Today's Top Alzheimer's News

We got the human genome a decade ago but where are the Alzheimer's drugs? The Cure Alzheimer's Fund sets out a plan of attack for a drug development starategy, and a new book highlights a powerful story of family love and Alzheimer's disease (read more). 

Must reads

  • A January 30, 2014 The Atlantic article by computational biologist Jim Kozubek highlighted the link between Alzheimer's and genetic research and posed the question: "We got the human genome a decade ago. Where are the drugs?" According to Kozubek, "Alzheimer’s is so common, shouldn’t we have a drug? In fact, many common diseases are turning out to have diverse and collective genetic origins, or etiologies. Consider that the human genome contains 23,000 protein coding genes. Many experts had expected it would carry 100,000 genes. The initial reaction to this finding was that the genome was surprisingly simple. How wrong we were. We now know that the genome contains heaps of code that is transcribed into RNA but never becomes protein, the so-called non-coding RNA...Alzheimer’s research is undergoing a shift to a “systems” or “networks” approach, where instead of just pinpointing a single mutation or genetic variant, we are now looking at networks—groups of molecules that go to work together on shifts on the cellular factory floor. We can see major shifts in RNA occurring in brain tissue, but the causes of these changes are often invisible to us. So far, a large component of it appears to us as Dark Matter."
  • A January 28, 2014 Cure Alzheimer's Fund post outlined three points of attack for an Alzheimer's drug development strategy. According to the post, "In view of an emerging consensus on how Alzheimer’s disease develops and progresses, the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Research Consortium aggressively is focusing on three opportunities for possible intervention—at the early stage of the disease, the middle stage and the late stage. This comprehensive strategy addresses the whole picture of how Alzheimer’s disease develops and progresses, and attacks all three points simultaneously."

Arts and culture 

  • A January 31, 2014 The Guardian article reviewed the book Where Memories Go: Why Dementia Changes Everything by Sally Magnusson. According to the review, "Dementia is a disease that proceeds in little spirals – there are a few mirages of a return to cogency – but, unlike mental illness, it is, at present, incurable. It ends only in death. The narrative structure of Where Memories Go alternates between the story of Mamie's advancing illness and Sally's own journalistic excursions – like other carers before her, Magnusson trudges round from expert to expert trying to understand. I did much the same myself a decade earlier. The experts throw some light on the nature of Alzheimer's disease, but it is hard to see how any of it helps, and these are the least interesting chapters."

 

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