Today’s Top Alzheimer’s News


On a July 26, 2017 DIA Podcast interview, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s policy advisor Debra Lappin discussed the emerging field of patient powered drug development, where her team at Faegre Baker Daniels participates in several of the leading policy and program initiatives with groups like UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. 


An August 11, 2017 WAMU/NPR radio segment focused on the relationship between hospice profits and the rates of “live discharges.” Federal regulators question whether hospices are making money by admitting patients who aren’t actually dying. But these decisions aren’t that clear cut, says Dr. Joe Rotella, Chief Medical Officer for the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. “We see more and more patients that have conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease that don’t always follow a predictable course,” says Rotella.

An August 10, 2017 Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis article focused on new research which finds that people with specific mutations in the gene TREM2 are three times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who carry more common variants of the gene. These mutations cause energy deficits in cells that clear away debris in the brain and therefore cannot protect neurons from harmful plaques that collect as people age. According to senior study author Marco Colonna, MD, “So if you have dysfunction in these cells, you have an accelerated process of neurodegeneration. If the cells are more functional, you can delay the process.”

(ICYMI) An August 10, 2017 Kaiser Health article via The Columbian looked at the push for more African Americans to donate their brains for dementia research. Until recently, knowledge of the pathology of dementia was largely based on studies of white patients, and scientists now acknowledge the need for a more representative slice of the population. Studying the brain after death is crucial to developing drug treatments.


An August 10, 2017 Upper Michigans Source article reported that the Department of Defense will cover new care plans to support Alzheimer’s patients covered through TRICARE and their families. TRICARE serves 9.5 million active duty service members, National Guard and Reserve members, retirees, family members, and survivors. According to Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), “Millions of individuals across the country are affected by Alzheimer’s, including many who have bravely served our country. This announcement is great news for our servicemen and women, as well as their families, and I’m very proud of the role my colleagues and I played in encouraging the department’s decision.”


An August 10, 2017 Forbes article spotlighted the annual Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit in July, which brought together experts in aging from around the globe. China is leading the way with technology addressing the upcoming caregiving crisis, and easing the burden of aging. According to Alisha Tharani of the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation in Ontario, “We are looking for innovations to keep people at home, support caregivers and make sure people are happy and socially engaged.”

An August 10, 2017 ABC (Australia) article highlighted the town of Ouyen, Australia, a small community where locals have rallied around one of their own who received an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. According to Bertilla Campbell, an Alzheimer's Australia Vic Consultant, “Isolation can make it harder because of carer stress and carer burden of dealing with symptoms on your own. The services have to embrace being responsive to the needs of the people that come to them for support and be very person-centred.”

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