Dementia in the News

February 10, 2020

MGH News (February 4, 2020): The Innate Immune Protection Hypothesis of Alzheimer's Disease

The beta-amyloid hypothesis has dominated Alzheimer's disease research for nearly 35 years. It proposes that plaques, comprised of the protein beta-amyloid, destroy synapses and stimulate the development of neurofibrillary tangles of the tau protein, which kills neurons in patients with the disease. Resultantly, neuroinflammation is triggered, which destroys more neurons and ultimately leads to dementia.

November 12, 2019

New York Times (November 4, 2019): Why Didn’t She Get Alzheimer’s? The Answer Could Hold a Key to Fighting the Disease

The woman’s genetic profile showed she would develop Alzheimer’s by the time she turned 50.

She, like thousands of her relatives, going back generations, was born with a gene mutation that causes people to begin having memory and thinking problems in their 40s and deteriorate rapidly toward death around age 60.

October 22, 2019

U.S. News & World Report (October 21, 2019): Hospitalization Can Traumatize People with Alzheimer’s

Hospitalization is a choice. That may sound surprising coming from a health care provider, but the fact is that hospitalization is not a necessity, especially for end-of-life patients with cognitive impairment. A trip to the hospital can be stressful — and downright torturous — for someone with Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia — and almost as bad for the caregiver who accompanies them.

October 17, 2019

USA Today (October 10, 2019): Women may be Under-Diagnosed for Alzheimer’s, While Men Over-Diagnosed, New Study Suggests

Doctors may be not be diagnosing women as early as men with brain problems associated with early signs of dementia because of how well women typically perform on simple memory tests, a study published Wednesday suggests. 

October 17, 2019

Harvard Gazette (October 16, 2019): In a First, Scientists Pinpoint Neural Activity’s Role in Human Longevity

The brain’s neural activity — long implicated in disorders ranging from dementia to epilepsy — also plays a role in human aging and life span, according to research led by scientists in the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School (HMS).

The study, published today in Nature, is based on findings from human brains, mice, and worms and suggests that excessive activity in the brain is linked to shorter life spans, while suppressing such overactivity extends life.

September 23, 2019

Wall Street Journal (September 23, 2019): Her Alzheimer’s Research Includes Her Husband

As a lifelong Alzheimer’s researcher, Dorene Rentz sees many brain scans with amyloid plaques, a telltale sign of the disease that ravages the brains and memories of its victims.

But there’s one scan she’s unable to see: that of her husband, Ray Berggren.

Never did she think that one day her 73-year-old husband would be part of a clinical trial she helped design, whose overall cognitive outcomes she will eventually help analyze.

September 19, 2019

TIME (September 19, 2019): How I Learned to Be a Better Doctor From My Wife’s Struggle With Alzheimer’s

Arthur Kleinman, MD, is the author of The Soul of Care: The Moral Education of a Husband and a Doctor. He is one of the most renowned and influential scholars and writers on psychiatry, anthropology, global health, and cultural issues in medicine. Educated at Stanford University and Stanford Medical School, he has taught at Harvard for over forty years.

September 17, 2019

Massachusetts General Hospital (August 17, 2019): Program Aims to Support Alzheimer's Caregivers

In the fall of 2011, one month shy of his 59th birthday, Steve Johanson was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Faced with “his worst nightmare,” Steve, a construction project manager from Watertown, Massachusetts, and his wife Judy, a family daycare provider, decided to face the disease together. For the next six years, the couple sought advice from doctors, visited museums, took gardening classes and surrounded themselves with family. But by the spring of 2017, things had started to unravel.

September 3, 2019

Being Patient (September 3, 2019): End Stage Alzheimer’s: What to Expect and How to Build Resiliency

Alzheimer’s disease can be a long haul, with some symptoms taking years and even decades to progress. By the time a patient is in end stage Alzheimer’s, however, the signs are clear. They’ve progressed to severe dementia, and will likely need around-the-clock care for physical and mental needs.


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