January 10, 2020

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


Register for our next Alzheimer's Talks, "Insomnia & Alzheimer's" TODAY! Friday, January 10, 2019 at 4pm (EST). Host Meryl Comer will speak with two leading experts about the link between insomnia and Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. David Holtzman of Washington University in St. Louis has led studies linking sleep disorders to greater amyloid-beta and tau accumulation in the brain, both major hallmarks of AD. Dr. Kristine Yaffe of the University of California, San Francisco is an expert on sleep and Alzheimer’s disease.


A January 8, 2020 National Institute on Aging blog post by Director Richard J. Hodes laid-out the 2020 vision for continuing advancements in aging research. According to Hodes, “Our FY2020 budget indicates continued congressional support for our work that is enabling unprecedented advances, including efforts to combat Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (AD/ADRD). Specifically, this year’s budget includes… an additional $350 million designated for AD/ADRD… To sustain the momentum, it is absolutely essential to increase the number and diversity of participants in AD/ADRD clinical trials… We are also strengthening our support for research to help those living with AD/ADRD and their caregivers. Our work this year will include hosting the National Research Summit on Care, Services, and Supports for Persons with Dementia and Their Caregivers in Bethesda March 24 and 25.”


A January 8, 2020 Science Daily article highlighted the development of a new ‘screening platform’ which led to the discovery of a set of drug-like compounds which may help combat Alzheimer’s disease. Scripps Research scientists are looking at those compounds that provide broad protection to mitochondria in neurons. Mitochondrial damage is linked to Alzheimer's disease. According to the article, “The researchers are now testing the most potent of these mitochondria-protectors in animal models of Alzheimer's, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and other diseases, with the ultimate goal of developing one or more into new drugs.”

A January 8, 2020 Nature article looked at the link between an immune-cell subpopulation, TEMRA (CD8+ T effector memory CD45RA+), and Alzheimer’s disease. These cells release inflammatory and cell-death-promoting molecules. It was found that people with AD who have elevated TEMRA levels experience compromised cognitive performance. According to the article, “…A machine-learning algorithm could use measurements of TEMRA cells (together with information about other immune-cell populations) to distinguish between healthy people and those with MCI or Alzheimer’s disease with about 80% accuracy.”  


A January 9, 2020 CNN health article highlighted a new study from Uppsala University in Sweden linking missed sleep to elevated levels of tau protein in the blood of healthy young men. Tau is normally cleared away during sleep, but forms protein clumps in people with Alzheimer’s disease. “Higher levels in the blood may reflect that these tau proteins are being cleared from the brain or they may reflect elevated tau levels in the brain. Future studies are needed to investigate this further,” said study author Dr. Jonathan Cedernaes. Also covered by New Scientist, and others.