Dementia in the News

Data that details every gene in the DNA of 410 people with Alzheimer's disease can now be studied by researchers, the U.S. National Institutes of Health announced this week.

This first batch of genetic data is now available from the Alzheimer's Disease Sequencing Project, launched in February 2012 as part of an intensified national effort to find ways to prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease.

Genome sequencing outlines the order of all 3 billion chemical letters in an individual's DNA, which is the entire set of genetic data every person carries in every cell.

Researchers from Brown University and Banner Alzheimer's Institute have found that infants who carry a gene associated with increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease tend to have differences in brain development compared to children without the gene. The study, published in JAMA Neurology, demonstrates some of the earliest developmental differences associated with a gene variant called APOE ε4, a common genotype and a known risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s.

Anne Kolesar thought she had packed well for her biking trip last month in Pennsylvania's "Grand Canyon," with clothes for cold weather and snacks. But after driving about a hundred miles, she looked through her rearview mirror and realized: Oops, no bike!

Kolesar, 61, laughs heartily as she tells this story. But hovering over the incident is her knowledge that she has an elevated genetic risk of Alzheimer's disease.

The Global CEO Initiative (CEOi) on Alzheimer's Disease, Sage Bionetworks, and IBM's DREAM, today announced the Alzheimer's Disease Big Data (AD#1) Challenge at the Alzheimer's Disease Summit: The Path to 2025.

The Summit, hosted by CEOi and the New York Academy of Sciences, is convening key industry, academic, government, and patient stakeholders to build on the current National Institutes of Health (NIH) milestones designed to achieve a means of prevention and effective treatment of Alzheimer's by 2025.

In the largest genetic analysis of Alzheimer's ever completed, scientists have discovered 11 new genes that may be tied to the late-onset form of the dementia disease.

Scientists scanned the brains of 74,076 older volunteers with Alzheimer's and others who did not have the disease in 15 countries to come up with their findings. The study was published in Nature Genetics on Oct. 27.

The frenzied pace of medical innovation was much in evidence at the Fourth Annual Galien Forum on Tuesday, at New York City’s Alexandria Center for Life Sciences. The world’s leading pharmaceutical researchers gathered to discuss the recent, significant advances in their understanding of human cellular biology, which hold out hope that doctors will be able to more effectively attack the scourges of Alzheimer’s, cancer, and diabetes in the not too distant future.

The discovery of the first chemical to prevent the death of brain tissue in a neurodegenerative disease has been hailed as the "turning point" in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.

More work is needed to develop a drug that could be taken by patients.

But scientists say a resulting medicine could treat Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's and other diseases.

In tests on mice, the Medical Research Council showed all brain cell death from prion disease could be prevented.

A protein increased by endurance exercise has been isolated and given to non-exercising mice, turning on genes that promote brain health and encourage the growth of new nerves involved in learning and memory, scientists from Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have reported.

As research on Alzheimer's disease becomes a growing societal priority worldwide, the National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association have launched the International Alzheimer's Disease Research Portfolio (IARDP). By organizing thousands of studies on AD into one central database, IADRP will help sponsors identify funded research to avoid duplication, coordinate funding efforts, and spot gaps in support. Researchers may fine it useful for the same reasons.

For 25 years, Charlie Collier traveled the country, seeking donations for Harvard University, where he gained a national reputation in the field of family philanthropy. Now, he is speaking out, as much as he is able, on a topic even closer to his heart:  Alzheimer's disease.

Five years ago, at age 60, Collier was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. Though his speech and handwriting are somewhat impaired these days, Collier's intellect remains nearly as sharp as it was in 2001, when he published the groundbreaking book "Wealth in Families," now in its 11th printing.

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