News and Announcements
Read the latest news from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease. The links below take you to articles where you can learn more about our members' latest achievements, awards and honors.
Emily Rogalski, PhD, professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and associate director of the Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease, studies a group of people who seem to be immune to the memory decline that typically comes with age. Dr. Rogalski and her team hope to identify what allows these “SuperAgers” to maintain outstanding memory performance into their 80s and beyond.
- 10.14.2019 ESPN
Chronic sleep loss has been associated with higher risk for cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, heart attacks, Alzheimer's, dementia, depression, stroke, psychosis and suicide. As Phyllis Zee, chief of sleep medicine in the department of neurology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, says, "Sleep deprivation ... doesn't only affect the brain -- it affects all your other organs. ... Think about it as punching your other organs."
- 10.10.2019 Eczacibasi
On the 60th anniversary of the Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı Awards, the Eczacıbaşı Medical Award of Honor was presented to Prof. Dr. Marsel Mesulam, for his outstanding contributions to medical science and tremendous support of academicians and scientific events in Turkey.
- 10.09.2019 NBC News
While some people might not want to know about the early signs of Alzheimer's, the new findings could help more women when they can still make plans for the future, experts said. "As your memory becomes more impaired, you are less and less aware you are having memory problems," said Sandra Weintraub, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and the clinical board director of the Mesulam Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. "That is the worst time to plan.”
- Dr. Darby Morhardt and Dr. Borna Bonakdarpour receive Outstanding Teacher Award10.09.2019
Dr. Darby Morhardt and Dr. Bonakdarpour of the Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease were both recipients of the 2018-2019 Outstanding Teacher Award from the Office of Medical Education. Dr. Morhardt received her award for her role as an AOSC (Area of Scholarly Concentration) Research Mentor, and Dr. Bonakdarpour received his award for his student lecture on Dementia.
The Alliance for Research in Chicagoland Communities (ARCC) at Northwestern University’s Center for Community Health has announced the recipients of seed grant funds that will support local research projects and community engagement initiatives.
Northwestern Medicine scientists have pinpointed the location of dysfunctional brain networks that lead loss of language in primary progressive aphasia, a form of dementia.
Two Northwestern University scientists have received a $3.1 million grant from the National Institute on Aging to collaborate and investigate drug therapies for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
- 08.22.2019 Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Can understanding Super Agers help tell us what keeps our minds younger for longer? It's early days, but some clues are emerging from places like the Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. Ten years ago a team there led by neuropsychologists Sandra Weintraub and Emily Rogalski flipped its research paradigm on the head. Instead of looking at what was going wrong to give people Alzheimer's disease they started looking at what was going right for those whose brains weren't ageing the same way.
- 08.19.2019 Consultant360
Mesulam Center Director M. Marsel Mesulam recently had a Q&A discussion with Consultant360 about his research into primary progressive aphasia and its association with Alzheimer disease.
- 08.13.2019 The Washington Post
The new report offers “good news and bad news,” said Sandra Weintraub, a professor and clinical core director at the Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. The good news is that for most people the decline “wasn’t that great,” Weintraub said. “Having said that, it really puts patients between a rock and a hard place if they’re told they need surgery and worry about losing mental function,” Weintraub said.
- 08.07.2019 Reuters
The researchers don’t know exactly why there was a decline in cognition in the participants who had surgery. “It’s widely considered that anesthesia may affect long-term cognition, but this has not been strongly supported by the recent literature,” Sanders said in an email. The new report offers “good news and bad news,” said Sandra Weintraub, a professor and clinical core director at the Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
- 07.24.2019 Chicago Tribune
Dr. Tamar Gefen, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University, said the results of Mayeda’s study align with existing research on factors that lower the risk of late-life cognitive decline. “There is evidence in the literature suggesting a limited number of factors that can perhaps lower the risk of developing cognitive impairment in later life. This includes aerobic exercise, healthy nutrition, mental activity and engagement,” Gefen said in an email interview.
On May 9, donors joined Northwestern Medicine leadership and experts in neurodegenerative disease to celebrate new state-of-the-art space for the Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease, located on the eighth floor of the Tarry Research and Education Building at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Tamar D. Gefen, PhD of the Mesulam Center was awarded the NACC-Sponsored New Investigator Project Award. Her project titled, "Clinicopathologic substrates of dementia syndromes with FTLD-tau," looks to disentangle the complex relationship between dementia syndromes, anatomic atrophy, cell death, and a specific form of FTLD, known as FTLD-tau. This is one of the first works of its kind that aims to establish clinical, anatomic, and pathologic concordance of high specificity between clinical dementia syndromes and the tauopathies that cause them. Outcomes of this multidisciplinary study will clarify the pathologic underpinnings of clinical heterogeneity in dementias, sharpen our understanding of the principles of selective vulnerability, and are highly relevant for the development of tauopathy-specific diagnostic tools and treatments.
