Sleep Apnea Increases Amyloid Load In Brain, A Hallmark of Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ricardo S Osorio MD Center for Brain Health Department of Psychiatry Center of Excellence on Brain Aging NYU Langone Medical Center New York, NY 10016, USA

Dr. Osorio

Ricardo S Osorio MD
Center for Brain Health
Department of Psychiatry
Center of Excellence on Brain Aging
NYU Langone Medical Center
New York, NY 10016, USA 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This was a study that was performed in a group of healthy normal elderly from the community that volunteered for studies on memory and aging.

The main findings were that sleep apnea was very common, in almost all cases undiagnosed, and that it was associated with a longitudinal increase in amyloid burden which is considered one of the hallmark lesions of Alzheimer’s disease

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Single Injection of Klotho Gene Protected Animals From Cognitive Decline

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Miguel Chillon PhD Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Universitat Autonoma Barcelona Spain

Dr. Chillon

Dr Miguel Chillon PhD
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Universitat Autonoma Barcelona
Spain

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Klotho is a protein with an anti-aging and neuroprotective role. Recent studies show it prevents the development of cognitive problems associated with aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Klotho works mainly by inhibiting the insulin / IGF-1 signaling pathway and decreasing the damage caused by oxidative stress in the brain. One of the latest results revealed that the concentration of Klotho in cerebrospinal fluid is significantly lower in Alzheimer’s patients than in human controls of the same age; and it is lower in the elderly with respect to young adults.

Our study used a gene therapy strategy to introduce the Klotho gene into the Central Nervous System of adult animals. With just a single injection of the Klotho gene, young adult animals were protected over time from the cognitive decline associated with aging in old animals. These exciting results pave the way to further advances in research and the development of a neuroprotective therapy based on Klotho.

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Chronic Inflammation in Midlife May Predispose To Smaller Brain Volumes and Memory Ability In Seniors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Keenan A. Walker, PhD
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There is quite a bit of evidence linking immune function with dementia. For example, several of the risk genes for Alzheimer’s disease are known to play a key role in immune functioning and the regulation of inflammation. We conducted the current study to determine whether systemic inflammation earlier in life might be a risk factor for neurodegeneration decades later. This long temporal window allows us to get closer to understanding causality. That is, which comes first – systemic inflammation or brain volume loss.

Using a large community sample, we found that individuals with higher levels of blood inflammatory markers during midlife tended to have smaller brain volumes in select regions and reduced memory ability as older adults. We found the strongest associations between systemic inflammation and brain volume loss in brain regions most vulnerable Alzheimer’s disease.

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Patients With Dementia Less Likely To Receive Chemotherapy for Colon Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Yingjia Chen, M.Sc, MPH, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Chen

Yingjia Chen, M.Sc, MPH, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
University of California, San Francisco 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Both colon cancer and dementia are prevalent among the elderly and have a high risk of co-occurrence. Previous studies found that patients with dementia were treated less aggressively. In this study, we hypothesized that presence of pre-existing dementia was associated with worse survival for stage III colon cancer patients, and that post-operative chemotherapy was on the causal pathway.

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Refined Biomarker Model Can Guage Risk of Alzheimer’s In Patients With Mild Cognitive Impairment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ingrid S. van Maurik, MSc
Department of Neurology and Alzheimer Center
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Amsterdam Neuroscience
VU University Medical Center
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: CSF and MRI biomarkers are increasingly used in clinical practice, but their diagnostic and prognostic value is not perfect. Furthermore, criteria do not specify how to deal with conflicting or borderline results, or how to take patient characteristics into account. Therefore, optimal use of these biomarkers in clinical practice remains challenging.

As part of the ABIDE project, we constructed biomarker-based prognostic models (CSF, MRI and combined) that enable prediction of future Alzheimer’s disease, or any type of dementia, in individual patients with mild cognitive impairment. When using these models, any value can be entered for the variables, resulting in personalized probabilities with confidence intervals.

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Novel Brain Imaging May Detect Preclinical Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Sanja Josef Golubic, dr. sc

Department of Physics, Faculty of Science
University of Zagreb, Croatia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Our study was aimed to search the topological biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease. A recent evidences suggest that the decades long progression of brain degeneration that is irreversible by the stage of symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease, may account for failures to develop successful disease-modifying therapies. Currently, there is a pressing worldwide search for a marker of very early, possibly reversible, pathological changes related to Alzheimer’s disease in still cognitively intact individuals, that could provide a critical opportunity for evolving of efficient therapeutic interventions.

Three years ago we reported the discovery of the novel, fast brain pathway specialized for rapid processing of the simple tones. We named it gating loop. Gating loop directly links auditory brain areas to prefrontal brain area. We have also noticed the high sensitivity of the gating loop processing on AD pathology. It was inspiration to focus our Alzheimer’s disease biomarker search in the direction of prefrontal brain activation during listening of simple tones.

