Search This Blog

Monday, August 31, 2015

Putting a Dollar Value to Family Caregivng

September 1, 2015 — Family caregivers in the U.S. provided 37 billion hours of care—worth an estimated $470 billion—to their parents, spouses, partners, and other adult loved ones in 2013, according to AARP Public Policy Institute’s new report, Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update. The total estimated economic value of this uncompensated care provided by the nation’s family caregivers surpassed total Medicaid spending ($449 billion), and nearly equaled the annual sales ($469 billion) of the four largest U.S. tech companies combined (Apple, Hewlett Packard, IBM, and Microsoft) in 2013. 

Family caregiving for relatives or close friends with chronic, disabling, or serious health problems so they can remain in their home is nearly universal today. In 2013, about 40 million family caregivers helped another adult loved one carry out daily activities (such as bathing or dressing, preparing meals, administering medications, driving to doctor visits, and paying bills).      
“Family caregiving today is much more complex, stressful, and costly for caregivers than ever before,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. “This new report shows some of the progress that’s been made to help caregivers, but we need to do much more in public policy, in the workplace, and in the health care system.”  
Family Caregivers in the Future
As Americans live longer and have fewer children, fewer family members will be available for older adults to rely on for everyday help in the future. The ratio of potential family caregivers to the growing number of older people has already begun a steep decline. In 2010, there were 7.2 potential family caregivers for every person age 80 and older. By 2030, that ratio will fall sharply to 4 to 1, and is projected to drop further to 3 to 1 in 2050.  
Impact of Caregiving on Jobs, Money, and Health
Family caregivers report that the stress of caregiving affects their physical and emotional health, finances, and their jobs.
  • More than half (55%) of family caregivers report being overwhelmed by the amount of care their family member needs.
  • Nearly 4 in 10 (38%) family caregivers report a moderate (20%) to high degree (18%) of financial strain as a result of providing care.  
  • In 2014, the majority (60%) of family caregivers had full- or part-time jobs.  

Strategies and Policies Needed to Help Caregivers
“Over the past four years since the last report came out, we’ve seen a number of new policies at the federal and state level that are improving awareness about family caregivers’ needs,” saidSusan C. Reinhard, RN, PhD, Senior Vice President and Director, AARP Public Policy Institute, and lead author of the new report.. “We need multiple approaches to better help caregiving families, including such things as tax credits, improved workplace flexibility, respite care, home care services, and better training of family caregivers. Solutions to support family caregivers will need to come from both the private and public sectors.”
The estimates in this report by AARP’s Public Policy Institute are based on a meta-analysis of 11 U.S.-based surveys of family caregivers conducted between 2009 and 2014. Estimates are based on about 40 million caregivers providing an average of 18 hours of care per week to a parent, spouse/partner, or other adult loved one, at an average value of $12.51 per hour. ‘Caregiver’ is defined as an adult age 18 and older providing care to a parent, spouse, or other adult loved one with their daily activities such as bathing or dress, preparing meals, and/or managing their finances, currently or within the last month.
Caregiving Resources:
#  #  #

About AARP AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services.  A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin;; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en EspaƱol, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates.  The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more​

Friday, August 28, 2015

Physics Meets Biology to Defeat Aging

Newswise, August 28, 2015 — The scientific team of a new biotech company Gero in collaboration with one of the leading academics in the field of aging, Prof. Robert J. Shmookler Reis (current world record holder in life extension for model animals - 10 fold for nematodes), has recently brought new insights into biology of aging and age-related diseases, primarily, around the stability and stress resistance of certain gene regulatory networks.

 “In our work, we analyzed the stability of a simple gene network model and found that gene networks describing most common species are inherently unstable.

“Over time, it undergoes exponential accumulation of gene regulation deviations leading to diseases and death. We conjectured, that the instability is the cause of aging.

“However, should the repair systems be sufficiently effective, the gene network can stabilize so that the damage to the gene regulation can remain constrained along with mortality of the organism.” - says Dr. Peter Fedichev, Gero CSO.
The stable case of genetic networks described by their model fits the negligible senescence phenomena.

