2010 Alzheimer’s Disease Progress Report: A Deeper Understanding, the latest annual Alzheimer’s research report from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is now available online. Prepared by the National Institute on Aging, which leads the NIH effort conducting and supporting research on age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease, the report highlights important developments and directions in NIH-funded research, including:
risk for developing Alzheimer’s
genes that play a role in the disease
neuroimaging and biomarkers that detect and track the disease
research into new treatments
lifestyle factors that may worsen or protect against the disease
help for caregivers
Special features include animation showing the progression of Alzheimer’s in the brain and video interviews highlighting new insights into the disease.
Dr. Price’s research program aims to establish a functional anatomical model of language that predicts how speech and reading are lost and recovered following neurological damage or developmental delay. The hypothesis is that there are multiple ways that the brain can perform each language task (degeneracy). If this is true, then the effect of damage or developmental delay will depend on whether there is a surviving system available to sustain the task.
To dissociate the neuronal systems for the same task, they use structural and functional MRI of subjects who vary in their cognitive abilities, demographics and neurological status. This allows them to characterize individual variability in the neuronal networks of neurologically normal populations and to examine how brain damage affects cognitive abilities in patient populations. In particular, Dr. Price’s lab aims to determine how the impact of damage to one system depends on the integrity of another.
The language tasks they use are designed to tap various aspects of reading, speech perception, speech production and language control (e.g. in bilinguals). Their studies typically compare the neuronal networks for verbal stimuli to those involved in perceptual, conceptual or motor processing of non-verbal stimuli such as music, environmental sounds, numerals and pictures of objects.
Reading proficiency is critical to academic learning and success in school. Studies show that children who learn to read in the early grades are more likely to become better students. In the United States, about 40 percent of children are left behind in reading. Scientists are researching how children learn to read and why some children have difficulty reading. Learn about the progress to date of a comprehensive study that examines children’s reading abilities during the early years, including the efforts to understand how to prevent reading failure.