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23 February 2017

Mild cognitive impairment, a condition that often predates Alzheimer’s disease, can be remotely detected through a self-administered virtual reality brain training game

Greek researchers demonstrated the potential of a self-administered virtual supermarket cognitive training game for remotely detecting mild cognitive impairment (MCI), without the need for an examiner, among a sample of older adults. MCI patients suffer from cognitive problems and often encounter difficulties in performing complex activities such as financial planning. They are at a high risk for progressing to dementia however early detection of MCI and suitable interventions can stabilize the patients’ condition and prevent further decline.

16 February 2017

Validation of suspected somatic single nucleotide variations in the brain of Alzheimer’s disease patients

It has been proposed that somatic gene variations (SNV) present in few brain cells could facilitate the development of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. Testing that hypothesis requires DNA sequencing directly in brain cells or tissue rather than in blood cells. However, the identification of SNV by standard and reliable sequencing procedures does not work well when the number of cells bearing the specific SNV (or mutation) is very low within the tissue. In this way, another techniques, such as high-throughput methods, could be used. However, those methods can introduce errors in reading sequence alignments that can interfere with the identification of true somatic variations.

15 February 2017

Is it Depression or Dementia? Brain SPECT Imaging Helps Distinguish Them

Does a patient have depression or a cognitive disorder (CD) such as Alzheimer’s disease or both? Since both disorders have overlapping symptoms, how can a clinician tell them apart to make an appropriate diagnosis? In a new article published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers have found that single photon emission computed tomography, or SPECT, can help to distinguish between these diagnostic categories.

26 January 2017

Deep Brain Stimulation Studies in Alzheimer’s Disease Pose Ethical Challenges

Andrew M. Siegel, MD

Promising, early studies of deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease have paved a path for future clinical trials, but there are unique ethical challenges with this vulnerable population regarding decision making and post-study treatment access that need to be addressed as they ramp up, Penn Medicine researchers argue in a new review in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

22 December 2016

Occupational therapy may have the potential to slow down functional decline and reduce behavioral troubles in dementia patients

A French observational study in real life showed that dementia patients benefiting from occupational therapy sessions report relevant clinical benefits over the intervention period, according to a research study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease this month. The research suggested the influence of occupational therapy on reducing behavioral troubles, caregivers’ burden and amount of informal care over the intervention period and a stabilization over the 3-months period thereafter.

21 December 2016

Penn Study Confirms That “Sniff Test” May Be Useful in Diagnosing Early Alzheimer’s Disease

David R. Roalf

Tests that measure the sense of smell may soon become common in neurologists’ offices. Scientists have been finding increasing evidence that the sense of smell declines sharply in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, and now a new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania published today in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease confirms that administering a simple “sniff test” can enhance the accuracy of diagnosing this dreaded disease.

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