- 04.30.2019 CNN
Still, the disease itself didn't come out of the blue. The evidence has been building for years, including reports of patients who didn't quite fit the mold for known types of dementia such as Alzheimer's. "There isn't going to be one single disease that is causing all forms of dementia," said Sandra Weintraub, a professor of psychiatry, behavioral sciences and neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She was not involved in the new paper. Weintraub said researchers have been well aware of the "heterogeneity of dementia," but figuring out precisely why each type can look so different has been a challenge.
- 04.30.2019 CNN
Doctors have newly outlined a type of dementia that could be more common than Alzheimer's among the oldest adults, according to a report published Tuesday in the journal Brain. Dr. Sandra Weintraub, of the Mesulam Center, affirms the heterogeneity of dementia.
Reduced blood capillaries in the back of the eye may be a new, noninvasive way to diagnose early cognitive impairment, a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.
An experimental treatment originally intended to help patients recover from stroke may have beneficial effects for Alzheimer’s disease, according to a recent study.
- Northwestern University Neuropsychologist Dr. Sandra Weintraub on the science behind President Trump’s verbal gaffe04.04.2019 WGN Radio
Northwestern University Neuropsychologist Dr. Sandra Weintraub joins John Williams to address President Trump’s recent verbal gaffes, and what they mean about his neurological health. That’s in response to some of the public’s belief that these blunders are symptoms of such diseases as dementia or aphasia.
- 04.01.2019 WTTW
More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, including 230,000 in Illinois. By 2050, that number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million Americans, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. There is no cure for the neurodegenerative condition, symptoms of which include memory loss, difficulty completing daily tasks and challenges in planning or solving problems. Many clinical trials are focused on prevention or disease-modifying therapies, which tend to exclude people who are already experiencing symptoms, says Northwestern University neurologist Dr. Ian Grant. While those types of therapies could eventually lead to a cure, Grant says it’s also important to study therapies that alleviate symptoms. The T2 Protect AD study seeks to do just that.
Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered that an existing therapy used to treat Alzheimer’s disease might also work on patients with Primary Progressive Aphasia, a type of dementia that destroys language and currently has no treatment.
- 02.15.2019 NIA
Eating right, exercising, and getting a good night’s sleep can all help us stay healthy. But can participating in the arts also help us thrive as we age? Researchers are looking at singing groups, theater training, and visual arts for older adults to see if the arts may improve the health, well-being, and independence of older people.In this article, learn about how several studies are having a positive impact on participants including the Mesulam Center's Memory Ensemble co-founded by Darby Morhardt, PhD.
- 02.01.2019 Brain & Life
The Memory Ensemble, a collaboration between Darby Morhardt, PhD, of the Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease, and Christine Dunford, PhD, a co-founder of the Lookingglass Theatre Company, was featured, highlighting the preliminary research published in Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance in June 2017.
The 8th Annual Les Turner Symposium brought together investigators, clinicians, patients and families to share the latest discoveries in ALS research, promote scientific collaboration and provide patient education.
- 09.12.2018 Chicago Tonight - WTTW
Despite decades of research and lack of a treatment to cure or slow the progression of the disease, researchers, caregivers and advocates are optimistic about the future. “I see a treatment, it’s going to happen. Scientists are very close,” said William Klein, a professor at Northwestern University. “I believe we’re on a positive path,” said Harry John, CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association. “We’ve got a lot to do but we’re on a positive path.”
- 08.17.2018 Reuters
The new findings highlight the need for more studies involving larger groups of patients, said Dr. Borna Bonakdarpour, an assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center. Bonakdarpour believes that music therapy can also be used to improve social interactions. “We are doing some interventions here to see if it can improve interactions between patients and caregivers,” he said. “We have preliminary data that suggests it helps.”
- Music can call back loved ones lost in Alzheimer’s darkness: ‘So much we can do to improve quality of life’06.11.2018 Chicago Tribune
Intrigued by the potantial benefits, Dr. Borna Bonakdarpour, a neurologist with Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, put together a music therapy study this spring at Silverado Orchard Park Memory Care Community in Morton Grove. Each week for 12 weeks, the Evanston-based nonprofit Institute for Therapy Through the Arts held concerts for 10 Silverado residents. The musicians are specially trained to apply their skills to therapy, often by interacting with patients during performances, and getting them to beat on drums, sing, and dance. The $84,000 program is funded by an anonymous donor.
Feinberg met its goal of raising $10 million for the newly renamed Mesulam Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, naming the Center after its director, M. Marsel Mesulam, MD.
- 04.16.2018 The Washington Post
It’s pretty extraordinary for people in their 80s and 90s to keep the same sharp memory as someone several decades younger, so scientists are peeking into the brains of“superagers” who do to uncover their secret. The work is the flip side of the disappointing hunt for new drugs to fight or prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Instead of tackling that problem, “why don’t we figure out what it is we might need to do to maximize our memory?” said neuroscientist Emily Rogalski, who leads the SuperAging study at Northwestern University in Chicago.