January 2007

Monday, January 22, 2007

Alzheimer's Vaccine Patch Works in Mice


The Alzheimer's vaccine being tested works by triggering the immune system to recognize and attack Ab -- a protein that abnormally builds up in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.




Source United Press International


Alzheimer's vaccine patch works in mice





MIAMI, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- A transdermal vaccine shows promise in treating the deadly memory-impairment disorder Alzheimer's disease in mice, say U.S. researchers.

The needle-free approach appeared effective in clearing the Alzheimer's-affected animals of the brain-damaging plaques that mark the disease, said researchers at the University of South Florida.

"While many groups have shown vaccinating against the beta amyloid protein (Ab) can reduce Alzheimer's-like pathology including certain cognitive deficits, this study is the first to demonstrate that immunization using the skin may be an effective way to reduce Ab pathology," said senior study author Jun Tan, director of the Neuroimmunology Laboratory at the Institute for Research in Psychiatry at USF.

The Alzheimer's vaccine being tested works by triggering the immune system to recognize and attack Ab -- a protein that abnormally builds up in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

"The beauty is that something as simple and non-invasive as a skin patch could potentially be a promising therapy for Alzheimer's disease," said study coauthor Terrence Town.

A transdermal treatment for the disease would also reduce the risk of adverse immune reactions, the researchers said.

The study is published online this week in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Alzheimer's: Understand and control wandering


One of the questions I am most frequently asked is if I am worried that my mother might wander away and get lost.

Alzheimer's: Understand and control wandering

Wandering is one of the more widely known behaviors of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

This article from the Mayo Clinic explains this behavior and some of the likely causes and remedies.

Monday, January 15, 2007

New Gene Linked to Alzheimer's



"It fits into what we believe is the main mechanism of Alzheimer's already," Gandy said. "This reinforces the idea that we're on the right track with therapies already in the pipeline, while also suggesting a totally new strategy that could be used to target entirely new classes of drugs."



New Gene Linked to Alzheimer's

Source Forbes and





Friday, January 5, 2007

Decoding Alzheimer's | Alzheimer's Information


The statistics on the Alzheimer's Reading Room indicate that the knowledge base here on the ARR is being underutilized.

The Knowledge Base contains multiple articles on most topics that caregivers need to care effectively for a person living with Alzheimer's and related dementia.

We have more than 100 experts that have contributed articles to our Knowledge Base. This includes many of the world's best authors, researchers, geriatric care mangers, nurse PhDs, long distance and stay at home caregivers, and real hands-on experts.

We have one of the best organized, easy to use, intellectual capital bases on Alzheimer's and dementia in the world.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Imaging Method Detects Alzheimer's Risk


An innovative brain-scan technology shows promise in detecting those at risk for developing Alzheimer's disease, years before symptoms become obvious.







Source Photonics

An innovative brain-scan technology shows promise in detecting those at risk for developing Alzheimer's disease, years before symptoms become obvious, by showing in living brains the abnormal protein deposits that can lead to the disease -- something that previously could only be confirmed by autopsy.

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles are in the early stages of identifying biomarkers in the blood and spinal fluid to help with Alzheimer's diagnosis, but they said this study is the first to report a real-time "window into the brain" that identifies the major abnormal deposits of the disease, which affects 15 to 20 million Americans, in living people who may not develop it for years to come.

The researchers used positron emission tomography (PET) imaging employing a small molecule invented at UCLA that binds to the abnormal proteins -- amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles -- that may cause the disease. Previously, only an autopsy could determine the existence of these deposits and confirm a definitive diagnosis.

Study results found that the new method was able to track disease progression over a two-year period and was more effective than conventional imaging techniques in differentiating patients with Alzheimer's and mild cognitive impairment from normal study subjects. Mild cognitive impairment is a condition that increases the risk for developing Alzheimer's.

"The study suggests that we may now have a new diagnostic tool for detecting pre-Alzheimer's conditions to help us identify those at risk, perhaps years before symptoms become obvious," said Gary Small, Parlow-Solomon Professor on Aging, lead study author and a professor with the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. "This imaging technology may also allow us to test novel drug therapies and manage disease progression over time, possibly protecting the brain before damage occurs."

The study included 83 volunteers aged 49 to 84. Based on cognitive testing, 25 patients had Alzheimer's disease, 28 had mild cognitive impairment and 30 were normal controls. Researchers performed PET brain scans after intravenously injecting the volunteers with the new chemical marker, called FDDNP, which binds to the plaque and tangle deposits found in Alzheimer's patients. Scientists found distinct differences among people with normal brain aging, people with Alzheimer's and people with mild cognitive impairment.

The PET imaging showed that the more advanced the disease, the higher the FDDNP concentrations in the temporal, parietal and frontal brain regions, where the abnormal protein deposits typically accumulate. Patients with Alzheimer's showed the most FDDNP binding, indicating a higher level of plaques and tangles than other subjects.

"We could see the definitive patterns starting early in patients with mild cognitive impairment and advancing in those with Alzheimer's disease," said Jorge Barrio, a study author and professor of medical and molecular pharmacology at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine.

All subjects also received a PET brain scan using a more conventional chemical marker called FDG, which measures the metabolic function of cells and has previously been used in aiding diagnosis for Alzheimer's disease. However, FDG cannot identify the abnormal brain protein deposits that may cause the disease. In addition, 72 subjects received magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, which show brain structure and size.

Scientists found that the FDDNP–PET scan combination differentiated between study subject groups better than the FDG–PET combination or the MRI.

