January 17, 2020

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


A January 17, 2020 STAT First Opinion piece by science journalist Donna Jackson Nakaza relied on her own experience with several different diseases which affected her cognition. At the time, she could not fathom that inflammation in her body might be a cause of her cognitive issues. Inflammation has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. According to the article, “…Just as the body’s immune system can rev into overdrive, causing inflammation and devastating physical symptoms, microglia can also become overexcited. When that happens, they can generate too much synaptic pruning, neuroinflammation, and symptoms of cognitive, mood, and behavioral disorders, from depression to Alzheimer’s disease.”

A January 16, 2020 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) article looked at how targeted approaches to treating cancer may be “rewiring” brain circuitry in Alzheimer’s disease. A new MSK study led by Gabriela Chiosis showed how stress is associated with AD, as well as how the experimental drug, PU-AD, could correct such stress-induced faulty wiring. According to the article, “Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurodegenerative disease with complex causes. Many stressors can contribute to it, including diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and traumatic brain injury. Genetic risk factors and other age-related changes can also damage brain circuitry over decades. “We decided to look at whether this complex matrix of stressors that change the brain is related to epichaperome [chaperone proteins banded together in response to stressors] formation,” Dr. Chiosis says.”


A January 16, 2020 Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis news release announced that the NIA committed $29 million over the next five years for ongoing research through the DIAN (Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network). Three new research initiatives will continue work on identifying changes in the brain of people with genetic mutations indicating very high risk of AD, as the disease starts and progresses. According to the article, “Although the study follows only people with a rare genetic form of Alzheimer’s, its findings could apply to the millions of people living with the much more common late-onset Alzheimer’s, which appears after age 65. The brain changes that lead to memory loss and confusion are thought to be much the same in early- and late-onset Alzheimer’s.”


A January 16, 2020 WJHL News Channel 11 broadcast segment focused on grant money at Walters State Community College which will help train certified nursing assistants (CNA’s) in East Tennessee nursing homes to improve care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The no-cost training comes through the CARES Dementia Specialist Program. “This is going to be very comprehensive, it’s not an easy training for the CNAs. They will benefit from it,” said grant project director Dr. Linda Helms.


Alzheimer’s Dailies will take a short hiatus on Monday, January 20, 2020 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.