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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War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future
Berlusconi's world of sleaze: The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM

Berlusconi's world of sleaze

The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM
Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Films and theme parks are just the beginning. Disney believes its control of the now decades-old franchise can bring in merchandise and marketing millions for years to come
Could the golden age of the gaming arcade ever be revived in the era of the Xbox?

Could gaming arcades be revived?

The days when coin-ops were the only way to play the latest video games are gone. But a small band of enthusiasts are keeping the button-pushing dream alive
Edinburgh Fringe 2015: The 'tampon tax' has inspired a new wave of female comedians to reclaim period jokes

Heard the one about menstruation?

Yes, if you have been at the Fringe, where period pieces are taking centre stage