November 06, 2017

Today’s Top Alzheimer’s News


A Living with Alzheimer’s Film Project video segment highlighted the story of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Board Member Greg O’Brien, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. According to Film Director Steve James, “I wanted to find someone at the early stages of the disease who had made the brave decision to not hide, to not keep it a secret for as long as possible from either his family or his community. Someone determined to stare into the headlights, as it were. We found such a story in Greg O’Brien and his family. I’m grateful to them for sharing it.”


According to a November 5, 2017 NBC News article, a team at Stanford University looked at the effect of infusions of plasma (liquid part of blood) from healthy young men on people with moderate Alzheimer’s disease. There are plans to move forward next year with formal clinical trials including 40 volunteers. Researchers are working to understand what in the plasma affects aging and disease.

[Subscription only] A November 3, 2017 The Wall Street Journal essay by Neurologist Gayatri Devi explored the idea that Alzheimer’s disease is not necessarily a ‘one-way street to inexorable decline.’ The majority of people with AD are still functioning, independent individuals. According to Devi, “I see Alzheimer’s not as a single disease but as a spectrum disorder—with a wide range of symptoms, responses to treatment and prognoses. Early diagnosis and treatment has kept many of my patients stable.” 

A November 3, 2017 UPI article looked at findings from a study which shows that the presence of healthy dendritic spines (neuron connections) provide protection against Alzheimer's in people whose brains have proteins associated with the disease. According to Jeremy Herskowitz of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, “…About 30 percent of the aging population have amyloid and tau buildup but never develop dementia. Our study showed that these individuals had larger, more numerous dendritic spines than those with dementia, indicating that spine health plays a major role in the onset of disease.” 


A November 4, 2017 The Washington Post article focused on the impact of the proposed Republican tax plan, which aims to cut taxes and declutter the tax code, and would repeal all but a small handful of tax breaks. Richard Davis saw years of careful financial planning relating to caring for his wife, who has Alzheimer’s disease, going up in smoke because the medical expense deduction would be repealed. Davis anticipates his tax bill will increase by about $20,000 in a year.


A November 2, 2017 Endpoints News article spotlighted a new study to assess whether CNP520 (BACE1 inhibitor therapy) can prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in a high-risk population. Drug makers are increasingly turning to BACE therapies to try to interfere in the amyloid beta creation process. According to Vas Narasimhan of Novartis, “This approach continues to shift the Alzheimer’s research paradigm from reversing disease damage to attacking its root cause before symptoms surface. It is our hope that by targeting people earlier, we will have a better chance of delaying or preventing the onset of the disease.”