May 20, 2020
A May 19, 2020 BBC article visited with MIT neuroscientist Li-Huei Tsai to learn about her work on preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease. Flashing and clicking lights synchronize the brain’s gamma waves, helping to remove damaging toxins. Gamma waves are linked to concentration and memory. According to the article, “Linking the gamma waves to the activity of these surveillance cells in this way provides a huge leap forward in our understanding of Alzheimer’s and the function of gamma waves, Tsai says. “When we saw the changes in microglia – that's when I realised that there is something very interesting going on,”... In each case, the idea was that neurons in the visual and auditory systems would begin to fire in sync with sights and sounds, triggering waves of activity that would spread through the brain. And that’s exactly what they saw.”
RESEARCH AND SCIENCE
A May 18, 2020 Technology Networks article spotlighted a new device created by Duke University biomedical engineers which measures the thickness and texture of retinal layers at the back of the eye, which could potentially be a cheap and simple way to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. The retina provides easy access to the brain. “Our new approach can measure the roughness or texture of the nerve fiber layer of the inner retina,“It can provide a quick and direct way to measure structural changes caused by Alzheimer’s, which has great potential as a biomarker of the disease,” said graduate student Ge Song.
A May 7, 2020 The Times of Israel blog post by Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman pointed-out the ageism at play in the current coronavirus crisis. Elders are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 (80% of deaths are 65+), but their health and wellbeing are not being prioritized. According to Friedman, “State and local health officials and leaders of these institutions evidently failed to plan and prepare their facilities and their staffs… Not only are the lives of elders being discarded, but frontline workers who care for them, often working in terrible conditions for inadequate wages, are also effectively abandoned.”