Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers
The National Institute on Aging funds 33 Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers at major medical institutions across the United States. Researchers at these Centers are working to translate research advances into improved diagnosis and care for people with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as working to find a treatment or way to prevent Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. In addition, NIA funds four Exploratory ADRCs that are designed to expand and diversify research and education opportunities to new areas of the country, new populations, and new areas of science and approaches to research.
For people and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, the ADRCs offer:
- Help with obtaining diagnosis and medical management
- Information about Alzheimer’s and related dementias, services, and resources
- Opportunities for volunteers to participate in clinical trials and studies and research registries
- Support groups and other special programs for volunteers and their families
The Prevailing Alzheimer’s Hypothesis
For the last two decades, the focus of most Alzheimers research has been on a disease model called the amyloid hypothesis, which begins with the amyloid beta precursor protein . This protein performs important functions in the membrane of brain cells, and when it wears out, APP is chopped into fragments and then released outside the cell. From there, APP typically is further degraded and removed, except in Alzheimers, where these APP fragments tend to glob together into collections, called plaques. The plaques are thought to then trigger a cascade of dysfunction. This includes causing another protein called tau to clump together inside the cell, forming what are called neurofibrillary tangles.
Scientifically speaking, amyloids fingerprints are all over the Alzheimers crime scene. Unfortunately, numerous therapies designed to lower levels of APP fragments have been unsuccessful to the point where even the experts are getting discouraged. A 2018 editorial in The New England Journal of Medicine stated, Although it may not be quite time to give up on Aß immunotherapy for treating Alzheimers disease, it would be foolish to ignore the continued failures of the anti-amyloid approach Whether a multifaceted strategy or something entirely unforeseen is the answer, the field is clearly in need of innovative ideas.
So, members of the Establishment the big movers in this research are admitting that it might be time to test new Alzheimer’s theories.
Birgit Pianosi Laurentian University
Title: Sexual and intimate expressions of people living with dementia: Expansion of an e-learning prototype to a comprehensive online program.
Award/Grant: Proof of Concept Grant
“People living with dementia have sexual and intimate needs that support their health and quality of life. These needs are difficult for healthcare providers to understand due to negative stigma and lack of access to information about sexuality and dementia. Currently, no such e-learning programs exist.
HCPs need an educational program about sexuality and dementia. We will design, develop and evaluate such a program to complement an existing e-learning module we already created. This free 4-module program will deepen understanding, change attitudes, and hone skills to help HCPs support the sexual needs of people living with dementia.”
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So Far Answers Lead To More Questions
After more than two decades of research and the failure of over 100 clinical trials of single drugs aimed at amyloid beta, it might be a good time to question our most basic assumptions about Alzheimer’s.
Maybe amyloid plaques are just the collateral damage from some yet unrecognized war. After all, association is not causation, and umbrellas dont make it rain. Or maybe its amyloid betas sidekick, the abnormal tau proteins, that are the real pathological trigger. Theres increasing evidence to suggest thats true.
Wherever the answers lie, millions of people are hoping we get there soon.
Jelly Drops: An Exciting New Invention To Help Combat Dehydration In Dementia
Inspired by his grandmother, Lewis Hornby has invented bite-sized sweets known as Jelly Drops to help reduce dehydration in dementia.Alzheimers Society was delighted to partner with Lewis and the Jelly Drops team this year through our Accelerator programme. Together, we’re working on bringing their fantastic product to people living with dementia.
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Researchers Have Identified A New Type Of Dementia
In May, an international team of researchers identified a brain disorder known as LATE. It has similar symptoms to Alzheimers disease but appears to be caused by the build up of the toxic protein TDP-43.
Our researchers were able to delve into this particular protein by studying human brain tissue through our initiative Brains for Dementia Research.
The finding will help us distinguish between different brain disorders and develop precise and personalised treatments.
New Research Sheds Light On How Alzheimer’s Progresses In The Brain
Alzheimers disease and other types of dementia affect more than 55 million people worldwide. But the development of effective treatments and cures is progressing slowly. To some extent, this is because we still dont understand enough about what causes the disease and drives its progression.
Myself and my colleagues most recent work, published in Science Advances, presents a new approach using ideas from other areas of science to analyse data from Alzheimers patients. In this way, weve been able to build a better understanding of the processes that control the progression of Alzheimers disease in the brain.
By way of background, in Alzheimers disease and many other neurodegenerative diseases, like Parkinsons disease, proteins that are normally part of healthy brain cells start sticking together in microscopic clumps. These clumps of protein, called aggregates, form in patients brains, killing off brain cells and leading to symptoms such as memory loss.
As the number of aggregates increases, the disease worsens and eventually leads to death, often many years after the first mild symptoms. Several processes likely contribute to the formation of aggregates, but scientists are yet to understand how aggregates form in detail, and which processes are the most important in controlling how quickly they form.
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+ Million Americans & 40+ Million People Globally Live With #alzheimers Disease & Other Dementias
Driven by our commitment to patients and our strong business foundation, Biogen remains committed to furthering Alzheimers disease research and treatment, aiming to help address the unmet needs in this devastating condition, with an emphasis on early-stage disease.
