Dementia in the News

Long-awaited federal funding has been approved for a first-of-its-kind, Boston-led study to test whether drugs can hold off Alzheimer's disease in people who have no symptoms of the illness, but who have an abnormal protein in their brains believed to be a hallmark of the disease.

The National Institutes of Health announced Monday that the clinical trial, to be led by Dr. Reisa Sperling, an Alzheimer's specialist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, is one of four that will be funded this year to find treatments for the disease.

As population age worldwide and the number of people with dementia is set to soar over the next few decades, a crisis in eldercare looms. At the same time, the use of personal technology - smartphones, tablets, wearable monitors - is exploding. Can technology help society avert the crisis? some researchers envision a future in which older adults with cognitive decline or Alzheimer's disease could stay independenet longer with the help of technology. Robots and interactive computers would aid an impaired senior to complete simple tasks.

As many of you know, Alzheimer's is an absolutely devastating neurodegenerative disease. It destroys the lives of loved ones with the disease, takes a terrible toll on family and friends who care for them, and costs, for patient care alone, an estimated $200 billion a year.

The unusually high incidence of early-onset Alzheimer's disease in this isolated cattle town has thrust it to the forefront of global efforts to find a cure for the debilitating malady.

Next spring, 100 residents of this region in northwestern Columbia who are known to carry a mutant gene linked to the disease will begin taking a therapeutic drug produced by the U.S. biotechnology firm Genentech. The five-year clinical trial, called the Alzheimer's Prevention Initiative, will cost $100 million. The effort is backed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and includes UCLA.

A little physical activity can go a long way toward extending your life, regardless of your weight, a new study found. People who walked briskly or did other activity at only half the recommended amount gained nearly 2 years in life expectancy compared to inactive people. Those who exercised even more gained up to 4.5 years of life.

It was in 2009 when Dr. Rudy Tanzi was asked to appear in a GQ magazine photo shoot for a campaign called "Rock Stars of Science." The shoot, organized by the Geoffrey Beene Foundation, was aimed at raising awareness of scientific research by matching accomplished researchers with famous musicians. Tanzi, who heads Massachusetts General Hospital's Genetics and Aging Research Unit and teaches neurology at Harvard Medical School, was paired with a fellow Bostonian, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry.

Alzheimer's researchers and drug companies have for years concentrated on one hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease: the production of toxic shards of a protein that accumulate in plaques on the brain.

Scientists studying Alzheimer's disease are increasingly finding clues that the brain begins to deteriorate years before a person shows symptoms of dementia.

Now, research on a large extended family of 5,000 people in Columbia with a genetically driven form of Alzheimer’s has found evidence that the precursors of the disease begin even earlier than previously thought, and that this early brain deterioration occurs in more ways than has been documented before.

In 1943, a Greek war veteran named Stamatis Moraitis came to the United States for treatment of a combat-mangled arm. He’d survived a gunshot wound, escaped to Turkey and eventually talked his way onto the Queen Elizabeth, then serving as a troopship, to cross the Atlantic. Moraitis settled in Port Jefferson, N.Y., an enclave of countrymen from his native island, Ikaria. He quickly landed a job doing manual labor. Later, he moved to Boynton Beach, Fla. Along the way, Moraitis married a Greek-American woman, had three children and bought a three-bedroom house and a 1951 Chevrolet.

Understanding who is most susceptible to Alzheimer's disease and developing early detection models, effective therapies and possibly a cure, is the goal of the largest single private scientific grant ever invested in Alzheimer's Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) focused on families afficted with Alzheimer's disease.

A $5.4 million contribution announced today from the non-profit Cure Alzheimer's Fund to Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) will allow state-of-the-art whole genome DNA sequencing to further understand the genetic roots of Alzheimer's disease.

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