May 04, 2017

Today’s Top Alzheimer’s News


A May 3, 2017 The Hill article reported that the House approved a bipartisan spending deal to keep the government funded through September. The National Institutes of Health will get a $2 billion increase allocated toward research for conditions such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

A May 3, 2017 Springfield News-Leader editorial focuses on the rising cost of healthcare in the US. One way to combat it is to properly fund medical research and in particular, the NIH. Senator Roy Blunt is on the forefront of a sustained push to prioritize Alzheimer’s disease. According to Blunt, “When everyone in your family is healthy, you have lots of problems; when someone is sick, you only have one problem. That’s why, as chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that funds NIH, I’ve been proud to prioritize increased investments in medical research, which will pave the way for new treatments and cures, lower health care costs over the long-term, and, most importantly, give hope to families battling diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer and many others.”


A May 4, 2017 Alzheimer’s News Today video takes you on a 360º virtual reality tour of the brain. It shows how neurons are linked by pathways that control thought, emotions, memory and movement, and explores the changes in plaques and tangles which lead to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

An April, 2017 TEDTalks by neuroscientist and “Still Alice” author, Lisa Genova, shares the latest science and promising research on Alzheimer’s disease, and what we can do to create our own Alzheimer’s-resistant brain. According to Genova, “The cure for Alzheimer’s will likely be a preventative medicine.” And, “The way that we live can influence the accumulation of amyloid plaques. And so there are things we can do to keep us from reaching that tipping point.”


A May 4, 2017 Medical News Today article spotlights a research study, published in the journal Neurology, describing how mutations in a specific gene appear to predict how quickly memory loss will progress in people with Alzheimer's disease. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF - a protein coded by a gene of the same name) is known to support nerve cells, helping them to grow, specialize and survive, which makes a good target for AD research. The research team looked specifically at a gene mutation called the BDNF Val66Met allele (Met allele).

According to a May 3, 2017 Medical Xpress article, a new study led by University of Maryland School of Public Health researchers explored how a 12-week walking program affected brain functionality in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or Alzheimer's disease. Participants walked for 30 minutes, four times a week. "These findings suggest that the protective effects of exercise training on cognition may be realized by the brain re-establishing communication and connections among the brain's so-called default mode network, which may possibly increase the capacity to compensate for the neural pathology associated with Alzheimer's disease," according to Dr. J. Carson Smith, senior author of the paper published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, and Exercise for Brain Health Laboratory Director. 

A May 2, 2017 Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre article highlights a clinical trial utilizing focused ultrasound to breach the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in Alzheimer’s patients. The BBB is a protective barrier that surrounds the tiniest blood vessels in the brain, which prevents the entry of sufficient amounts of drug therapies that could be effective in treating disease. “Our goal with this Phase 1 trial is to investigate whether we can successfully and safely open the BBB in people with mild stage AD using the non-invasive method of MRI-guided focused ultrasound,” says Dr. Nir Lipsman, principal trial investigator and Sunnybrook neurosurgeon.


The #CrushALZ competition on the Stall Catchers citizen science game concluded three full weeks on April 27. During this time, the competition was joined by 28 teams contributing weeks worth of lab work. This week includes analysis of record-breaking numbers of vessels every day, gearing-up for the competition finale.