October 3, 2019

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


According to an October 2, 2019 The Manchester Times article, a new study from NetNoggin reveals that people affected by Alzheimer’s disease are losing hope of finding a cure, due to the slew of recent clinical drug trial failures. However, not everyone is feeling pessimistic, “…Researchers and foundations remain hopeful despite the failures. For example, George Vradenburg, the head of USAgainstAlzheimers, posted on Twitter, “Let's keep failing ... until we succeed … [help] us all to remain hopeful in the fight against #Alz.””


An October 2, 2019 UNCG Now article reported that the UNC Greensboro’s Department of Kinesiology is recruiting participants for their Physical Activity and Alzheimer’s Disease 2 study, looking at the cognitive benefits of exercise. Phase two focuses specifically on people with a family history of Alzheimer’s or another dementia, between the ages of 40-65. “I think we have the potential to provide some scientific evidence showing that exercise really can make a difference for people who have the risk for this progressively debilitating disease,” said Dr. Jennifer Etnier. Get more information on the study here.


A September 24, 2019 Discover Magazine article looked at the potential of examining gait to distinguish between different neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lewy body dementia. Correctly identifying a patient’s condition will help cut down on potential side effects of erroneously prescribed drugs. According to research from a team at University of Newcastle in London, “Compared with Alzheimer’s patients, subjects with LBD tended to be a bit more wobbly. On average, LBD patients had slower, longer steps and an asymmetry in their gait. Though the researchers didn’t test Parkinson’s patients yet, they note that further research is needed to solidify the hypothesis. This paper is only a pilot study, they say, and there are avenues to explore.”


(ICYMI) A September 19, 2019 NIH Director’s Blog by Dr. Francis Collins spotlighted the Sound Health initiative from the NIH and John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The goal of the initiative is to use rigorous science to realize music’s potential to improve human health, including easing neurological disorders. One of the first projects receiving a portion of the NIH’s recently released $20 million is, “Examining the memory-related impacts of repeated exposures to a certain song or musical phrase, including those “earworms” that get “stuck” in our heads. This work might tell us more about how music sometimes serves as a cue for retrieving associated memories, even in people whose memory skills are impaired by Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive disorders.”


An October 1, 2019 KVUE ABC broadcast segment focused on the wish of Diane, which is to to meet Matthew McConaughey. Diane has Alzheimer’s disease and the Miracle Moments Program, through her senior living home, is trying to make her wish come true. “I think to see her face light up when she sees Matthew McConaughey would be absolutely amazing and it would stay with her forever,” said Jane Randolph of Civitas Senior Living Community.