Below youll find our current investigational therapies in Alzheimers disease.
Treatment For Alzheimer’s Disease
There is no cure available for Alzheimer’s. However, various treatments can help with managing the symptoms of the disease.
- Antipsychotic medications for behavioral changes
- Medications for sleep changes
- Medications like cholinesterase inhibitors donepezil , rivastigmine , and memantine for memory loss
- Medications for depression
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Stage : Mild Dementia
The mild dementia stage is the point at which doctors typically diagnose Alzheimers disease. If people use a three-stage description of Alzheimers disease, this will be the early stage.
Problems with memory and thinking may become more noticeable to friends and family and also begin to affect daily life.
Symptoms of mild dementia due to Alzheimers disease include:
- having difficulty remembering newly learned information
- asking the same question repeatedly
- having trouble solving problems and completing tasks
- exhibiting reduced motivation to complete tasks
- experiencing a lapse in judgment
- becoming withdrawn or uncharacteristically irritable or angry
- having difficulty finding the correct words to describe an object or idea
- getting lost or misplacing items
Early Onset Alzheimers Disease
Although age is the main risk factor for Alzheimers disease, this is not just a condition that affects older adults.
According to the Alzheimers Association, early onset Alzheimers disease affects around 200,000 U.S. adults under the age of 65 years. Many people with this condition are in their 40s or 50s.
In many cases, doctors do not know why younger people develop this condition. Several rare genes can cause the condition. When there is a genetic cause, it is known as familial Alzheimers disease.
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Statement: Alzheimer Society Of Canada
“Alzheimer’s disease, which continues to affect more and more Canadians, is a major public health concern and one of the biggest challenges facing medical research today.
Reducing the impact of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia will not only improve lives, but decrease the cost to our health-care system and economy. To achieve this end, we must maximize our research talent through collaboration and innovation and work harder to raise awareness about dementia and its risk factors.
Thankfully, we have the will and commitment of the Government of Canada and some of the world’s brightest researchers to get us there. Alzheimer Societies across the country will continue to work side-by-side with our government and research partners.
Our combined expertise and resources will help fuel breakthroughs that prevent this disease’s onset, yield more effective care and treatment and eventually lead us to a cure.”
Mimi Lowi-YoungChief Executive Officer
Latest Research: Sildenafil Candidate Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Grape Seed Extract Or Anti
China News Service, Beijing, December 7 Springer Natures two professional academic journals each recently published an anti-aging research paper saying that the prescription drug sildenafil can be used for Alzheimers disease Candidate drugs mouse experiments show that grape seed extract has an anti-aging effect on elderly mice. The results of a study published in
China News Service, Beijing, December 7 Springer Natures two professional academic journals each recently published an anti-aging research paper saying that the prescription drug sildenafil can be used for Alzheimers disease Candidate drugs mouse experiments show that grape seed extract has an anti-aging effect on elderly mice.
The results of a study published in “Nature-Aging” suggest that as a drug for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension and erectile dysfunction, sildenafil is associated with a significant reduction in the risk of Alzheimers disease. An option for Haimer’s disease.
The paper introduced that Alzheimers disease is the most common form of age-related dementia, which plagues hundreds of millions of people around the world. As a disease caused by the aging of the population, there is currently no effective treatment for Alzheimers disease. Cause a huge and increasing economic and disease burden to the society.
The results showed that sildenafil was one of the drugs with the highest scores, suggesting that the drug may affect Alzheimer’s disease.
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Therapy Manipulates The Immune System To Slow Neurodegeneration Without Triggering Dangerous Inflammation In The Process
A new therapy prompts immune defense cells to swallow misshapen proteins, amyloid beta plaques and tau tangles, whose buildup is known to kill nearby brain cells as part of Alzheimers disease, a new study shows.
Led by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the investigation showed that elderly monkeys had up to 59 percent fewer plaque deposits in their brains after treatment with CpG oligodeoxynucleotides , compared with untreated animals. These amyloid beta plaques are protein fragments that clump together and clog the junctions between nerve cells .
Brains of treated animals also had a drop in levels of toxic tau. This nerve fiber protein can destroy neighboring tissue when disease-related changes to its chemical structure cause it to catch on other cells.
Our findings illustrate that this therapy is an effective way of manipulating the immune system to slow neurodegeneration, says Akash Patel, MS, an assistant research scientist in the Center for Cognitive Neurology at NYU Langone Health.
The investigators say the treatment led to cognitive benefits as well. When presented with a series of puzzles, elderly monkeys given the drug performed similarly to young adult animals and much better than those in their age group that had remained untreated. The treated monkeys also learned new puzzle-solving skills faster than their untreated peers.
Shifting From Treatment To Prevention In Alzheimers Research
New research in Alzheimers disease questions the effectiveness of existing medications, moving the focus to risk reduction and prevention.
