Dementia in the News

June 25, 2018

Boston Globe (June 24, 2018): As Drug Development Flounders, People Fearing Alzheimer’s Embrace Lifestyle Changes

They watched helplessly as Alzheimer’s robbed their loved ones of memory and cognition. They’ve agonized over the slow progress toward a cure for a scourge that’s long defied treatment. They’re terrified the disease could someday come for them.

As one failed drug trial after the next has dashed hopes for a medical miracle, many healthy people haunted by the specter of Alzheimer’s are turning to research that suggests lifestyle changes - from fitness regimens and brain games to better diets and social interactions - might help stave off the disease or push back its onset.

June 22, 2018

ABC News (June 22, 2018): Will People with Down Syndrome Unlock the Mystery of Alzheimer's Disease?

Michael Clayburgh has a long family history of Alzheimer’s and his grandfather died from the disease.

Clayburgh is now on the front lines of unraveling the causes of the disease that has so devastated his family because of a condition he carries -- Down syndrome.

The 29-year-old from New Hampshire is participating in a clinical trial for a vaccine that would prevent Alzheimer's from forming in the brains of people with Down syndrome.

June 20, 2018

Brain & Life (June/July 2018): Found in Translation

A few years after Alejandra Borunda, 31, a resident of Phoenix, was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson's disease, she began experiencing depression. On her neurologist's recommendation, she made an appointment with a therapist, who asked her some unsettling questions. After telling him she was from the city's West Side, which has a sizeable Hispanic population, he asked if her home had ever been shot at and expressed surprise that she had graduated from her high school.

June 12, 2018

Newsweek (June 5, 2018): Inside the $28 Million Alzheimer’s Village Where Patients Can Shop, Farm and Socialize Freely

A multimillion-dollar village designed as part of an experimental treatment for sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease has started construction in southwestern France.

The complex - hailed as France’s first “Alzheimer’s village” - will house 120 people and will include amenities such as shops, a gym, a restaurant and a small farm, allowing residents to walk freely and maintain a social life, despite their condition. Construction of France’s first facility of its kind began on Monday near a spa town in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region and will open in 2019.

June 11, 2018

Boston Globe (June 11, 2018): Inside One Scientist's Race to Eradicate Alzheimer's

Reisa Sperling, One of the world's foremost researchers of Alzheimer’s disease, was vacationing at Lake Tahoe with her family in 2008 when she noticed her father was behaving strangely.

“Where’s your mother?” he would ask, disoriented. “What are we doing here?”

At first, Sperling thought her dad, a 74-year-old chemistry professor, might simply be tired. Perhaps the altitude had affected him. And then she had a terrible thought: He was acting just like her grandfather  —  his own father  —  who had died of Alzheimer’s in 1993.

June 8, 2018

Wash. U. School of Medicine (June 7, 2018): Genes Linked to Alzheimer’s Contribute to Damage in Different Ways

Multiple genes are implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. Some are linked to early-onset Alzheimer’s, a condition that develops in one’s 30s, 40s and 50s, while others are associated with the more common late-onset form of the disease.

Eventually, all Alzheimer’s patients develop dementia, and their brain cells die. But not all genes linked to the disease contribute to damage in the same way, and understanding the various ways specific genes lead to damage is important to developing potential treatments to prevent or halt Alzheimer’s.

June 4, 2018

Harvard Gazette (May 31, 2018): An Optimal Dose of Exercise

Staying mentally sharp is aging Americans’ highest priority, according to the National Council on Aging. While thousands of clinical trials suggest that physical exercise can protect or improve brain health as we age, few studies provide practical, prescriptive guidance for how much and what kind of exercise.

Now, an exhaustive systematic review of 4,600 clinical trials provides insight into the optimal dose of exercise—what kind and how much—for maintaining cognitive performance in healthy older adults, as well as those with mild cognitive impairment and dementia.

May 31, 2018

MIT News (May 31, 2018): Neuroscientists Discover Roles of Gene Linked to Alzheimer’s

People with a gene variant called APOE4 have a higher risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer’s disease: APOE4 is three times more common among Alzheimer’s patients than it is among the general population. However, little is known about why this version of the APOE gene, which is normally involved in metabolism and transport of fatty molecules such as cholesterol, confers higher risk for Alzheimer’s.

May 17, 2018

New York Times (May 12, 2018): Japan Moves to Ease Aging Drivers Out of Their Cars

Before Atsumu Yoshioka, 81, decided to give up driving, there were signs it might be time.

During a visit to a shrine in rural Shimane Prefecture in western Japan, Mr. Yoshioka, a retired furniture maker, forgot to set the parking brake, spooking his wife, Kazuko, when the car drifted backward.

Then one morning as he backed out of the driveway, he rammed into a large urn in front of their home. Haunted by television news reports of fatal accidents caused by older drivers, Mr. Yoshioka called it quits.

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