Today’s Top Alzheimer’s News
PROFILES IN COURAGE
A May 2, 2018 CBS This Morning broadcast segment and article spotlighted Academy Award-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden’s experience with her mom’s Alzheimer’s disease. Writing “The Seasons of My Mother: A Memoir of Love, Family, and Flowers" is Harden’s journey to repurpose her pain toward something positive. "I didn't want her legacy to be Alzheimer's. I wanted her legacy to be this beautiful life that she's lived and that's really why I wrote it.” Also covered by People and Entertainment Weekly.
RESEARCH AND SCIENCE
A May 2, 2018 Science Daily article reported that UCLA researchers have developed a promising drug strategy that blocks tau transmission utilizing a small molecule called cambinol. Tau is a major hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease which invades and destroys neighboring brain cells and speeds cognitive decline. According to senior study author Varghese John, "Over 200 molecules have been tested as disease-modifying Alzheimer's therapy in clinical trials, and none has yet attained the holy grail. Our paper describes a novel approach to slow Alzheimer's progression by showing it is possible to inhibit propagation of pathologic forms of tau."
According to a May 2, 2018 Futurity article, researchers linked circadian rhythm and aggression in the brains of mice, and developed special protein tools to turn off the cells causing the behavior. This is an important discovery for Alzheimer’s patients who experience “sundowning,” which includes increased aggression at night. “We have shown that the circadian clock in mice is closely linked to an aggression center in the mouse brain by a cell circuit. The human brain has those same groups of cells that the circuit goes through. With this knowledge, we are now enabled to target this circuit pharmacologically and target cells that make people aggressive at the end of the day,” said Timothy Lynagh of the University of Copenhagen.
CLINICAL TRIAL SPOTLIGHT
A May 2, 2018 Science Daily article focused on a new study by Australian scientists looking at why clinical trials of drugs reducing proteins in the brain that were thought to cause dementia and Alzheimer's have failed. They point to inflammation as the cause for dementia-related diseases, and tissue damage as the result, reversing previous thinking. "With this new understanding of the disease, we now need to test existing anti-inflammatory drugs for their effectiveness in treating dementia," said project lead Professor Robert Richards of the University of Adelaide's School of Biological Sciences.
A May 2, 2018 La Jolla Light article highlighted a two-part panel at the La Jolla Community Center about where and how families and patients can find hope after receiving a dementia or Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. Monarch Senior Living hosted the event in their ongoing efforts to provide educational resources to the community. According to panelist Scott Mitchell, pastor at La Jolla Presbyterian Church, speaking about the importance of reconciliation and forgiveness between family members and people with Alzheimer’s, “Give them permission to talk about the issues they have with family or any regrets.”
EVENTS AND RESOURCES
Join Being Patient’s weekly live talk on Facebook, tonight at 8pm (EST). Bill Burke, MD discusses what people should ask their doctor if they see signs of cognitive decline in themselves or a loved one. Burke is a specialist in geriatric psychiatry and the Director of the Stead Family Memory Center at the Banner Alzheimer's Institute. Submit questions ahead of time in the comments section.