Today’s Top Alzheimer’s News
A May 11, 2018 Newsweek article reported that scientists have discovered evidence that animals can replay past events from memory. The discovery was made developing new models to understand memory impairment in human neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. According to Jonathon Crystal of Indiana University, “We're really trying push the boundaries of animal models of memory to something that's increasingly similar to how these memories work in people. If we want to eliminate Alzheimer's disease, we really need to make sure we're trying to protect the right type of memory." Also covered by Indy Star and International Business Times.
A May 10, 2018 Blast article revealed that former Yahoo CEO Terry Semel has Alzheimer’s disease. His son, Eric, filed for a conservatorship, claiming abuse on the part of Terry’s wife, Jane. The UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital was renamed the Jane & Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior in 2004.
A May 10, 2018 WKU/NPR article featured members of the Western Kentucky University FIJI fraternity who are bicycling across the country over the summer to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease. Their Bike4ALZ initiative will last for more than two months as they make their way from San Francisco to Virginia Beach.
RESEARCH AND SCIENCE
A May 10, 2018 Medical Xpress article looked at a small molecule SERCA activator that may improve memory and cognition, the subject of a research study published in Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters. According to study co-author Katie Krajnak, "We have identified a compound that could therapeutically slow or halt Alzheimer's disease, while also demonstrating its ability to cross the blood brain barrier, provide good bioavailability and cause no identifiable off target effects.”
According to a May 9, 2018 EurekAlert! release, an international team of researchers applied a new technique using a powerful X-ray laser to analyze amyloid, a major hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. It allows them to examine individual amyloid fibrils, which are the constituents of amyloid filaments, and record extremely sensitive patterns. "Our aim is to understand the role of the formation and structure of amyloid fibrils in the body and in the development of neurodegenerative diseases. The structural analysis of amyloids is complex, and examining them using existing methods is hampered by differences between the fibrils within a single sample,” said Carolin Seuring of the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science.
PROFILES IN COURAGE
A May 11, 2018 BBC News article pondered the issue of how families should respond to an Alzheimer's diagnosis - who to tell and how much? The disease often carries a stigma and can be isolating for the patient. The article looks to three people coping in their own ways with a family member’s AD. According to caregiver Trevor Clapp, "Reactions to my father have been varied but it is very clear that there is no public understanding of the disease. He got into an innocent argument at the local shop where he's been going for years. Rather than considering that a man of 85 might be suffering in some way, the owners leapt to the conclusion he was being wilfully problematic and promptly banned him from the shop."
A May 10, 2018 Tucson article announced the death of Joan Josephson, who was featured in an Arizona Daily Star series about Alzheimer’s written by her husband Chuck from 2016-2017. He was her caregiver for 13 years. The articles featured photos of Joan as the disease progressed. According to Chuck, “During the recent years of living with Alzheimer’s, I have often remarked that Joan was a different person from the Joan I married. Now, as I look at the present and review the past decades, I think it’s accurate to say that there have been four Joans in our lives together.”