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MUST READS

A December 2, 2015 Time.com article explored the cost of dementia and how families are coping with “aging’s costliest challenge.” According to the article, “If you are one of the estimated 15 million Americans caring for someone with dementia, you know that it’s a uniquely devastating disease. Dementia—the most common form is Alzheimer’s—robs you of the person you love. It attacks memory, personality, language, and physical abilities. It can last for years, even decades. And it has no cure. The financial toll can be nearly as large as the personal loss. Over the last five years of life, the average out-of-pocket cost of care for dementia patients totaled $61,500—81% more than for people without dementia—according to a new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Nearly half of the dementia patients ended up on Medicaid, the government health care program for impoverished Americans, compared to about 20% of patients suffering from heart disease or cancer.”

A December 1, 2015 Fortune.com article predicted that Eli Lilly will develop a drug that will “offer hope in the Alzheimer’s fight” in 2016. According to the article, “We’re betting that 2016 will deliver the long overdue breakthrough that changes that: A medicine that actually slows the progression of Alzheimer’s. Though it’s not a perfect treatment, Eli Lilly’s  LLY 5.44%  solanezumab—a drug 15 years in the making—will pass muster in clinical tests and be well on its way to FDA approval, as a therapy for mild Alzheimer’s, by year’s end.” 

A December 1, 2015 CBS News article profiled Alzheimer’s researcher Dr. Roberta Brinton and her efforts to inspire a new generation of diverse scientists. According to the article, “Dr. Roberta Brinton founded the USC Science, Technology and Research (STAR) program, which has led many students to careers in science and medicine…’They are conducting research that is contributing to discovering a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, for cancer, for developmental disorders,’ Brinton said. The students come from underrepresented communities. Most are minorities.”

A December 1, 2015 STAT News article reported that “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday that he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are creating a new charity to advance a variety of social causes — including finding cures to the serious diseases that have resisted the best efforts of modern medicine.” According to the article, “The announcement — written as a letter to their daughter — made it clear that Zuckerberg and Chan see enough possibilities in the advances in medical technology to make such a major investment worthwhile. ‘Today, most people die from five things — heart disease, cancer, stroke, neurodegenerative and infectious diseases — and we can make faster progress on these and other problems,’ the letter said.”

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT 

A December 1, 2015 USA Today opinion piece by Ian Read and Brent Saunders underscored the benefits of the merger between Pfizer and Allergan. According to the authors, “Pfizer applies science and its global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. Pfizer’s proposed combination with Allergan creates a global R&D leader and will enable us to pursue cures and treatments for conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease to cancer and rare genetic disorders.” Ian Read is chairman and CEO of Pfizer. Brent Saunders is CEO of Allergan.

A December 1, 2015 The New York Times article reported that lawmakers highlighted concerns over future drug prices for Alzheimer’s, cancer, and diabetes. According to the article, “A bipartisan report from the Senate Finance Committee concluded that California-based Gilead Sciences Inc. was focused on maximizing revenue for its hepatitis C medications, even as the company's own analysis showed a lower price would allow more patients to be treated. The lawmakers who led the investigation said it's a warning about what could happen with other innovative treatments for cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's and HIV. ‘I’m telling you, this is the future,’ said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. ‘When we see the market reaction ... especially the limitations on access, we have to be concerned,’ said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.”

CAREGIVING 

A December 2, 2015 Chicago Tribune article profiled Patricia McClure’s new book documenting her mom's battle with Alzheimer's disease. According to the article, “Although the story uses fictional names and places, it is based on a personal account of her mother's battle with Alzheimer's and McClure's role as primary caregiver. McClure said she wrote the book to help others who may have to face the devastation of in essence losing a loved one long before death occurs, but it is also McClure's tribute to her mother.”

RESEARCH, SCIENCE, AND TECHNOLOGY 

A December 1, 2015 NewsMax.com article reported that “Researchers at the Boyce Thompson Institute and John Hopkins University discovered that salicylic acid, the primary byproduct of aspirin, binds to a cellular enzyme called GAPDH. That stops it from causing cell death – a key mechanism in the development of Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders.”

 

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