See What Is New In Dementia Research

Periodically I will search the web for newly publicized results of trials and will post them here. So far, no “magic bullets” have been discovered and many scientists are focusing on present healthy populations to see what lifestyle differences may benefit/protect the participants as they age.
It’s a multi-year study so we won’t be hearing what they have learned for a while!

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Biochemical Trigger Found May Be What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease

Scientists at the Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante (Spain) reported some new findings in Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy. In Alzheimer’s Disease there are build-ups of two types of proteins in the brain: amyloid plaques and tau protein tangles. Beta-amyloid is a fragment of the larger protein called amyloid precursor protein (APP). When APP is broken down it either forms harmless proteins or the beta-amyloid during a process called glycosylation. The senior author, Javier Saez-Valero said this is dependent upon what sugar form is attached in the glycosylation process.

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The APOE4 Gene Disrupts Endocytosis, But The PICALM Gene Can Negate That Defect

Astrocytes help communication between neurons by maintaining the homeostasis for those cells. Those astrocytes that possess the APOE4 gene have impaired communication and are unable to maintain the metabolic needs of the cells they are supposed to help.

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New Blood Test On The Horizon

The most recent Alzheimer’s Association International Conference July 28-31, 2020 released news of a blood test that detects abnormal forms of tau protein (one of which is p-tau 217) one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) besides the amyloid plaques that accumulate in the brain. To date the only way to pick up tau levels was by testing spinal fluid or looking at a PET scan of the brain for amyloid plaque damage. This plasma test correlates well with the increase of amyloid in the brain as well, but detects it’s presence years before the damage to the brain shows outward signs.

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A Vaccine for Alzheimer’s Shows Promise in Human Trial

A Dublin based United Neurosciences Company has been pursuing a vaccine trial even though some past vaccine trials ended in brain swelling and cancellation. This drug called UB-311 is completing it’s phase 2a Clinical Study. The 2b study for efficacy and then Phase 3 for proper potency will follow if all goes well.

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New Focus on Blood-Brain Barrier Spurs Research on Dementia

It is thought that the blood-brain barrier becomes more permeable as we age, allowing molecules harmful to neurons to enter the brain, triggering inflammation and cell death. It has long been assumed that dementia was due to the accumulation of beta-amyloid proteins, but numerous studies focusing on beta-amyloid have failed to make headway in the fight to find a cure for dementia. Now focus is being placed on the study of the blood-brain barrier to develop new treatments.

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LATE – A New Dementia Identified

When we talk about dementia today, most of the cases have been identified as Alzheimer’s disease and will occur after age 65 (called late-onset). On April 30th of this year in the issue of Brain (HealthDay News) co-author Dr. Peter Nelson of the University of Kentucky announced a new form of dementia. It affects people above the age of 80, and researchers think it has been around for a long time, probably misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers are calling this disease LATE which stands for limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy.

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Those Who Know They Have The APOE4 Gene For Alzheimers Are Running Out Of Time

On September 18th of this year the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative’s Generation Program (Novartis & Amgen with the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute) announced that they have stopped the BACE inhibitor drug study because of unexpected drops in memory and thinking of it’s study participants. When the group got word that this negative effect was happening, they looked at the data coming in from various study venues to verify that outcome. Once confirmed, they stopped the study cold.

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40 Sites Around the US To Test A New Drug For Alzheimer’s Disease

This is a big deal. After so many years of failures in finding a drug to stop or even slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) most researchers have moved their focus to prevention of the disease before and signs or symptoms of dementia show up. This leaves those who have already been diagnosed feeling like they have been forgotten.

This study involves a precursor of the drug riluzole, a drug that has already been approved for ALS (amylotrophic lateral sclerosis, 1995). This precursor or “prodrug” as they call it is a related compound with lesser side effects that when taken is converted by the body into riluzole. It’s name is Troriluzole. The fact that it is converted by the body makes it a safer compound as well as more easily tolerated. For ALS, riluzole is an important find. Although it doesn’t cure the disease or quell the symptoms, it has been shown to increase survival time by at least a year and a half.

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