January 2, 2020

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


A January 2, 2020 GEN news article spotlighted a new study from the VA San Diego Healthcare System seeking the origin of Alzheimer’s disease. Data suggests that subtle thinking and memory differences may occur before, or concurrently with the development of amyloid plaques in the brain. “From prior research, we know that another biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease, a protein called tau, shows a consistent relationship with thinking and memory symptoms. Therefore, more research is needed to determine if tau is already present in the brain when subtle thinking and memory differences begin to appear,” said lead study investigator Kelsey Thomas, PhD.

A December 31, 2019 Washington Examiner article quoted NIH lead Dr. Francis Collins about his vision for future of Alzheimer’s disease research and development. “Will we have a way to figure out how to slow the disease in the next five years? I believe we will, but it is going to take every bit of energy, creativity, determination, and resources possible to get there. We will put every dime of that to good use. We have hedged our bets at the NIH over the course of the last five or six years to look in every nook and cranny.”

A December 30, 2019 Being Patient article announced that the Alzheimer’s disease drug Oligomannate is now on the market in China. The seaweed-based drug works with gut bacteria to reduce brain inflammation and cell degeneration. According to the article, “Vincent Mok, who heads the neurology division at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said that the new drug showed “encouraging results” when compared to acetylcholinesterase inhibitors—the existing treatment for mild to severe Alzheimer’s. “It is just as effective but it has fewer side effects,” Mok said.”


A January 2, 2020 Yahoo! News article looked at a potential Alzheimer’s vaccine, from University of California, Irvine researchers, which would reduce and remove plaque-forming amyloid beta and tau from the brain. They are testing a two-pronged approach with the compounds AV-1959R and AV-1980R, which generate high levels of immune-fighting proteins. “Taken together, these findings warrant further development of this dual vaccination strategy for ultimate testing in human Alzheimer's disease,” they said. Also covered by Study Finds.

A January 1, 2020 The Guardian article reported that new PET brain imaging techniques, coupled with MRI, can predict location and levels of brain shrinkage in people with early Alzheimer’s disease. A University of California, San Francisco study revealed that tau tangles tracked closely with the brain shrinkage. According to the article, “The lack of a link to signs of beta amyloid does not mean those plaques are not harmful. “It is extremely rare to see significant amounts of tau tangles across the brain in patients with no amyloid: for some reason, amyloid seems almost necessary for tau to build up in the cortex,” said [research co-author Dr. Renaud] La Joie.” Also covered by Being PatientDaily MailU.S. News, and others.