Dementia in the News

Heathrow Airport is now working with the Alzheimer’s Society so it can learn about dementia and offer the best experience for travellers with the illness.

The programme is called ‘Dementia Friendly Communities’ and is part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020. The challenge encourages businesses to become more dementia-friendly, so those with the illness can be treated correctly. Heathrow has said all 76,000 staff at the airport will become more aware of the illness through various classes and online resources.

Our thinking, perception, and ability to understand language are processed in the outermost layer of the brain, the cerebral cortex. Knowing exactly where our senses and perceptions take shape in the brain is important for unraveling how aging, neurological conditions, and psychiatric illnesses affect our health. Scientists have used a variety of techniques to map the brain’s organization over the past century, from examining tissue under a microscope to sophisticated brain imaging methods.

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have found an association between lower weight and more extensive deposits of the Alzheimer's-associated protein beta-amyloid in the brains of cognitively normal older individuals. The association -- reported in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease -- was seen in particular among individuals carrying the APOE4 gene variant, which is known to increase the risk of Alzheimer's.

Lengthy waiting lists for rooms for Alzheimer’s patients are forcing caregivers to put their loved ones in less specialized facilities - which often levy additional fees for every extra service required to keep those vulnerable residents safe.

Does the patient need a daily prompt to take her medication? Tack $25 on to the monthly bill. Does he need to be reminded to go to lunch and dinner? That’ll be another $75 a month. Checking blood sugar might cost $55 a month. Double that if the staff is also in charge of injecting insulin.

Alzheimer's researchers are looking to our noses and our eyes for early signs of disease.Two studies presented Tuesday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference 2016 suggested older adults with worsening ability to identify odors might be on the road to cognitive decline. Two other presentations explored different types of eye tests as possible predictors of the disease. Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior.

The brain looks like a featureless expanse of folds and bulges, but it’s actually carved up into invisible territories. Each is specialized: Some groups of neurons become active when we recognize faces, others when we read, others when we raise our hands.

On Wednesday, in what many experts are calling a milestone in neuroscience, researchers published a spectacular new map of the brain, detailing nearly 100 previously unknown regions - an unprecedented glimpse into the machinery of the human mind.

Five drug makers, including Cambridge-based Biogen Inc., are banding together with academic scientists to form a research consortium aimed at speeding development of therapies for Alzheimer’s, a neurological disorder that has stubbornly eluded treatments.

The new group, which will be formally launched Thursday night at an event at Massachusetts General Hospital, is called the Massachusetts Center for Alzheimer Therapeutic Science, or MassCATS. It will be based at a Mass. General research center.

The gene that makes some people more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease as adults also affects the brain development and mental abilities of children, a new study shows.

Researchers who examined brain scans of 1,187 kids and teens found distinct patterns in the size and structure of the cortex, hippocampus and other important structures. These patterns were linked with different versions of a gene known as APOE, which may play a role in up to 25% of Alzheimer’s cases.

Nobody knew each other’s name. Even so, 60 people who either were at risk of having an autosomal-dominant Alzheimer’s mutation, or were accompanying someone who was, exchanged information about a shared problem. There were moments of validation - “Denial has divided my family, too!” - and apprehensive questions—“Do you want to know if you have it?” Family speakers on the program addressed the audience anonymously. Hotel staff knew only that they were hosting a medical symposium. The conference had no title.

WHEN a “brain fitness” course was introduced at her retirement community, Connie Cole was eager to sign up. After joining, she learned how to use an Apple iPad and work more complex tasks verbally and on paper.

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