Today's Top Alzheimer's News

New outreach and counseling strategies meant to ease the burdens of caregiving, increased aggression associated with dementia, and more on the Senate's increased support for Alzheimer's research (read more).    

 

Must reads

  • A July 14, 2013 Boston Globe article reported on the impact of family outreach strategies on caregiving. According to the article, "The Fabianos joined a Tufts Health Plan pilot program — which was launched more broadly in June — that pairs regular doctor visits with support from an Alzheimer’s Association social worker. The staff member calls John Fabiano every few months and after his aunt has major medical appointments to check in and offer advice...But a little more effort could make a big difference, Budson said. Half the individuals in the study will receive the higher level of care: A social worker from the Alzheimer’s Association will call the caregiver after the first appointment and establish regular check-in dates. That social worker will also communicate with the doctor between appointments, helping to create a wider support net around the caregiver.
  • A July 12, 2013 New York Times article reported on increased agression associated with dementia. According to the article, "Let’s be clear: physically aggressive behavior arises in a sizable minority of dementia patients — a German study of nursing home patients published last year put the proportion at nearly 29 percent – but those most endangered are the people with dementia themselves and their caregivers. It is irrational to fear an assisted living/dementia care complex near a residential neighborhood, as some Minnesotans did a few years back, as though its elderly residents would break out and menace passers-by.But violent behavior presents a particularly knotty problem for families. They know their loved ones with dementia generally don’t intend to cause harm. Yet when confused, fearful, angry or in pain, they may kick, hit, bite, throw or shove. (If you have had experience with these behaviors, please tell us about them in the comments section below.)"
  • A July 12, 2013 Science Mag article reported on the Senate bill that boosts funding for Alzheimer's. According to the article, "The measure would also expand research on Alzheimer's disease and extend NIH's policy on public access to research papers to more agencies…The committee also declined to follow the president's request to earmark $80 million for Alzheimer's research at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), calling it "a dangerous precedent that could politicize the NIH peer review system." However, the committee expects that "a significant portion" of the $84 million increase for NIA will go to Alzheimer's, depending on the quality of proposals.The bill would allot $40 million for NIH's share of a proposed $100 million brain-mapping initiative across several federal agencies and $50 million for the Cures Acceleration Network, a component of NIH's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences that will help fund the development of high-needs cures. The National Children's Study would receive $165 million, matching the president's request."

 Research and science 

  • A July 14, 2013 FierceBiotech article reported that "Merck has pulled back the covers on its Phase Ib dose-escalating study for MK-8931, a BACE inhibitor for Alzheimer's which demonstrated a positive effect in reducing the level of toxic proteins flowing through patients." According to the article, "The data secures Merck's ($MRK) leading position in the BACE-inhibition crowd, which includes AstraZeneca ($AZN), Eli Lilly ($LLY)--which recently had to scrap its top candidate--and others. The pharma giant has already begun a bigger, longer study for MK-8931, recruiting 200 patients for a Phase II leg which is designed to grow into a Phase III study--provided the efficacy and safety profiles stay in line with expectations."
  • A July 12, 2013 USA Today article reported on Eli Lilly's decision to continue research into its Alzheimer's drug solanezumab. According to the article, "Maria Carrillo, vice president of medical and scientific relations for the Alzheimer's Association, an advocacy group, said she is very encouraged by Lilly's decision. The Alzheimer's community had worried last year after the failure of several very promising drugs that the pharmaceutical industry would back away from Alzheimer's drug research...To improve the chances that the drug will work this time, Lilly says it is testing more patients – 2,100 instead of 1,300 last time – and making sure that those in the new trial have signs of beta amyloid, a protein that builds up in the brains of people with Alzheimer's."

 

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