Today’s Top Alzheimer’s News
A May 31, 2018 Boston Globe article highlighted a “comprehensive study” from MIT neuroscientists about the link between Alzheimer’s disease and the APOE4 and APOE3 genes. APOE4 is three times more common among people with AD than the general population, and promotes the accumulation of beta amyloid in the brain. Gene editing can turn it into the APOE3 variant, thereby eliminating signs of Alzheimer’s in brain cells in the lab. If gene editing can work in humans, it could lead to a possible therapy. Also covered by MIT News.
A May 31, 2018 The Hill article focused on how Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is pushing the FDA to enforce the “right to try” law as written. It was signed into law this week. Johnson is the primary bill author, and wrote in a letter to the FDA that it “intends to diminish the FDA’s power over people’s lives, not increase it.” The intention is to let terminally ill patients gain access to drugs that have not yet been approved by the FDA.
DEMENTIA AND THE ARTS
A May 31, 2018 The Daily Tar Heel article reported that the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University received a $5,000 grant to fund their “Reflections” program, providing art therapy via museum tours and hands-on activities to people impacted by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. According to Wendy Hower, “People with Alzheimer’s find themselves increasingly cut off from the community, and it becomes hard for them to do the kinds of things they used to love to do, but the Reflections program opens up the world of art to people with dementia and Alzheimer’s." The Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill is planning similar tours.
From the Latino Alzheimer’s & Memory Disorders Alliance, “Clásicos Por Los Clásicos” are social-bicultural gatherings for people with memory loss, mild cognitive impairment, early Alzheimer’s, or other dementia and their family relatives in Chicago. Enjoy songs sung by participants here.
A May 30, 2018 Oakland Press article spotlighted the premiere of a new Public Television Documentary, “On the Front Lines of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.” Filmmaker Keith Famie’s father was a WWII veteran who died from Alzheimer’s disease in 2003. The film features stories and leading professionals sharing their work to help those diagnosed with multiple forms of dementia, and their caregivers.
FEEL GOOD STORY OF THE DAY
A June, 2018 AARP Bulletin explored the power of comedy to reach people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Dani Klein Modisett wrote about hiring a comedian to work with her mother, who was fading from Alzheimer’s. According to the article, “A comedian. What a perfect fit for this job. Who better to be in the moment, to draw someone out and, after years of dealing with hecklers, be undaunted by the volatility of a person in the grip of Alzheimer’s, a brain disease with no known cure that affects some 5.7 million Americans?… It suddenly became clear that when rational thought, memory and language are gone, the only thing we have is the present moment. And the greatest gift you can give anyone in this state is to do your best to fill the moment with laughter.”