Today’s Top Alzheimer’s News
A June 14, 2017 STAT News First Opinion piece by UsAgainstAlzheimer’s board members, Drs. David Satcher and William Vega, underscored the growing impact of Alzheimer’s on communities of color. According to the authors, “It’s time to stop side-stepping the obvious: In addition to affecting the lives of virtually all Americans in the coming years, Alzheimer’s disease will devastate communities of color. We must act with urgency and coordinated force today to prevent that from happening… We must take heed of the CDC’s latest data and address the Alzheimer’s crisis by increasing investments in Alzheimer’s breakthrough research and care support in 2018 and beyond. It’s essential that these efforts include a focus on addressing disparities in brain health affecting Latino and African-American families — a smart move for the economy and our public health.” David Satcher, MD is a former US Surgeon General, and the Founding Director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. William A. Vega, PhD is the Executive Director of the Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging at the University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.
A June 14, 2017 KCUR radio segment focused on the challenges, both marketing and logistical, of finding volunteers to participate in clinical trials at the University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center. Washington, DC-based Global Alzheimer’s Platform (GAP) partners with the likes of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center to recruit people for clinical trials. According to GAP President, John Dwyer (UsA2 Board member), “Most folks that enroll in a clinical trial in cancer are therapy seeking. They've already received a diagnosis or a possible diagnosis of cancer, so they're both motivated and have a very grounded need.” Someone in the early stages of AD may appear cognitively normal and are not “therapy seeking.”
According to a June 14, 2017 Today article, a growing number of people under the age of 65 are being diagnosed with “young-onset” dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. The rising trend in Singapore is similar to some Western countries, and likely due to increased awareness and diagnosis. “Due to the younger onset age of the disease, many patients may still be in employment and may have young families. They are therefore likely to face significant social challenges and lifestyle changes brought on by high economic burdens,” said Dr. Adeline Ng, Neuroscience Clinic Department of Neurology Consultant, National Neuroscience Institute (Singapore).
A June 13, 2017 The San Diego Union-Tribune segment and article spotlighted a new study led by the Keck School of Medicine of USC which finds that Alzheimer’s disease begins destroying the brain years before mental deterioration is detected. There could be twice the number of people with AD in the US, and worldwide, as is currently believed. Cognitively normal individuals with elevated levels of amyloid experienced more rapid declines in thinking than those with normal levels.
RESEARCH, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
A June 13, 2017 EurekAlert! article reported that the NIH awarded a five-year, $6 million grant to Cleveland Clinic to establish the Dementia with Lewy Bodies Consortium, focused on improving the diagnosis and understanding the cause for Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB). It will centralize research efforts and create a national, coordinated registry for clinical data, as well as seek biomarkers to help diagnose, detect disease progression, and ultimately measure response to treatment. According to Dr. Leverenz, Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Brain Health Center Director, “Finding a biomarker for DLB is a top research priority and can ultimately improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients with this disease."
A June 13, 2017 Science Daily article focused on a new study, presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, demonstrating that a single dual time-point PET scan could identify important biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease. The study involved two scans observing blood flow and amyloid burden in the brain, two biomarkers of AD. According to Henryk Barthel, MD, PhD, Department of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital Leipzig (Germany), "Until now, researchers conducted two separate molecular imaging procedures to glean information about beta-amyloid buildup and neuronal injury in the brain. This study provides proof-of-concept that information about both biomarkers can be obtained from the administration of a single PET tracer."
A June 13, 2017 People segment and article interviewed Kim and Ashley Campbell, wife and daughter (respectively) of country music legend, Glen Campbell. Glen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011 but the disease has not taken his love of music. “Sometimes he’ll just close his eyes and kind of smile and start singing along, even though we don’t know what he’s singing along to, but he’s got a song in his heart and it’s really beautiful to see that,” said Ashley. His farewell album, “Adiós” was released last week.
EVENTS AND RESOURCES
On Tuesday, June 20th, Argentum will host the 2017 Argentum Memory Care Symposium in Washington, DC where attendees will be able to engage with and hear from leading voices in senior living memory care operations and advocates for expanded dementia-related research. Participants will learn about memory care in diverse communities and explore innovative, evidence-based approaches aimed at improving memory care services in senior living communities. UsAgainstAlzheimer's Co-Founder, George Vradenburg, will give a keynote on "Dementia Care: Advancing the Paradigm,” and UsAgainstAlzheimer's Ginny Biggar, Jason Resendez and Stephanie Monroe will appear on the panel, "Memory Care & Diverse Communities: The Need for Action & Resources."