Today's Top Alzheimer's News
July 9, 2014
The latest research on direct-coding to sharpen memory, issues with the Human Brain Project, and a blood test for Alzheimer's is looming (read more).
- A July 8, 2014 The New York Times article reported on the use of direct-recording to sharpen memory in patients with traumatic brain injuries and conditions like Parkinson's and epilepsy. According to the article, "Scientists have found in preliminary studies that they can sharpen some kinds of memory by directly recording, and stimulating, circuits deep in the brain. Unlike brain imaging, direct brain recording allows scientists to conduct experiments while listening to the brain’s internal dialogue in real time, using epilepsy patients like Ralph or people with Parkinson’s disease as active collaborators....The frontier of the direct-recording approach is in implants that act something like thermostats, adjusting levels of simulation when signals in the brain become too faint or too noisy. Experts caution that some big practical and ethical questions remain. One is how closely stimulation truly mimics the brain’s internal language and whether such experiments may cause more harm than good."
- A July 8, 2014 The New York Times article reported on controversy over the European Human Brain Project. According to the article, "Henry Markram, a neuroscientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the director of the Human Brain Project, said he considered the letter “a big wake-up call.” “It shows us that we have failed to communicate what this project is really about,” he said. Although Dr. Markram hopes to one day simulate the entire brain, he said the project’s primary focus was to gather neurological research into databases, to help scientists connect the dots among disparate fields. “Scientists generate a ton of data, but it goes into journals and then nobody uses it,” he said. “We are building the technology to bring all of that together.”"
- A July 8, 2014 Washington Post article reported on the progress of developing an effective blood test for Alzheimer's. According to the article, "While hailing the potential of the research, James Pickett of Britain’s Alzheimer’s Society cautioned that it “does not mean that a blood test for dementia is just around the corner. These 10 proteins can predict conversion to dementia with less than 90 percent accuracy, meaning one in 10 people would get an incorrect result. Therefore, accuracy would need to be improved before it could be a useful diagnostic test.”" Also reported on by The Wall Street Journal, Time, UPI and others.