August 2, 2019

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


An August 1, 2019 The New York Times article reported that Washington University scientists have developed the most sensitive blood test to-date to detect beta amyloid, a major hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. The new test, which will not be available for clinical use for years, identified amyloid deposits before brain scans did. This will be especially relevant for recruiting people with early AD into prevention trials. According to the article, “At present, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is not easy to make… Studies have shown that community doctors are only 50 to 60 percent accurate in diagnosing the condition — about the same as tossing a coin.” Also covered by NewsweekMedical Xpress, and others.

According to an August 1, 2019 MIT News article, a new model can help predict cognition test scores of people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, up to two years into the future. This is relevant for identifying and selecting specific clinical drug trial cohorts, people in early disease stages, before symptoms are evident, when treatment could be most effective. “Clinicians could thus use the model to help select at-risk participants for clinical trials, who are likely to demonstrate rapid cognitive decline, possibly even before other clinical symptoms emerge. Treating such patients early on may help clinicians better track which antidementia medicines are and aren’t working.”

A July 26, 2019 HelloCare article spotlighted Lenny White, ‘The Dementia Friendly Barber,’ who offers mobile barber services for men in dementia care homes. He sets up the space to be familiar, welcoming and memory-inducing, including a classic striped barber pole, wartime music, reminiscent smells and a robotic dog to keep the men company while they wait. “My role is to take these men out of their current situation. I treat them no different than anyone else. Their lives have just been changed by a diagnosis, but the men are still the same person inside. It’s a very rewarding job,” said Lenny.


A July 31, 2019 MedPage Today article highlighted a new study from Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, which found that low and high levels of hemoglobin are both linked to increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or another dementia. Researchers found a ‘u-shaped’ association with dementia risk and MRI changes. “Abnormal levels of hemoglobin, including anemia, are a very common finding. Several putative biological links to the development of dementia make it important to study hemoglobin as a potentially modifiable risk factor, as well as to understand the importance of, for example, oxygenation and iron metabolism, in the process leading to neurodegeneration,” said study co-author Frank Wolters, PhD. Also covered by UPI.