"FDDNP yielded excellent diagnostic accuracy and precisely predicted disease progression and brain pathology accumulation," said Barrio. "FDDNP–PET also delivers the promise of new drug monitoring in human subjects for a more rapid introduction of therapeutic candidates to control or slow progression of the disease."

Researchers performed follow-up scans two years later on 12 research subjects, using FDDNP–PET. Patients whose conditions had grown worse -- declining from normal cognitive function to mild cognitive impairment or from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's disease -- showed a 5 to 11 percent increase in FDDNP binding over their previous brain scans, suggesting an increase in plaques and tangles.

A brain autopsy completed on a follow-up Alzheimer's patient who died 14 months later showed high plaque and tangle concentrations in areas that had previously demonstrated high FDDNP binding values on the PET scan. "This is the first time this pattern of plaque and tangle accumulation has been tracked in living humans over time in a longitudinal study," said Small.

The study was published in the Dec. 21 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. It was funded by National Institutes of Health,the Department of Energy, General Clinical Research Centers Program and numerous foundations. The DoE funds supported FDDNP synthesis, which was performed at the UCLA Cyclotron Laboratory.

UCLA researchers are now working with Siemens Medical to begin a clinical trial using the new molecular marker to obtain Food and Drug Administration approval. UCLA owns a patent on the approach and has licensed it to Siemens.

For more information, visit: www.ucla.edu

Alzheimer’s Disease What is it? Who gets it? What causes it?


Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of a condition called dementia. It is named for the German doctor who first described it, Alois Alzheimer. What is it? Who gets it? What causes it?

Also see:

What’s the Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?

Alzheimer’s Disease

What is it?

Alzheimer’s Disease What is it?  Who gets it?  What causes it?
Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of a condition called dementia. Dementia is a general decline in mental ability, such as memory, language skills, judgment, and concentration. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, which means symptoms occur gradually and become worse over time. It is named for the German doctor who first described it, Alois Alzheimer.

Who gets it?

Alzheimer’s disease most commonly affects those over the age of 65, although it has been diagnosed in people in their 40s and 50s.

Huperzine A Factsheet (Alzheimer's)


I recently read about Huperzine A. The following page contains a fact sheet about the herb. Huperzine A may have cognition-enhancing activity in some Alzheimer's patients.

Huperzine

Americans Fear Alzheimer’s More Than Heart Disease, Diabetes or Stroke


A study by the MetLife Foundation found that Americans fear getting Alzheimer's disease more than heart disease, stroke, or diabetes. Alzheimer's ranks second in the minds of American's only to cancer.

Alzheimer's Reading Room

The survey reveals a mismatch between fear of Alzheimer’s and acting on that fear to prepare for the future.

With Alzheimer's, the Caregiver Is a Patient, Too


This is an interesting and thought provoking article that highlights the problems often effecting Alzheimer's caregivers.

With Alzheimer's, the Caregiver Is a Patient, Too

Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of dementia do not affect just the patient. These diseases gradually rob patients of memory and other intellectual abilities, leaving them unable to perform routine tasks. As the disease continues to destroy brain cells, patients increasingly depend on family members or others to carry out simple tasks like shopping and getting dressed. Ultimately, most patients will need complete care, adding to the caregiver's burden.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting up to 4 million Americans - and untold millions of family members and others who care for them. Physicians now recognize that Alzheimer's caregivers themselves often require care and attention, says Diana R. Kerwin, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology.


Robert T DeMarco Weblog


You can read all my blogs at the Robert T DeMarco Weblog. Just click on my name in the subject box above to visit that website.

Bob DeMarco

James Smith: I'm 46 Years Old, I can't have Alzheimer's


My doctors initially diagnosed it as possible depression. I accepted the diagnosis, and started taking the medications they prescribed. The medications didn’t change the symptoms, even after taking them for several months. Then they told me I had early onset Alzheimer's disease.

Hi,

My name is James Smith, I am 46 years old, married for 22 years, and a father of two college-age daughters. And I have Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

Back in the summer of 2004, we were a typical midwestern family. Our twin daughters were preparing for their senior year of high school, and we were already looking at colleges. I was working as an IT Director for a global Fortune 100 company. Things were going well - I had been recently approached by a retiring Vice President in the company, who suggested I would make a good successor in her role, and was being actively groomed for that position. Part of the development process entailed taking on a role in a new division of the company with greater responsibility and span of control. It was intense and a lot of work, but also challenging and exciting.


Blood Pressure Drug May Offset Alzheimer's


The drug, valsartin (Diovan), is widely prescribed to treat high blood pressure in elderly patients and was identified as being effective in preventing the build-up of beta-amyloid in the brain.

This article discusses the possibility that drugs currently being used to counter hypertension may help prevent cognitive decline. To read the article in its entirety follow the link, Blood Pressure Drug May Offset Alzheimer's Complication.




Dementia Factsheet (Alzheimer's Disease)


I ran across this dementia factsheet from the Milton S Hershey Medical Center. The section entitled,What are the Symptoms, is particularly interesting.

Alzheimer's and Aging


Alzheimer's and Aging

This MetLife website contains lots of useful information on Alzheimer's and Aging. It should be expecially useful to Baby Boomers and Caregivers.

You can also read more on Alzheimer's at the CareGiver.

What's the Difference Between Alzheimer's and Dementia?
Test Your Memory for Alzheimer's (5 Best Memory Tests)
Alzheimer's, Dementia, and Types of Dementia
Alzheimer's Clock Draw Test -- Detect the Signs of Alzheimer's Early
Communicating in Alzheimer's World
Alzheimer's, Your Brain, and Adaptability
The First Sign of Alzheimer's Short Term Memory Loss