June 05, 2013

Today's Top Alzheimer's News

NIH to lose $1.7 billion in research funding due to the sequester, multipurpose Alzheimer's drugs, and sex and dementia (read more).

Must reads

  • A June 4, 2013 Huffingtonpost.com article reported that NIH will lose $1.7 billion and 700 research grants as a result of sequestration. According to the article, "While the National Cancer Institute received $5.06 billion in FY 2012, it is budgeted to receive only $4.77 billion in FY 2013. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences' budget will fall from $2.42 billion to $2.29 billion, meanwhile, and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences' budget will fall from $574 million to $542 million. Overall, the NIH's discretionary budget authority will go from $30.7 billion to $29 billion…According to the agency, 750 fewer patients will be admitted into the NIH Clinical Center and 700 fewer competitive research grants will be issued in FY 2013 than in FY 2012." Fact sheet: Impact of Sequestration on the National Institutes of Health.
  • A June 4, 2013 SummitDaily.com opinion piece by David Woodland, chief scientific officer of Silverthorne-based Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology, highlighted the importance of brain research. According to Dr. Woodland, "A better understanding of brain function would open the door to enhanced treatments for neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer’s and depression. This would clearly address an important gap since these diseases are such crippling causes of disability today. Together, the HBP and BRAIN projects acknowledge that deciphering the human brain’s complexity requires a collective effort with considerable funding."
Research and science 
  • A June 4, 2013 New York Times article reported that "A new observational study suggests that drugs commonly used to treat Alzheimer’s disease may have another benefit: preventing heart attacks and premature death." According to the article, "Swedish researchers reviewed records on 7,073 Alzheimer’s patients taking cholinesterase inhibitors (Aricept, Exelon, Reminyl and other brands). Over an average of about 17 months of follow-up, 831 of the patients had a heart attack or died."
  • A June 3, 2013 ScienceDaily.com article reported that "Highly educated individuals with mild cognitive impairment that later progressed to Alzheimer's disease cope better with the disease than individuals with a lower level of education in the same situation, according to research published in the June issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine." 
  • A June 4, 2013 The Atlantic article explored the ethical implications of dementia patients having sexual relationships. According to the article, "How residents in care facilities should receive this gift is an ethical minefield. A study by Australian researchers found that nursing home residents "including those with dementia, saw themselves as sexual beings and with a continuing need and desire to express their sexuality." But a further study in the Australian Journal of Dementia Care by some of the same authors found that only 20 percent of Australian nursing homes had policies about sexuality or sexual health. Most of them framed intimacy among residents as disruptive or problematic behavior."