March 14, 2018

Today’s Top Alzheimer’s News


A March 14, 2018 UsAgainstAlzheimer’s announcement highlighted the upcoming documentary, "Remembering Gene Wilder," about his battle with Alzheimer’s disease. The film reveals affectionate family moments, shows highlights from his entertainment career, and educates about AD. UsAgainstAlzheimer’s is an official community partner of the film, which will air nationally on public television next year.


A March 13, 2018 Politico article focused on the failure of the right-to-try bill in a close vote in the House of Representatives. The bill would have given terminally ill patients access to experimental medicines not approved by the FDA. According to Kenneth Moch of Cognition Therapeutics, which is working on Alzheimer’s disease treatments, “I think this is feel good legislation for legislators, rather than meaningful legislation for people in need.” Republicans vowed to press forward with the issue despite the vote.

A March 13, 2018 Inside Science article by journalist Joel Shurkin, whose wife was part Merck’s failed Verubecestat trial, calls into question our understanding about Alzheimer’s disease. Shurkin writes that we need to “intervene before the damage begins.” The article quotes Michael Murphy from the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky, “Whether multifaceted strategy or something entirely unforeseen is the answer, the field is clearly in need of innovative ideas. We may very well be nearing the end of the amyloid hypothesis rope, at which point one or two more failures will cause us to loosen our grip and let go.” 


A March 12, 2018 NIH/National Institute on Aging post looked at the work of researchers, utilizing advanced machine learning techniques, to understand if brain metabolites associated with Alzheimer’s pathology could also be detected in blood and are related to the progression of AD. According to the article, “The researchers found that altered blood concentrations of some of the 26 metabolites were consistently associated with brain atrophy, cerebrospinal fluid measures of Alzheimer’s pathology, cognitive performance and risk of Alzheimer’s disease before established symptoms developed.”


According to a March 14, 2018 News Medical Life Sciences article, African-Americans with a common genetic variation, a Thr92AlaD2 polymorphism, are at increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. European Americans with the same variation are not. Researchers at Rush University Medical Center looked at data from three studies to understand the link and through analysis of CHAP study data, “the huge discrepancy in risk for Alzheimer's disease dementia was observed.” The team is planning future investigations.


In a Being Patient “Voices” post, Marie Temple, who is full-time caregiver for her mom who has Alzheimer’s disease, writes about her hard-won experiences. According to Temple, “Something else I have worked hard to maintain is my mother’s quality of life. There is a camp located near our house, so we take my mother camping every weekend between April and October in our camper. If your loved one is still in the moderate stages of Alzheimer’s, taking a trip—even locally—may benefit you both. Of course, if your loved one is in a more advanced stage of Alzheimer’s, a trip may not be feasible.”


A March 12, 2018 Seeking Alpha article (registration required) calls for optimism about the Anavex 2-73 Alzheimer’s disease drug trial. The drug, which limits oxidative stress, appears to lead to some improvements in most mild AD patients when given at high concentrations.