The latest news on brain health featuring an app created by teens, new study developments and Major League Baseball
In this month’s brain health news round-up, we review social, technological and academic advancements in the field of brain disease. From Nigerian-Irish teens developing an award-winning dementia app to a clinical trial evaluating a treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, here are the brain disease innovations the community has recently accomplished. These stories remind us that together, we can outsmart brain disease.
Teens Rachael Akano, Margaret Akano and Joy Njekwe are the champions of Technovation Girls. It’s a 12-week international competition that challenges young women to develop an app to solve a problem in their community. Their app, Memory Haven, beat more than 1,500 submissions from 62 countries. Memory Haven targets memory loss, difficulty with recognition and difficulty with speech for those with dementia.
Scholar Rock announced positive results from an interim analysis of its phase 2 clinical trial evaluating SRK-015, a therapy for treating spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Patients with SMA types 2 and 3 showed notable motor function improvements over six months of treatment with SRK-015. Higher dose treatments led to greater improvements. Scholar Rock will likely announce 12-month treatment results with SRK-015 later in 2021.
In Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, a new study found no association between participating in leisure activities at age 56 and the risk of dementia over the next 18 years. This new study also found some people with a later diagnosis stop participating in leisure activities years before diagnosis. Previously, studies have suggested that taking part in leisure activities, like playing cards or gardening, may be associated with a lower risk of developing dementia.
On June 2, all 30 Major League Baseball teams will celebrate Lou Gehrig Day. The date is the day famed ballplayer Gehrig died, as well as the day he started his record-breaking consecutive games streak. The Lou Gehrig Day Committee—a group of ALS advocates—has been working tirelessly to unite the league in wearing a 4ALS patch and honoring Gehrig (and everyone affected by ALS) in a ceremony on the day.
Early detection of dementia is difficult due to subtle initial changes and a small number of dementia experts. Machine-learning research and artificial intelligence can now examine cognitive decline with tools that analyze things like typing speed, sleep patterns and speech. This is not meant to replace doctors but assist them in spotting dementia.
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