It's well known that negligibly senescent animals, such as naked mole rat, do not show signs of functional decline or any increase of mortality with age. The tissues of these species are exceptionally stress-resistant.

On the contrary, mortality rate in humans, and in the most of the other known species increases exponentially with age. The reproductive, regenerative functions and stress-resistance decline during the process of aging. 
These are the manifestations of the underlying gene network instability.

According to the model, the stability of gene network depends on a few major parameters such as effective gene network connectivity, “effective” genome size, proteome turnover and DNA repair rate. The lifespan can be increased by tuning, or hacking any of these parameters.

This hypothesis is supported by the biological evidence, inferred either from evolutionary observations or from various experiments performed by the leading scientists that have significantly extended life expectancy.

For instance, it’s examined how by protecting mitochondrial genes by their transfer to the nuclear genome, or by establishment of the nuclear envelope, the effective interactions between the genes and the cellular environment was substantially reduced.

These events are considered the major factors that led to the formation of multicellular life which in its turn resulted in a dramatic increase in organisms complexity and life expectancy.

Experimental reduction of the network connectivity by silencing of kinase cascades involved in regulation of transcription factors leads to a dramatic effect on the lifespan in C. elegans worms (up to a 10x lifespan extension by a single mutation).

The relation between stresses, stress resistance and aging is analysed and demonstrate, that damage to gene regulation from stresses encountered even at a very young age can persist for a very long time and influence lifespan.

That is why we believe that further research into the relation between gene network stability and aging will make it possible to create entirely new therapies with potentially strong and lasting effect against age-related diseases and aging itself.

About Gero
Gero is a drug discovery company designing first in class small molecule therapeutics using proprietary, industry leading molecular modeling and systems biology technologies. 

The company provides answers to the challenges of human anti-aging therapies development that consists of two components: therapeutic targets identification and drug candidates development.

Gero is a team of experts from diverse fields of studies - theoretical physics, drug discovery and development, and IT business. The scientific effort is led by Peter Fedichev, Ph.D, CSO, a former condensed matter physicist, , 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Seniors Overestimate Mobility in Performing Tasks

WASHINGTON, August 27, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Many seniors who visit emergency departments require more assistance with physical tasks than they think they do, which may lead to hospital readmission later on.  The results of the study were published online in Annals of Emergency Medicine ("Self-Reported vs. Performance-Based Assessments of a Simple Mobility Task Among Older Adults in the Emergency Department").

"Ensuring that older adults discharged from the emergency department are able to safely function in their home environment is important because those who are unable to function safely at home are at risk for falls and return ER visits," said lead study authorTimothy Platts-Mills, MD, MSc, of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, N.C.  

"Accurately determining the ability of these patients to care for themselves at home is critical for emergency physicians as they make decisions about whether to discharge patients home or elsewhere.  

"A patient who reports they can walk with an assistive device but actually requires human assistance to walk is likely to be bed-bound or to fall if they go home alone."

Overall, only 77 percent of patients in the study accurately assessed their ability to perform tasks.  

Of patients who said they could perform the assigned tasks without assistance, 12 percent required some assistance or were unwilling to complete the tasks.  Of those who said they could perform the task with a cane or walker, 48 percent required either human assistance or were unable to perform the task.  

Of those who said they could perform the task with human assistance, 24 percent were unable to perform the task even with someone helping them.

The tasks assigned were getting out of bed, walking 10 feet and returning to bed. Twenty million people aged 65 and older visit emergency departments every year, and that number is expected to grow as the Baby Boomers continue to age.

"Emergency physicians are experts in deciding who can go home and who needs to come in the hospital," said Dr. Platts-Mills. "But we are not perfect and sometimes we make decisions based on patient statements about abilities, rather than direct assessments. 

"Our results suggest that patient statements are sometimes inaccurate, and, particularly for older adults who need some assistance, directly observing the patient's ambulation can be informative. 

"Of course being able to move around isn't the only determinant of whether an older adult can be safely sent home, but it is a critical piece of information and it's good to get it right."

Annals of Emergency Medicine is the peer-reviewed scientific journal for the American College of Emergency Physicians, the national medical society representing emergency medicine. 

ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research, and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies. For more information, visit

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

From Yappy Hours to Dog Parks: New Trends at Retirement Communities

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Aug. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- While Yappy Hours are typically found at hotels and bars, a retirement community in South Florida has jumped on the 4-legged trend.

At The Palace Coral Gables, (, a Yappy Hour is held monthly as part of the luxurious rental community's activities.

Organized by the community's social director, Pam Parker, Yappy Hour is one of the most anticipated monthly get-togethers for The Palace's dog owners. The humans love the opportunity to mix and mingle while their pooches explore their fellow canines. 

Wine and finger-food is served while Fido is given special treats. Parker takes pictures of the pets with their owners and each person receives a memento as well as bag of dog treat favors.

Knowing their potential customer would not relocate without a beloved pet, The Palace adapted a pet policy and requires a nonrefundable deposit of $500 for pet owners moving to the community.

At The Carlisle Naples, a luxury independent living community in Southwest Florida, the pet policy allows dogs up to 25 pounds with the stipulation that a resident is able to provide care. The community's amenities include a dog park and about 20 residents have dogs, mostly Shih Tzus and Lhasa Apsos.

"With the growing number of seniors owning pets, senior communities recognize the changing needs of resident pet owners," explains senior housing marketing consultant Janis Ehlers. "Whether it's Yappy Hour, dog parks or mobile vets and grooming, when communities want to be competitive, they have to provide services."  

Dogs play a vital role in their owner's life and Shirlye Jacobs of Estero, Fla. will not even consider a community that wouldn't allow for her dog, Daisy, who she adopted two years ago.

"Wherever I move, my dog has to go too," she said. "My life would be empty without Daisy. I exercise more and have made many friends at our local dog park." 

Recognizing that residents may want to adopt a dog was incorporated into Sandwood Village's "Welcome Waggin" event.

Theerancee Schmidt, field market manager for the 55+ community in Naples, said the community has invited Collier County Domestic Animal Services and Naples Humane Society to bring dogs for residents to adopt.

Senior living communities that acknowledge their residents and pets share a common bond are well on their way to staying ahead of the game.
SOURCE The Palace Coral Gables

Bill Allowing Electronic Monitoring In Nursing Homes Signed Into Law AARP Commends Governor Rauner and General Assembly for Protecting Vulnerable Illinois Residents

CHICAGO, Aug. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Families who have loved ones in long-term care facilities in Illinois will now be allowed to install electronic monitoring devices in resident rooms, giving peace of mind to families and residents alike. 

On August 21, 2015,Governor Rauner signed House Bill 2462 into law, helping to ensure that thousands of Illinois' most vulnerable residents are protected against nursing home abuse and neglect.

The legislation, sponsored by Representative Greg Harris and Senator Terry Link and spearheaded by Attorney General Lisa Madigan, passed the General Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan support in May 2015. With Governor Rauner's signature, Illinois now becomes one of four states in the nation that explicitly allows for cameras in nursing homes.

"The Illinois Department of Public Health receives approximately 19,000 complaints of abuse and neglect against long-term care residents yearly," said Bob Gallo, AARP Illinois State Director. 

"AARP commends the General Assembly and Governor Rauner for their leadership on this issue and for helping to protect the state's most vulnerable residents."

House Bill 2462 establishes that residents have the right to purchase and use an electronic monitoring device of their choice that can record or broadcast audio and video. The bill also stipulates that any recording made can only be used for civil, criminal, or administrative proceedings related to the health, safety or welfare of a resident. In addition, the bill includes four main provisions:
  • Cost: Residents must bear the cost of the camera and its installation. The facility is not required to provide Internet service for broadcasting or streaming purposes.
  • Consent: A resident or their guardian must consent to use of a camera in the resident's room. A consent process will be established for residents who lack the ability to fully understand the nature and consequences of electronic monitoring, but don't have a legal guardian. If a resident has a roommate, their consent is also required. Consent can be withdrawn by either party at any time.
  • Notice: Residents must notify the facility of their intent to use a recording device and the type of device intended to be used. A sign must be posted outside of the resident's room stating, "This room is electronically monitored." The device must be out in the open in a fixed position, no hidden cameras are permitted.
  • Protections: A facility cannot retaliate or discriminate against any resident consenting to electronic monitoring. Any person or entity, including nursing home staff, is forbidden from knowingly hampering, obstructing, tampering with or destroying an electronic monitoring device in a resident's room without permission. Any person or entity that violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstance. A facility is not civilly or criminally liable for a violation of a resident's right to privacy arising out of any electronic monitoring.

