Today’s Top Alzheimer’s News
An August 15, 2017 Cape Cod Times opinion piece, by journalist and UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Board Member Greg O’Brien, beautifully eulogized country star Glen Campbell, who passed away last week from Alzheimer’s disease. O’Brien writes, “In Campbell’s fight against this demon, he was not “shackled by forgotten words and bonds.” While the words at times had left him, the bonds were never-ending with his faithful family, friends, and anyone who cared to embrace the enduring vision of a man comfortable enough in his own skin years ago to have taken an immeasurable risk on a national stage as a daring role model living with Alzheimer’s, not dying with it… Glen Campbell has taught us to be strong in the broken places.”
An August 11, 2017 Parade article focused on how the arts can improve life for people with Alzheimer’s and related diseases. Creative pursuits including singing, dance, improv, playing music and puppetry bring people out of isolation, give them a sense of connection and improve their communication. According to Anne Basting, a Gerontologist and Theater Arts Professor at the University of Wisconsin, “It’s the cultural cure… People with dementia are living in a world of metaphor and we just need to move into it.”
An August 14, 2017 KQED News video segment and article spotlighted The 5th Dementia, a Los Angeles group playing music of the past — made-up primarily of senior singers and musicians dealing with some form of cognitive decline — along with a few teenagers. According to Kelly Hodell, The 5th Dementia harmonica player and Marine Corps and Navy veteran, “The brain doesn’t forget music, it forgets everything else but music. We have people in here that can play all kinds of songs but can barely carry on a conversation. I think it wakes up a part of their mind and a part of their memories ’cause music is like a time machine.”
RESEARCH, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
An August 15, 2017 EurekAlert! release reported on a new machine learning program, from researchers at Case Western Reserve University, which diagnoses Alzheimer's disease before symptoms begin to interfere with everyday living. Early diagnosis and treatment allows people to remain independent longer. The program relies on the Cascaded Multi-view Canonical Correlation algorithm, which integrates measurements from MRI scans, features of the hippocampus, glucose metabolism rates in the brain, proteomics, genomics, mild cognitive impairment and other parameters.
According to an August 15, 2017 EurekAlert! release, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute's (PCORI) Board of Governors approved more than $115 million to fund 20 comparative clinical effectiveness research studies. The awards are designed to fill vital evidence gaps about treatment and prevention on multiple topics and conditions. A University of Southern California project in patients with Alzheimer's disease or dementia in nursing homes compares how well two care strategies for non-drug approaches to agitation or aggressive behavior reduce medication requirements.