November 26, 2019

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


A November 25, 2019 PBS News Hour broadcast segment, with host Kate McDonald of Twin Cities PBS in Minneapolis, focused on how art can help people with Alzheimer’s disease. “Contemporary Journeys” is a program offered at the Walker Art Center for people with dementia and their caregivers, an opportunity to come together to view, discuss and make art. According to public health Professor Joseph Gaugler, “Art therapy approaches can really help enhance the personhood of the person living with dementia. People with memory loss can still continue to express thoughts, feelings and emotions in a healthy way.”


A November 25, 2019 Medpage Today article looked at the once-promising BACE inhibitor lanabecestat, which was yanked after two late-stage Alzheimer’s clinical trials were abandoned for futility. The drug lowered amyloid levels, but failed to slow cognitive or functional decline in trial participants. “In the end, we are still ignorant as to why these molecules did not work as we had anticipated. Certainly one hypothesis has been that the amyloid hypothesis isn't a valid one, and that's received a lot of credence lately with the trials that have failed. But I think we're still hopeful that the amyloid hypothesis is true, and we've got a lot of scientific data that still supports that,” said John Sims, MD of Eli Lilly.


A November 25, 2019 The Daily Wildcat article spotlighted a new course at the University of Arizona, “From Chemistry to Cure,” looking for treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. According to Dr. May Khanna, who will teach the class, “The students have an Alzheimer’s causing protein target that they will pick during the course and will find compounds that virtually bind to this target. They will optimize these compounds with the help of chemists and pharmaceutical scientists and progress through the whole drug discovery path. At the end of the course, some students will progress to the second phase to create a startup company to further develop the compounds.”


A November 25, 2019 letter to the editor implored support for the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act. It would strengthen existing legislation providing critical care planning services to 400,000 New York residents with dementia and their families. According to the letter, “Unfortunately, many of those living with these diseases and their families are not provided with essential care planning services, education and knowledge of both medical and non-medical treatments available to them. Evidence has shown that accessing these services will result in a higher quality of life, to which we are all entitled.”


A November 24, 2019 WV News article reported that West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute is recruiting participants for several Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials, including one with ultrasound and a second with virtual reality. According to WVU Medicine President Albert Wright, “I feel a sense of urgency to something in West Virginia now. We are one of the oldest, sickest populations in the country. On almost every health measure we are struggling on, we need solutions that I can explain to our patients and caregivers and people when I go around the state. I need to be able to tell them that WVU Medicine is investing in research and innovation that is going to solve problems today.” Find out if you’re eligible to participate in one of their trials here.