i Philip Pullman, author

Say a little prayer for me?

Memory switch-on could help fight brain disease

Memories have been blocked and recovered in experiments that hold out the prospect of "artificial limbs for the mind" to combat Alzheimer's and other brain diseases. The experiments were done on rats and demonstrated that when an electronic switch implanted in the brain is flipped, the ability to retrieve memories returned.

Surprise discovery allows scientists to block Alzheimer's

Scientists developing treatments for the devastating brain disorder Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) have unexpectedly blocked the onset of Alzheimer's disease, the most common cause of dementia.

Album: Gyorgy Kurtag, Signs, Games and Messages (Mode)

Composed and revised between the mid-1960s and now, György Kurtág's Signs, Games and Messages is a sequence of 24 fragmentary individual pieces for solo viola, realised en masse for the first time here by Maurizio Barbetti.

Album: Barb Jungr, Man in the Long Black Coat (Linn)

A compilation of Dylan covers from various stages of her career, freshened up with four new recordings, Man in the Long Black Coat mines Barb Jungr's fascination with the septuagenarian troubadour with variable results.

Culture Club: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (12A)

Readers review this week's big film

Exile, BBC1, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday<br/>The Shadow Line, BBC2, Thursday<br/>Psychoville, BBC2, Thursday

Alzheimer's-stricken family saves an over-busy thriller, while true terror lurks with a Silent Singer

The Secret Life Of The Grown-up Brain, By Barbara Strauch

The cartoonish cover of this book might give the impression that it is a lowbrow read but it turns out that its writer is a Pulitzer prize-winning science journalist who has previously delved into the teenage brain and who knows her stuff.

A test for Alzheimer's disease &ndash; but will anyone want to take it?

Important new insights into Alzheimer's disease have emerged from the discovery of a handful of genes that are strongly implicated in raising a person's risk of developing the brain disorder in later life.

Sleep hormone 'may reduce dementia'

Doctors are leading a new study into a drug which could improve the quality of life for people with dementia.

Council staff sacked 'and then rehired for less pay'

A growing number of local authorities are dismissing staff and re-engaging them on worse pay and conditions as part of major cuts sweeping the country, outraged union officials revealed today.

Warning over NHS reform and dementia demand

The Government's reforms of the NHS will not tackle the growing demand from dementia sufferers, according to a new report.

Cell breakthrough for Alzheimer's

Brain cells that play a critical role in Alzheimer's disease have been created in the laboratory by scientists.

Natalie Haynes: You're asking me if I'm happy? What kind of a question is that?

How do you feel about the forthcoming census? Is it a) Hooray. I love genealogy, and my descendants are going to be pretty interested in this; b) Put on the foil hats, Ma – they're trying to read our minds again; c) It takes how long to fill in? Forty minutes? Then someone had best get me a pencil and two gins, or we're just not going to get through this; or d) Can't we just pretend to be out?

Speaking a second language can delay dementia onset for years

Speaking a second language may slow the rate at which the brain declines with age, showing that bilingual people are better protected against Alzheimer's disease than people who use only one language.

Album: Joyce DiDonato, Diva Divo (Virgin Classics)

For Joyce DiDonato, the restrictions of her mezzo-soprano range are more than adequately compensated for by the opportunity to play a wider range of characters, "from ardent young men to demented, murderous wives".

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Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable