Avid Radiopharmaceuticals may have just surmounted the highest barrier to developing new treatments for Alzheimer's disease: a definitive diagnosis. Gina Kolata files the fascinating story in today's New York Times about the company's breakthrough imaging dye, which enables PET scans to show plaque buildup in the brain. Such a test presents a whole new world of possibilities in Alzheimer's research and drug development.
Not nearly as specific, but equally fascinating to us, is what scientists are uncovering about age-related dementia when they treat words like data. NPR's Radiolab tells how an English professor studying the late works of Agatha Christie and doctors studying the diaries of nuns have stumbled across hidden clues to the mysteries of aging brains. Listen to the Radiolab podcast "Vanishing Words" on WNYC.org.