February 13, 2018

Today’s Top Alzheimer’s News


A February 13, 2018 UsAgainstAlzheimer’s statement opposed President Trump's call to freeze biomedical research funding in his Fiscal Year 2019 budget, which would undermine important progress being made to cure Alzheimer's disease. UsA2 urges the Administration and Congress to reject the President’s proposal to artificially cap investment in AD, and to continue investing in the National Institutes of Health (NIH). According to UsA2 Co-Founder and Chairman George Vradenburg, “We are wholeheartedly opposed to freezing funding for the NIH and medical research programs at fiscal year 2017 levels. Too many American families are desperately awaiting breakthrough therapies for Alzheimer's. We must sustain the trajectory of increased government funding if we are going to make real progress.”

According to a February 12, 2018 The Hill op-ed by Ian Kremer of LEAD Coalition, unless the American healthcare system accelerates its readiness for a breakthrough Alzheimer’s treatment, the current infrastructure is unprepared to deliver treatments to all the people who would need access. Patients could wait more than 18 months for things like evaluation by specialists, diagnostic testing, developing a care and treatment plan. According to Kremer, “The problems facing care delivery are complex and will not be solved by one agency or governing body alone. It will take the collective and purposefully coordinated efforts of national, state and local governments along with professional societies, medical schools, and the private sector to prepare the health care system to provide timely treatment to millions of Americans.” UsAgainstAlzheimer’s is a co-convener of LEAD.


A February 12, 2018 The Telegraph article reported that a study from Oxford University and NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre found that anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis could halve the risk of patients developing Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. According to Professor Chris Edwards of NIHR, “The results we've seen make us optimistic that we are getting closer to better treating this neurological disease and supports further investigation in clinical trials to confirm if these drugs can be used to prevent or treat dementia." 


A February 8, 2018 Medical Xpress article spotlighted work by researchers at the Centre for Neuroscience and Centre for Brain Research at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), who identified a key protein in the brain called F-actin (fibrillar actin, a polymer of the protein G-actin). F-actin is responsible for maintaining the shape of dendritic spines on the surface of nerve cells. The protein is broken down early in Alzheimer's disease, interrupting the flow of information between nerve cells and affecting memory formation.


A February 7, 2018 Being Patient article spotlighted a simple way to improve quality of life for dementia patients - talk with them for ten minutes a day. A new study conducted in England with more than 800 patients found that one-on-one interaction helped not only improve quality of life for carers and reduce patients’ agitation and angry outbursts, but also reduced care costs. According to Doug Brown of the Alzheimer’s Society, “This study shows that training to provide this type of individualized care, activities and social interactions can have a significant impact on the well-being of people living with dementia in care homes. It also shows that this kind of effective care can reduce costs, which the stretched social care system desperately needs.” 


A Being Patient Voices post featured The Ally Bally Bee Project, helping families create personalized children’s books about a loved one’s dementia. Anyone can edit the book’s character names and dementia-related behavioral traits to match their own family’s situation. According to project founder Matthew Adams, “Since dementia can create challenging situations for families and social groups, it is difficult to know how much you should explain to children. It is natural to want to protect children from difficult or confusing situations, but the book encourages and helps parents to be honest with their children about a loved one’s dementia.”


A February 5, 2018 BBC News video segment explored the link between music and the brain, specifically in people affected by dementia, with the NIH’s Dr. Francis Collins. According to Jimi Simon, featured in the segment, “When I’m playing it’s like medicine, an anti-depressant for me. I don’t think I have dementia, or you know, nothing else seems to matter at that time.” Therese Simon, Jimi’s wife said, “The music plays a part in helping things to slow down. That allows him to stay with us longer.” 


A January 31, 2018 Positive Approach to Care video by Teepa Snow gives Teepa’s tips on care planning. The video was created as an additional resource to an article from the Online Dementia Journal - a FREE monthly resource for people living with dementia, families, friends, and professional care partners.