontal and middle regions control more complex functions, such as decision-making. Neuroscientists have long criticized this view as too compartmentalized.
Sticky plaque gets the most attention, but now healthy seniors at risk of Alzheimer's are letting scientists peek into their brains to see if another culprit is lurking.
No one knows what actually causes Alzheimer's, but the suspects are its two hallmarks - the gunky amyloid in those brain plaques or tangles of a protein named tau that clog dying brain cells. New imaging can spot those tangles in living brains, providing a chance to finally better understand what triggers dementia.