Dementia in the News

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.

May 15, 2018

National Institutes of Health (May 15, 2018): Mediterranean Diet May Slow Development of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia that occurs with aging. Experts estimate that more than 5 million Americans are currently living with the disease. But scientists know little about what lifestyle factors might protect people against developing Alzheimer’s disease. They do know that brain changes associated with the disease can occur decades before symptoms are seen.

May 14, 2018

Japan Times (May 13, 2018): Japan’s Employers Improving Support for Workers with Early-Onset Dementia

Katsushi Oshiro, 43, a former salesman diagnosed with early-onset dementia, takes a bus to the car dealership where he works four days a week, being careful to view his commuting route using photos and a map to avoid getting lost.

Oshiro found out about his illness three years ago, but instead of being forced to quietly retire - as is often the case with people who develop the illness - his Toyota outlet in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, transferred him to a car-washing position.

April 24, 2018

MIT Museum (April 10, 2018): The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal

The MIT Museum will present The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal (May 3, 2018 – December 31, 2018). This traveling exhibition is the first major presentation of Spanish neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal’s pioneering drawings of the brain and brain cells, and also features contemporary visualizations that illuminate the impact of Cajal’s early work on modern day neuroscience.

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