News and Commentary Archive

Explore recent scientific discoveries and news as well as CLBB events, commentary, and press.

Mission

The speed of technology in neuroscience as it impacts ethical and just decisions in the legal system needs to be understood by lawyers, judges, public policy makers, and the general public. The Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior is an academic and professional resource for the education, research, and understanding of neuroscience and the law. Read more

In Alzheimer’s Cases, Financial Ruin and Abuse Are Always Lurking

By Paul Sullivan | January 30, 2015 | The New York Times “Your Money” “Wealth Matters”

Midway through the film “Still Alice,” which tracks the growing grip of Alzheimer’s on a 50-something Columbia University professor, that professor, played by Julianne Moore, stands at a lectern to address an Alzheimer’s conference. She is holding a yellow highlighter and a copy of her speech.

She proceeds to talk about her struggles with the disease and how she never knows what will vanish from her memory and when. It’s a lucid, affecting talk, and the viewer would be hard pressed to know anything was wrong with her, if not for the highlighter. She uses it to track her every word so she doesn’t read the same sentence over and over again.

For anyone who has ever watched a family member disappear into Alzheimer’s, Ms. Moore’s performance is gripping, particularly as her tricks to stall her decline inevitably fail and the later stages of the disease consume her. Yet the movie is also a great vessel to explore many of the financial issues that families need to address when someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or any other disease that causes cognitive impairment.

Continue reading »

When Frontotemporal Dementia Leads to Crime—Prosecution or Protection?

By Jessica Shugart | Alz Forum | January 13, 2015

For some, it starts with stealing candy. For others, it’s a reckless car crash, or a sudden penchant to urinate in public. The type of incident varies, but according to a study published January 5 in JAMA Neurology, more than a third of people with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) act out criminal behaviors. In some cases, the odd conduct is the first clear signal to their loved ones that something is way off. Led by Bruce Miller at the University of California, San Francisco, the study also reported bad behavior in people with Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases; however, those patients’ misconduct tended to surface later in the disease and to a lesser degree than it did in people with FTD. The study raises questions about how the criminal justice system should handle people with FTD and, even more pressingly, concerns about the plight of undiagnosed patients who may be languishing in prisons or on the streets. Continue reading »

Giving Back By Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness

Bruce H. Price, M.D. and Meredith Vieira at the Harvard Alzheimer’s Symposium

On Saturday, September 28, 2013, CLBB co-director Bruce Price, M.D. was one of the featured speakers at the first annual Harvard Alzheimer’s Symposium. Sponsored by the Harvard College Alzheimer’s Buddies program and hosted by television personality Meredith Vieira, the event brought together experts, those affected by the illness, and students.

“The Harvard Alzheimer’s Symposium is not just an effort to raise awareness, but also an effort to turn that awareness into active contribution in the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease,” Vieira said.

According to Harvard Medical School professor Ruth Kandel, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., affecting about 5.4 million Americans, or one in nine elderly people.

CLBB is actively at work on ways to protect those in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementing illness, like Parkinson’s Disease, from financial fraud and other forms of abuse.

Alzheimer’s Buddies is an organization that pairs high school and college students with patients suffering from dementia.