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USA2 SPOTLIGHT 

ICYMI: A January 28, 2016 UsAgainstAlzheimer’s blog post by Alan Arenette highlighted his quest to climb Mount Everest to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s. According to Arenette, “My voice cracked with emotion as I placed the satellite call from the summit of Mt. Everest: ‘I want to dedicate this summit to my mom and all the Alzheimer's moms out there. We love you, and we miss you…’ Climbing Everest was easy compared to caring for my mom during her last three years with Alzheimer's. She was our family’s memory keeper. She knew every detail about the families of all eight of her siblings. She was the glue that held the family together.”

 

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A February 8, 2016 Daily Texan Online article reported that UT scientists have found that the “human brain’s capacity for memory may be much larger than previously assumed.” According to the article, “Based on these reconstructions, researchers hypothesized that total human memory capacity may actually be ten times larger than they previously assumed. The sizes allowed researchers to estimate that a single synapse stores an average of about 4.7 bits. Because of this discovery, the total storage capacity of the brain is now estimated in petabytes. A single petabyte contains as much information as about 62,500 smart phones. In 2001, the Internet stored about 295,000 petabytes, according to the journal Science Express, but this storage capacity was predicted to grow greatly. Improperly functioning synapses are associated with neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s.”

A February 6, 2016 The New York Times opinion editorial underscored the link between dementia and football. According to the editorial, “The damage and research continue. A study last fall by the Mayo Clinic found C.T.E. in the brains of 21 of 66 men who played contact sports — mostly football — but no traces in 198 other men who did not play contact games. C.T.E.’s growing shadow across football extends to collegiate and high school programs, which should be increasingly concerned. Parents in particular are growing aware of the sport’s threat. They are heeding President Obama’s candid view three Super Bowls ago that he would “think long and hard” before sending a son onto the gridiron.”

A February 5, 2016 AlzForum.org article reported on the difficulty of replicating a blood test for Alzheimer’s. According to the article, “As the Alzheimer’s field matures, it has begun the task of moving fluid biomarkers from the discovery stage toward the clinic. For cerebrospinal fluid markers of AD, researchers have made great strides toward standardization, but the field’s more nascent blood-based biomarkers remain plagued by problems with replication and methodology.”

A February 5, 2016 DL News Staff article highlighted U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Susan Collins’ (R-ME) support for Alzheimer’s research. According to the article, “In their letter to the president, Klobuchar and Collins pointed out upsetting but true facts that need to be heard: ‘Alzheimer’s is also one of our nation’s leading causes of death, with recent data revealing that each year more than 500,000 deaths are attributable to Alzheimer’s and other dementias – six times the amount previously estimated. Moreover, Alzheimer’s is the only one of our nation’s deadliest diseases without an effective means of prevention, treatment or cure.’ For those of us with Alzheimer’s in our family line, that’s not good news. What is good news though is that it’s becoming a more talked-about subject and people are becoming more and more aware of the need to support research and funding to find a treatment for Alzheimer’s.”

INTERESTING READS FROM THE WEB

The Milford Daily News: Bergeron: Imagining a dementia-friendly MetroWest

The New York Times: New Stanford President Has Biotech Connection

The Los Angeles Times: The billion-dollar CRISPR patent battle: A case of big money shaping science

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