Today’s Top Alzheimer’s News
A September 1, 2017 The Scientist article focused on a handful scientists who support the hypothesis that pathogenic microbes may serve as triggers for the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Following infection, certain pathogens gain access to brain, where immune responses result in the accumulation of amyloid-β, leading to plaque formation. This theory has long been ridiculed, challenged and denied funding, but the field may finally be ready to embrace this idea in the wake of repeated drug trial failures. According to John Hardy of the University College London, “The pathology is a mess. The brain has been diseased for a long time by the time we see it. We’re looking at the end product and trying to determine how it got that way.”
An August 31, 2017 University of California video segment and article spotlighted Nanthia Suthana of UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, a neuroscientist working to develop therapeutic tools that could restore lost memories to people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury and other disorders utilizing, virtual reality. “At UCLA, we are the first to blend virtual reality with a surgically implanted prosthesis to reveal what happens inside the brain when we create memories.”
An August 31, 2017 Reuters article looked at a study examining the correlation between having a strong sense of purpose in life and two indicators of physical fitness in the elderly: grip strength and walking speed. According to Patricia Boyle of the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, “Purpose in life is robustly protective against many negative health and psychological outcomes. People of all ages can benefit from improving their sense of purpose.”
RESEARCH, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
An August 30, 2017 Science Daily article reported that MIT engineers have devised a way to automate the process of recording electrical signals from inside a neuron in the living brain, using a computer algorithm that analyzes microscope images and guides a robotic arm to the target cell. Without automation, capturing this type of recording is extremely difficult. The new technology will allow for in-depth studies of the behavior of specific neurons, which could led to further knowledge about such diseases as Alzheimer’s.
A September 1, 2017 BBC News article highlighted how classic films are being used in the fight against dementia as part of World Alzheimer's month in independent cinemas and arts centers across Wales. Movies like “Some Like it Hot,” “Calamity Jane” and “Viva Las Vegas” are helping to trigger memories. The theaters leave the lights on and turn the volume down to create a dementia-friendly environment.