April 14, 2017

Today’s Top Alzheimer’s News


An April 13, 2017 Bloomberg BNA article spotlighted the FDA’s approval of 23and Me’s Personal Genome Service Genetic Health Risk (GHR) tests for 10 diseases or conditions, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and blood clots. According to George Vradenburg, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Co-Founder and Chairman, “Early diagnosis is critical to care planning and engagement in research for people with Alzheimer’s or related dementias, and their caregivers. We must be exploring new technologies like 23andMe, which educate about risk and empower citizen science. In Alzheimer’s, however, genetics is not destiny. Many of the risk factors for Alzheimer’s are modifiable, so regardless of genetic test results, there are behavioral changes we can make to improve brain health.” 


In an April 13, 2017 Jacksonville.com opinion piece, Gianrico Farrugia, CEO of the Mayo Clinic, writes that he is confident Congress will continue appropriate funding for medical research. Advancing research, promoting discovery and developing the next generation of scientists and innovators is vital to solving threats to public health. Farrugia challenges our leaders to expand the conversation about predictable and sustainable funding levels and reducing regulatory burdens. Mayo’s brain research focuses on accelerating Alzheimer’s therapies, prevention and treatment.

An April 13, 2017 Alzheimer’s News Today article highlights the shift from cure to prevention in Alzheimer’s disease research. According to David Geldmacher, MD (Director, Memory Disorders Division, Neurology Department, University of Alabama at Birmingham), insights gained from clinical trials over several decades suggest that prevention is more likely than a cure. “We focus on the reversible risk factors. So many people facing dementia focus on the irreversible risk factors, such as ‘I’m getting older’ or ‘My dad or mom had dementia.’ We can’t change those things, but we can change things like levels of physical activity and cholesterol counts and blood-pressure numbers,” said Geldmacher.

An April 13, 2017 San Luis Obispo Tribune editorial spotlighted the story of Lee Ferrero, who died on March 29th from Alzheimer’s disease. In 2010, Ferrero wrote a piece for the Tribune about his experience living with Alzheimer’s and this article is a reprint of that essay. According to Ferrero, “I’ve realized over the last couple of years that it’s important to be open and honest about Alzheimer’s, because people don’t always know what to do or say.”


An April 13, 2017 Dallas News article interviewed Jim Ray, head of neuroscience at M.D. Anderson's Institute for Applied Cancer Science in Houston, part of the Neurodegeneration Consortium. According to Ray, “We're very optimistic that over the next five years, one of the things we are trying will eventually work — and that will be the start of the same process for Alzheimer's, where lifestyle modifications, prevention and medications to help slow the disease, will all work together to reduce the rates of dementia.” And, “We are essentially a nonprofit biotechnology company, funded by donations. Our incentives are different from those of the pharmaceutical industry. The only thing we care about is testing our new ideas in patients as fast as possible to see which ones will help.”