Today's Top Alzheimer's News

Outreach NC Magazine featured Surviving Grace, the use of magnets to boost memory function, the need to restore NIH funding, and tech investor Dr. Beth Seidenberg talks about the need to invest in the fight against neurodegenerative diseases (read more). 

Must reads

  • The September 2014 issue of Outreach NC Magazine featured an article about Surviving Grace and USA2's efforts to stop Alzheimer's by 2020. The article starts on page 42 and a full page ad appears on page 2. 
  • An August 29, 2014 Bloomberg article reported on new research on the use of  transcranial magnetic stimulation to boost memory and cognitive function. According to the article, "The approach…involves sending a small amount of energy into the brain to stimulate nerve cells. To do this, an electromagnetic coil is placed against a person’s head. In the study of 16 healthy volunteers, five days of stimulation for 20 minutes improved their performance on a memory test, while no benefit was seen after they got a sham stimulation…The researchers don’t know if the approach will be safe or effective for those patients, though they are hopeful, he said. The U.S. National Institutes of Health is funding additional work in older adults with memory loss related to aging and early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Other studies will examine patients with stroke and epilepsy, Voss said."
  • An August 28, 2014 Penn Live letter-to-the-editor by Prasad Krishnan underscored the need to restore funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). According to Krishnan, "The NIH has witnessed stagnation and budget cuts in congressional appropriations since 2003. Sequestration produced a $1.5 billion cut in funding for NIH for FY 2013, meaning fewer research grants to scientists conducting important medical research.The small increase received by NIH in 2014 was not sufficient to restore what was lost to sequestration…As a postdoctoral research fellow at Penn State University, I am concerned how reduced funding for NIH will affect our fight against Alzheimer's disease, cancer, heart disease, and other debilitating diseases affecting so many of us. In addition, we have started to see erosion of scientific talent in this country as the brightest minds seek research opportunities overseas. NIH needs sustained and steady increases to help find cures for disease and develop new and improved therapeutic and diagnostic tools." Prasad Krishnan is a postdoctoral research fellow at Penn State University.
  • An August 28, 2014 Re/Code interview with Dr. Beth Seidenberg, a partner in the life sciences group at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, highlighted the need for Silicon Valley to work with the FDA on speeding drug development and solutions for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. According to Dr. Seidenberg, "I think areas where we need to focus and need more help is in neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, the silent killers of our elderly population that are now, and are going to continue to be, a huge burden to society.In the case of neurodegenerative illnesses, we don’t have good endpoints, we don’t have good measures of the progression of the diseases. So we do trials where patients are very far advanced but we need to move the trials to early onset of the diseases, where you can have a more significant impact.To me that’s the big unmet area on the drug side. There’s also a lot of work needed on the device side. The industry would generally say the CDRH is still understaffed and underperforming relative to drugs and that’s having an impact on the industry from an investment perspective.Part of it is that we don’t have the tools. But the other part is that the FDA has an opportunity to work with sponsors to develop those tools and provide a pathway to help get those drugs to market earlier."

 

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