Today's Top Alzheimer's News

Congress urged to invest in Alzheimer's cure, more on Salk Institute breakthrough, and the UK pushes for better dementia diagnosis (read more).

Must reads and watch

  • A May 15, 2013 Forbes.com opinion piece by Hanns Kuttner, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, urged Congressional Republicans to invest in cures and new medical treatments for diseases like Alzheimer's to fix Medicare. According to Kuttner, "Curing disease and new medical treatments embrace an optimism that resonates with the American people and their hopes and dreams for a better future.  Medicare’s role in a spreadsheet that shows a balanced budget can never do that...Republicans have an opportunity to pursue a path of optimism and hope, of cures and improved treatment.  Consider: New therapies that would delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by five years could save $50 billion within five years.   These savings could be tomorrow’s version of the savings that resulted from closing iron lung units after the introduction of the polio vaccine. Politicians’ skills do not include conjuring up new therapies for Alzheimer’s. The challenge for legislators is to shape a policy environment most conductive to developing new therapies."
  • A May 14, 2013 KPBS.org article reported on a recent Alzheimer's breakthrough by the Salk Institute that could "potentially stop the progression of Alzheimer's disease." As previously reported, Salk researchers have found that "J147 can improve multiple types of memory in mice with the disease. More significantly, they demonstrated that it could prevent synapses in the brain from disconnecting, effectively halting the disease." According to the article, "Schubert says this research brings cause for optimism, but cautions that taking the next step will be a challenge. His lab is ready to submit an investigational new drug application with the FDA. But that process will cost $1.5 million, no small sum for a lab using unconventional methods in a post-sequestration funding landscape."
  • A May 14, 2013 YouTube post by the Milken Institute featured a panel entitled Stopping Alzheimer's: Personal, Economic and Policy Imperatives. The panel included USA2 Chairman George Vradenburg, Oracle's Neil de Crescenzo, GE's Sue Siegel, and others. 

 International 

  • A May 15, 2013 The Independent (UK) editorial applauded British Prime Minister David Cameron's dedication to stopping dementia in Britain. According to the editorial, "The Prime Minister ought, therefore, to be congratulated for making investment in dementia research and diagnosis a top priority under Britain’s forthcoming chairmanship of the G8. At a difficult time for their party, he and Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, have shown long-overdue leadership on this critical issue."
  • A May 14, 2013 The Guardian (UK) article reported that doctors in the UK will "set a target to diagnose another 160,000 dementia sufferers in a government drive to tackle the incurable brain condition." According to the article, only 350,000 of Britain's estimated 670,000 dementia sufferers have been diagnosed with the condition. The government will hold a dementia summit in the UK in September to address the issue. According to Prime Minister Cameron, "Families, communities, health systems and their budgets will increasingly be strained as the number affected increases and so we need to do all we can to improve how we research, diagnose and treat the disease. That's why we're using our G8 to bring together health ministers, clinical researchers and healthcare companies. If the brightest minds are working together on this then we've got a greater chance of improving treatments and finding scientific breakthroughs."

Research and science

  • A May 14, 2013 White House Office of Science and Technology Policy blog post reported that the White House will kick off "We the Geeks" on Thursday May 14, 2013 to highlight the future of science, technology, and innovation in the US. According to the post, "The first "We the Geeks" Hangout will focus on Grand Challenges, ambitious goals on a national or global scale that capture the imagination and demand advances in innovation and breakthroughs in science and technology." Tune in Thursday, May 16, at 2:00 p.m. EDT on WhiteHouse.gov and on the White House Google+ page.
  • A May 14, 2013 Huffingtonpost.com article reported on advances in biomarker prediction for Alzheimer's disease. According to the article, "By studying spinal fluid samples and health data from 201 research participants at the Charles F. and Joanne Knight Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown various biomarkers are reliable predictors of Alzheimer’s even years before symptoms become evident."

 Human interest 

  • A May 15, 2013 AARP Blog post profiled caregiver and sociologist Cathy Greenblatt's mission "to show what it is like to keep your dignity when you have Alzheimer’s. According to the article, "For more than a decade, she’s traveled around the world taking photos of people with dementia. The self-taught photographer has taken pictures in private homes, memory clinics, residential facilities, memory clinics and adult day centers. The people are often with loved ones, often smiling and giggling."
  • A May 14, 2013 New York Times article reported that John LaMontaine, a Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer, died at the age of 93 from Alzheimer's disease. LaMontaine's works were performed widely and included the orchestral music for John F. Kennedy’s presidential inauguration.

 

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