New MRI Method May Help Diagnose Dementia

New MRI Method May Diagnose DementiaA new way to use MRI scans may help determine whether dementia is Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, according to new research published in the December 26, 2012, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) often have similar symptoms, even though the underlying disease process is much different.

"Diagnosis can be challenging," said study author Corey McMillan, PhD, of the Perelman School of Medicine and Frontotemporal Degeneration Center at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "If the clinical symptoms and routine brain MR are equal, an expensive positron emission tomography (PET) scan might be needed. Or, a lumbar puncture, which involves inserting a needle into the spine, would be needed to help make the diagnosis. Analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid gives us reliable diagnostic information, but this is not something patients look forward to and is also expensive. Using this new MRI method is less expensive and definitely less invasive."

Full story of MRI diagnosing Dementia at Science Daily

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Depression in middle age linked to dementia

Depression Linked to DementiaPeople who have symptoms of depression in middle age may be at increased risk of dementia decades later, a new study suggests.

Using medical records, researchers tracked more than 13,000 people in a large northern California health plan from roughly their 40s and 50s into their 80s. Compared to people who had never been depressed, those who experienced symptoms of depression in middle age — but not later in life — were about 20% more likely to go on to develop dementia.

Those who received a depression diagnosis later in life only were at even greater risk. That group had about a 70% increased risk of dementia compared to their depression-free peers, according to the study, which was published this week in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Full story of depression and dementia at CNN

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New MRI Technique May Predict Progress of Dementias

MRI Technique Predicts Progress of DementiasA new technique for analyzing brain images offers the possibility of using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to predict the rate of progression and physical path of many degenerative brain diseases, report scientists at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco.

The technique, developed by SFVAMC scientists in collaboration with a team led by Bruce Miller, MD, clinical director of the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, also supports mounting evidence that dementias spread through the brain along specific neuronal pathways in the same manner as prion diseases.

The scientists employed new computer modeling techniques to realistically predict the physical progression of Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) using images of 14 healthy brains. The models were based on whole-brain tractography, an MRI technique that maps the neural pathways, or "communication wires," that connect different areas of the brain. The spread of disease along those pathways, as predicted by the models, closely matched actual MRI images of brain degeneration in 18 Alzheimer’s patients and 18 FTD patients.

Full story of MRI of dementias at Science Daily

Music Therapy Ride strikes right chord

By The Motrorcyclegalz

Music Therapy RideNo one really needs convincing on how important music is in our lives.

The Music Therapy Ride celebrates 10 years on Sept. 17, and while the ride is predominantly motorcycles, classic cars and other vehicles are invited too.

With the support of the Vancouver police department’s motorcycle drill team, participants can expect a non-stop ride from Richmond to Whistler, taking in some of the best scenery in the Lower Mainland.

“They [the VPD Motorcycle drill team] lead us all the way to Whistler,” said event organizer Patrick Zulinov, assistant program director of FM radio station Shore 104. “We don’t stop at one light. It is like a presidential motorcade. They scoot around us, up to the next light, stop all the traffic for us — all the way to Whistler.”

Full story at Vancouver Sun

Chaperone Molecule Holds Promise for Alzheimer’s Treatment

BY Rick Nauert, PHD


A new discovery shows how the body normally cleanses the brain of harmful substances associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

In the study, researchers determined that a molecular chaperone, HspB1, works like a waste management company to collect and detoxify high levels of toxic amyloid beta peptide found in Alzheimer’s disease.

Scientists had known that HspB1 was present in the hallmark plaques that build up between the neurons of Alzheimer’s patients, but its role remained a mystery.

“What we have found is HspB1 is a protective mechanism that tries to get rid of the toxic oligomers or aggregates of amyloid beta that occur in Alzheimer’s,” said Anil G. Cashikar, Ph.D., the corresponding author of the study published in Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Full story at PsychCentral