Today's Top Alzheimer's News

George Vradenburg's leadership in the global fight against Alzheimer's, Luminosity provides researchers access to its customer data to address Alzheimer's and other cognitive issues, and a new Census Bureau report highlights aging issues facing baby boomers (read more). 

Must reads and watch 

  • A June DD News article reported on the growing global movement to stop Alzheimer's and highlighted USA2's Chairman George Vradenburg's leadership in the effort. According to Vradenburg, "I think this is, since HIV/AIDS, the first time there has been a global effort like this...The effort with AIDS is only a decade, a decade-and-a-half old, so that’s relatively recent. There was an effort around whole-genome sequencing, but that was pretty much research only. This is the first time since HIV/AIDS that the world has come together across sectors and across countries to try and address a common global health problem.”
  • A June 30, 2014 ABC 27 (PA) article and broadcast segment reported that Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) was at Harrisburg University underscoring the need for an Alzheimer's postage stamp to raise research dollars. According to the article, "Toomey co-sponsors a bill that would raise funding through an Alzheimer’s postage stamp. Since 1998, a breast cancer stamps have raised more than $75 million, according to Toomey. Toomey said less than two percent of the National Institute of Health’s budget goes toward the debilitating disease, not enough in his eyes."

Big data

  • A June 30, 2014 Washington Post article reported that the brain training company Luminosity.com is allowing researchers access to its trove of customer data. According to the article, "As Lumosity’s customers — 60 million and growing — log on day after day, year after year since 2007, the information they generate from their play is collected into a giant repository of data, the world’s largest about how the human brain functions and changes over time. And in an unusual move, the private company is allowing access to any academic researcher interested in studying it…Michael Weiner, a professor at the University of California at San Francisco who focuses on Alzheimer’s disease, is using Lumosity data to try to identify people who might be at risk for the condition or other mental problems as they grow older. He’s working with the company’s longitudinal data about people who play some of the memory games. Only about 16 percent of people with Alzheimer’s have a gene that is known to be associated with it, so scientists have been looking for other ways to identify those who may be at risk, he said. He said part of the trick in working with big data is figuring out what to look for."
  • A June 30, 2014 Long-Term Living article reported on CEOi, Sage Bionetworks, and the DREAM Project's efforts to leverage big data to tackle Alzheimer's. According to George Vradenburg, Convener of CEOi and Chairman of USAgainstAlzheimer’s, “Alzheimer’s is more costly to society than cancer, yet there is currently no cure, treatment, or means of prevention…This unprecedented and innovative challenge will showcase the use of open science using 21st century tools, leading to a potential breakthrough for the Alzheimer’s research community.” 

Caregiving and baby boomers 

  • A June 30, 2014 WESA Pittsburg NPR (PA) article reported on Sen. Bob Casey's (D-PA) efforts to raise awareness of caregiving issues. According to the article, "On Monday, Casey held a hearing in Pittsburgh to learn more about the experiences of people in the “sandwich generation” and to hear from social service and healthcare professionals about potential policy changes that could ease the burden of those caring for both parents and children…Casey added that he is currently working on a bill to create a “Caregiver Corps,” a program that would train volunteers to care for the elderly, in order to give people like Tom Moore and his wife Becky an opportunity to go out to dinner once in a while."
  • A June 30, 2014 NIH announcement highlighted a new Census Bureau report on the "effect of aging boomers." Dr. Richard Suzman, director of NIA’s Division of Behavioral and Social Research, stated, “This report shows how aging in America is changing in fundamental ways...Baby boomers had far fewer children than their parents. Combined with higher divorce rates and disrupted family structures, this will result in fewer family members to provide long-term care in the future. This will become more serious as people live longer with conditions such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.”

 

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