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Parasitic Infection With Toxoplasmosis May Be Linked To Parkinson’s & Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Under a magnification of 900X, this hematoxylin and eosin-stained (H&E) photomicrograph of a brain tissue specimen revealed a case of neurotoxoplasmosis in a patient who had also been diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Note the Toxoplasma gondii tissue cyst, within which bradyzoites could be seen developing. CDC Image

Rima McLeod, M.D., F.A.C.P, F.I.D.S.A
Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences,Pediatrics (Infectious Diseases), and The College,
Director, Toxoplasmosis Center,
Senior Fellow,Institute of Genomics, Genetics and Systems Biology, Member, Commitees on Immunology, and Molecular Medicine and Pathogenesis,
Member Global Health Center, Affiliate CHeSS;
Attending Physician, Chicago Medicine,
The University of Chicago

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

* One third of humans are infected lifelong with the brain-dwelling, protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii.
* Approximately fifteen million of these have congenital toxoplasmosis.
* The parasite interconverts between slow-growing, encysted bradyzoites and rapid-growing tachyzoites.
* In mice, T. gondii creates a chronic intra-neuronal infection and an inflammatory process.
* Mice with acute and chronic infection have alterations in neurotransmitters, memory, seizures, and neurobehavior.
* Some epidemiologic-serologic studies show associations between seropositivity for T. gondii and human neurologic diseases, for example, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
* Although neurobehavioral disease is associated with seropositivity, causality is unproven.
* Serologic studies of humans with diverse genetics are not optimal to detect strong associations or directionality.
* Epidemiologic associations also do not reveal parasite-modulated gene networks in human brain that could provide insights into how to cure and prevent resultant diseases.
* We need integrative approaches to examine relationships between brain parasitism and other brain diseases, to provide a foundation to identify key pathways and molecules for drug and vaccine design
* To address these problems, we considered two central questions: (i) If chronic brain parasitism associates with other neurologic diseases, what are they? And (ii) Which macromolecular networks are modulated by the parasite in human brain that lead to neuropathology which could underpin and facilitate design of treatments?
* We hypothesized that a systems approach integrating multiple levels of host parasite interactions might resolve these questions.
* To better understand what this parasite does to human brains, we performed a comprehensive systems analysis of the infected brain.  Continue reading

Dementia Incidence Rates May Be Declining

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Carol A. Derby, Ph.D. Research Professor, The Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology Research Professor, Department of Epidemiology & Population Health Louis and Gertrude Feil Faculty Scholar in Neurology Albert Einstein College of Medicine Bronx, NY 10461

Dr. Derby

Carol A. Derby, Ph.D.
Research Professor, The Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology
Research Professor, Department of Epidemiology & Population Health
Louis and Gertrude Feil Faculty Scholar in Neurology
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Bronx, NY 10461

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The population over the age of 85 is expected to triple in the coming decades, and with the aging of the population, the number of individuals living with dementia is projected to increase dramatically.

While dementia prevalence rates are driven by demographic shift to older ages, changes in dementia incidence- the rate at which new cases are diagnosed, would also impact the proportion of the population affected in the coming decades.

Recently, studies have suggested that dementia incidence rates may be declining in some populations, although the results have not been consistent. Better understanding trends in dementia rates is important for public health planning.

Our objective was to determine whether there has been a change in the incidence of dementia diagnosis within a community residing group of over older adults followed by the Einstein Aging Study, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in the Bronx, NY between the years 1993 and 2015.

To accurately characterize trends over time in disease rates requires separating the effects of age and the effects of calendar time. Therefore, we conducted a birth cohort analysis in which we examined age specific dementia incidence rates by birth year, for individuals born between 1910 and 1940. The analysis included over 1300 individuals over the age of 70, who were free of dementia when they enrolled in the study. Dementia was diagnosed using identical criteria over the entire study period, and study recruitment was also consistent over the period. We also examined trends in cardiovascular co-morbidities that have been related to dementia risk, as well as trends in education.  Continue reading

Gene Helps Explain Why More Women Than Men Have Alzheimer’s

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Arthur W. Toga PhD Provost Professor of Ophthalmology, Neurology, Psychiatry and The Behavioral Sciences, Radiology and Engineering Ghada Irani Chair in Neuroscience Director, USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and informatics institute USC Institute for Neuroimaging and Informatics Keck School of Medicine of USC University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA  90032

Dr. Toga

Arthur W. Toga PhD
Provost Professor of Ophthalmology, Neurology, Psychiatry and The Behavioral Sciences,
Radiology and Engineering
Ghada Irani Chair in Neuroscience
Director, USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and informatics institute
USC Institute for Neuroimaging and Informatics
Keck School of Medicine of USC
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA  90032 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The ε4 allele of the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene is the main genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.  This study reexamines and corrects the sex-dependent risks that white men and women with one copy of the ε4 allele face for developing Alzheimer’s disease using a very large data set of 57,979 North Americans and Europeans from the Global Alzheimer’s Association Interactive Network (GAAIN).

