There is coverage of a recent American Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) Conference at the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Forum here, here, here and here. Researchers have been discussing how to develop future drug trials whilst other research collaboratives have developed multicentre studies of people with FTD.
Researchers have identified a number of genes which code for proteins which may influence Huntington’s Disease (paper freely available here). The researchers have used the Huntington’s Disease Crossroads Research Database to investigate genetic associations with Huntington’s Disease.
A lower incidence of Dementia has been observed in people with Bipolar Illness taking Lithium. One Brazilian group has investigated these findings further by using a very small dose of Lithium (300 micrograms daily) in people with Alzheimer’s Disease and have in their preliminary findings reported no significant decline in cognitive performance compared to a group of people with Alzheimer’s Disease who were not taking Lithium. Subjects in the trial continued on Lithium for 18 months and the researchers reported increasing differences in outcome between the groups as time progressed. However the MiniMental State examination was used to measure cognitive performance and it would be interesting to see if changes would be observed with other more sensitive tools. Furthermore although these results are encouraging it will be useful to see further replication of these findings.
The Connectomics Project has been covered previously. The researchers in the Connectomics Project are intending to build up a comprehensive description of the connections in the brain. The researchers have announced that they will release data for the public to access and explore.
Sage Publications feature a very useful presentation by Camille Gamboa on how to get your research papers noticed including search engine optimisation approaches for the internet savvy.
Researchers have recently found evidence that Chimpanzees share a similar psychological phenomenon to humans referred to as the Endowment Effect. In the Endowment Effect an object is given more value when a person is in possession of the object. The ownership gives the object value. The Chimpanzees were presented with tools. They had a preference for certain tools. They were then presented with food. Whenever they were presented with food they were much more likely to keep the tool in possession at that time rather than trading it for their preferred tool. One suggestion is that this trait may have developed before our divergence from the common Human-Chimpanzee ancestor. An alternative explanation may be that this trait has adaptive value and that Humans and Chimpanzees arrived at this trait independently – a phenomenon referred to as convergent evolution.
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