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.
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.
- 10.02.2018 Northwestern Now
Northwestern University has received a $12.6 million grant from the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the role of protein quality control in human aging and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
- 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.
- 02.22.2018 Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s pretty extraordinary for people in their 80s and 90s to keep the same sharp memory as someone several decades younger, and now scientists are peeking into the brains of these “superagers” 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, “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.
- 02.04.2018 National Public Radio (Boston)
Dr. Darby Morhardt, professor at the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.
- 12.14.2017 Science Magazine
Phyllis Zee, a neurologist and neuroscientist at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, says the research connects a lot of dots between sleep and memory. She’s curious whether the results will hold up in adults who are at risk for neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
- 12.14.2017 The Washington Post
For nine years, these experts have been examining “SuperAgers” — men and women over age 80 whose memories are as good — or better — than people 20 to 30 years younger. Every couple of years, the group fills out surveys about their lives and gets a battery of neuropsychological tests, brain scans and a neurological examination, among other evaluations. “When we started this project, we weren’t really sure we could find these individuals,” said Emily Rogalski, an associate professor at the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
- 11.15.2017 Newsweek
"This is one of the first clear-cut genetic mutations in human beings that acts upon aging and aging-related disease," Dr. Douglas Vaughan told Newsweek. Vaughan is a cardiologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and one of the lead authors of the study, which was published in Science Advances on Wednesday. SERPINE1 makes a protein called plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, or PAI-1, which may play a role in diabetes and Alzheimer's, he noted.
- 11.06.2017 TODAY
Margaret and Mark Zumdahl have made countless memories during their 25-year marriage, but Margaret, who lives with Alzheimer’s, is slowly starting to lose those memories. Thanks to a special program at Northwestern's Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center, the couple is receiving help to deal with the disease.
A study has identified a new mechanism for how a gene mutation leads to the death of neurons in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and a related form of dementia.
A new study shows that a neurodegenerative syndrome in older adults, frontotemporal dementia, shares several fundamental features with another neurodegenerative disease usually seen in children.
According to a new study, normal agers lost volume in the cortex, which contains neurons, twice as fast as SuperAgers, a rare group of older people whose memories are as sharp as those decades younger.
- 03.31.2017 The New York Times
“If I had your stem cells and created a heart, liver, lung and an ovary, I could test 10 different drugs at 10 different doses on you and say, ‘Here’s the drug that will help your Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s or diabetes,’ ” the lead investigator, Teresa K. Woodruff, said in a report about the research on the Northwestern University website. “It’s the ultimate personalized medicine, a model of your body for testing drugs.”
A new review, published in Nature Reviews Neurology, outlines how upper motor neuron degeneration is an important feature in ALS pathology, and could be key to developing better diagnostic tools and treatments for ALS.
“Truly, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is an institution on the rise,” said Eric G. Neilson, MD, vice president for Medical Affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean. See some of the medical school's notable moments from 2016.