Today's Top Alzheimer's News

Novartis ramps up Alzheimer's research, sequestration's impact on biomedical research, and robots caring for Alzheimer's patients (read more)

Must reads

  • A May 22, 2013 article reported that the drug company Novartis AG plans to "ramp up its research in Alzheimer’s disease." According to article, Novartis head Tim Wright said the company is pursuing alternatives including licensing agreements, stating, "This remains high on our radar [Alzheimer's], with high unmet medical need."
  • A May 21, 2013 Science Insider article reported on the impact of sequestration's five percent cuts on biomedical labs across the country, including labs focused on Alzheimer's research. According to the article, "One victim of the sequester cuts is a large, university-based clinical trial called DIAN that aims to test whether drugs can prevent Alzheimer's disease in people with a strong genetic risk for the disease. After working with drug companies to forge an unusual partnership, DIAN's roughly $15 million grant proposal was rejected by the National Institute on Aging because of the sequester cut."


  • A May 19, 2013 New York Times article reported on the increasing focus of technology, including robots, to provide caregiving services to the elderly. According to the article, "Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed Cody, a robotic nurse the university says is “gentle enough to bathe elderly patients.” There is also HERB, which is short for Home Exploring Robot Butler. Made by researchers at Carnegie Mellon, it is designed to fetch household objects like cups and can even clean a kitchen. Hector, a robot that is being developed by the University of Reading in England, can remind patients to take their medicine, keep track of their eyeglasses and assist in the event of a fall. The technology is nearly there. But some researchers worry that we are not asking a fundamental question: Should we entrust the care of people in their 70s and older to artificial assistants rather than doing it ourselves?"

 Human interest and caregiving 

  • A May 21, 2013 Daily Mail (UK) article highlighted Oscar-nominated actress Carey Mulligan's advocacy efforts for the UK's Alzheimer's Society. According to the article, "The actress approached the Alzheimer’s Society, the leading UK care and research charity for people with this disease, offering to use her growing  status as a household name to draw attention to issues surrounding Alzheimer’s. Now an ambassador for the charity, the actress said they had used music to help keep her grandmother – an accomplished piano player – happy."
  • A May 21, 2013 article highlighted the role of children as Alzheimer's caregivers. According to the article, "A landmark study from the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) showed that as many as 1.4 million children between the ages of 8 and 18 are caregivers…the No. 1 reason -- approximately 18 percent -- younger children become caregivers is because they care for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease."

 From the White House

  • On May 16, 2013 the White House posted its first "We the Geeks: Grand Challenges" Google hangout on YouTube. According to the post, the first hangout focused on "Grand Challenges, ambitious goals on a national or global scale that capture the imagination and demand advances in innovation and breakthroughs in science and technology."



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