Dementia in the News

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) today released the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan, Fiscal Years 2016–2020: Turning Discovery Into Health, which will ensure the agency remains well positioned to capitalize on new opportunities for scientific exploration and address new challenges for human health.

Several neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, are characterized by proteins that accumulate in the brain. One protein, called tau, clumps into twisted threads known as tangles. These are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease and several other neurodegenerative disorders known as tauopathies.

Alzheimer’s disease affects one of every nine Americans age 65 or older, and some experts estimate that this number will double by 2050. As more and more people develop memory loss, individuals are finding creative ways to help those afflicated. One of these unlikely places? Museums.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The White House has held a Conference on Aging every decade, beginning in 1961, to identify and advance actions to improve the quality of life of older Americans.

In 2015, the United States marked the 50th anniversaries of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security. The 2015 White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) provided an opportunity to recognize the importance of these key programs as well as to look ahead to the next decade.

Like many people who care for elderly family members at home, Norio Watanabe, 51, struggled to deal with the physical and mental burdens of looking after his father, who had dementia.

For about four years until his father’s death in 2014, everyday life for the single Watanabe was packed with care and work. He woke up at 3 a.m. to prepare a special meal for his father, who had a kidney disease, and changed his diaper before heading for work at a food catering company.

At first glance, it’s hard to tell what’s wrong with Keiko Sawada.

“I don’t hate being alone, but I do feel lonely at times,” Sawada, a sociable and talkative woman, said during a recent visit to her one-room apartment in Nakano Ward, Tokyo. “Of course I’m worried about what will happen to me in the future. I’m 85, after all.”

As casual exchanges continue, however, it becomes increasingly clear the former bar hostess has serious memory problems.

Dvastating brain diseases like Frontotemporal Dementia and Alzheimer’s have been painfully slow to give up their secrets.  But behavioral neurologist Brad Dickerson, MD, and his Mass General research team are tracking an important protein that has long eluded measurement in the living brain.  Their work may mark a turning point in how such now-incurable conditions are understood and treated.

NIH Reports to the Nation
NIH is pleased to present the 2014-2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Progress Report: Advancing Research Toward a Cure. This annual report details NIH-supported and -conducted Alzheimer’s disease research initiatives, objectives, and advances during calendar year 2014 and early 2015. New findings and investments described in this report are organized in categories determined by the Common Alzheimer Disease Research Ontology (CADRO) of the International Alzheimer’s Disease Research Portfolio (IADRP).

MIT chemical engineers and neuroscientists have developed a new way to classify neurons by labeling and imaging the proteins found in each cell. This type of imaging offers clues to each neuron’s function and should help in mapping the human brain, the researchers say.

Scientists say they've found a network of genes and their subsequent mutations that either speed up or delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease. The finding results from a study carried out within a Colombian extended family of 5,000 people descended from one Spaniard. Lead researcher Dr Maurice Arcos-Burgos from the Australian National University in Canberra says that some of the people contracted the disease in their 30s, other developed it in their 70s. The scientist told Newsday how the mutating genes work.

www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p039w1rb

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