Livemocha(TM) Brings Language Learning Out of the Stone Age

Livemocha(TM), the world’s largest online language learning community, announced the launch of Livemocha Active Courses(TM), a set of ground-breaking online language courses for English, French, Italian, German and Spanish that promise conversational fluency through the combination of world-class course curriculum, personalized feedback from Livemocha Experts, and limitless practice with native speakers.

Designed with the help of leading language publishers Pearson and Harper Collins, the new Active Courses provide a set of online self-study courses that match or exceed the educational caliber of traditional textbook curriculum while integrating online community instruction to ensure the level of fluency that only practice with native speakers can bring. The Active Course offerings promise conversational fluency upon course completion and at a fraction of the cost of traditional language learning software.

Livemocha will continue to offer free, basic lessons in 38 languages including Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Farsi, Hindi and Ukrainian.

The Hunt for Blood Biomarkers to Diagnose Alzheimer’s

Attempts to find a lone biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease — whether it’s in blood, spinal fluid, or the brain — have largely failed.  The Texas Alzheimer’s Research Consortium project conducted a longitudinal case-control study, using stored blood samples to develop an algorithm that separates patients with Alzheimer’s disease from controls. The biomarker assays looked at hundreds of proteins, including thrombopoietin, TNF-alpha, creatine kinase, and various interleukins.  The his team focused on a large array of blood-based proteins, since assay technology has now made it possible to evaluate large amounts of data.   Screening for these biomarkers and factoring in age, sex, education, and APOE status led to a sensitivity of 0.94 and a specificity of 0.84,  as reported by Sid O’Bryant, PhD, of Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, Texas, and colleagues in the Archives of Neurology.   They also saw that many of the proteins with the highest importance were inflammatory in nature, which suggests that the existence of an inflammatory-related endophenotype of Alzheimer’s disease “may provide targeted therapeutic opportunities for this subset of patients.”