Today’s Top Alzheimer’s News
A May 19, 2017 Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News article reported that spit could provide clues to your future brain health, according to a new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, "Diagnostic Biomarkers of Alzheimer's Disease as Identified in Saliva using 1H NMR-Based Metabolomics." Investigators at the Beaumont Research Institute (Beaumont Health in Michigan) believe that small molecules in saliva will help identify those at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. "Our team's study demonstrates the potential for using metabolomics and saliva for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. Given the ease and convenience of collecting saliva, the development of accurate and sensitive biomarkers would be ideal for screening those at greatest risk of developing Alzheimer's. In fact, unlike blood or cerebrospinal fluid, saliva is one of the most noninvasive means of getting cellular samples, and it's also inexpensive,” said Senior Study Investigator, Stewart Graham, PhD.
A May 18, 2017 The Los Angeles Times article spotlights how to determine when a lapse in memory or thinking should become a cause for concern, or be chalked up to normal forgetting. According to Heather Snyder, Chicago Alzheimer’s Association Senior Director of Medical and Scientific Operations, the main symptom to look for is a change in abilities, and that dementia often manifests as difficulty learning new things. Dr. Paul Aisen of the Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute of USC’s Keck School of Medicine in San Diego recommends staying healthy with mental, physical and social activity.
According to a May 18, 2017 Neurology Advisor article, a study at McGill University Research Centre for Studies in Aging in Montreal, Quebec and published in Neurology, shows that neuropsychiatric symptoms, specifically sleep behavior and irritability, are linked to metabolic dysfunction and may be an early noncognitive symptom of Alzheimer's dementia. PET imaging (positron emission tomography) can detect metabolic decline in neurodegenerative conditions like AD. “Our findings support an emerging conceptual framework that NPS (neuropsychiatric symptoms), driven by sleep behavior and irritability domains, are early manifestations of AD pathophysiology. Therefore, early NPS may further contribute to the characterization of the preclinical AD stage,” the investigators concluded.
RESEARCH, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
A May 16, 2017 Daily Mail video and article focused on a new virtual reality (VR) system, VirtuCare, which is being used as a form of therapy for people with dementia to recall memories. It includes scenes designed to relax them in the hope of jogging memories - including a nostalgic beach and forest full of animals. Designed by Hertfordshire based organizations, Tribemix and Quantum Care, Tribemix said, “This is important because, with dementia, in particular, the level of stimulation needs to be very accurately controlled. The experience can be too stimulating, or not stimulating enough. So by using 3D, we have been able to perfect these balances to deliver our incredible results.” The kit also includes activity cards to help bring back memories through questions and keywords that the carer or nurse can ask.
A May 16, 2017 Science Daily article highlighted a new study in Molecular Psychiatry from researchers at Karolinska Institutet, who measured how deposits of tau protein spread through the brain over the course of Alzheimer's disease. Using PET brain imaging to measure the spread of tau deposits and amyloid plaque, they charted the energy metabolism of the brain cells and concluded the size of the deposit and the speed of spread differ from one individual to the next. “There's been an international race to measure tau spread, and we probably got there first. There are no previous reports on how tau deposits spread after 17 months into the disease. Our results can improve understanding of tau accumulation in Alzheimer's disease, help ongoing research to quantify the effect of tau vaccines, and enable early diagnosis,” according to Professor Agneta Nordberg, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society.
In a May 18, 2017 Click 2 Houston "Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall" segment, Marshall interviews Jim Ray, PhD, Neurodegeneration Consortium’s Director of Research, about finding a cure for Alzheimer’s. Ray talks about what families can do to cope with the stress of Alzheimer’s, how long it might take to begin to see positive results toward finding a cure for the disease and much more.