December 11, 2018

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


A December 8, 2018 The Washington Post article shone a spotlight on the “Jalisco mutation,” people with roots in Jalisco, Mexico who carry a gene mutation linked to early-onset Alzheimer’s. According to LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s Lead Jason Resendez, “It is such an under-addressed health disparity , among Latinos. We’ve certainly made major efforts to address things like heart diseases and diabetes. Alzheimer’s just isn’t in that same conversation. Mexican Americans present symptoms seven years earlier than other ethnic groups. Why is that? We don’t have great answers to those questions yet because of the lack of focus on understanding Alzheimer’s risks among different ethnicities.”


A December 6, 2018 SELF Magazine article explored the two different types of Alzheimer’s medications. Cholinesterase inhibitors, Razadyne, Aricept and Exelon, treat symptoms of mild to moderate dementia by inhibiting the actions of cholinesterase, which breaks down acetylcholine (a chemical that affects muscle activity, attention, learning and memory). The medications may help improve memory. The second type is Memantine, Namenda, for people with moderate to severe AD, which works on the neurotransmitter glutamate, affecting a number of brain functions.


According to a December 10, 2018 Science Daily article, a study from the Universities of Helsinki and California found that two memory tests, assessing episodic memory, made diagnosing mild cognitive impairment more precise, aiding in identifying people with an increased risk of an Alzheimer's diagnosis within three years. According to research fellow Eero Vuoksimaa, "The results highlight the importance of neuropsychological assessment as a cost-effective method of diagnosing mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer's disease."

A December 10, 2018 EurekAlert! release focused on new radioactive "tracer" molecules, identified by researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, that bind to and "light up" tau tangles. Tau is a major hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. According to Dean Wong, MD, PhD, “One of the greatest public health challenges is Alzheimer's disease, for which there currently is no cure and no definitive diagnostic until autopsy. We have been working hard to identify new radiopharmaceuticals that can help speed the discoveries of diagnostics and treatments for these devastating neurodegenerative disorders.”


A December 10, 2018 Springer Link article looked at factors influencing attrition in Alzheimer’s disease centers in the United States, longitudinal studies of older adults in particular. According to the article, “In longitudinal epidemiological studies of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, high rates of attrition may cause a systematic underestimation of dementia prevalence and skew the characterization of the disease. This can compromise the generalizability of the study results and any inferences based on the surviving sample may grossly misrepresent the importance of the risk factors for dementia.”


A December 8, 2018 Runner’s World article spotlighted marathoner José Garcia, who has walked his mother-in-law, who has late-stage Alzheimer’s disease, across 10 finish lines with him. According to the article, “Garcia encourages caretakers to adopt a more inclusive mindset, to not always leave their elderly or sick family members on the sidelines, but to bring them into family activities and races as a way of honoring them and including them in the family. “They can be part of their life, so they need to join… and try to be involved,” Garcia said. “Not just, ‘We leave them in the house, we go and get fun and just come back.’ [Esparza] doesn’t know who we are, but we know who she is and who she was.””