House Bill 2462 takes effect on January 1, 2016; however, the Illinois Department of Public Health has an additional 60 days to provide a consent form for residents to use.

Budget Impasse Hurts Thousands Of Older Illinois Residents

Springfield , Ill., Aug. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The current budget impasse inSpringfield is already hurting older Illinoisans in other parts of the state. While Governor Rauner and the General Assembly seem unable to come to a budget agreement, senior centers in at least five Metro East communities had to shut down, cutting thousands of older residents from critical services, from meals on wheels to energy assistance, to doctor's appointments.
Senior centers in Columbia, Waterloo, Red Bud, Chester and East St. Louis in the Metro East area, have shut down partially or altogether, laying off staff and cancelling services as the support they received from the State has stopped, due to the budget impasse currently affecting services like the Community Care Program (CCP) or the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Other centers in three Northern Illinois counties – Putnam,LaSalle and Bureau – are projected to shut down by September 1, if nothing changes.
"Thousands of older Illinoisans who relied on critical services are now at a loss and without anywhere else to go, in situations that endanger their lives," said AARP Illinois Advocacy and Outreach Manager Ryan Gruenenfelder. "AARP urges Gov. Rauner and the legislative leadership to lay differences aside and agree on a budget that provides the programs and services countless Illinoisans rely on and cannot do without."
In the absence of a budget agreement, a Senate committee is taking action today on legislation – Senate Bill 2042 with SA#1 – which provides appropriations for remaining federal funds.  The amendment, introduced by Sen. Steans, appropriates federal pass-through dollars for a wide scope of programs: LIHEAP, domestic violence programs, WIC, homeless veterans program, home delivered meals, elder abuse prevention and ombudsman training. 
"AARP supports SB 2042, Senate Amendment 1, as it will allow for critical programs to receive federal funds, and help keep local organizations open to fulfill their missions.  But it is imperative that the Governor and legislators come to an agreement that provides the state with the FY16 budget it urgently needs," Gruenenfelder added.
Without a state budget, nearly 39,000 older Illinoisans who receive CCP services in their own homes and communities are at great risk of losing those services and have no alternative other than costly and often unnecessary institutional care. An additional 150,000 low-income households depend on LIHEAP for cooling and heating assistance.
The cuts affect not just the individuals receiving the programs and services – the community agencies providing those services will also be gravely hit, as agencies lay workers off or shut down, creating a negative ripple effect in countless local economies across Illinois.
Additionally, those individuals who are caregivers for CCP clients will also be hurt – many will have to cut hours from work or leave their jobs altogether to care for Mom and Dad, further compounding the drastic effect on local economies.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Don’t I Know That Guy? Neuroscientists pinpoint part of the brain that deciphers memory from new experience

Newswise, August 25, 2015 — You see a man at the grocery store. Is that the fellow you went to college with or just a guy who looks like him?

One tiny spot in the brain has the answer.

Johns Hopkins University neuroscientists have identified the part of the hippocampus that creates and processes this type of memory, furthering our understanding of how the mind works, and what’s going wrong when it doesn’t. Their findings are published in the current issue of the journal Neuron.

“You see a familiar face and say to yourself, ‘I think I’ve seen that face.’ But is this someone I met five years ago, maybe with thinner hair or different glasses — or is it someone else entirely,” said James J. Knierim, a professor of neuroscience at the university’s Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute who led the research.

 “That’s one of the biggest problems our memory system has to solve.”

Neural activity in the hippocampus allows someone to remember where they parked their car, find their home even if the paint color changes, and recognize an old song when it comes on the radio.

Brain researchers theorized that two parts of the hippocampus (the dentate gyrus and CA3) competed to decide whether a stimulus was completely new or an altered version of something familiar. 

