Dementia in the News

Investigators from the International Center for Biomedicine and the University of Chile, in collaboration with the Center for Bioinformatics of the Universidad de Talca, have discovered that two drugs, the benzimidazole derivaties lanzoprazole and astemizole, may be suitable for use as PET (positron emission tomography) radiotracers and enable imaging for the early detection of Alzheimer's disease.

The study is published in the current issue fo the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Swiss researchers say there is evidence that prions play a vital role in the maintenance of the sheath surrounding our nerves.

They say it is possible that an absence of prions causes diseases of the peripheral nervous system.

One expert said there was growing evidence that the prion had a number of important roles in the body.

As well as the latest research in the journal Nature Neuroscience, other studies have indicated prions may protect us from Alzheimer's disease or even play a role in our sense of smell.

Li-Hueh Tsai became interested in the brain when she saw what happens when the mind begins to crumble. As a small child, she saw her grandmother suffer from Alzheimer's disease - an experience that left a deep impression on her and helped shape her scientific carerr. Tsai, now the director of the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT, has developed a powerful model of Alzheimer's disease using mice, and is working to better understand and stop the disease that robs people of their memories, independence, and personality.

For the first time ever, Alzheimer's disease is a focus at the World Economic Forum. Today, more than 35 million people worldwide have dementia and those numbers will double every 20 years to 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050, according to the World Alzheimer's Report from Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI), a London-based, nonprofit, international federation of 71 national Alzheimer organizations.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) researchers are testing the effectiveness of gene therapy for the first time to treat patients with this common brain disease. Emory University is one of 12 institutions participating in a nationwide study to test the experimental medication, CERE-110.

The Phase 2 clinical trial seeks to enroll a total of 50 study participants with mild to moderate AD.

Drowsiness, staring off into space, or losing your train of thought may be early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study.

Researchers found that people with at least three different symptoms of mental lapses like these were 4.6 times more likely to have dementia than people without such episodes. In addition, people with mental lapses tended to have more severe Alzheimer's symptoms and perform worse on memory and thinking tests.

A simple eye test might be able to detect Alzheimer's and other diseases before symptoms develop, according to UK scientists.

The technique uses fluorescent markers which attach to dying cells which can be seen in the retina and give an early indication of brain cell death.

The research has been carried out on mice, but human trials are planned.

Scientists from University College London hope this could lead to a high street opticians test for the disease.

Diabetes may hasten progression to dementia in older people with mild thinking impairment, new research shows.

So-called mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, increases a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. But aside from a person's severity of mental impairment, there is currently no way to predict which people with MCI will go on to develop full-blown dementia.

Diabetes has been tied to mental decline and dementia in aging, but it is not currently known whether people with MCI who have diabetes are at greater risk of future dementia.

People with a gene linked to long life and good health are also less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

They said people with two copies of a certain version of the cholesteryl ester transfer protein or CETP gene had significantly slower memory declines compared with people who had different versions of the gene.

A fast-acting compound that appears to improve cognitive function impairments in mice similar to those found in patients with progressive Alzheimer's disease has been identified by scientists at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Program in Drug Discovery. Researchers hope to one day replicate the result in humans.

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