October 30, 2019

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


An October 29, 2019 The Hill opinion piece, by Nora Super of the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging, referenced the recent Milken Report (in collaboration with UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, AARP and Bank of America) highlighting in particular the disproportionate impact of dementia on women. According to Super, “Increased participation by women in clinical trials has helped us understand why more women than men have dementia… New studies have linked it to biological differences, such as hormonal imbalances, that change brain chemistry. With no cure in sight, we must double our efforts to reduce the risk and cost of dementia… That is why we are making recommendations to improve brain health, reduce gender and racial disparities, and ultimately change the trajectory of this devastating disease."


An October 30, 2019 The Wall Street Journal article [subscription] referenced a new study about how lifestyle (diet, exercise, sleep, brain training) changes can positively affect cognition and potentially lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. According to the article, “It’s unclear whether the lifestyle changes can actually help prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease, or simply improve cognition. “This is a therapeutic approach that was shown to not only maintain, but improve cognition in people with the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s,” says Richard Isaacson, a neurologist and first author on the study… The majority of both groups of patients showed statistically significant improvements when compared with their baseline, as well as compared with historical control groups.”


An October 29, 2019 BioSpace article looked at current thinking in the Alzheimer’s disease drug pipeline, especially in light of Biogen and Eisai’s recent decision to seek FDA approval for aducanumab. Much of the industry has already pivoted away from anti-amyloid treatments, looking in the directions of tau, inflammation and environmental factors, amongst others.“You will find airbags deployed at the scene of any serious automobile accident, but only in a small number of cases will the inappropriate deployment of the airbags have caused the accident, and simply looking at the vehicle afterwards will not tell you about cause and consequence. So it would seem with amyloid in Alzheimer’s disease. Plaques are always there, but we don’t know how many are causative and how many are reactive.” said Tetsu Maruyama of the Dementia Discovery Fund.


An October 29, 2019 News Medical Life Sciences article referenced a new study out of Mayo Clinic, led by Melissa Murray, PhD, looking at three distinct Alzheimer’s disease subtypes. According to the article, “"For example, our findings suggest that when a younger patient presents with personality symptoms that may ordinarily point to frontotemporal dementia, the clinician could consider whether a test for Alzheimer's biomarkers or other scans are warranted," says Dr. Murray. As her team works to help future patients, Dr. Murray acknowledges with gratitude the late Alzheimer's patients who donated their tissues to the brain bank at Mayo Clinic in Florida.” Also covered by EurekAlert!


An October 29, 2019 KARE NBC 11 broadcast segment spotlighted a program offered at libraries in Carver County (MN) where Memory Maker Kits can be checked-out like books. The kits are filled with items that may help caregivers interact with people who have memory loss, which could trigger long lost memories and prompt conversations, including music, visuals and books. According to Chanhassen Librarian Maren Wilbur, “Instead of trying to talk to the person and try to ask them questions about their past or memories, it's easier to have an item to look at, like a visual, or music that might spark a memory.”