Alzheimer's

Shantiana Smith and Laura Smith in the bathroom of their North Austin home.
Michael Minasi / KUT

When Friday night comes around, many millennials are anxious to swap their cubicles for a seat at the bar. But some don't have that flexibility. After she finishes her customer support job with Apple, Shantiana Smith heads to her second job at her two-bedroom apartment in North Austin. 

Marcia Crosby sings with the Love Notes Chorus, a troupe made up of people with early memory loss, their caregivers and volunteers.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Millions of Americans — mostly seniors — are living with Alzheimer's or other diseases that cause memory loss. But there's one part of the brain that often isn't affected: the part that stores musical memory. 

Some tiny clusters of brain cells grown in a lab dish are making big news at this week's Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego.

Known as "minibrains," these rudimentary networks of cells are small enough to fit on the head of a pin, but already are providing researchers with insights into everything from early brain development to Down syndrome, Alzheimer's and Zika.