Dementia in the News

September 25, 2018

NIH News (September 25, 2018): Exercise and New Nerve Cell Growth in Alzheimer’s Disease

Experts estimate that more than 5 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. This irreversible brain disorder gradually worsens and destroys memory and thinking skills. Current treatments may slow memory loss, but there’s no cure. There is some evidence that exercise can reduce the risk of cognitive decline during aging and decrease the risk of dementia, but studies with people have had mixed results.

September 24, 2018

Washington Post (September 21, 2018): In 1960, About a Half-Million Teens Took a Test. Now It Could Predict the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

In 1960, Joan Levin, 15, took a test that turned out to be the largest survey of American teenagers ever conducted. It took two-and-a-half days to administer and included 440,000 students from 1,353 public, private and parochial high schools across the country - including Parkville Senior High School in Parkville, Md., where she was a student.

“We knew at the time that they were going to follow up for a long time,” Levin said - but she thought that meant about 20 years.

September 21, 2018

NBC News (September 21, 2018): Alzheimer's Cases to Nearly Triple by 2060, CDC Says

The number of people with Alzheimer’s disease will nearly triple over the next 40 years, unless something dramatic happens to change trends, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week.

Right now, about 5 million people have Alzheimer’s, the CDC says. That’s about 1.6 percent of the population. But by 2060, that number will hit nearly 14 million, which will then be 3.3 percent of the projected population.

September 11, 2018

Mass General Research Institute Blog (August 28, 2018): Event Highlights Progress on Brain Disease Research

Determined collaboration and groundbreaking technology have led to exciting advances in efforts to solve the challenges of brain diseases, researchers from the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases(MIND) told patients, families and friends recently.

September 6, 2018

Harvard Gazette (September 6, 2018): Exercise Can ‘Clean Up’ Alzheimer’s Environment

A study by a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research team finds that neurogenesis — inducing the production of new neurons — in the brain structure in which memories are encoded can improve cognitive function in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Their investigation shows that cognition can be blocked by the hostile inflammatory environment in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and that physical exercise can “clean up” that environment, allowing new nerve cells to survive and thrive and improving cognition in the Alzheimer’s mice.

September 6, 2018

Harvard Medical School (September 5, 2018): Neural Disruption

A multi-institutional study led by Harvard Medical School investigators based at Massachusetts General Hospital and researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has found how the abnormal form of tau, which accumulates in the neurofibrillary tangles that characterize Alzheimer’s disease, can disrupt the normal function of brain cells.

August 30, 2018

Science Magazine (August 30, 2018): The Alzheimer’s Gamble: NIH Tries to Turn Billions in New Funding into Treatment for Deadly Brain Disease

When molecular biologist Darren Baker was winding up his postdoc studying cancer and aging a few years ago at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, he faced dispiritingly low odds of winning a National Cancer Institute grant to launch his own lab. A seemingly unlikely area, however, beckoned: Alzheimer's disease. The U.S. government had begun to ramp up research spending on the neurodegenerative condition, which is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and will afflict an estimated 14 million people in this country by 2050.

August 16, 2018

Boston Globe (August 13, 2018): A Landmark Law Hopes to Improve Alzheimer’s Care in Mass.

Rhiana Kohl has faced many sad surprises in the seven years since her husband, Alfredo Bartolozzi, first showed symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. But perhaps the biggest shock was finding out that even health care workers often don’t understand this common illness.

During a hospital stay, an X-ray technician didn’t grasp that Bartolozzi couldn’t follow directions. In an emergency room visit, staffers asked factual questions of a stricken man who didn’t know where he was.

August 1, 2018

Harvard Gazette (July 31, 2018): ‘Alzheimer’s in a Dish’ Model Provides Answers

Building on their development of the first culture system to replicate fully the pathology behind Alzheimer’s disease, a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research team has now produced a system that includes neuroinflammation, the key biological response that leads to the death of brain cells. The investigators describe their system, which incorporates the glial cells that that not only surround and support neurons but also provide some immune system functions, in a paper published in Nature Neuroscience.


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