Today's Top Alzheimer's News

Diabetes drug might help to fend off Alzheimer's, researchers look for new tools to diagnose Alzheimer's, the need to incentivize investment in non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and one in three Alzheimer's cases potentially preventable according to new study (read more).  

Must reads

  • A July 14, 2014 Reuters article reported that "A large German study is the latest clinical trial to suggest that a cheap generic treatment for diabetes can stave off symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, although conclusive proof from a more formal trial could be about five years away." According to the article, "Researchers in the new trial used routine data from German healthcare plans for the years 2004 until 2010. They tracked a database of about 146,000 patients age 60 and older who initially did not have evidence of dementia. The analysis showed that 13,841 subjects eventually developed dementia, and that for those taking pioglitazone the risk of dementia was significantly reduced with each additional three months the drug was prescribed."
  • A July 14, 2014 Washington Post article reported on the efforts of researchers to identify new tools to test for Alzheimer's, including smell and eye tests. According to the article, "In two separate studies on the connection between dementia and sense of smell, teams of researchers found that a decreased ability to detect odors in older people, as determined by a common scratch-and-sniff test, could point to brain cell loss and the onset of dementia.In two other studies, researchers showed that noninvasive eye exams also might offer a way to identify Alzheimer’s in its early stages.The findings — which are to be presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Copenhagen on Sunday — raise hopes that doctors could develop simple, inexpensive diagnostic tools that would hunt down reliable biomarkers of a disease that affects more than 5 million people in the United States."
  • A July 12, 2014 Fiscal Times opinion piece by Michael Hodin underscored the need to "incentivize greater investment in innovative therapeutic solutions for non-communicable diseases (NCDs)." According to Hodin, "NCDs like cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s are quickly becoming the world’s greatest health and fiscal time bombs, as these diseases increase exponentially as the global population ages…First, it will help re-align our health investment with our health needs. This misalignment is not the US’s failure alone. Globally, NCDs cause nearly two-thirds of all deaths, but only 1.2 percent of all development assistance for health in 2013 was spent on NCDs. That’s less than a billion of the $32 billion in development assistance – places like US AID, its counterpart UK DIFID, the Norwegian Fund, and Gates -spend on health. How could they be so far off the mark? That’s an amazing misallocation of funding. True that solving for NCDs is hard. But it’s also a case of bad policy based on inertia: Until recently, it was the communicable diseases that accounted for most mortality; but with the aging of the global population, partly a consequence of successful communicable disease policy of the 20th century, the need has shifted. And it’s not an easy shift."

Policy and politics 

  • A July 11, 2014 Boston.com article reported that Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the launch of the "Boston Alzheimer’s Initiative, a collaboration between Boston Medical Center, the Alzheimer’s Association, and the City of Boston, which will include “dementia capable” training for city employees and volunteers." According to the article, "The initiative will also provide more services with information and support for residents afflicted with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers…Mayor Walsh also announced that Boston will now be a member of the Alzheimer’s Workplace Alliance, a national Alzheimer’s Association alliance of thousands of companies who support employees, customers, and their communities with resources and tools on the disease. Walsh said 17,000 city employers will now have access to resources for employees with the disease and to promote awareness."
  • A July 11, 2014 blog post by the office of Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) highlighted the senator's dedication to fighting Alzheimer's. According to the post, "In addition, Sen. Brown strongly supports funding for Alzheimer’s disease, which is why he signed Senator Markey’s appropriations request for funding this year to support Alzheimer’s research as well as the programs that provide needed support for caregivers. He is also a proud original cosponsor of the Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education for Alzheimer’s Act, which would provide for comprehensive Alzheimer’s disease diagnoses and services to help patients and their families access appropriate care planning. Sen. Brown is committed to the goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s disease by 2025."

Research, science, and technology 

  • A July 14, 2014 Washington Post article reported on the link between sleep disorders and Alzheimer's. According to the article, "The findings — which are to be introduced during the six-day Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Copenhagen — bolster previous studies that suggest sleep plays a critical role in the aging brain’s health, perhaps by allowing the body to cleanse itself of Alzheimer's-related compounds during down time. The studies also add to a growing body of literature that suggests keeping the brain busy keeps it healthy."
  • A July 14, 2014 Science World Report article reported that "Researchers at the University of Cambridge found that a third of Alzheimer's cases, most common form of dementia, are linked to certain risk facts that can be modified including lack of education as well as physical inactivity."

 

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