April 30, 2020

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


An April 29, 2020 Medpage Today article featured three systemic reviews of Alzheimer’s testing and treatment in primary care led by Howard Fink, MD, MPH of the Minneapolis VA Health Care System, and colleagues in Annals of Internal Medicine. The reviews  looked at brief cognitive testing, AD biomarkers and dementia treatments based on literature searches through November 2019. According to Fink, "These findings suggest that these tests are not adequate by themselves for making a clinical diagnosis. However, they may be useful for identifying who warrants further evaluation, or in patients with a typical course of worsening cognition and function…”


An April 30, 2020 NIH National Institute on Aging article focused on research into creating a noninvasive exam for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles utilized postmortem eye tissue from people with MCI or AD, to study three Alzheimer’s-related processes in the retina, mapping-out changes to specific regions and layers. According to the article, “The researchers noted that several other diseases affecting blood vessels in the retina, such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, are characterized by a similar degradation of the blood-retina barrier. Discovery of the specific cellular and molecular changes related to this degradation could shed light on common aspects of Alzheimer’s and retinal disease processes.”

An April 29, 2020 Nature article looked at alterations in the blood–brain barrier (BBB), which have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. According to the article, “Proteins from blood plasma have been found in the cerebrospinal fluid (the liquid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord) of cognitively healthy people who carry APOE4 and who subsequently go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease. These proteins have presumably leaked through the BBB, indicating that the integrity of the barrier is lost before cognition declines.”


An April 30, 2020 PHYS article focused on nanodevices being created to disrupt processes in the brain which lead to Alzheimer’s disease. A collaboration of scientists engineered a nano-sized device to capture β-amyloid peptides before they form into plaques, a major hallmark of AD. According to the article, “The researchers covered the surface of the new nanodevice with fragments of an antibody—a type of protein—that recognizes and binds to the Aβ peptides. The surface of the nanodevice is spherical and porous, and its craters maximize the available surface area for the antibodies to cover. More surface area means more capacity for capturing the sticky peptides.”