Thursday, October 23, 2014

"Can Video Games Fend Off Mental Decline?"

An informative, good read:

"Can Video Games Fend Off Mental Decline?"
by Clive Thompson
The New York Times Sunday Magazine
26 October 2014

read the full feature article here

Website for Akili, mentioned in the piece: Akili

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dementia: Dosh for Docs to Diagnose Dementia - Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb

Dumb, unethical, foolish, bad -

NHS dementia plan to give GPs cash for diagnoses criticised as ‘ethical travesty’
NHS condemned as ‘odious’ after introducing scheme whereby GPs given £55 each time they identify the disease in a patient
The Guardian
21 October 2014

Read the full article here

Brain Training: Scientific Commentary Statement

A Consensus on the Brain Training Industry from the Scientific Community
Posted on the Stanford Center on Longevity website
20 October 2014

Read the statement here

The authors and signatories may over-extend themselves in stating that they represent "the scientific community", but the points they raise are important to add to the conversation.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Brain Research Wins Nobel Prize

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded for locating brain’s GPS
John O’Keefe, May-Britt and Edvard Moser found how the brain creates a map to enable us to navigate our environment
The Guardian
06 October 2014

Read article here

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"World Alzheimer Report 2014"

Released today from Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI):

World Alzheimer Report 2014
Access the report here

Friday, September 12, 2014

Alzheimer Disease: "Perhaps the Nose Knows: UPSIT and Alzheimer Disease"

My new column for NeurologyTimes.com:

Perhaps the Nose Knows: UPSIT and Alzheimer Disease
Anthony H. Risser, Ph.D.
12 September 2014

Perhaps the Nose Knows

Friday, September 05, 2014

Where is the Brain in the "Human Brain Project"? (Nature)

"Where is the brain in the Human Brain Project?"
Nature
03 September 2014

full text content here

Monday, September 01, 2014

"Modern and Contemporary American Poetry" (ModPo) Begins This Week - Join Us!

The Brain, within its Groove
Runs evenly--and true--
But let a Splinter swerve--
'Twere easier for You--

To put a Current back--
When Floods have slit the Hills--
And scooped a Turnpike for Themselves--
And trodden out the Mills--

-Emily Dickinson

In the world of MOOCs, few courses have shown the creativity of purpose and the dedicated following as has the course "Modern and Contemporary American Poetry" by Dr. Al Filreis of the University of Pennsylvania and Director of its wonderful Kelly Writers House.

Few courses, in real life or online, have such a dedicated teacher as Al.

The course, part of Al's regular teaching at Penn in its English Department, has been presented in MOOC form at this time of year in 2012 and in 2013 at Coursera. The ten-week course is back, opening later this week to over 30,000 students, myself included (third timer). Week after week, this likely remains the largest single collection of dedicated students reading and discussing the same poets and poems at any one time on the planet. And it remains intimate, lively, and interactive.

Although I am in the outlier minority in terms of my interpretation of Emily's poem (above) - seeing it as a tragic though wonderful poetic expression of brain damage in the time of Broca, whilst the common interpretation is one of freeing ones' self from the mundane - as a neuropsychologist, discussing it was one of the true highlights of the course for me.

It is a wonderful experience. Neuroscientists need poetry! Join us!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Upcoming Event: BPS Division of Neuropsychology Annual Conference (November 2014, London)

The British Psychological Society Division of Neuropsychology will hold its annual conference on the 28th of November in London. Here is the conference webpage: webpage

Prior to the conference, they will hold their first half-day pre-conference workshop. The workshop, about Multiple Sclerosis (MS) - will be held on the 27th.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Glasgow Coma Scale, 40 Years On

Dr. Graham Teasdale speaks with The Lancet about his Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) forty years after he and his colleagues introduced it. Available here at: Lancet podcast.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Alzheimer Disease: Cogniciti - Another Free-Access Online Dementia Screening Instrument

This instrument was developed by neuropsychologists and others at Baycrest in Toronto. Its website is located at: cogniciti.com. I am looking forward to examining it.

It looks like it was released last month. It has been getting some Canadian press this week.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Alzheimer Disease: Targacept's Failed TC-1734 Phase 2b Trial

From a Targacept press release:

Targacept Phase 2b Clinical Trial in Alzheimer’s Disease Does Not Show Superiority of TC-1734 Over Donepezil

July 14, 2014

"Winston-Salem, NC – Targacept, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRGT), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel NNR Therapeutics™, today announced top-line results from a Phase 2b monotherapy clinical trial of TC-1734 as a treatment for mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. In the trial, TC-1734 did not meet the objective of showing superiority to donepezil, the marketed medication most often prescribed for Alzheimer’s disease, after 52 weeks of treatment. The trial did not include a placebo arm and was not designed to determine whether TC-1734 is equivalent to donepezil. The co-primary endpoints for the study were measures of cognitive function and global function. Consistent with previous clinical results, TC-1734 exhibited a benign safety and tolerability profile."

Read the full press release from Targacept

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

"ACE mobile": An Application for Dementia Evaluations (...in Neuropsychology? ...in General Practice? ...?)

A curious development for those interested in neuropsychological assessment and in assessment related to dementia, as a not-for-profit company released on the 9th of July a free mobile application that is a version of Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination.

Here is the press release: press release.

The original examination was created by Dr. John Hodges, who is involved with the mobile application as well. The name derives from his time at Cambridge (he is currently a lead researcher at an Australian neuroscience institute).

The website for the application is: acemobile.org.

Whether or how this impacts a couple of mobile devices in this same testing space being released by companies Cogstate and Cambridge Cognition (presumably to be sold, rather than released for free) will be very interesting to consider. The structure of the Addenbrooke's (at least its paper-and-pencil version) is different from both, in that it is a screen covering multiple cognitive domains with only a little coverage for each area, whilst the other two are comprised of multi-item selective tests of isolated domains.

Whether there will be professional "blowback" for the release of a psychological testing device in an uncontrolled environment is a broader and potential serious issue.

Free is commendable indeed! Unregulated in terms of user, perhaps not so much?

I am looking forward to examining the instrument and collecting documentation related to it, given the important roles that neuropsychology and neuropsychologial assessment offer in terms of understanding dementia and related cognitive impairments.


ADDENDUM: An Australian Soundcloud interview with Dr. Hodges about ACEmobile is available at this link.

Forthcoming Event: Alzheimer's Association International Conference - AAIC 2014 (Copenhagen, 12-17 July)

This year's AAIC Conference begins on the 12th in Copenhagen. Here is the conference home page: available here.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

My New CE Course: Memory

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

The current issue of the journal "Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation" has a six-article collection providing the so-called "INCOG Guidelines for Cognitive Rehabilitation Following Traumatic Brain Injury"

Specific topics include: post-traumatic amnesia (PTA)/delirium, attention, memory, execution function, self-awareness, and communication.