Archive for February, 2012

National Rare Disease Day 2.29.2012

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012


Today is National Rare Disease Day. A day recognized by over 40 countries around the world as a call-to-action in raising awareness for rare diseases.

A rare disease, as defined by U.S. medical standards, is any disease that affects less than 200,000 Americans a year. There are over 6,000 estimated “rare” diseases in the United States, but since each disease singularly only affects a small number of people a year, they stay out of the public eye. And, unfortunately in a lot of cases, these diseases are also looked over in public funding.

Which is why people are coming together today, to unify those who suffer from a rare disease, and uniting the public in support of finding cures and increasing research on these diseases.

People with rare diseases face a multitude of problems in their daily lives. From lack of medicine and treatment options, to lack of understanding of the disease by doctors and peers. But united, those who suffer from rare diseases are stronger.

Please show your support today by visiting rarediseaseday.org and researching one of the many ways you can make a difference in the lives of others.

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Doctor’s Alzheimer’s Research Focuses On “Finding More Memory” and Improving Quality Of Life

Monday, February 27th, 2012

 

For Dr. Brandon Ally, Alzheimer’s research is all about the patient.

Ally and his team have been studying recollection and stimuli-triggered memory in the form of ERP, or Event Related Potential, which is any brain response triggered by a memory or thought. By focusing on stimuli-triggered memory, Ally can more accurately diagnose the difference between recollection in healthy individuals and those suffering from Alzheimer’s.

But the benefits of Ally’s research extends much further than simply sorting out the differences in memory function between healthy individuals and those suffering from Alzheimer’s. By comparing ERP’s between those with Alzheimer’s and those who are healthy, Ally can help determine what memory processes are working right in patients with Alzheimer’s.

For example, one of Ally’s more recent breakthroughs showed that patients with Alzheimer’s responded better to visual stimuli than healthier individuals. A finding that Ally feels can help both Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers. By targeting what strengths Alzheimer’s patients have in memory, Ally believes caregivers can better design interventional strategies and lines of communicating that can ease the burden and stress.

Ally has been awarded a 5-year grant to focus on his visual versus verbal stimuli research, and hopes to use his findings “immediately to treat and improve the quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s.”

For more information, visit http://www.vanderbilt.edu/allylab/Brandon_Ally.pdf

 

 

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