March 12, 2020

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


A March 3, 2020 Integrated Care News article by psychologist Barry J. Jacobs PsyD explored the relationship between physicians and family caregivers of loved ones with chronic illnesses. Jacobs quoted data from an USAgainstAlzheimer’s A-LIST survey, which reported that only 10% of dementia caregivers were asked by a primary care provider how they were coping. According to Jacobs, “In the nearly 30 years I have been a medical educator, healthcare consultant, and psychologist specializing in family caregiving, I have seen a gradual shifting of physician attitudes toward patients’ family members. Like Americans as whole, more physicians have personal experience with caregiving.”


A March 12, 2020 Medical Xpress article highlighted the types of personality traits which protect brain structures against neurodegeneration, assessed by Swiss researchers and based on brain imaging and psycho-cognitive evaluations. They found that people who are “less agreeable but with a natural curiosity and little conformism” show better preservation of brain regions that lose volume in Alzheimer's disease. This type of research opens the door to explore lowering AD risk by mitigating non-biological factors, and understanding how personality and way of life may be neuroprotective.

A March 12, 2020 NIH National Institute on Aging article focused on a new NIA-supported study of stress-induced changes in the epichaperome and its link to how Alzheimer’s disease develops in the brain. The epichaperome is a dysregulated network of proteins that affects how brain cells communicate. According to the article, “Like faulty wires in a circuit board that lead to network failure, epichaperomes seem to remodel cellular processes that, in turn, “rewire” protein connections supporting normal brain function. The resulting imbalance in brain circuitry — which the authors call “protein connectivity-based dysfunction” — underlies synaptic failure and other neurodegenerative processes.”


A March 5, 2020 EurekAlert! News release spotlighted the Foundation Stiftelsen Kristian Gerhard Jebsen, which is funding a new national research center for Alzheimer's disease in Norway, fueled by a NOK 22.5 million donation. The center’s goal is the translation of Nobel Prize-winning brain research from laboratory to patient in order to cure AD, by bringing together cross-disciplinary Alzheimer's specialists for collaboration. "If we are to understand what causes Alzheimer's, we need to identify the early mechanisms of the disease in the particular area where it occurs… Knowledge about the very first route the disease makes may enable us to intervene in the process and stop the disease before cells die and brain functions start to unravel," said Center Lead Edvard Moser.