Sunday, February 28, 2010

Alzheimer Disease: A Care Project

From The Times (UK):

Fighting Alzheimer's with a touch of beauty
A pioneering care project demonstates how literature, music, art and love can improve the lives of dementia sufferers

28 February 2010
The Times
Margarette Driscoll

"In other words, people who appear to be lost to the world can still be reached through art, literature and music — and love. At Hearthstone, a group of seven homes looking after some 220 people with Alzheimer’s that Zeisel had helped to found in Massachusetts, residents are encouraged to paint and are taken on regular outings to galleries. They have reading circles and a film club.

“The development of new drugs to treat Alzheimer’s is helping people live a little bit longer,” says Zeisel. “What we’re asking ourselves is, how do we make that life worth living?”"


read the full article

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Neurodegenerative Disease Drug Discovery: UCSF and Genentech

From Fierce Biotech:

UCSF enters drug discovery agreement with Genentech
Posted February 19, 2010

"The University of California, San Francisco has signed a partnership agreement with Genentech, Inc., a wholly owned member of the Roche Group, to discover and develop drug candidates for neurodegenerative diseases.

"Through the agreement, Genentech will provide funding and its research acumen in neuroscience and will collaborate with UCSF to identify small molecules."

Read the full article

Traumatic Brain Injury: Progesterone Clinical Trial

From The Guardian:

Sex hormone progesterone may save lives after brain injury
A major clinical trial will test whether the female sex hormone can minimise damage and improve recovery after brain injury
Ian Sample, San Diego
Friday 19 February 2010 21.30 GMT

An article about the proTECT III clinical trial.

Read the article


Here is the entry for this study: proTECT III


Business World: GSK's Rare Diseases R&D Unit

From FierceBiotech:

GSK launches new specialist unit to research and develop medicines for rare diseases
Issued: Thursday 4 February 2010, London UK

Read the full article

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Neuropsychology Abstract of the Day: Biomakers in Alzheimer's and Mild Cognitive Impairment

Fjell AM, Walhovd KB, Fennema-Notestine C, McEvoy LK, Hagler DJ, Holland D, Brewer JB, Dale AM; for the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. CSF Biomarkers in Prediction of Cerebral and Clinical Change in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer's Disease.J Neurosci., 2010 Feb, 10; 30(6): 2088-2101.

Center for the Study of Human Cognition, Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, NO-0317 Oslo, Norway, Department of Neuropsychology, Ullevaal University Hospital, NO-0407 Oslo, Norway, and Departments of Radiology, Psychiatry, and Neuroscience, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093.

Brain atrophy and altered CSF levels of amyloid beta (Abeta(42)) and the microtubule-associated protein tau are potent biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease (AD)-related pathology. However, the relationship between CSF biomarkers and brain morphometry is poorly understood. Thus, we addressed the following questions. (1) Can CSF biomarker levels explain the morphometric differences between normal controls (NC) and patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or AD? (2) How are CSF biomarkers related to atrophy across the brain? (3) How closely are CSF biomarkers and morphometry related to clinical change [clinical dementia rating sum of boxes (CDR-sb)]? Three hundred seventy participants (105 NC, 175 MCI, 90 AD) from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative were studied, of whom 309 were followed for 1 year and 176 for 2 years. Analyses were performed across the entire cortical surface, as well as for 30 cortical and subcortical regions of interest. Results showed that CSF biomarker levels could not account for group differences in brain morphometry at baseline but that CSF biomarker levels showed moderate relationships to longitudinal atrophy rates in numerous brain areas, not restricted to medial temporal structures. Baseline morphometry was at least as predictive of atrophy as were CSF biomarkers. Even MCI patients with levels of Abeta(42) comparable with controls and of p-tau lower than controls showed more atrophy than the controls. Morphometry predicted change in CDR-sb better than did CSF biomarkers. These results indicate that morphometric changes in MCI and AD are not secondary to CSF biomarker changes and that the two types of biomarkers yield complementary information.

PMID: 20147537 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]



26-29 October 2010
San Diego, California

From the homepage:

"Created by Marc Hodosh and Richard Saul Wurman, TEDMED celebrates conversations that demonstrate the intersection and connections between all things medical and healthcare related: from personal health to public health, devices to design and Hollywood to the hospital. Together, this encompasses more than twenty percent of our GNP in America while touching everyone's life around the globe."

A Brainy Tattoo

From Carl Zimmer's The Loom:

A report and picture of a brainy tattoo. :-) --- How do *you* spell brain?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Neuropsychology Abstract of the Day: Prospective Memory

Fish J, Wilson BA, & Manly T. The assessment and rehabilitation of prospective memory problems in people with neurological disorders: A review. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 2010 Feb, 4: 1-19. [Epub ahead of print]

MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge, UK.

People with neurological disorders often report difficulty with prospective memory (PM), that is, remembering to do things they had intended to do. This paper briefly reviews the literature regarding the neuropsychology of PM function, concluding that from the clinical perspective, PM is best considered in terms of its separable but interacting mnemonic and executive components. Next, the strengths and limitations in the current clinical assessment of PM, including the assessment of component processes, desktop analogues of PM tasks, and naturalistic PM tasks, are outlined. The evidence base for the rehabilitation of PM is then considered, focusing on retraining PM, using retrospective memory strategies, problem-solving training, and finally, electronic memory aids. It is proposed that further research should focus on establishing the predictive validity of PM assessment, and refining promising rehabilitation techniques.

PMID: 20146135 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Monday, February 08, 2010

Amygdala and Gaming Decisions

From the BBC:

Patients with amygdala injury 'unafraid' to gamble
09 February 2010

"Californian scientists think they may have discovered the part of the brain which makes people fear losing money."

Read the full article