Today's Top Alzheimer's News

Experts call on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to cover Amyloid PET scans, the debate over the scans, and new research explores what sparks Alzheimer's (read more).   

 

Must reads

  • An August 7, 2013 The Hill opinion piece by George Vradenburg, Dr. Howard Fillit, and Dr. Michael W.Weiner called on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to cover Amyloid PET scans to "help physicians identify whether patients with signs of cognitive impairment may have Alzheimer's" or other forms of dementia. According to the authors, "Alzheimer's presents a grave and growing threat to millions and millions of Americans and to the solvency of Medicare itself. We need to make sure patients and their doctors have all the safe and effective tools we can to fight against this threat...CMS must move forward, not back, and provide reimbursement for the appropriate use of the test as recommended by experts in the field." George Vradenburg is chairman and co-founder of USAgainstAlzheimer’s; Fillit is the founding executive director and Chief Science Officer of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation; and Weiner is professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at the University of California, San Francisco.
  • An August 7, 2013 USA Today article reported on the debate over the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) decision whether to cover Amyloid PET scans. According to the article, "The scans are better at ruling out Alzheimer's than at diagnosing it, experts agree. At issue is whether that's enough to justify federal coverage of the scans, and most likely private insurance coverage, as well.Steven Pearson, president of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, a research group based at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said it's not enough."The evidence in favor of beneficial effects of this test are among the weakest I have ever seen," said Pearson, whose agency recently wrote a white paper on the subject. Scientists need to do more research to prove the scans' usefulness beyond the lab, he said"

 Research and science 

  • An August 7, 2013 Science Daily article explored why some individuals develop Alzheimer's and other do not despite the same predisposition. According to the article, "In a paper published in the August 7 issue of the journal Neuron, Roy and colleagues offer an explanation -- a trick of nature that, in most people, maintains critical separation between a protein and an enzyme that, when combined, trigger the progressive cell degeneration and death characteristic of AD."It's like physically separating gunpowder and match so that the inevitable explosion is avoided," said principal investigator Roy, a cell biologist and neuropathologist in the Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at UC San Diego. "Knowing how the gunpowder and match are separated may give us new insights into possibly stopping the disease.""

 

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