Penn Arts & Sciences: New Database Aims to Make Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Easier and Earlier. “Do you get nervous when you can’t think of a word? Chances are it’s a momentary lapse, but problems with language are one of the symptoms that can indicate a neurodegenerative disorder like Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, diagnosing these conditions requires scoring below a rather low threshold on a test battery administered by a specialist. This often means, says Mark Liberman, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Linguistics, that people have already been suffering from the disease for a decade or more when they’re diagnosed. Liberman, the director of the Linguistic Data Consortium, is working with researchers at Penn Medicine to build a database that will allow neural health to be tracked across time, so that doctors can make an earlier diagnosis and researchers can evaluate medications and other treatments.”
San Francisco Chronicle: Kaiser study finds coronavirus seriously affects people regardless of age. “A study of 1,300 Northern California Kaiser patients who tested positive for the coronavirus last month found that nearly a third were hospitalized and almost 1 in 10 ended up in intensive care — and nearly as many young and middle-aged adults were admitted as people age 60 and over, according to results published online Friday.”
EurekAlert: ADDF launches over 200 in-depth Cognitive Vitality Reports . “The scientific reports, written by [Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation] neuroscientists, expand the Cognitive Vitality platform by making public a collection of in-depth analyses of drugs, drugs-in-development, supplements, nutraceuticals, food/drink, non-pharmacologic interventions, and risk factors related to brain health.”
UMass Boston: Hey, Google? Alexa? Am I At Risk for Alzheimer’s?: UMass Boston Professor Part of $1.1M Research Project. “Assistant Professor of Computer Science Xiaohui Liang is leading a four-year $1,179,714 National Institute on Aging (NIA)-funded research project to use Voice Assistant Systems, such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, to detect early cognitive impairment. Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in older adults living alone is essential for developing, planning, and ensuring adequate support at home for patients and their families.”
BBC: ‘OK Boomer’: From TikTok meme to the US Supreme Court. “You might have seen it as a meme on Twitter or TikTok but now it has made its way to the US Supreme Court. The catchphrase ‘OK Boomer’ went viral last year as a tongue-in-cheek dig by young people at older generations. In the highest US court, it was heard as part of a case about age discrimination.”
National Institute on Aging: The Neighborhood Atlas—Free Social Determinants of Health Data for All!. “Developed by Amy Kind, M.D., Ph.D., and her team at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, the Neighborhood Atlas2 is a user-friendly, online tool that enables customized ranking and mapping of neighborhoods according to socioeconomic disadvantage across the full U.S., including Puerto Rico. Anyone can use the Neighborhood Atlas, not just researchers: If you can use a smartphone mapping app, you can use the Atlas — no fancy degree required!”
USA Today: Snapchat Time Machine is a selfie-altering feature that lets you ‘age’ before your eyes. “Snapchat is picking up where Face App left off by rolling out a new tool that tries to show you what you look like at every phase of life. The app’s latest Lens is called Time Machine, and it includes a slider you can drag across your screen to watch the years add up. You can also use the feature to see what you supposedly looked like when you were younger.”
Smashing Magazine: Creating Online Environments That Work Well For Older Users. “Even though we’re as tech-savvy as anyone else, older users have some specific needs that web designers and programmers should consider. None of them are particularly difficult to accommodate, but they can be critical for our use and enjoyment of the Internet. As a bonus, you’ll be designing environments that will also work for you when you get older. ‘Older’ meaning ‘past forty’.” Every Web designer who thinks gray-on-gray text is just swell should be forced to copy this article fifty times.
The Conversation: Truly smart homes could help dementia patients live independently. “The growing number of people with dementia is encouraging care providers to look to technology as a way of supporting human carers and improving patients’ quality of life. In particular, we want to use technology to help people with dementia live more independently for as long as possible.”
UC Davis Health: $4 million grant to UC Davis and Drexel tests online tool for caregivers of individuals with dementia. “Agitation and aggression are just a few of the behavioral and psychological symptoms that people with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders – and their caregivers — can have difficulty understanding and managing. But an easy-to-use online platform, called WeCareAdvisor, aims to bridge the information gap for caregivers, who are typically family members. The tool educates caregivers about dementia and provides daily tips for managing stress. It also offers a systematic approach for describing, investigating, creating and evaluating strategies, known as the DICE approach.”
EurekAlert: Artificial intelligence tool vastly scales up Alzheimer’s research. “Researchers at UC Davis and UC San Francisco have found a way to teach a computer to precisely detect one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease in human brain tissue, delivering a proof of concept for a machine-learning approach to distinguishing critical markers of the disease.”
EurekAlert: VR can improve quality of life for people with dementia. “Virtual reality (VR) technology could vastly improve the quality of life for people with dementia by helping to recall past memories, reduce aggression and improve interactions with caregivers, new research by the University of Kent has discovered.”
National Institute on Aging: The Healthy Cognitive Aging Project: A major data resource for cognitive epidemiology . “Anybody who has ever loved, lived with, or cared for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or its related dementias knows that its effects are multifaceted, complex, and often difficult to predict. That’s why NIA’s longitudinal aging studies are so important—they can provide prospective data on these as-yet incompletely understood points. This week, we are proud to announce the first public release of data from the Healthy Cognitive Aging Project (HCAP), a nationally representative study that will help shed light on how and when cognitive decline progresses in older adults.”
CNRS News: Big Data Boosts Alzheimer’s Research . “A cutting-edge web platform, fed by brain-scan data from thousands of persons of all ages and states of health, now pinpoints the changes in brain structure that mark the onset of Alzheimer’s in humans under 40, long before any signs of its characteristic memory disorders.”
From the South China Morning Post: How a 14-year-old Hongkonger built an app to help Alzheimer’s patients connect with their loved ones . “At the age of 14, the Hong Kong-born [Emma] Yang has already created her own mobile app for Alzheimer’s patients, which has impressed the likes of Microsoft Corp founder Bill Gates and Alibaba Group Holding executive vice-chairman Joseph Tsai. The Timeless app, which Yang spent two years developing and refining, comes with several core features. It uses an artificial intelligence-powered facial recognition system, from Miami-based start-up Kairos, to help Alzheimer’s patients identify people in photos and remember who they are.” Thank you Emma Yang.