In a study presented at the American Academy of Neurology, researchers presented the results of a longitudinal study of 2410 people (average age 62) who were followed up over an 11-year period. The researchers found that at baseline those with a slower walking speed were more likely to develop dementia at follow-up. However at follow-up only 34 people had developed Dementia and there are many potentially confounding risk factors such as comorbid medical illness. What would be interesting is a follow-up study, focusing on people with Mild Cognitive Impairment where this relationship can be examined in more detail and over a shorter-time period. There’s a small Positron Emission Tomography study in which researchers examined the sleep of 100 participants (aged 45-80) with a family history of Alzheimer’s Disease, looking at the build-up of Alzheimer’s Disease related Amyloid Plaques. The researchers found that there was an association between disrupted sleep and the presence of the plaques. However the study period was short (2-weeks) and a longer term and larger replication study would be helpful in confirming these findings. Even if confirmed, the Amyloid Plaques are a disease correlate and a longitudinal study which confirmed Amyloid Plaque build up and emergent Alzheimer’s Disease would provide the strongest evidence of a relationship between sleep and future development of Alzheimer’s Disease. There’s a good write-up of a study investigating the use of Cumerin in fruit-fly model of Alzheimer’s Disease (via @MariaPage). There’s an interesting way to estimate the size of your vocabulary here (via @MariaPage). I got an estimate of 29,500 words. However it would be useful to develop a test which assesses specialised vocabularies (i’m sure i’ve used more on this blog althoug it would be interesting to find out!).
There’s an article on 10 years of Open Access which is being celebrated with a conference in Budapest, Hungary. There is a new initiative to use crowdsourcing or harnessing collective intelligence to develop new insights into the retina by analysing Electron Micrographs of the retina. However at the time of writing if you’re interested in taking part you’ll need to sign up and there is a waiting list. There’s an interesting open-access piece in the New York Times on ‘Big Data’ looking at how people are dealing with the large increases in data ranging from how managers are analysing data to the use of Siri the virtual personal assistant. There’s also an optical microscope that’s been developed for use with smart phones which is expected out this year.
Do goats have accents? This study suggests so and this has implications for the biological significance of accents (dialects in comparison would include variations in accent, vocabulary and other features of language).
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