September 4, 2019

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


According to a September 2, 2019 Tech Explorist article, Northwestern University scientists pinpointed the area of dysfunctional brain networks that lead to impaired communication in primary progressive aphasia (PPA), which is a form of dementia. They have also drawn a map showing the three brain regions affected by PPA, which will help when administering therapies. “Previous studies of structural changes in the brain were like archeology, in which scientists were locating areas of the brain that had already died. But we are looking at the parts of the brain that are still alive, which makes them much easier to target with treatment,” said lead study author Dr. Borna Bonakdarpour.


A September 2, 2019 Weedmaps article spotlighted the Hilarity for Charity County Fair, an adults-only charity carnival lead by actor and activist Seth Rogan to raise money for Alzheimer’s disease research. “We here at Hilarity for Charity love to fight Alzheimer's disease, but we also love rides, alcohol and weed! We also love trying to be good people so that in the event there is an afterlife, we don't go to hell,” said Rogan. September 14, 2019 in Los Angeles. Find more information on the carnival here.


A September 3, 2019 Medical Xpress article spotlighted work from the Wake Forest School of Medicine on the link between the gut microbiome and dementia. They found that several distinct bacterial signatures correlated with higher levels of Alzheimer's disease markers in the cerebrospinal fluid of participants with MCI. A modified Mediterranean-ketogenic diet correlated with reduced levels of AD markers in both participants with and without MCI. “Determining the specific role these gut microbiome signatures have in the progression of Alzheimer's disease could lead to novel nutritional and therapeutic approaches that would be effective against the disease,” said Hariom Yadav, PhD. Also covered by Mind Body Green and Science Daily.  


A September 3, 2019 WBUR radio segment spoke with author Nicci Gerrard about her new book, “The Last Ocean: A Journey Through Memory and Forgetting.” The book is based on her experience with her father’s dementia diagnosis. According to Gerrard, “If you see a homeless person sitting on the street, it's much easier to just to steer a circle around them and not meet their eyes and not recognize them as being human. So, we can devalue their humanity in order not to have to confront what it is they're asking from us. And I think we do that in spades with dementia… Mostly we do that because it's too scary. It's too scary because it reminds us of our own mortality.”


A September 3, 2019 Being Patient article looked at the end-stage of Alzheimer’s disease, and how resiliency and people-centered approaches can make it more positive. Late stage AD can differ from person-to-person, but common symptoms include being unable to connect with other people or the environment, inability to communicate, needing 24-hour care, and becoming more forgetful and withdrawn. “How can I help [a patient] perform to the best of their ability for as long as possible? It’s a new area of research, and being talked about in the psycho-social world. There’s a lot of different things you’d see about the impact of this disease — negative things like stress and burden. Now you see the research community shifting, and saying, how can we look at a more comprehensive view of this disease?” said Sam Fazio of the Alzheimer’s Association.