June 29, 2018

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


A June 27, 2018 Forbes article focused on how Alzheimer’s disease is inspiring bi-partisan support, even in these politically divided times. Lead co-sponsors of the CHANGE (Concentrating on High-Value Alzheimer’s) Act, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Representative Linda Sánchez (D-CA), held panel discussions this week in Washington on how the law will function. UsAgainstAlzheimer’s (UsA2) Chairman George Vradenburg, AfricanAmericansAgainstAlzheimer’s Executive Director Stephanie Monroe, Journalist and UsA2 Board Member Greg O’Brien and Leaders Engaged on Alzheimer’s Disease (LEAD) Coalition (convened by UsA2) Executive Director Ian Kremer, among other notables, participated in the event. According to Vradenburg, “Earlier diagnosis is urgently needed to improve our understanding of the disease and to allow us to effectively treat it. This bipartisan legislation will help to accomplish these things, and we are grateful to Senators Capito and Stabenow and to Representatives Sánchez and Roskam for recognizing the moral and economic imperative before us.”


A June 29, 2018 Newsweek article looked to a new study which links Alzheimer’s disease with eating foods high in fat and sugar, when combined with aging. According to Dr. Doug Brown of the Alzheimer’s Society, “Although this study provides further evidence that a high-fat and high-sugar diet can lead to inflammation, which has been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s Disease, it was performed in mice. What is true in mice might not be true in people, and more research is needed.” Also covered by EurekAlert!.  


A June 27, 2018 NBC 9 News broadcast segment highlighted the story of Diana and Todd Gathright. Todd was diagnosed with a rare form of early-onset Alzheimer's disease in his early 50’s and Diane is his primary caregiver, in addition to working full time and raising their two daughters. According to Diana, “Find yourself in a moment where you're confused. That's what it's like for them most of the time. And now I know to use less words, speak slower, look at the person one-on-one. When you meet people who can speak Alzheimer's, you make a really great connection - it's like when people say 'oh you speak another language' - and that is what it is - another language.”


A June 28, 2018 KJZZ 91.5 radio segment explored the link between the common herpes viruses and Alzheimer’s disease. Ben Readhead, lead author of a new, first-of-its kind study from ASU-Banner Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center, spoke about the implications of this research.


A June 28, 2018 EurekAlert! release spotlighted work by Rice University scientists who are investigating a biochemical domino effect that begins with TOR (target of rapamycin), a critical regulatory protein, and ends with cells dying of oxidative stress. They are working under a $1.9 million grant from the NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Increased TOR activity has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, with high TOR levels and high levels of oxidative stress found in brain cells. 


A June 28, 2018 The News Virginian opinion piece by Tim Kaine, junior U.S. senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia, focused on addressing the “public health crisis” of Alzheimer’s disease. He urged “bold action to maximize the impact of each dollar and continue to raise awareness of this disease.” He is a supporter of the BOLD (Building Our Largest Dementia Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s) Act. According to Kaine, “I hope that in the next few months we will see Senate Majority Leader McConnell bring this bill up for consideration by the whole Senate. And I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me in supporting additional funding so that the National Institutes of Health has the resources it needs to continue its research into the disease.”


A June 28, 2018 CBS 13 Sacramento broadcast segment spotlighted Frank Marhekfa, who has Alzheimer’s disease, and asked for a yellow Corvette for his 79th birthday. His wife, Candace, arranged for him to take a birthday ride, thanks to the kindness of Sacramento’s River City Corvette Club. The mom of the driver, Bob Blum, has dementia, so he understands the significance. According to Candace, “When we get home this evening he may forget a lot of it, but I plan on having pictures to document the event and videos.”