November 8, 2019

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


A November 6, 2019 The New York Times article focused on two new studies about exercise and its effects on Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Although past studies have linked physical fitness to heightened thinking and memory test scores, as well as lower risk for developing AD, they did not track how changing levels of fitness over time might alter memory and dementia risk. According to the article “People who were fit throughout the study period proved to be almost 50 percent less likely to develop dementia than the least-fit men and women. Perhaps more encouraging, those men and women who had entered middle age out of shape but then gained fitness showed the same substantial reduction in their subsequent risk for dementia. ”


A November 7, 2019 Xconomy article spotlighted Arkuda Therapeutics, which received $44 million in financing to begin human testing of its FTD (frontotemporal dementia) drug, which targets the PGRN (progranulin) protein. PGRN is part of the brain’s waste disposal system and is crucial for healthy neurons. A mutation to the GRN gene causes low PGRN levels. According to the article, “So far, Arkuda has data from animal studies. But [Arkuda lead Gerhard] Koenig says his company has the advantage of addressing PGRN deficiency with a small molecule drug that comes in the more patient-friendly pill form. Pills are “a tried and true approach for a chronic disease,” he says.”


(ICYMI) In an October 31, 2019 NPR All Things Considered radio segment, host Jon Hamilton spoke with Laura Lewis of Boston University about the connection between sleep and Alzheimer’s disease. Lewis authored a new study monitoring sleep, in real time via MRIs, and found that brain waves (slow waves) generated during deep sleep trigger CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) to “wash” the brain. Previous studies cited links between poor sleep and AD, but lacked the why. “Before each wave of fluid, we would actually see a wave of electrical activity in the neurons. This electrical wave always happens first, and the CSF wave always seems to follow seconds later. It's already known that people with Alzheimer's disease have less of these electrophysiological slow waves, so they have smaller and fewer slow waves,” said Lewis.


According to a November 2, 2019 Yahoo! Entertainment article, popular season one “Survivor” contestant Rudy Boesch passed away from Alzheimer’s disease. Boesch was so popular, despite taking third place, he was brought back for the eighth season. A former Navy SEAL and Vietnam vet, he served for 45 years in the U.S. armed services. “I grew to love that cantankerous man and his family. We are better people for having known him, and he will be sorely missed. I wish his family peace in their grieving his loss,” said season one winner Richard Hatch.


Alzheimer's Dailies will take a short hiatus on Monday, November 11, 2019 in observance of Veteran's Day.