January 2, 2019

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


A January 1, 2019 WJHL News Channel 11 article reported that the bipartisan Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer's Act was signed into law. The Act will will create a nationwide public brain health infrastructure. According to the article, “This legislation applies a public health approach to reduce risk, detect early symptoms, advance care, improve data, and ultimately change the trajectory of this devastating disease. Headed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it authorizes $20 million annually over the next five years.” 

A December 31, 2018 The Telegraph article focused on a potential spinal injection treatment for people with a high risk of hereditary Alzheimer’s disease. According to the article, “The Alzheimer’s Society [UK] says a series of recent breakthroughs in treatments that disrupt harmful genes has brought scientists to a “tipping point” in their fight against the disease… However, the “remarkable” results of a recent trial which set out to silence the troublesome genes which regulate proteins in children with a rare spinal condition, has convinced scientists they could adopt the same approach in people at high risk of dementia.”


A December 31, 2018 Health 24 article looked to experimental evidence from University College London which shows that lab mice developed amyloid-beta deposits in their brains, a major hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, after they were injected with amyloid-laced samples of human growth hormone. According to senior researcher Dr. John Collinge, “We have now provided experimental evidence to support our hypothesis that amyloid-beta pathology can be transmitted to people from contaminated materials.” The findings link to the potential of contaminated surgical equipment to transfer amyloid-beta. 


According to a December 28, 2018 Detroit Free Press article, more than 30 U.S. academic medical centers and clinics will be conducting clinical trials of the Alzheimer’s disease drug troriluzole, including the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. They are now recruiting people with mild to moderate dementia. “There are a lot of trials out there trying to prevent Alzheimer's disease... and very few for those who have already established dementia. We need to really have therapies for folks already showing symptoms, as well as prevent the following generation from showing symptoms,” said UM principal study investigator Dr. Judith Heidebrink.


A December 27, 2018 The Washington Post video and article featured Chicago’s Good Memories Choir, comprised of people with memory loss and their caregivers. At least 10 dementia choirs were started nationwide in 2018, many inspired by the Giving Voice Initiative. According to the article, “Mary Mittelman, a research professor with the Center for Cognitive Neurology at New York University, started a choir called the Unforgettables Chorus in 2011 to study the effects of a choir on people with dementia and their family members. Her research found that participants with early to middle-stage dementia had increased communication with their caregivers, as well as improved their overall quality of life.”


A Carlen Maddux blog post paid tribute to brave advocates living with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. Rev. Dr. Cynthia Huling Hummel is one such inspirational figure who has early-stage AD, but that has not stopped her. She authored a book, plays music, makes art, swims and kayaks, started Faithful Friends Respite Care and continues preaching. According to Hummel, “I’m deeply grateful for my spiritual counselor who helped me change my perspective—from sadness to feeling more at peace… Once I started to focus on what I could still do, instead of on the things I could no longer do, I was able to shift gears… I also hold onto the hope that researchers will find a treatment, an intervention, a cure.”