Today's Top Alzheimer's News

Scientists threaten to boycott Human Brain Project, baby boomers might not be able to afford nursing home care, and Society for Neuroscience fellow calls for increased NIH investment (read more).   

Must reads

  • A July 6, 2014 The Guardian article reported that "Researchers say European commission-funded initiative to simulate human brain suffers from "substantial failures." According to the article, "The European commission launched the €1.2bn (£950m) Human Brain Project (HBP) last year with the ambitious goal of turning the latest knowledge in neuroscience into a supercomputer simulation of the human brain…In an open letter to the European commission on Monday, more than 130 leaders of scientific groups around the world, including researchers at Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and UCL, warn they will boycott the project and urge others to join them unless major changes are made to the initiative." 
  • A July 5, 2014 Tech Times article reported that "The number of aging Americans developing chronic diseases is increasing but they cannot afford to pay for the long-term care costs in a nursing home." According to U.S. National Institute on Aging Division of Behavioral and Social Research director Richard Suzman stated, "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."
  • A July 4, 2014 The Tennessean opinion piece by Dr. Matthew J. Robson advocated for increased investment in the National Institutes of Health (NIH). According to Dr. Robson, "Without sustained, adequate levels of funding through government agencies such as the NIH, these researchers will ultimately find other avenues in which to build successful careers. The loss of a generation of biomedical researchers would have a dramatic negative effect on the advancement of basic biomedical research and potential treatments for our costliest diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and mental health disorders including autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia." Matthew J. Robson, Ph.D., is an Early Career Science Policy Fellow with the Society for Neuroscience.

Research, science, and technology 

  • A July 7, 2014 Chemical & Engineering News article reported on research linking prion proteins and amyloid-β and tau. According to the article, "Alzheimer’s researchers are now following this trail and finding other similarities between prion proteins and amyloid-β and tau. For example, like prion proteins, amyloid-β and tau form different “strains”—distinct three-dimensional shapes that begin clumping in the brain at distinct times. This observation might have important implications for Alzheimer’s drug discovery, says Kurt Giles, coleader of two new studies confirming the existence of amyloid-β strains (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2014, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1408900111 and 10.1073/pnas.1408968111). “It’s possible that some therapeutics might be effective against some strains and not others,” says Giles, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco."
  • A July 4, 2014 Pharma Times article reported further on a study from the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Centre for Brain Health highlighting the lack of progress on Alzheimer's drug development. According to the article, "The authors of the study note that the current AD pipeline is “relatively modest, given the enormous challenge posed by this disease”, saying that the disease is more expensive to the US economy than cardiovascular disease or cancer. Currently, 108 trials for AD therapies are being conducted, compared with 1,438 for oncology agents and the success rate of development of oncology compounds is 19%."

 

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