December 10, 2018

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


A December 7, 2018 Rutgers University Newark News article spotlighted a recent performance of the award-winning stage play, “Forget Me Not,” presented by AfricanAmericansAgainstAlzheimer’s, at Rutgers University. The purpose of the play is to raise awareness about Alzheimer's disease, and educate the public on prevention methods, especially the African American community which has a heightened prevalence of AD. According to Jose Gonzalez of the New Jersey Department of Health, “Most research is done in a suburban environment. This is the first time research is getting done in the inner city with minorities with disadvantages… These elements are disappearing: proper nutrition, physical activity, cognitive exercise and eight or more hours of sleep. This is a good opportunity to bring these elements back into the lives of these seniors. This day is very important.”


A December 9, 2018 ABC News article looked at the potential use of medical marijuana to ease neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia including agitation, anxiety, depression, psychosis, wandering and pacing, which are experienced by 50 percent of people with Alzheimer’s disease. The Spier Family Foundation is helping to fund such research through Harvard’s McLean Psychiatric Hospital. There are currently no FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of behavioral symptoms of dementia. Mice given THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) had more complex hippocampal connections, and it appeared to slow the accumulation of amyloid beta plaques, a major hallmark of Alzheimer’s.

A December 8, 2018 The Washington Post article spotlighted the sundowning phenomena, which is the emergence or worsening of neuropsychiatric symptoms such as agitation, aggression and disorientation in the late afternoon or early evening. Sundowning has been observed in 10 to 25 percent of people with moderate to severe dementia in nursing homes, and up to 66 percent of people with Alzheimer’s living at home. According to William “Trey” Todd of Harvard Medical School, “There’s not a whole lot known about what mechanisms might be involved in sundowning, and it’s very poorly understood,” said “But the fact that the symptoms seem to follow a pattern, with worsening in the late afternoon or early evening, suggests that something is going on with the circadian system.”


According to a December 7, 2018 Fierce Biotech article, Eisai and University College London are moving a tau-targeting monoclonal antibody for Alzheimer’s disease, E2814, into the clinic. Phase I trials will begin before April, 2019.  


A December 6, 2018 Being Patient video talked with computational neuroscientist Dr. Mallar Chakravarty of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Canada. He discusses how artificial intelligence could help diagnose cognitive decline with Being Patient Founder Deborah Kan. 


A December 9, 2018 The Advocate Alzheimer’s Q&A addressed the challenge of maintaining healthy eating around the holidays for people with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. Diminished or increased sense of hunger and thirst, problems with eating or swallowing, problems with using utensils, poor food choices and depression can be issues for people with dementia. In addition to offering practical advice the article notes, “Remembers mealtimes are a way of being connected. It takes a lot of patience, but sit and eat a meal together and engage in thoughtful conversation. This might distract him and slow down his insatiability for food. If he tends to always eat by himself, be cautioned that social isolation could eventually lead to loss of appetite, weight loss and a disinterest in eating.”