January 3, 2019

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


A January 3, 2019 New Atlas article reported that Yale researchers are testing a drinkable cocktail composed of newly discovered polymers which may disrupt the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Decomposing the cephalosporin antibiotic cefixime created a polymer that can pass the blood-brain barrier and disrupt the interaction between amyloid beta and cellular prion protein. According to David Reynolds of Alzheimer's Research UK, “These promising early results will need to be reproduced in further experiments that also establish the drug's safety profile before it can enter clinical trials to see whether it is effective in people with Alzheimer's disease.” Also covered by Yale NewsThe SunDaily Mail, and others.


A January 2, 2019 Being Patient video featured Marty Reiswig, who is a member of one of only 643 families known to carry the PSEN2 gene, an early-onset gene that virtually guarantees Alzheimer’s disease for its carriers. He is enrolled in the longitudinal DIAN study (Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network). Being Patient’s Founder Deborah Kan spoke with Reiswig about the study and his future plans.


A December 29, 2018 Channel NewsAsia commentary looked at behavioral research aimed at helping caregivers for people with dementia determine their preferences, even if they have limited verbal capabilities. Although simple, the “choice” method, presenting choices to patients and then observing their non-verbal behavior, is not commonly used. According to the article, “By observing what people do rather than what they say, care staff can get a more objective idea of what people like, measure their preferences daily, track how they change, and – most importantly – give people with dementia and communication issues more of a voice in their daily lives.”


Watch the short film, “Ralph and the Gift of Alzheimer’s,” from The UnLonely Project and The Foundation for Art & Healing, by filmmaker Dylan Tuccillo. “Life changed for Ralph and Karen when Ralph was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Both doctors, each took an approach to the disease that turned a potential tragedy into something unexpected and vital as they met the potential alienation and isolation of this progressive disease with a positivity and perspective.”


A January 2, 2019 Fin 24 article pointed to research from Just Retirement Insights which found that the majority of South Africans between 55 to 85 underestimate their life expectancy, have not thought about dementia or Alzheimer's, and have not started financial planning to protect themselves from potential future impact of the disease. According to the article, “…Early financial planning should form part of the solution, especially since research suggests that approximately three-quarters of people with dementia have not been diagnosed. This means poor financial decisions could be made by people who are already impaired by dementia.”


A December 11, 2018 MSN article looked at the effects of loneliness on an aging U.S. baby boomer population. Boomers generally have fewer children and racked up record numbers of divorces. About one out of six lives alone. According to the article, “Researchers have found that loneliness takes a physical toll… Loneliness is even worse for longevity than being obese or physically inactive.” “The effect of isolation is extraordinarily powerful. If we want to achieve health for our population, especially vulnerable people, we have to address loneliness,” said Donald Berwick, formerly of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.