Trastornos neurológicos

On entend encore souvent qu’il n’y a pas de traitement efficace contre la maladie d’Alzheimer. Ce n’est vrai que dans la mesure où il n’y a pas encore de traitement qui guérisse la pathologie cérébrale. Mais nous pouvons déjà faire beaucoup pour les patients et leurs proches.

Il faut différencier les difficultés légères d’une part et les démences avérées d’autre part. Dans le premier cas, il s’agit de symptômes très légers, sans répercussion sur la vie quotidienne ou alors de problèmes de mémoire ressentis, mais sans déficit avéré. Ce sont parfois des signes précurseurs d’une maladie d’Alzheimer.

Mais souvent, ces troubles ont d’autres causes: une maladie vasculaire, une affection inflammatoire, un déséquilibre hormonal ou métabolique.…  Seguir leyendo »

En France, la ministre des Solidarités et de la Santé, Agnès Buzyn, a annoncé la fin du remboursement des médicaments anti-alzheimer. Une décision courageuse dans un pays où la proximité des lobbys avec le pouvoir fait démissionner les ministres les plus engagés. L’empire alzheimer vacillerait-il? Des médicaments qui coûtent très cher, inutiles et dangereux, révèle le livre du professeur Olivier Saint-Jean et d’Eric Favereau (Alzheimer, le grand leurre, 2018).

Alors que sévit la grande menace alzheimer, ce livre a le mérite de remettre les pendules à l’heure: d’ordinaire, la médecine est faite pour soulager, non pour accabler. Elle est faite pour les malades, non pour les médecins.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Nazi History Behind ‘Asperger’

My son’s school, David Starr Jordan Middle School, is being renamed. A seventh grader exposed the honoree, Stanford University’s first president, as a prominent eugenicist of the early 20th century who championed sterilization of the “unfit.”

This sort of debate is happening all over the country, as communities fight over whether to tear down Confederate monuments and whether Andrew Jackson deserves to remain on the $20 bill. How do we decide whom to honor and whom to disavow?

There are some straightforward cases: Hitler Squares were renamed after World War II; Lenin statues were hauled away after the collapse of the Soviet Union.…  Seguir leyendo »

En 2011, Ben Trumble dejó la selva boliviana y se llevó una mochila que contenía cientos de viales con saliva. Había pasado seis semanas siguiendo a los indígenas mientras se movían por la selva, lanzándole flechas a los jabalíes. Estos hombres eran miembros del pueblo tsimané, que vive como lo hacían nuestros ancestros hace miles de años: cazando, buscando comida y cultivando pequeños terrenos.

Trumble les había pedido a los hombres que escupieran dentro de los viales varias veces al día para poder mapear sus niveles de testosterona. Quería descubrir si los cazadores eran recompensados con un pico de testosterona, y así fue.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Justice Department recently analyzed eight years of shootings by Philadelphia police officers. Its report contained two sobering statistics: Fifteen percent of those shot were unarmed; and in half of these cases, an officer reportedly misidentified a “nonthreatening object (e.g., a cellphone) or movement (e.g., tugging at the waistband)” as a weapon.

Many factors presumably contribute to such shootings, ranging from carelessness to unconscious bias to explicit racism, all of which have received considerable attention of late, and deservedly so.

But there is a lesser-known psychological phenomenon that might also explain some of these shootings. It’s called “affective realism”: the tendency of your feelings to influence what you see — not what you think you see, but the actual content of your perceptual experience.…  Seguir leyendo »

La enfermedad de Parkinson es un trastorno neurológico degenerativo que afecta a aproximadamente siete millones de personas en todo el mundo y a un millón en los Estados Unidos, generalmente mayores de 50 años. La enfermedad afecta al 2% de las personas mayores de 65 años y entre el 5% y el 10% de los casos se presentan en personas menores de 50 años. Aún se desconocen las causas, lo que nos impide detener el desarrollo de la enfermedad, aunque investigaciones recientes apuntan a factores ambientales y ocupacionales.

En textos chinos e indios de 1000 AC se describe un trastorno similar, pero fue James Parkinson quien primero describió en detalle la enfermedad en 1817.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Bright Side of Parkinson’s

Four years ago, I was told I had Parkinson’s disease, a condition that affects about one million Americans. The disease is relentlessly progressive; often starting with a tremor in one limb on one side of the body, it spreads. The patient’s muscles become more rigid, frequently leading to a stooped posture, and movements slow down and get smaller and less fluid. As the disease advances — usually over a number of years — the patient becomes more and more disabled, experiencing symptoms from constipation to sleep disorders to cognitive impairment.

Can Parkinson’s be slowed, stopped or even reversed? Can the disease be prevented before it starts, like polio and smallpox?…  Seguir leyendo »

La enfermedad de Alzheimer es con mucha diferencia la causa más común de demencia y uno de las afecciones más temidas del mundo. En 2050, habrá 135 millones de pacientes de alzhéimer, el triple que ahora, y las tres cuartas partes de los casos se darán en países de renta media o baja. La tarea de predecir el comienzo del alzhéimer –por no hablar de prevenirlo o curarlo– sigue siendo inmensa.

Hace más de un siglo que se descubrió la enfermedad de Alzheimer a partir de los resultados de autopsias que revelaban unas lesiones cerebrales características llamadas “placas amiloides”. En las personas vivas resulta más difícil de diagnosticar.…  Seguir leyendo »

A panel of medical experts from the National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association last week proposed changes in the way doctors diagnose Alzheimer’s disease — including the use of so-called biomarkers, tests like PET brain scans and analyses of spinal fluids to promote early detection of the disease. Although these recommendations are well intentioned, evidence suggests that it would be a mistake to adopt them at this time. To understand why, it’s important to recognize what these tests mean, in what context the information will be used and what experience has shown us.

First, about the diagnostic tests: A PET scan detects clumps of a deformed protein called amyloid beta, commonly known as plaques.…  Seguir leyendo »

Not so very long ago I found that I (a writer, editor, mother of three, but otherwise a free agent) had volunteered to become a full-time carer for someone with Alzheimer’s: my mother-in-law, Nancy. She and her husband, Morris, came to live with us in a vast Victorian house surrounded on three sides by sea in the far, far North of Scotland.

Previously I’d thought of my “self” as something inviolable, something that was permanently me. The experience of dementia, of seeing it taking hold, undermined the remnants of faith in myself as a soul. Alzheimer’s taught me that I am a biological creature: that what we consider as self is a construction contingent entirely on health.…  Seguir leyendo »

By David Shenk, the author of The Forgetting: Alzheimer’s, Portrait of an Epidemic (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 03/11/06):

One hundred years ago today, a 42-year-old German psychiatrist and neuropathologist named Alois Alzheimer shocked colleagues with his description of one woman’s autopsied brain.

The woman was named Auguste Deter. Five years earlier, her husband had admitted her to Alzheimer’s psychiatric hospital in Frankfurt with a disturbing set of symptoms: memory trouble, aphasia (loss of the ability to use words), confusion, bursts of anger and paranoia. She had become a danger to herself in the kitchen and needed constant care.

Alzheimer found his new patient sitting on a bed with a helpless expression.…  Seguir leyendo »