Thursday, October 18, 2007

Upcoming Event: 27 November 2007, NYC

If you are a student of clinical neuropsychology at either an undergraduate or graduate level and live in the New York region but do not know very much about Arthur Benton and his contributions to this field of our's, you owe it to yourself to consider attending this talk in late November!

The New York Neuropsychology Group Presents
The Arthur L. Benton Annual Lecture

Pioneers of Neuropsychology: An Insider's Guide to Arthur Benton

Kerry Hamsher, Ph.D., ABPP-CN

Tuesday, November 27, 2007
7 - 8 PM
Refreshments to Follow

FREE for NYNG Members
$10 for Non NYNG Members

Stony Brook Manhattan
110 East 28th Street
(Between Park Ave South & Lexington Ave)
New York, NY

This year, the Annual New York Neuropsychology Group's Distinguished Speaker series is renamed in honor of the late Dr. Arthur L. Benton, a giant in the field of neuropsychology. Dr. Benton was the first speaker in this annual lecture series when it was initiated in 1986. We are pleased that this year's lecture will be "An Insider's Guide to Arthur Benton," presented by Dr. Kerry Hamsher, a friend and colleague of Dr. Benton, and an influential neuropsychologist in his own right.

Dr. Hamsher writes,

"Arthur Benton was a scientist, a scholar, a clinician, and a professional with each of these roles informing the others. To make the best use of his place in the history of neuropsychology, he should be recognized not only for his contributions, but also for how he went about the things he chose to do. In this presentation, we will take a short journey following some of Dr. Benton's intellectual pursuits, with the goal of identifying values worthy of preservation that benefit the science and profession of neuropsychology."

We hope you will join us for this special occasion.

The Arthur L. Benton Annual Lecture is a joint meeting with the Psychology Section of the New York Academy of Sciences

Co-Sponsored by Stony Brook University

Further information at

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Alzheimer's Disease (AD): Conscientiousness

From the Newsweek website:

Make Your Bed, Save Your Brain
The author of a new study says conscientious people may have less risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
By Karen Springen | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Oct 1, 2007 | Updated: 12:46 p.m. ET Oct 2, 2007

An interview with neuropsychologist Robert Wilson about a recent study he and colleagues completed:


A new study, appearing this month in the Archives of General Psychiatry, suggests that being conscientious—hardworking, goal-oriented, dependable—may lower the risk of developing Alzheimer's. Researchers studied 997 older Catholic priests, nuns and monks (average age: 75) who did not have dementia when the study began in 1994. The subjects rated themselves on a "conscientiousness scale," responding to such questions as "I am a productive person who always gets the job done." Over the 12 years of the study, 176 participants developed Alzheimer's, and they tended to be individuals who were less conscientious.


[ ... Read the interview ... ]

Monday, October 15, 2007

Alzheimer's Disease (AD) in African-American Elderly

From today's Houston Chronicle:

Harris County hopes blacks will seek help for Alzheimer's
Studies suggest more suffer brain disease than whites, but it is often unreported
Oct. 15, 2007, 12:22AM
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle


Officials from the Harris County Area Agency on Aging hope to highlight this issue and stop the cycle of denial and silence. Last week, health officials released The Book of Alzheimer's for African-American Churches, which explains Alzheimer's and the crisis enveloping the community.

About 20,000 copies will be distributed in the Houston area, county officials said. The book is filled with local voices that explain the basic facts of the disease. It also offers practical advice on how loved ones should help the afflicted and seek outside support. County officials say they hope that worshippers will trust and embrace the information.

"African-Americans appear less likely to request help and use community resources than caregivers in the other groups," said Dr. Victor Narcisse, a local gerontologist who is featured in the book and has conducted research on this form of dementia among blacks. "There is a tendency to take care of things, which is fine, but it is very difficult to take care of a person with Alzheimer's disease."


[ ... Read the full article ... ]

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Neuropsychology Abstract of the Day: Agitation in Alzheimer's Disease (AD)

Howard RJ, Juszczak E, Ballard CG, Bentham P, Brown RG, Bullock R, Burns AS, Holmes C, Jacoby R, Johnson T, Knapp M, Lindesay J, O'Brien JT, Wilcock G, Katona C, Jones RW, DeCesare J, Rodger M; CALM-AD Trial Group. Donepezil for the treatment of agitation in Alzheimer's disease. New England Journal of Medicine. 2007 Oct 4; 357(14): 1382-1392.

Medical Research Council Neurogeneration Research Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, United Kingdom.

