Today's Top Alzheimer's News

The Economist reports on advances in Alzheimer's diagnostics, George Vradenburg highlights latest advancements in Alzheimer's research, and the impact of nature on dementia sufferers (read more). 

 

 

Must reads

  • A July 19, 2014 The Economist article reported on improvements in diagnostic testing for Alzheimer's disease. According to the article, "Drug researchers continue to trudge forward, ever-hopeful of a breakthrough. But some of the most interesting work reported to the meeting concerned not drugs, but tests that screen for the disease—a contentious practice, given that no treatment yet exists. Less controversially, other researchers presented data on habits that seem to delay dementia’s toll."
  • A July 17, 2014 UsAgainstAlzheimer's press statement highlighted encouraging developments in Alzheimer's researchd. According to UsAgainstAlzheimer's Chairman George Vradenburg, "We now have encouraging progress on two fronts for drug developments, for diagnosis and even for curing some forms of this terrible disease...We’ve been able to see amyloid plaques for a few years, but now we can see tau, meaning that we are close to seeing the whole cascade of pathology of Alzheimer’s.  This is extremely significant, as it permits us to look at the living brain, diagnose, and see the real signs of Alzheimer’s in the person affected by this dreadful disease."

Research, science, and technology 

  • A July 19, 2014 Quartz article reported on the intersection of philanthropy and self-interest in fighting diseases like cancer. According to the article, "Ultimately, it doesn’t concern me whether Milken’s efforts were motivated by altruism, egoism or some synthesis of the two forces. His suffering prostate cancer is not reason to disparage his constructive efforts to cure a disease that hurts so many. We are the beneficiaries of his comeback story that has been greeted with multiple rounds of applause at the Food and Drug Administration. The successful outcomes of the Prostate Cancer Foundation remind us that when it comes to philanthropy, self-interest is not synonymous with selfishness."
  • A July 17, 2014 The Verge article reported on developments in vocal diagnostics and its possible applications for Alzheimer's testing. According to the article, "Alzheimer’s disease might also hold a future with vocal diagnostics, said Karmele Lopez de Ipiña, a computer scientist at The University of the Basque Country in Spain, in an email to The Verge. "The deterioration of spoken language immediately affects the patient’s ability to interact naturally with his or her social environment," she said, "and is usually also accompanied by alterations in emotional responses." Her team used spontaneous speech analysis to identify features, like speech fluency, to detect Alzheimer’s disease. Combined with an emotional response test, the technique boasts over 90 percent accuracy in discriminating Alzheimer’s patients from healthy controls. The ultimate goal of the research, Lopez de Ipiña said, is to identify the disease before the first clinical symptoms appear."
  • A July 17, 2014 Smithsonian article reported on the therapeutic affects of gardens on dementia patients. According to the article, "Agitation is one of the most difficult symptoms of dementia for patients and caregivers alike. Increasingly, studies are looking at how to reduce agitation in patients without resorting to drugs. One avenue that some nursing homes are exploring is aromatherapy, while others, as this new study suggests, are turning to nature."

 

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