Today's Top Alzheimer's News
A November 29, 2018 Forbes article looked at the state of Alzheimer’s disease research in the United States. New data out in PhRMA’s (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America) latest report, “Researching Alzheimer’s Medicines: Setbacks and Stepping Stones,” shows that between 1998 and 2017, there were 146 failed attempts to develop drugs for treatment or prevention, and only four new medicines approved for symptoms. According to the article, “Though there have been many failures in the quest to treat or cure Alzheimer’s disease, George Vradenburg, co-founder and chairman of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, remains optimistic and encourages others to do the same.”
A November 27, 2018 The SCAN Foundation podcast, “When I am Older,” included the The Youth Movement Against Alzheimer’s (YMAA) Founder Nihal Satyadev. The podcast explores different ways that millennial caregivers are finding clarity amid chaos. The SCAN Foundation supports the creation of a more coordinated and easily navigated system of high-quality services for older adults that preserve dignity and independence. YMAA is a a UsA2 coalition partner.
A November 29, 2018 CISION PR Newswire release spotlighted seven new grants, from Maria Shriver’s Women's Alzheimer's Movement (WAM), to accelerate research into sex-based differences in Alzheimer’s disease. According to Shriver, “Two out of every three brains with Alzheimer's belong to women, and no one knows why that is. Since its inception, WAM has been committed to understanding why women are at an increased risk for this disease and through grants like these, we are able to support top scientists who are conducting groundbreaking gender-based research.”
RESEARCH AND SCIENCE
A November 29, 2018 New Atlas article pointed to a new study from Scripps Research which found that the antibiotic minocycline seems to help prevent protein aggregation in brain cells associated with Alzheimer's disease. According to lead study author Michael Petrascheck, “We have identified minocycline as a drug that can extend lifespan and improve protein balance in already-aging worms. Our study reveals how minocycline prevents protein aggregation and lays the foundations for drug development efforts aimed at optimizing this already-approved drug for a range of neurodegenerative diseases.”
A November 29, 2018 The Conversation article focused on the link between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. People with Down have an extra copy of the APP (amyloid precursor protein) gene, which produces amyloid proteins and is a major hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. According to the article, “Previous drug trials for Alzheimer’s disease have had limited success. Researchers think this is because treatments are given when the disease has progressed too far. Because Alzheimer’s disease is so common in people with Down syndrome, understanding the early changes will allow treatment to be started before symptoms have developed.”
DEMENTIA AND THE ARTS
A November 29, 2018 Parade article spotlighted the new Warner Bros. feature film, “Head Full of Honey,” which tells the story of a recent widower dealing with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Based on the German film written and directed by Til Schweiger, Nick Nolte’s charater, Amadeus, moves in with his adult son and daughter-in-law, and forges a strong relationship with his granddaughter. “I felt that Til Schweiger’s approach to it was so inclusive of the whole family and how the disease affects everybody without going so deeply into the disease that the audience is blown backwards. This was just enough of the disease and then it was adventurous enough and colorful enough to entertain at the same time,” said Nolte.
PROFILES IN COURAGE
A November 27, 2018 Which Me Am I Today blog post by Wendy Mitchell, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, wrote about her changing relationship with her daughters. “I once would have remembered everything – I didn’t forget……I’m still their mum but a mum with increasing deficits, decreasing ability to help. Once facts, feelings, issues were all stored safely in the organised filing cabinets in my brain but now I use ‘reminders’ …….for everything……when they ask me to get them something, they’ll send me a picture of the article in question to make sure I get the right thing, so we have our coping strategies. But being there on a personal level seems so different.”