BACKGROUND: Agitation is a common and distressing symptom in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Cholinesterase inhibitors improve cognitive outcomes in such patients, but the benefits of these drugs for behavioral disturbances are unclear. METHODS: We randomly assigned 272 patients with Alzheimer's disease who had clinically significant agitation and no response to a brief psychosocial treatment program to receive 10 mg of donepezil per day (128 patients) or placebo (131 patients) for 12 weeks. The primary outcome was a change in the score on the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI) (on a scale of 29 to 203, with higher scores indicating more agitation) at 12 weeks. RESULTS: There was no significant difference between the effects of donepezil and those of placebo on the basis of the change in CMAI scores from baseline to 12 weeks (estimated mean difference in change [the value for donepezil minus that for placebo], -0.06; 95% confidence interval [CI], -4.35 to 4.22). Twenty-two of 108 patients (20.4%) in the placebo group and 22 of 113 (19.5%) in the donepezil group had a reduction of 30% or greater in the CMAI score (the value for donepezil minus that for placebo, -0.9 percentage point; 95% CI, -11.4 to 9.6). There were also no significant differences between the placebo and donepezil groups in scores for the Neuropsychiatric Inventory, the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Caregiver Distress Scale, or the Clinician's Global Impression of Change. CONCLUSIONS: In this 12-week trial, donepezil was not more effective than placebo in treating agitation in patients with Alzheimer's disease. ( number, NCT00142324 [].). Copyright 2007 Massachusetts Medical Society.

PMID: 17914039 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Comment in: New England Journal of Medicine. 2007 Oct 4; 357(14): 1441-1443.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Neuropsychology Abstract of the Day: Aphasia and the Assessment of Depression

Townend E, Brady M, McLaughlan K. A Systematic Evaluation of the Adaptation of Depression Diagnostic Methods for Stroke Survivors Who Have Aphasia. Stroke. 2007 Oct 11; [Epub ahead of print]

From the NMAHP Research Unit, Buchannan House, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK; and the NHS Grampian, Department of Speech and Language Therapy, Spynie Hospital, Morayshire, UK.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: One in 3 stroke survivors has aphasia (impaired language comprehension and expressive abilities). Conventionally, depression diagnosis uses language-based methods. We aimed to systematically review methods that have been used to diagnose depression and adaptations to these methods intended for people with aphasia. METHODS: We systematically reviewed stroke studies (to January 2006) that included a depression diagnosis and individuals with aphasia. We extracted data related to depression diagnostic methods used for individuals with/without aphasia. We sought clarification from authors when required. RESULTS: A total of 60 studies included people with aphasia. Almost half the studies (29/60; 48%) adapted their main depression diagnostic method (most typically a clinical interview and published criteria) for individuals with aphasia. Adaptive methods included: using informants (relatives or staff), clinical observation, modifying questions and visual analogue scales. Evidence of the validity or reliability of these adaptations was rarely reported. However, use of informants or clinical observation did achieve the inclusion of most people with aphasia in the diagnosis of depression. Remaining studies, that did not report adaptive methods, suggested that conventional language-based methods are suitable for individuals with only 'mild' aphasia. CONCLUSIONS: People with aphasia can be and have been included in depression diagnostic assessments. However, we suggest that depression and language experts collaborate to develop a more valid method of depression diagnosis for patients with aphasia that has good reliability.

PMID: 17932334 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Monday, October 08, 2007

Neuroimaging and Vegetative States in The New Yorker

Silent Minds
What scanning techniques are revealing about vegetative patients.
by Jerome Groopman
15 October 2007
The New Yorker

[ ... Read the piece ... ]

Nobel Knockout!

From the Nobel Assemble press release:

The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has today decided to award The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 2007 jointly to

Mario R. Capecchi, Martin J. Evans and Oliver Smithies

for their discoveries of "principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells"


This year's Nobel Laureates have made a series of ground-breaking discoveries concerning embryonic stem cells and DNA recombination in mammals. Their discoveries led to the creation of an immensely powerful technology referred to as gene targeting in mice. It is now being applied to virtually all areas of biomedicine – from basic research to the development of new therapies.

Gene targeting is often used to inactivate single genes. Such gene "knockout" experiments have elucidated the roles of numerous genes in embryonic development, adult physiology, aging and disease. To date, more than ten thousand mouse genes (approximately half of the genes in the mammalian genome) have been knocked out. Ongoing international efforts will make "knockout mice" for all genes available within the near future.

With gene targeting it is now possible to produce almost any type of DNA modification in the mouse genome, allowing scientists to establish the roles of individual genes in health and disease. Gene targeting has already produced more than five hundred different mouse models of human disorders, including cardiovascular and neuro-degenerative diseases, diabetes and cancer.

[ ... Read the full release ... ]

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Upcoming Event: 30 November - 05 December, Philadelphia

The 61st annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society (AES) will take place in Philadelphia, from the 30th of November through the 5th of December.

Details about the meeting can be found on the meeting webpage of the AES website.