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USA2 SPOTLIGHT

A March 17, 2016 The NJ Star-Ledger opinion piece by UsAgainstAlzheimer’s co-founder Trish Vradenburg called for political candidates to join the Alzheimer’s party. According to Vradenburg, “Now we are neither Democrats nor Republicans. Now we are The Alzheimer's Party.  Just as this disease is equal opportunity: Ds or Rs; rich or poor; male or female, African-American, Latino or white — we all are at risk…I can see 15 million sure votes here — and that's just from caregivers of the 5.4 million Alzheimer's sufferers. But it's still early. Other candidates can also announce a plan to stop Alzheimer's.  I eagerly invite them to do just that. Consider this: right now Alzheimer's costs the U.S. over $200 billion a year and, yet, we're spending less than $1 billion on research. Crazy, no? If you think research is expensive, try disease.”

Trish and George Vradenburg, co-founders of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s (UsA2), received the Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award from Research!America. Mrs. Vradenburg shared the personal story of watching her mother succumb to Alzheimer’s disease. “While our sense of passion and urgency comes from a personal place, the growing prevalence and cost of this disease gives our mission a larger purpose,” Mr. Vradenburg added. “Together we must confront Alzheimer's at a pace and scale equal to its challenge.” See pictures from the event here

 

MUST READS

A March 18, 2016 U.S. News & World Report opinion piece by Lou Anna Simon underscored the need to invest in university research to meet “the world’s greatest challenges” including Alzheimer’s. According to Simon, “…federal support for research at America's universities dropped 11 percent from 2011 to 2014 when adjusted for inflation, and these funds make up over half of all university research, according to the National Science Foundation…We fail to plant the seeds of discovery at our own risk. Extreme weather and shifting climate threaten global and domestic food supplies. Our information systems are hacked and turned against us. Alzheimer's disease is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and antibiotic resistance weakens protections of the last century's wonder drugs…There will be a lot of rhetorical tearing down this election season, but when the dust settles, who will build America up through the proven means of education, discovery and innovation? The answer is America's research universities – but not without the nation's dependable support.” Lou Anna K. Simon is president at Michigan State University and chair of the Association of American Universities.

A March 17, 2016 The Washington Post article reported that MIT researchers have found evidence that “Alzheimer’s ‘lost memories” may one day be recoverable.” According to the article, “A new paper published Wednesday by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Nobel Prize-winning Susumu Tonegawa provides the first strong evidence of this possibility and raises the hope of future treatments that could reverse some of the ravages of the disease on memory. 'The important point is, this is a proof of concept,' Tonegawa said. ‘That is, even if a memory seems to be gone, it is still there. It’s a matter of how to retrieve it.'" 

RESEARCH, SCIENCE, AND TECHNOLOGY 

A March 17, 2016 BloombergBusiness article reported on the efforts of Singapore-based TauRx Pharmaceuticals to develop a treatment for Alzheimer’s. According to the article, “The co-founder of Singapore-based TauRx Pharmaceuticals Ltd. plans to present results from ongoing final human trials on its experimental Alzheimer’s drug, LMTX, as early as July. An earlier study showed that patients given the company’s treatment had better cognitive scores than those who didn’t get it, according to research it published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease…Promising results might open the door for a possible initial public offering and tie-ups with large pharmaceutical companies, its executives say. If the trials are successful, the company would apply to both E.U. and U.S. regulators, and the timing of any approval would depend highly on the Phase 3 data, they said.”

A March 17, 2016 EurekAlert! article reported that Rutgers and Stanford scientists have developed a novel way to inject healthy human nerve cells into the brain. According to the article, “Moghe said a 3-D scaffold, developed by the scientists, consists of tiny polymer fibers. Hundreds of neurons attach to the fibers and branch out, sending their signals. Scaffolds are about 100 micrometers wide - roughly the width of a human hair…And that may eventually help people suffering from Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, Alzheimer's disease, spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, and concussions, he said.”

MedPage Today: Worsening Depression Tied to Dementia Risk

BuzzFeed News: Researchers Have Designed An App To Help Carers Make Dementia-Friendly Homes

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