Keeping up with the latest on the Alzheimer’s research front is quite a challenge. There are new studies with new results – both promising and disappointing – coming out all the time. I’ve compiled (and translated the research jargon) a few of the latest bits of news here, also difficult as there are a number of fine resources from which to choose:
The Alzheimer Research Forum (http://www.alzforum.org/)
August 27, 2010 – Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania (in Philadelphia) find evidence of amyloid-beta (A?) pathology in both Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), firming up theories on why those who suffer from Parkinson’s eventually develop dementia.
Here’s more on the study.
August 25, 2010 – Aided by a cutting-edge microscope, professors at the University of California-Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center discover that brain cells which have been exposed to a form of amyloid-beta protein (A?), the molecule closely linked to Alzheimer’s disease (AD), bend less under pressure and become more rigid, revealing one mechanism for A? protein damage in the brain. Such a finding translates into innovative ways to screen drugs for AD/related dementias.
Get the specifics.
American Health Assistance Foundation/Alzheimer’s Research (http://www.ahaf.org/alzheimers/)
August 24, 2010 – Led by a University of Southern Florida Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute professor, who is also director of the Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, this new study indicates that a signaling protein released in those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis had a dramatic effect in reducing AD pathology AND in the reversal of memory impairment. This protein, called GM-CSF, has been successfully tested in a mouse model, but researchers are hopeful that the same protein in humans will stimulate the body’s cells to attack and eradicate amyloid-beta (A?) deposits in the brain.
New York Times/Health/Research (http://health.nytimes.com/pages/health/research/index.html)
August 12, 2010 – Alzheimer’s research is now reaping the benefits of a 2003 collaboration between scientists and executives from the Food & Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, universities, nonprofit groups, and drug/medical imaging industries: over 100 studies are in the works, both for the use of tests like PET scans to aid in early diagnosis and for testing drugs that will either stop/stave off Alzheimer’s disease as a result of this partnership. The group is committed to the discovery of biological markers showing AD’s progression in the brain.
Alzheimer’s Association Research Center (http://www.alz.org/research/overview.asp)
For a well-organized timeline of how far the research has come (complete with major milestones) and details regarding what’s next on the treatment horizon, check out the Alzheimer’s Association Research Center. At the moment, there are 5 FDA-approved Alzheimer’s drugs that treat the disease. You can read about them, along with targets for future drugs, recent treatment trials, and information on how to volunteer for participation in a clinical trial here.
SFL readers, we welcome your suggestions for other sites that you find helpful in keeping up with Alzheimer’s research news.