Today's Top Alzheimer's News

Five brain challenges that we can overcome in the next decade, the need for a national Alzheimer's movement, and NIH policy change aims to increase female representation in medical research (read more).

Must reads

  • A May 16, 2014 The Conversation article by Barbara Sahakian highlighted five brain challenges that "we can overcome in the next decade" including Alzheimer's. According to the article, "Forty specialists from different areas, including neuroscience, mental health, innovation and technology were asked what they thought was a significant and important problems in neuroscience which could be answered in the next ten years? Five themes emerged from their answers...Understanding the neurodegenerative cascade of plaques and tangles, which leads to dementia, and developing effective treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s is possible within the next ten years, according to the experts in the survey." Barbara Sahakian is professor of clinical neuropsychology at University of Cambridge.
  • A May 15, 2014 The New York Times article called Alzheimer's a "neglected epidemic." Drawing comparisons to AIDS movement, the article highlighted the severity of Alzheimer's and the need for a similar campaign. According to the article, "In another distinguishing moment, the city health department announced this year that for the first time AIDS had fallen out of the 10 leading causes of death in New York. Replacing it was Alzheimer’s, whose damage is sure to multiply as the number of older New Yorkers increases — by 2030 there will be close to 500,000 more people over age 60 than there were at the beginning of the century…And yet there has been no social movement analogous in profile or resonance to what erupted in the name of combating AIDS and breast cancer in the early 1980s. From the early-20th-century fight against infant mortality to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s campaign against smoking, the public health movements that have gained the most momentum have been those that have sought to abate what can only be classified as tragedy — death visited too early...Creating a popular movement to deal with Alzheimer’s will in some sense require a cultural reckoning with this denial. The lesson of “The Normal Heart” is the invidiousness of denial — the necessity of a mission’s being shared, to ensure effectiveness...Right now, one of the best-known spokesmen for Alzheimer’s research is the actor Seth Rogen, the national symbol of protracted adolescence. What the movement really needs is its own Larry Kramer." [Full article attached]

Research, science, and technology

  • A May 15, 2014 WBUR (Boston NPR) article reported on a recent policy change at NIH that requires researchers to increase female participation in research. According to the article, "In less than two months since the Summit and report release, the federal government has moved on several major changes that are closely reflected in the recommendations from that report, the most recent being this week’s unprecedented policy change at the National Institutes of Health that will now require researchers to expand inclusion of female cells and lab animals in NIH-funded medical research at both the clinical and pre-clinical stage."
  • A May 15, 2014 Tech Times article reported that it's "too early to conclude whether antidepressant drug Celexa may slow Alzheimer's disease." According to the article, ""Antidepressants appear to be significantly reducing amyloid beta production, and that's exciting," said senior study author Dr. John Cirrito, a neurology professor at Washington University School of Medicine. "But while antidepressants generally are well tolerated, they have risks and side effects. Until we can more definitively prove that these drugs help slow or stop Alzheimer's in humans, the risks aren't worth it. There is still much more work to do.""

 

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