Today's Top Alzheimer's News

The documentary "The Genius of Marian" highlights Alzheimer's harsh toll on women, Stanford University fellow calls for more diverse and innovative clinical trials, and the latest research on memory formation and place (read more). 

Must reads

  • An August 13, 2014 Washington Post article highlighted the documentary "The Genius of Marian," which depicts the toll of Alzheimer's on the filmmaker's mother. According to the article, "The documentary comes at a time of growing awareness of the heavy impact Alzheimer’s has on women. It’s well known that women are more likely to suffer from the disease in part because they live longer. But recent research also suggests that women may be at greater risk of Alzheimer’s because of gender-specific biological causes."
  • An August 13, 2014 Forbes opinion piece by Dr. Henry Miller called for more innovative and diverse clinical trials for the development of new drugs. According to the article, "In order to reduce the diversity gap between men and women and among various subpopulations represented in clinical trials, and to moderate the costs of these studies, we need to innovate in trial design.  In other words, we need to think outside the box…There is value in knowing more precisely who will benefit from new drugs, how to individualize dosage regimens and so on, to be sure, but the commonly used, tried-and-true designs for clinical trials cannot achieve that without prohibitively increasing the number of patients studied and R&D costs.  We will need to innovate in clinical trial design and statistical analysis of results, and that will require cooperation among Congress, FDA, the pharmaceutical industry and academics. That’s an awfully big pill to swallow." Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, is the Robert Wesson Fellow in Scientific Philosophy and Public Policy at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution; he was the founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology.
  • A July 30, 2014 OutreachNC article highlighted the reading of "Surviving Grace" in North Carolina on September 5, 2014. 

Research, science, and technology 

  • An August 12, 2014 The Atlantic article reported on the efforts of researchers to better understand memory formation and its relationship to place. According to the article, "Researchers at Dartmouth and the University of North Carolina announced Tuesday that new evidence indicates that the retrosplenial cortex—a little-studied region near the center of the brain—is important in the formation of this kind of information, called episodic memories. Specifically, they believe the retrosplenial cortex may help make sense of the burst of new stimuli in a new environment: It may be the place where the body’s senses are integrated…Researchers also know little about how different regions in the memory-making process interact and communicate. And while Bucci stressed this experiment was “basic science”—meaning it was research for research’s sake and does not have a clinical objective—he said that the retrosplenial cortex was one of the first areas where evidence of Alzheimer’s appears, and understanding the process of episodic memory formation generally may help to make sense of the disease."
  • An August 12, 2014 CBS News article reported further on recent developments related to the apolipoprotein E gene (apoE4) and its potential to lead to new Alzheimer's treatments. According to the article, "A mutation of the apolipoprotein E gene (apoE4) has been shown to raise the chances of developing the memory-robbing condition, and experts have wondered how dangerous it would be to treat the patients by eliminating the protein from the brain. Now, researchers report, the answer might lie in the unusual case of an ill man whose body doesn't produce the protein at all…That medical fact might mean that lowering levels of the protein in the brain "may provide a wholly new venue for intervention in Alzheimer's disease. Our observations on this patient suggest that this strategy may now be entertained seriously," said study co-author Dr. Mary Malloy. She is director of the Pediatric Lipid Clinic at the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the University of California, San Francisco."

 

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