Recent research was performed at McGill University involving brain fMRI scans of expert musicians and artists. Clinicians have previously observed that people with dementia have better memory for music than for other daily tasks. Dr. Daniel Levitin, cognitive psychologist at McGill University, played 2 songs that were seemingly not similar to the untrained ear. When observing the brains of professional musicians, the fMRI showed that trained brains were able to detect patterns between the two songs such as key, tempo, and pitch.
Recent research has discovered more factors that play roles in reducing the cognitive decline of Alzheimer’s disease. 284 brain scans were analyzed from individuals categorized as high risk for Alzheimer’s disease, and researchers discovered that a mentally stimulating career could provide protective effects towards dementia.
A new study was recently published in the journal Neurology showing a connection between calcium supplementation and dementia risk. Researchers discovered that women who had histories of stroke or cerebrovascular diseases and who also took calcium supplements were more likely to develop dementia. The 5-year longitudinal study included 700 dementia-free women aged 70-92 years. 59 women developed dementia between the 5 years, and a greater percentage of the population was seen to develop dementia in the group of calcium supplement takers.
Dr. David Brough and his team at the University of Manchester have discovered the positive benefits of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug called mefenamic acid and its connection to Alzheimer’s disease. According to Dr. Brough, there is experimental evidence showing that brain inflammation can further magnify the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Mefenamic acid functions by targeting a pathway in the body to reduce brain inflammation.
A research team at the University of Kentucky are making use of a previously discovered connection between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. People with Down syndrome are distinguished genetically by having a third copy of chromosome 21. This chromosome is also responsible for the production of a molecule called amyloid precursor protein. Since the excessive accumulation of amyloid is a biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease, researchers are using this connection for further studies.