Today’s Top Alzheimer’s News
A March 28, 2018 Express article reported that researchers at Aurin Biotech in Vancouver advised that people should take a daily dose of anti-inflammatories, such as Ibuprofen, to help prevent dementia, following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. According to Professor John Hardy of University College, London, “This work from a pre-eminent Canadian group is of interest. There is no doubt that inflammatory processes are part of the underlying biology of Alzheimer’s and this work does deserve serious consideration. A saliva test for amyloid would be useful, but the utility of this requires replication by other groups before it would become accepted as clinically useful.” Also covered by The Sun, The Asian Age, The Talking Democrat and others.
According to a March 27, 2018 The Telegraph article, Darpa (US Department of Defense's military research department) has developed a way to record memories as they are being formed and then later play them back into the brain. The goal is to improve episodic memory, which is the most common type of memory loss in people with Alzheimer's disease. “In the future, we hope to be able to help people hold onto specific memories, such as where they live or what their grandkids look like, when their overall memory begins to fail. We envision this system being made into an implant to provide continuous support to a person’s ability to encode and store new memories,” said Dr. Robert Hampson at Wake Forest Baptist.
RESEARCH AND SCIENCE
A March 27, 2018 Nature article highlighted a more than three-decades-long study of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (specifically the “Antioquia mutation”) at the University of Antioquia in Medellín, Colombia. Later this year, a research team will begin scanning the brains of some Alzheimer’s-study participants, allowing them to track tau formation in real time, which could reveal the role it plays in AD. According to the article, “It [Antioquia mutation] probably arrived in South America with Spanish conquerors 375 years ago, and now affects 25 extended families in Antioquia with more than 5,000 members. Researchers have published dozens of papers about this group, including some of the clearest proof that amyloid plaques can accumulate in the brain decades before symptoms of Alzheimer’s appear.”
A School of Medicine University of California, Irvine release spotlighted a $2.5-million, five-year NIH grant, as part of the BRAIN Initiative, to study new neural circuit pathways in the hippocampal formation, which is associated with learning and memory and is implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. According to grant-recipient Xiangmin Xu, PhD, "Our research will add to work already underway to create a deeper understanding of neural circuits and dynamic network interactions in the brain. In particular, mapping the hippocampal formation will enable us to better ascertain the neural circuit mechanisms that underlie neurological disorders including Alzheimer’s and epilepsy. It could open the door to new therapeutic interventions of the progression of Alzheimer’s and temporal lobe epilepsy."
A March 28, 2018 University of Miami Health System article focused on a new study which finds that people who live in ‘green’ neighborhoods (more tree canopy and street level vegetation specifically on the block where they live) have a 28 percent lower risk for depression, and 18 percent decreased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, compared with residents of blocks with low greenness, and was even more pronounced in low-income areas. According to the article, “More research is needed to determine the extent to which these findings in South Florida can be generalized to areas with more seasonal variation in foliage, Brown said. More work also is needed to replicate the findings, particularly the decreased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, “which is a novel, first-ever finding.” ”
A March 26, 2018 Nasdaq article reported that Alzheimer's patients in Puerto Rico will be the first in the U.S. to obtain Hyalolex when it becomes available in April, a cannabinoid based formulation, to relieve many of the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease including agitation, anxiety, sleep disorder, as well as caregiver distress. Hyalolex will be prescribed as a liquid supplement in twice-daily doses for people with mild to moderate AD, and three-times daily for moderate to advanced. Hispanics are approximately one and one-half times more likely to have AD than non-Hispanic whites.