Dementia in the News

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a method for analysing MR images (MRI) in just a few minutes when diagnosing Alzheimer's disease. The accuracy of the analysis is comparable to manual measurements made by skilled professionals, which are currently considered the most reliable method for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease. The accurate and rapid analysis method is well suited for clinical use.

New insights on what causes Alzheimer's disease could arise from a recent discovery made by bioengineers from the University of California, San Diego. The finding concerns the infamous amyloid beta peptides -- fragments of which plaques are thought to play a role in Alzheimer's disease.

People with early-onset Alzheimer's disease and 37 other medical conditions should get federal disability checks more quickly under an expansion of the Social Security Administration's fast-track system, the agency said Thursday.

Those with a confirmed diagnosis for one of the covered diseases will be approved automatically for disability payments, sidestepping a lengthy process of denials and appeals that such patients often go through. A full five-step application and appeals process currenty averages 440 days.

Hypertension appeared to predict the progression of dementia among older adults with certain cognitive deficits, including the ability to organize thoughts and make decisions, but not others, such as those with memory dysfunction.

For the first time, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have found that three different degenerative brain disorders are linked by a toxic form of the same protein. The protein, called Elk-1, was found in clumps of misshaped proteins that are the hallmarks of Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and Huntington's disease.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the Federal Government's National Institutes of Health (NIH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has primary responsibility for basic, clinical, behavioral, and social research in Alzheimer's disease (AD) as well as research aimed at finding ways to prevent and treat AD. The Institute's AD research program is integral to one of its main goals, which is to enhance the quality of life of older people by expanding knowledge about the aging brain and nervous system.

Investigators from the International Center for Biomedicine and the University of Chile, in collaboration with the Center for Bioinformatics of the Universidad de Talca, have discovered that two drugs, the benzimidazole derivaties lanzoprazole and astemizole, may be suitable for use as PET (positron emission tomography) radiotracers and enable imaging for the early detection of Alzheimer's disease.

The study is published in the current issue fo the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Swiss researchers say there is evidence that prions play a vital role in the maintenance of the sheath surrounding our nerves.

They say it is possible that an absence of prions causes diseases of the peripheral nervous system.

One expert said there was growing evidence that the prion had a number of important roles in the body.

As well as the latest research in the journal Nature Neuroscience, other studies have indicated prions may protect us from Alzheimer's disease or even play a role in our sense of smell.

Li-Hueh Tsai became interested in the brain when she saw what happens when the mind begins to crumble. As a small child, she saw her grandmother suffer from Alzheimer's disease - an experience that left a deep impression on her and helped shape her scientific carerr. Tsai, now the director of the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT, has developed a powerful model of Alzheimer's disease using mice, and is working to better understand and stop the disease that robs people of their memories, independence, and personality.

For the first time ever, Alzheimer's disease is a focus at the World Economic Forum. Today, more than 35 million people worldwide have dementia and those numbers will double every 20 years to 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050, according to the World Alzheimer's Report from Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI), a London-based, nonprofit, international federation of 71 national Alzheimer organizations.

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