Today’s Top Alzheimer’s News
A March 17, 2017 AlzForum post reported on the potential effects of funding cuts for science and research in the proposed 2018 budget, America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again. It remains unclear how the cuts will affect federal funding into research on Alzheimer’s and related dementias. According to George Vradenburg of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, “We are hopeful that congressional champions of this research will resist and not reduce NIH spending or Alzheimer’s investments.” Cuts could deter new talent from entering the field, shift leadership in biomedicine to other countries and spell disaster for our fiscal future because of the high expense of caring for people with dementia. “This could negate much of the great progress we have seen over the last several years and could directly impede our ability to reach the goals laid out in the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA),” wrote Bruce Lamb, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis.
A March 20, 2017 Daily Beast article reported on a Republican bill, “Preserving Employer Wellness Programs” (H.R. 1313), sponsored by North Carolina Republican Virginia Foxx (House Education and the Workforce Committee chair), that would require employees to undergo genetic testing and allow employers to see the results—or face a financial penalty. The bill would override privacy protections in a 2008 federal law, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), and challenges protections implicit in the Affordable Care Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Despite a number of studies showing that health and wellness programs in the business community don’t significantly cut healthcare costs, there is enough positive data to suggest they are the wave of the future.
A March 17, 2017 ABC 33/40 news segment reported on an Alzheimer’s prevention study in Alabama that is currently enrolling participants who are 65+ and worried about their risk of AD. According to UAB Neurologist, Dr. David Geldmacher, "What we're able to do is identify the presence of the Alzheimer's problem in the brain, with technology like pet scans and then administer a therapy that we hope will remove that protein from the brain and prevent the development of Alzheimer’s.” Call 1-844-A4STUDY for more information on how to participate in the study.
RESEARCH, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
A March 19, 2017 STL News article highlights the work of Carlos Cruchaga, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine, who was recently awarded $7 million in grants from the National Institute of Aging (NIA). The grant will fund two Alzheimer’s disease studies focused on genetics in the hopes of answering, “Why some people develop the disease and others don’t,” and understanding how to identify people who are at a higher risk for developing AD. The first will compare genetic variations in a population based study. The second will focus on families with multiple members that have AD. The long-term goal is to be able to recognize who is at risk, predict when they will most likely develop the disease and how quickly it will progress.
EVENTS AND RESOURCES
Register for the free FasterCures webinar, “Changing organizational culture in medical R&D,” on Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 2-3pm (EST). Many of the behaviors slowing faster progress in the discovery and development of new medical products are things that organizations everywhere have been confronting for decades, if not centuries – lack of effective communication and collaboration, siloization of information and expertise, incentives not aligned with the collective behaviors we want to see. What can the biomedical R&D ecosystem learn from the vast literature and learnings from outside the space about how to change organizational culture and behavior to build a more effective, efficient enterprise?