January 03, 2017

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


A December 24, 2016 MD Edge article highlighted Researchers Against Alzheimer’s (RA2)phase II pipeline report. According to UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Chairman George Vradenburg, “To assure our best shot at success, we must ensure that the necessary investments are being made to build a 21st-century infrastructure to test their effectiveness and an innovation-friendly path to market [for] those in need.”


A January 3, 2016 Portland Press Herald editorial underscored the importance of research “to ease rising cost of Alzheimer’s.” According to the editorial, “The only way to lessen that pain and enormous cost – estimated to rise to $735 billion in Medicare and Medicaid expenditures alone by 2050, overwhelming those programs – is through research, and while the United States has made great strides in this area, there still is more to do.”

A January 3, 2016 Vox.com article highlighted the ways that “CRISPR, the powerful gene-editing tool, could change the world.” According to the article, “Martin Kampmann is a cell biologist at the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of California San Francisco. Along with his colleagues, he has helped develop a CRISPR-based platform to identify the genes controlling processes that drive neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s.”

A December 31, 2016 NPR.org article highlighted positive developments in brain science in 2016, including progress in Alzheimer’s drug development. According to the article, “The Alzheimer's disease community also received welcome news this year. After hundreds of failed trials of potential treatments over the past couple of decades, the experimental drug aducanumab, also produced by Biogen, was found in early trials to slow the cognitive decline that comes with Alzheimer’s.”

A December 30, 2016 The Washington Post article reported on the link between location and health. According to the article, “Health disparities based on race, income and gender tend to draw more notice, but variations related to where people live are prompting public health officials to use the information to craft more-targeted policies. As the data becomes more precise, experts believe interventions to combat geographic disparities will become more effective…And some findings, while interesting, may not point the way to action that can make a difference. The VCU-Urban Institute report, for instance, ranks states by their rates of mortality associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Washington ranks last in that category, but there is probably nothing the state can do about it. “Unfortunately, at this point, there are no evidence-based practices we know of that reduce the rate of Alzheimer’s,” Woolf said.”

A December 29, 2016 NPR article explored the question: “Where Does Alzheimer's Treatment Go From Here?” According to the article, “Whether it's antibiotics, probiotics or vaccines, the list of potential Alzheimer's treatments being considered goes on. ‘The bottom line is we need to take more shots on goal,’ says Isaacson. ‘The next frontier is recognizing that there probably isn't a one-size-fits-all approach, and that using targeted therapies based on a person's own biology and genetics will bring the most benefit. The future of Alzheimer's therapeutics is in precision medicine.’”

A December 28, 2016 Scientific American article reported that “Distinct biological and genetic factors may shape how it [Alzheimer’s] progresses in women—and understanding them could be crucial to prevention, diagnosis and treatment.” According to the article, “Researchers are racing to figure out why. Women generally live longer than men, but mounting evidence suggests that longevity alone may not account for the unequal disease burden women face. It remains unclear whether women are truly at an increased risk for Alzheimer’s. But studies have revealed that there may be distinct biological and genetic factors shaping how the disease develops and progresses in women. Understanding these differences will be of key importance in devising new, more effective strategies for treating, preventing and diagnosing Alzheimer’s.”

A December 27, 2016 NPR.org article profiled one Latino family impacted by early onset Alzheimer’s. According to the article, “Before long, Navarro was feeding her mom, then changing her diapers. She put a special lock on the door to keep her from straying outside. Unable to continue caring for her, Navarro eventually moved her mom to a nursing home, where she spent eight years…For Navarro, watching her relatives succumb is like looking into a crystal ball, one she wants to hurl across the room. She, too, has the mutation…Cases like Navarro's are of great interest to Alzheimer's researchers. Studying this unique population with genetic mutations, they say, could help unlock some of the biggest mysteries of the more common form of the disease: How does it develop? How can it be diagnosed earlier? What can be done to stop it?”

A December 26, 2016 The Herald-Dispatch opinion piece by U.S. Senate Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. VA) highlighted the benefits of 21st Century Cures Act. According to the Sen. Capito, “This bipartisan law promotes and funds cutting-edge research towards new cancer vaccines and therapies. It makes improvements to the drug research and approval process that will promote medical breakthroughs and get treatment to patients more quickly, while maintaining strong standards for safety and effectiveness. With these new medical innovations, we can accelerate cures that improve the lives of patients, and study the human brain to treat, prevent and cure disorders like cancer, Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, autism and epilepsy…For the tens of thousands of West Virginians affected by serious diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's, including my own family, Cures will promote the types of treatments and cures that will bring visible benefits to your lives.”