August 8, 2019

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


An August 7, 2019 BioSpace article looked at the current Alzheimer’s disease drug pipeline, and spoke with UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Co-Founder George Vradenburg. UsA2 recently published its report, “2019 Alzheimer’s Drug Pipeline Analysis: The Current State of Alzheimer’s Drug Development.” According to the article, ““Most of the people I’ve talked to in this space,” Vradenburg said, “are now focused on the fact that there’s a lot more to getting a successful drug into the hands of millions of people, or into the mouths of millions of people, beyond understanding the science.” You need, he points out, to not only understand the basic science and develop drugs that interrupt the pathophysiology of the drugs so it affects the course of the disease, you have to have regulators willing to verify the therapies are safe and effective, and that the people who are paying for the drug will do so.”


An August 1, 2019 Scientific American article explored the phenomena of terminal lucidity and its connection to Alzheimer’s disease. Terminal lucidity is defined as, ‘a surprising, coherent episode of meaningful communication just before death in someone presumed incapable of social interaction.’ According to the article, “…The impetus for studying the phenomenon now is because of the rising sense of urgency about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias after years of unsuccessful efforts to develop any meaningful treatment as well as the faint glimmer of hope that paradoxical lucidity offers the possibility that dementia may not, in fact, be entirely irreversible.”


An August 4, 2019 Pharmacy Times article highlighted latest research showing that anticholinergic drugs may cause vascular dementia. Anticholinergic drugs can cause short term confusion, memory loss and altered mental status, and people who take them for extended periods of time have higher rates of dementia. According to the article, “Researchers of this [Anticholinergic Drug Exposure and the Risk of Dementia: A Nested Case-Control] study concluded that exposure to several types of strong anticholinergic drugs is associated with an increased risk of dementia. These findings highlight the importance of reducing exposure to anticholinergic drugs in people middle-aged and older.”  


An August 5, 2019 UCI News article focused on the benefits of exercise on cognitive health, and a future where exercise scientists prescribe it as medicine. The EXERT study is testing if sufficient aerobic exercise can help stave off dementia. According to UCI’s Michael Yassa, exercise is “the best dirty drug around,” which binds to many molecular targets in the body. “Exercise has myriad different mechanisms, and all of them are good. There’s something magical about it,” said Yassa.


An August 6, 2019 Faith & Leadership article spotlighted the growing trend of congregations supporting people who are ill and their families. Caregivers often experience higher rates of depression, financial problems and stress than their peers. Sheila Welch, who coordinates the dementia care ministry at Due West United Methodist Church in Marietta, Georgia, supports caregivers and educates faith and community leaders. “At the end of my mother’s life, I prayed that the pain that she and our family lived would not be in vain… I became convicted that our caregivers and all caregivers must be offered dementia education,” said Welch. Download their Dementia Tool Kit, which includes resources for churches to create their own programs.