"A Case Study of Memory Loss in
Mice". Michael S. Hudecki, University at Buffalo.
State University of New York at Buffalo’s National Center for Case
This discussion case
explores the scientific process involved in implementing an animal
model in the study of Alzheimer's disease. Students read a short
paragraph describing a study in which the brains of "trained" mice
were injected with beta-amyloid fragments, which subsequently
caused them to forget their tasks. The paragraph is a very short
New York Times story reporting on an experimental study originally
published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Based on the short description provided, students are asked to
identify relevant components of the scientific method (problem,
method, results, and conclusions).
The case is suitable for a wide
variety of science majors and non-majors courses.
CNN Video Clips
"Predicting Alzheimer’s Disease": Biology 6th Ed. CNN Ed 2002
A prospective study of healthy
patients is designed to discover brain changes that precede and
predict the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Volunteers will undergo
brain scans every year. Studies have already shown that PET scans
can detect patients who will develop memory impairment. Such
patients show decreased glucose uptake in a brain area associated
with memory. Among patients who are genetically predisposed to
Alzheimer’s, PET scans can detect brain changes before symptoms
appear. It is hoped that early diagnosis will lead to treatments
to stop the disease in its earliest stages. (Student worksheet
provided on CD)
Alzheimer’s Disease Research: Biology 5th Ed. CNN Ed 2001 (2:09)
Animation shows how the amyloid
plaques characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease are formed when an
enzyme cleaves a brain membrane protein. Most scientists
believe this is how the disease begins. The next step, the
formation of tangles and the death of neurons, is also
animated. The disease may begin as early as age thirty, and
early detection may be the key to slowing the disease.
Potential treatments under development include numerous drugs and
an experimental vaccine that has shown promise in mice. (Student
worksheet provided on CD)
“Does diabetes lurk behind Alzheimer’s? Complications may start
downward disease cycle”. Fackelmann, Kathleen. USA
Type 2 diabetes has been linked to
Alzheimer’s disease. Weight gain and type 2 diabetes may
trigger the degenerative effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Up
to 16 million people will get Alzheimer’s by 2050. Losing
weight and eating healthy may maintain healthy brain cells.