Today's Top Alzheimer's News

Ezekiel Emanuel defends CMS' decision not to widely cover Lilly's Amyvid PET Imaging for Alzheimer’s, NPR focuses on one couple's early onset Alzheimer's diagnosis, and the latest in Alzheimer's research advancements (read more). 

 

Must reads

  • A November 16, 2013 New York Times opinion piece by Ezekiel J. Emanuel defended Medicare's decision not to pay for Eli Lilly’s PET scan test unconditionally. According to the article, "But today, individuals 55 or younger are likely to live past 80, which means they stand a good chance of getting Alzheimer’s dementia. We don’t need an expensive test to tell us that we should all be planning for the possibility of Alzheimer’s — investing in long-term care insurance, exercising and staying socially active. Alzheimer’s disease is scary. But that is no reason for society to waste a lot of money on a test that really doesn’t help. It is a reason for a lot more research on Alzheimer’s, including Medicare’s randomized trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the test. This research will take time, but there is no other path forward."
  • A November 16, 2013 NPR article and radio vignette profiled one California couple's life together after an early onset Alzheimer's diagnosis and their efforts to reach out to the African American community. According to the article, "Pansy Greene says her secret to maintaining a normal life is to keep active. She's almost never without a book of crossword puzzles; she reads her Bible daily, babysits her grandkids and goes for walks. She's also become passionate about raising awareness of Alzheimer's disease…African-Americans are roughly twice as likely to get the disease as whites, so Pansy wanted to make sure the organization was reaching out to her community."They don't know where to go. They don't have the money to get all that testing and stuff," she says. "That's in our neighborhood. That's what the black people do. They can't afford [testing], so they just say 'I can't do it.'"

Research and science 

  • A November 17, 2013 UT San Diego article reported that the University of California San Diego will take part in a major nation-wide Alzheimer's drug trial focused on individuals without symptoms. According to the article, "For the first time, an Alzheimer’s drug will be tested exclusively on people who show no symptoms, said UC San Diego Alzheimer’s researcher Dr. Paul Aisen, a leader in the trial...About 300 people already have indicated interest in what is called the Anti-Amyloid in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s Disease study, or A4. Amyloid is a protein tangle found in brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients. It’s believed to interfere with their functioning and eventually lead to their death. Solanezumab, developed by Eli Lilly, targets the amyloid."
  • A November 16, 2013 Guardian (UK) article reported on the possible repurposing of an arthritis drug to treat Alzheimer's. According to the article, "He's been testing etanercept, a drug widely used for rheumatoid arthritis. It blocks the production of TNF-alpha, one of the signalling molecules, or cytokines, used by immune cells to communicate with each other. In the next few months, he expects the results of a pilot trial in people with Alzheimer's. If they are positive, he'll test the strategy in people with only the mildest early forms of the disease."

 

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