The dentate gyrus was thought to automatically encode each stimulus as new, a process called pattern separation. In contrast, CA3 was thought to minimize any small changes from one experience to the next and classify the stimuli as being the same, a process called pattern completion. 

So, the dentate gyrus would assume that the person with thinner hair and unfamiliar glasses was a complete stranger, while CA3 would ignore the altered details and retrieve the memory of a college buddy.

Prior work by Knierim’s group and others provided evidence in favor of this long-standing theory. 

The new research shows, however, that CA3 is more complicated than previously thought — parts of CA3 come to different decisions, and they pass these different decisions to other brain areas.

“The final job of the CA3 region is to make the decision: Is it the same or is it different?” Knierim said. 

“Usually you are correct in remembering that this person is a slightly different version of the person you met years ago. But when you are wrong, and it embarrassingly turns out that this is a complete stranger, you want to create a memory of this new person that is absolutely distinct from the memory of your familiar friend, so you don’t make the mistake again.”

Knierim and Johns Hopkins postdoctoral fellows Heekyung Lee and Cheng Wang, along with Sachin S. Deshmukh, a former assistant research scientist in Knierim’s lab, monitored rats as they got to know an environment and as that environment changed.

The team implanted electrodes in the hippocampus of the rats. They trained the rats to run around a track, eating chocolate sprinkles. The track floor had four different textures — sandpaper, carpet padding, duct tape and a rubber mat. The rat could see, feel and smell the differences in the textures.

 Meanwhile, a black curtain surrounding the track had various objects attached to it. Over 10 days, the rats built mental maps of that environment.
Then the experimenters changed things up. 

They rotated the track counter-clockwise, while rotating the curtain clockwise, creating a perceptual mismatch in the rats’ minds. The effect was similar, Knierim said, to if you opened the door of your home and all of your pictures were hanging on different walls and your furniture had been moved.

“Would you recognize it as your home or think you are lost?” he said. “It’s a very disorienting experience and a very uncomfortable feeling.”

Even when the perceptual mismatch between the track and curtain was small, the “pattern separating” part of CA3 almost completely changed its activity patterns, creating a new memory of the altered environment. 

But the “pattern completing” part of CA3 tended to retrieve a similar activity pattern used to encode the original memory, even when the perceptual mismatch increased.

The findings, which validate models about how memory works, could help explain what goes wrong with memory in diseases like Alzheimer’s and could help to preserve people’s memories as they age.

This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health grants R01 NS039456 and R01 MH094146 and by the Johns Hopkins University Brain Sciences Institute.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Cycling without Age Comes to America

OSHKOSH, Wis., Aug. 21, 2015 --  Cycling Without Age founder and TEDxCopenhagen co-organizer Ole Kassow will assist Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh (LHO) in launching the first Cycling Without Age movement in America on Monday, Aug. 24.

This popular European movement was created to enhance the quality of life for elders in senior living communities by providing free bike rides on rickshaws around the community.

Gov. Scott Walker signed a certificate of commendation to honor LHO's inaugural Cycling Without Age event, and wished them continued good health and success in the future.

Sen. Richard Gudex, Rep. Gordon Hintz and representatives from Gov. Walker and Sen. Ron Johnson's offices will also attend the formal ceremony to show support for the event. 

Gerard Bodalski, LHO's vice president of healthcare services, said the organization wishes to bring multiple generations together to enhance its elders' happiness and connectivity with the Oshkosh community. 

"Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh is committed to creating extraordinary experiences for our elders, their families and our employees," Bodalski said. 

"This innovative, intergenerational opportunity allows our elders to take advantage of the beautiful outdoors, while celebrating their strengths."

The event is only the beginning of a long-term initiative for LHO, whose mission is to provide quality care and life-enriching opportunities for its elders.

Kassow and Dorthe Pedersen, civil society consultant for Copenhagen Municipality, will help train volunteers on how to operate the rickshaws, ensuring a safe ride for elders. 

There will be a formal ceremony starting at 10 a.m. followed by volunteer rickshaw rides for the elders of LHO at 11 a.m.

Visit LHO's Cycling Without Age Facebook and Twitter to learn more about this initiative.

About Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh

Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh (LHO), founded in 1966, is an elder care organization that has been providing health and residential services to more than 800 elders and others in need. LHO strives to create extraordinary experiences for elders and their families.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Study Finds Where Our Brain Stores the Time and Place of Memories

These are actual photos taken by the lifeblogging app of study participants. They were later shown these photos while in the fMRI and asked to recall the memories associated with the pictures.

A first view of real-life memories ‘on the scale of our lives’

Newswise, August 18, 2015 — COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the first time, scientists have seen evidence of where the brain records the time and place of real-life memories.

Results showed that the similarity of the brain activation patterns when memories were recalled was an indicator of the breadth of space and time between the actual events.

Participants in the Ohio State University study wore a smartphone around their neck with an app that took random photos for a month. Later, when the participants relived memories related to those photos in an fMRI scanner, researchers found that a part of the brain’s hippocampus stores information about where and when their specific memories occurred.

In fact, the study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that the further apart the memories occurred in space and time, the farther apart the memories’ representations appeared in the hippocampus.

“What we’re picking up here is not the whole memory, but the basic gist – the where and when of the experience,” said Per Sederberg, senior author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State.

“This could be viewed as the memory hub, where we have these general, large-scale representations of our experiences.”

Similar work has been done in rats – in fact the discovery of rat neurons that code for space won the Nobel Prize in Medicine last year. But in rats, the space they live in can be measured in feet.

There have also been studies in humans that ask them to recall lists of words or other information that they had just seen – but that recorded memories of just a few minutes that were created under experimental conditions.

This study greatly expands on both of those dimensions, by looking at real-life memories in humans.

“We found that the hippocampus represents time and space for at least a month of memories spanning up to 30 kilometers (19 miles) in space,” Sederberg said. 

“It is the first time we’ve been able to study memories on the scale of our lives.”

Sederberg led the study with Dylan Nielson, a Ph.D. graduate of Ohio State. Other co-authors were Troy Smith and Vishnu Sreekumar of Ohio State and Simon Dennis, a former Ohio State professor now at the University of Newcastle in Australia.

The study involved nine women aged 19 to 26 who wore an Android-based smartphone on a strap around their neck for one month. The phone was equipped with a custom lifeblogging app designed by Dennis. The app would take photos at random times of the day, recording the time, location, whether the person was moving and other information.

Over the course of the month, the phone took an average of about 5,400 photos for each participant.

After the month was over, the participants were placed in an fMRI scanner that measured activity in their brain while they were shown 120 of their own photos. 

Participants were asked to try to remember the event depicted in each picture and relive the experience in their mind while viewing the photo for eight seconds.

The researchers compared fMRI data on pairs of images for each participant. The photo pairs chosen were taken at least 100 meters and 16 hours apart.

Remembering an experience “lights up” many parts of the brain, but different memories create different patterns of activity. 

The more different two memories are, the more different the pattern of activity will be. Results showed that patterns of activity in the left anterior hippocampus were more different for memories of events that happened further apart in time and space.

“If the participants didn’t recall the images, we didn’t see this relationship,” Sederberg said.

“We also don’t get this effect if we only asked about the time and not the place of the memory. We found that time and space are very much intertwined in our representations of memories.”

Sederberg said the representations they found in the left anterior of the hippocampus aren’t the totality of the memories, but just the broad picture of where and when it occurred. Other research suggests that the posterior portion of the hippocampus may “fine-tune” the time and place.

“What we found may be just the targeting mechanism that gives us the general gist of the memory. And then there is a process that moves out through the rest of the hippocampus and spreads out through the cortex as we relive the entirety of the memory,” he said.

Sederberg noted that the hippocampus is one of the first areas of the brain to degrade in Alzheimer’s disease.

“People with Alzheimer’s may forget experiences and people because they are not able to effectively target their old memories. They can’t retrieve memories because they can’t get the right general cue to get to that memory,” he said.

That’s one of the issues he would like to explore in future studies. Sederberg said he hopes to repeat this study with people of different ages and with people who are showing early signs of dementia to see how their brains are representing their memories.

He also plans to collect months or even a year’s worth of data to see how we target memories over even longer periods of time and greater distances.

“We’ve got a decade or more of work ahead of us. This is just the first step,” Sederberg said.