As the most common form of dementia and the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., Alzheimer’s disease is not foreign to Americans. Many of us know someone battling the disease a disease that doctors are still continuing to understand. While the majority of previous research has been focused on treatment, researchers are beginning to shift their attention toward prevention.
In a recent virtual presentation in partnership between the Alzheimers Associations Michigan chapter and the Michigan Alzheimers Disease Research Center, Bruno Giordani, Ph.D., professor in the departments of psychiatry, neurology and psychology, discussed the science behind Alzheimers disease as well as the latest research from the most recent Alzheimers Association International Conference. According to Giordani, new research findings led to an entire change in the emphasis of research, as more evidence was released to support risk-reducing tactics over later treatment.
Id usually tell you about all the exciting new amyloid drugs presented at the AAIC meeting the amyloid busters that we can apply to get rid of amyloid in the brain. Frankly, these have not worked out as expected, Giordani explained. Researchers are now attempting to disrupt the process even earlier, before amyloid plaques form and begin to disturb memory.
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Challenges For The Alzheimers Research Community
Even with the progress that weve made, there’s still a lot of work to do before we can find treatment and prevention strategies for the millions of people affected by Alzheimers and related dementias. These devastating diseases are highly complex conditions caused by an interplay of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. They usually develop gradually changes in the brain take place over years and even decades, long before the first symptoms appear. This complexity presents challenges to the discovery and development of new drugs and other prevention and treatment approaches. Alzheimers disease does not affect all communities at the same rate, and research has found that a persons likelihood of getting Alzheimers can be affected by their sex, ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, and other factors. These differences are called health disparities.
Researchers believe Alzheimers disease and related dementiaswill likely require multipletreatments customized to individuals.We also know that as the older adult population continues to grow aging remains the most important risk factor fordementia we will see increased numbers of people living with these diseases. Thats why thousands of researchers around the country are working on this issue.
Stage : Mild Cognitive Impairment
Mild cognitive impairment often occurs before the more severe decline of dementia. Some 1218% of people aged 60 years or older have MCI, but not all will develop dementia. According to the National Institute on Aging, around 1020% of people over the age of 65 with MCI will develop dementia within any 1-year period.
A person with MCI may notice subtle changes in their thinking and ability to remember things. They may have a sense of brain fog and find it hard to recollect recent events. These issues are not severe enough to cause problems with day-to-day life or usual activities, but loved ones may start to notice changes.
Many people become more forgetful with age or take longer to think of a word or remember a name. However, significant challenges with these tasks could be a sign of MCI.
Symptoms of MCI include:
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Cataract Surgery Linked With Lessened Dementia Risk
- University of Washington School of Medicine/UW Medicine
- Based on the longitudinal data of over 3,000 study participants, researchers found that subjects who underwent cataract surgery had nearly 30% lower risk of developing dementia from any cause compared with those who did not. This lowered risk persisted for at least a decade after surgery. Cataract surgery was also associated with lower risk of Alzheimer disease dementia specifically.
Cataracts affect most older adults at risk for dementia, and now researchers are finding strong evidence that cataract surgery is associated with a lower risk of developing dementia.
The Adult Changes in Thought study is a long-standing, Seattle-based observational study at Kaiser Permanente Washington of more than 5,000 participants older than 65. Based on the longitudinal data of over 3,000 ACT study participants, researchers have now found that subjects who underwent cataract surgery had nearly 30% lower risk of developing dementia from any cause compared with those who did not. This lowered risk persisted for at least a decade after surgery. Cataract surgery was also associated with lower risk of Alzheimer disease dementia specifically. The results were reported Dec. 6 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
“This kind of evidence is as good as it gets in epidemiology,” Lee said. “This is really exciting because no other medical intervention has shown such a strong association with lessening dementia risk in older individuals.”
Bats In Guam: A Possible Alzheimer’s Solution
Dr. Paul Cox is a 65-year-old Harvard-trained ethnobotanist whose quirky intelligence and odd brand of sleuthy science has gotten him featured in big publications like The New Yorker, Time and Fortune.
Cox heads up his own Brain Chemistry Labs in Jackson Hole, Wyo., but his curiosity about neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers began in Guam, where the Chamorro people have long been noted to have high rates of Alzheimers, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Parkinsons.
Being an ethnobotanist, Cox focused on the plants the Chamorros were eating in particular, the cycad seed, which locals grind into flour for tortillas. Cycad seeds contain a high level of beta-methylamino-L-alanine, or BMAA, a potent neurotoxin. So, the connection seemed close and obvious, until research showed that the amount of BMAA being ingested in tortillas was infinitesimally small.
That led Cox to a local Chamorro delicacy: boiled flying fox bat. These bats eat cycad leaves and store up high levels of BMAA in their tissues. And that discovery led to an indictment of cyanobacteria, which are rife with BMAA and other toxins and comingle with the odd root structures of the cycad tree. Cyanobacteria are found almost everywhere in the world.
Clinical trials to investigate the therapeutic benefit of using L-serine to outcompete BMAA are underway, and Cox strikes a hopeful tone.
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