May 05, 2017

Today’s Top Alzheimer’s News


[Subscription required] A May 5, 2017 The Wall Street Journal obituary celebrated the life of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Co-Founder, Trish Vradenburg. Her mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis helped shape Trish’s future as an AD advocate.


A May 4, 2017 PR Newswire release reported that the Global Alzheimer's Platform Foundation, a nonprofit organization working to expedite Alzheimer's clinical trials, applauds the $400 million Congressional increase in Alzheimer's research funding. According to George Vradenburg, UsAgainstAlzheimer's Co-Founder and Chair, "This disease enacts a destructive toll on millions of Americans and their families. To defeat it, we need robust research funding that will yield a long-sought-after breakthrough. This funding increase is a positive step forward. Additional basic and clinical research funding is essential to achieve our national goal of a prevention and treatment by 2025. We will continue to press policymakers to make investments as the disease costs American families and taxpayers $259 billion per year."


A May 4, 2017 CNBC article reported on the uphill battle to increase Alzheimer’s research funding. There's a stigma around AD, which affects fundraising turnouts, and the caregivers are stressed by the long-term illnesses. "We haven't seen a new treatment for Alzheimer's in a decade," said Jill Lesser, UsAgainstAlzheimer's Chief Strategy Officer. "And the disease can last for a decade or more, bankrupting families." 

A May 4, 2017 Fierce Biotech article spotlighted a clinical trial focusing on the Met allele genetic mutation. The mutation affects the production of neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that supports the growth, differentiation and survival of nerve cells. According to Ozioma Okonkwo, study author and Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, the Met allele is a promising target for early intervention because physicians can screen for the gene in healthy people and try to head off the disease in the “critical” period before symptoms develop.


A May 4, 2017 NBC 4 Washington segment and article highlighted a conversation at Community of Hope AME Church in Temple Hills, Maryland between members of the Prince George’s South County chapter of Dementia Friendly America and the faith based community. They focused on how Alzheimer’s and dementia are impacting residents, ways to help affected families, tactics for increasing awareness for early detection and improving access to medication and resources. According to Dr. Flavia Walton, Dementia Friendly America Team Leader, “In the African-American community the incidents [of Alzheimer’s diagnoses] are higher and the outcomes are more negative than with other communities. Much of it is access or lack of access to healthcare and lack of access to diets that are healthy.” 

A May 3, 2017 Los Angeles Sentinel article focused on the intersection of dementia, poverty and homelessness, especially for African Americans, who may not have access to quality healthcare providing early diagnosis and treatment. Melvin Gaines, Assistant Director, USC Hartford Center of Excellence in Geriatric Social Work, who cared for his father until his death from AD, contends the African American community and the world at large need “senior sensitive training.” According to Toni Miles, MD, PhD (Professor, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Georgia’s College of Public Health), currently, there is no organized way to help families plan for the toll of caregiving.


Register for a screening in New York City of the winning short films from 2015's Living With Alzheimer's Film Competition. A discussion with David Shenk, author of The Forgetting, and Eric Latek, Grand Prize-winning filmmaker, and moderated by John Hockenberry, host of WNYC's The Takeaway, will follow the screenings. Sunday May 7th from 5-6:30pm (EST).