In 2010, a graduate student named Tamar Gefen got to know a remarkable group of older people.
They had volunteered for a study of memory at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. Although they were all over age 80, Ms. Gefen and her colleagues found that they scored as well on memory tests as people in their 50s. Some complained that they remembered too much.
She and her colleagues referred to them as SuperAgers. Many were also friends. “A couple tried to set me up with their grandsons,” Ms. Gefen said.
A report issued Thursday on the financial impact of Alzheimer’s disease in the United States warns that it could soar to more than $1 trillion a year by 2050, with much of it borne by the federal government, unless action is taken to shift current trends.
Increasingly, big data is changing life’s game board.
As technology evolves and becomes further integrated into society, massive amounts of data are being collected and stored. From the app on your cellphone to the swipe of your credit card to the systems that monitor everyday activities, data is endlessly transmitted and interpreted. With supercomputers within easy reach and storage infinitely scalable, researchers now have the power and resources not just to collect data, but to analyze it and make important discoveries.
The EPAD project has announced the start of a novel collaboration between 35 academic and private sector partners from Europe and the US to test innovative treatments for the prevention of Alzheimer’s dementia.
EPAD is mainly sponsored by the European Commission and the European pharmaceutical industry (via EFPIA) under the auspices of the Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking (IMI JU). The EPAD programme has an initial budget of €64m distributed across a total of 35 partners from the private and academic sectors
Latinos are the fastest growing population in the United States, projected to grow by the U.S. Census Bureau to approximately 129 million in 2060.
The older Latino population is expected to triple by 2050, growing from 6 percent of older adults in 2003 to 18 percent within the next four decades. Health experts are projecting that Latinos are disproportionately represented in the older age groups most at risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Louise will never forget the day her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease at Massachusetts General Hospital. Louise knew her mother shouldn't be driving any more, but the older woman had always been a strong, astute businesswoman. "When she was unable to tell time on the clock that is part of the mental status exam, I couldn't believe it was my mother," she says.
On a radiant fall day, more than 100 people filed into a gloomy auditorium in Boston to see a play about an even gloomier subject: Alzheimer's disease and how the progressive, brain-killing condition shakes up an African American family.
“I forget things,” the father onstage says angrily while he and his loved ones remain in denial about his descent into dementia. “I’m sick of people asking me how I’m doing.”
The play, “Forget Me Not,” is part of a larger, D.C.-based project designed to reach a community at risk and encourage participation in research.
“You just crashed a little bit,” Adam Gazzaley said.
It was true: I’d slammed my rocket-powered surfboard into an icy riverbank. This was at Gazzaley’s San Francisco lab, in a nook cluttered with multicolored skullcaps and wires that hooked up to an E.E.G. machine. The video game I was playing wasn’t the sort typically pitched at kids or even middle-aged, Gen X gamers. Indeed, its intended users include people over 60 — because the game might just help fend off the mental decline that accompanies aging.
For the first time, and to the astonishment of many of their colleagues, researchers created what they call Alzheimer’s in a Dish — a petri dish with human brain cells that develop the telltale structures of Alzheimer’s disease. In doing so, they resolved a longstanding problem of how to study Alzheimer’s and search for drugs to treat it; the best they had until now were mice that developed an imperfect form of the disease.
For consummate physician-researchers, what better way to mark an auspicious anniversary than with a scientific meeting? So it was that some 250 researchers gathered at Massachusetts General Hospital on September 19 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in the first batch of what was to become a nationwide system of federally funded ADRCs. The crowd comprised the instigators of the centers system, former trainees-turned-research-leaders, as well as current faculty, residents, and students from the United States and abroad.