June 27, 2019

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


In a June 27, 2019 Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio segment, “A Dementia-friendly Worship Guide,” host Lori La Bey talks with Lynda Everman and Don Wendorf about their new, UsA2-endorsed book, “Dementia-friendly Worship: A Multi-faith Handbook for Chaplains, Clergy and Faith Communities.” This first-of-its-kind handbook, to help address the spiritual needs of people with dementia, enables congregations and faith communities to better serve their communities. The many esteemed book contributors include Clergy Network & Faith Coalition members pastor Rev. Dr. Cynthia Huling-Hummel, author, journalist and UsA2 advocate Greg O’Brien, and LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s advocate Daisy Duarte. Senior editor Lynda Everman is a UsA2 Advocate.


In a June 27, 2019 NBC News “Know Your Value” video segment, Mika Brzezinski interviewed Alzheimer’s disease advocate Maria Shriver in honor of ‘brain awareness month.’ Shriver stressed the importance of person-to-person connection, putting down technology and carving out self-care/alone time, in addition to exercise and a healthy diet to help foster a healthy brain and lifestyle. She outlined the importance of addressing cognitive health by getting a cognitive baseline, and cognitive testing. She challenged corporate America to address the changing needs of the new American family, where employees (both men and women) need time for caregiving for their kids and parents, in addition to self-care.


A June 25, 2019 Medical Express article reported that researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham developed a medication that appears to successfully inhibit the LIMK1 enzyme (serine/threonine kinase), providing a level of protection for dendritic spines, the connections between neurons in the brain. “In a healthy brain, LIMK1 appears to regulate the size and density of dendritic spines. In dementia, the enzyme is overactive, leading to damage to the spines. In this study, we were able to provide a protective effect to the dendritic spines by means of an experimental drug that inhibited activity of LIMK1… Another important aspect of this sort of target is that it could lead to an intervention before loss of cognitive function has begun. It could provide a protective effect to prevent damage or loss of dendritic spines,” said Jeremy Herskowitz, PhD.


A June 26, 2019 Pacific Standard article spotlighted the potential of genome-editing technology CRISPR to cure diseases, namely Alzheimer’s, by directly and permanently modifying the human genome. The treatment of neurological diseases poses the unique challenge of penetrating the blood-brain barrier,  and then targeting specific neurons deep within the brain. A team of Korean researchers created such a ‘delivery drone’ nanoparticle to safely transport CRISPR into Alzheimer's brains. According to the article, “Several other technical wrinkles also need to be smoothed out if CRISPR is to live up to its hype. Of these, specificity and accuracy of the system remain major concerns. What are the chances of it making an error while editing a tiny fragment of our three-billion-letter genome? Also, what are the consequences of those errors, especially considering all changes are permanent?”


A June 24, 2019 Women’s Health article delves into some ‘real talk’ about receiving an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis and how to navigate this new reality. The article advises about the importance of socializing and having relationships for brain health, that it’s never too early or late to make positive lifestyle changes, planning for the future, and joining support groups.