by Joyce Lee
Isabel Gurbarg wanted to be sure.
More than a decade ago at the Penn Memory Center, then-Director Dr. Steve Arnold had diagnosed her mother with probable Alzheimer’s disease. But the only way to confirm the diagnosis would be through an autopsy procedure, Dr. Arnold told them.
And Gurbarg wanted to be sure.
“Her brain was all filled with amyloid,” Gurbarg recalled. Diagnosis: confirmed.
‘Alive Inside: Using neuroimaging to detect covert
consciousness in the brain-injured patient’
3 p.m. Thursday, February 28th
Ralston House, Room 241, 3615 Chestnut St.
Andrew Peterson, PhD
Assistant Professor, Greenwall Faculty Scholar, Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, George Mason University
This presentation provides an ethical analysis of the American Academy of Neurology practice guideline on disorders of consciousness. The analysis focuses on the guideline’s recommendations regarding the use of advanced neuroimaging methods to assess brain-injured patients.
Complex and multifaceted ethical issues have emerged because these methods alter the clinical understanding of consciousness. Dr. Peterson addresses issues of false hope and the prolongation of lives judged not worth living. He argues that, in spite of these concerns, there is significant benefit to using neuroimaging and electroencephalography to assess brain-injured patients.
This presentation is supported by the Penn Project on Precision Medicine for the Brain (P3MB).
By Linnea Langkammer and Janissa Delzo
Two Philadelphia universities are partnering to offer affordable, in-home respite care to area families caring for older adults.
The Penn Memory Center (PMC) and the Temple University Intergenerational Center jointly revitalized Time Out, a support and mentorship program first launched in 1986.
Time Out will facilitate meaningful, in-home engagement through intergenerational companionship by connecting elderly individuals with PMC-trained college students. This includes conversation, reading, or mobility assistance, and may also include meal preparation, laundry, and light grocery shopping. It does not include personal care — such as bathing, dressing, feeding, or toileting — nor administering medications or therapies.
While private respite care may cost more than $20 an hour, Time Out care providers will be available for $8.50 an hour and up to 10 hours per week.
By Sharnita Midgett
The goal of detecting Alzheimer’s disease earlier and more accurately in patients with cognitive symptoms has led to the development of new diagnostic tools. One tool is the use of spinal taps, which provide physicians with samples of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that are analyzed for levels of proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
In a recent U.S. News & World Report article, PMC Co-Director Jason Karlawish, MD, discussed how Alzheimer’s disease is being redefined as a biological disease, with three biomarkers: amyloid plaques, tau tangles and deterioration of the nervous system.
“It holds promise for a more accurate diagnosis for the subset of people who have those biomarkers,” he told U.S. News & World Report. “It holds great promise for the development of treatments that can target those biomarkers.”
A study published in the journal Nature Medicine flooded mainstream media and Facebook feeds this week with headlines and stories claiming that a blood test may be able to detect Alzheimer’s disease (AD) more than a decade before symptoms appear.
One caveat overlooked or downplayed by many outlets, though: The study population involved individuals with a rare gene mutation that made them highly likely to develop AD.
“They are also generally significantly younger when they do,” PMC Co-Director David Wolk, MD, explained. “Such patients make up less than 1 percent of AD. So it remains to be seen how well this test will work in older individuals with more typical AD, but it is certainly promising as a marker of brain injury over time.” This injury could be due to Alzheimer’s disease but also many other brain diseases, added PMC Co-Director Jason Karlawish, MD.
In short: No, there is not yet a blood test able to predict Alzheimer’s.
You were less interested in hearing about all of the stories we were reading and discussion, more interested in hearing about why we found specific articles so noteworthy. You enjoyed when we turned the newsletter over to our social work team, and you wanted to hear from more academic disciplines at PMC and beyond. And one reader in particular challenged the name “Sunday Reads” after we sent it on a Wednesday the week of Thanksgiving.
So we’re leaving “Sunday Reads” in 2018. This is our Weekly InSight, the email edition of our newsmagazine. We’ll tackle more individual issues and invite our colleagues to contribute short essays of their own. If there are specific topics or voices you’d like to see here, please let me know.
This free program is for PMC patients experiencing memory change or those with mild cognitive impairment or early-stage dementia.
This fun, free interactive program, powered by the talented musicians at the Curtis Institute, showcases the expressive power of music. You’ll join in on group singing, drum circles, active listening, and the creation of brand new musical works. Musicians will guide participants throughout the entire creative process. During this program, participants will also be treated to musical performances by Curtis Institute students! Beginners welcome.
This program intends to provide participants with a greater understanding of music, fun new tools for interacting through sound, and creative musical experiences that flex their imaginations.
Session One will engage participants in collaborative, creative musical experiences and will assess their impact on participants’ mood and well-being.
Session Two will focus on creating new music and building the skills and activities of Session One.
Participants are welcome to register for Session One, Session Two, or both sessions.
Session One Schedule:
2:30 to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 15, 2019
2:30 to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 22, 2019
2:30 to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 29, 2019
2:30 to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 5, 2019
2:30 to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 12, 2019
2:30 to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 19, 2019
2:30 to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Session Two Schedule:
2:30 to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, 2019
2:30 to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, 2019
2:30 to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, 2019
2:30 to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, 2019
2:30 to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, 2019
2:30 to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, 2019
2:30 to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, 2019
The Curtis Institute of Music
1616 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA
Lenfest Hall, Room LH314
RSVP by contacting:
Matt Volpe, 215-360-0274