The study results show that these men and women between the ages of 55 and 85 have the same odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease, with the exception that women face significantly higher risks than men between the ages of 65 and 75.  Further, these women showed increased risk over men between the ages of 55 and 70 for mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is often a transitional phase to dementia.

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Alzheimer’s: Antidepressants Increase Risk of Head and Traumatic Brain Injuries

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Heidi Taipale, PhD Pharm Senior Researcher School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland; and Department of Clinical Neuroscience Karolinska Institutet 

Dr. Taipale

Heidi Taipale, PhD Pharm
Senior Researcher
School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland; and
Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Karolinska Institutet 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Antidepressant use among older persons has been associated with an increased risk of falling and fall-related events, such as hip fractures, in previous studies. Our previous study identified risk of hip fractures in antidepressant among persons with Alzheimer’s disease. As falling is the main causal factor for head traumas and traumatic brain injuries among older persons, we hypothesized that antidepressant use could also be associated with these injuries.

We utilized a nationwide cohort of 70,718 persons newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, identified from the Finnish registers. The risk of head injuries and traumatic brain injuries was compared between persons initiating antidepressant use and comparison persons of the same age, gender and time since they received diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease but not using antidepressants. We found a 40-percent increased risk of head injuries and 30-percent increased risk of traumatic brain injuries associated with antidepressant use. Antidepressant use was associated with a higher risk of head injuries especially at the beginning of use – during the first 30 days – but the risk persisted even longer, up to two years. The association was also confirmed in a study design comparing time periods within the same person, thus eliminating selective factors. Continue reading

Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Help Explain Some Of Alzheimer’s Disease Racial Disparities

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Amy Kind, M.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor, Division of Geriatrics Director, Department of Medicine Health Services and Care Research Program University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and Associate Director- Clinical Geriatrics Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) William S. Middleton Veteran’s Affairs Hospital

Dr. Amy Kind

Amy Kind, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Division of Geriatrics
Director, Department of Medicine Health Services and Care Research Program
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and
Associate Director- Clinical
Geriatrics Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC)
William S. Middleton Veteran’s Affairs Hospital

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Background: Dementia due to Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) disproportionately impacts racial/ethnic minorities and the socioeconomically disadvantaged—populations often exposed to neighborhood disadvantage. Neighborhood disadvantage is associated with education, health behaviors and mortality. Health improves with moving to less disadvantaged neighborhoods (Ludwig, Science 2012). Although studies have linked neighborhood disadvantage to diseases like diabetes and cancer, little is known about its effect on development of dementia.

Objective:  To examine the association between neighborhood disadvantage, baseline cognition, and CSF biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease among participants in the WRAP study, comprising a cohort of late-middle-aged adults enriched for parental family history of AD.

Methods:  We created and validated neighborhood-level quantifications of socioeconomic contextual disadvantage for the full US—over 34 million Zip+4 codes—employing the latest American Community Survey and Census data. This metric–the Area Deprivation Index (ADI)–incorporates poverty, education, housing and employment indicators; predicts disparity-related health outcomes; and is employed by Maryland and Medicare through our provision. We used standard techniques to geocode all WRAP subjects with a documented address (N= 1479). WRAP participants were ranked into deciles of neighborhood disadvantage, by ADI. Baseline cognitive function (indexed by factor scores) and CSF biomarker outcomes for levels of Aβ42 and P-tau181 (n=153 with CSF samples) were examined by neighborhood disadvantage decile.

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Obstructive Sleep Apnea May Accelerate Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

O. Michael Bubu, M.D., M.P.H., C.P.H Wheaton College

Dr. Bubu

O. Michael Bubu, M.D., M.P.H., C.P.H
Wheaton College

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are both chronic disease conditions that are highly prevalent, cause significant morbidity and mortality to those afflicted, and have an enormous socio-economic impact. Recent human and animal studies describe associations between Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). However, whether OSA accelerates longitudinal increases in amyloid (Aβ) burden in MCI patients is presently unclear.
  • In this study, we examined the effect of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) on longitudinal changes in brain amyloid deposition, and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers including CSF beta-amyloid 42 peptide (Aβ-42), CSF TAU protein, CSF phosphorylated TAU protein (PTAU) in Cognitive Normal (CN), Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and AD elderly. Brain amyloid (Aβ) burden, CSF Abeta42 and tau proteins are biomarkers (measurable substances whose presence are indicative) of AD-associated pathologic changes in the brain.
  • Data from 1639 subjects (516 CN, 798 MCI and 325 AD, mean ages = 74.4 ± 5.8; 73.4 ± 7.4 and 75.1 ± 7.8 respectively), in the Alzheimer’s disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) database was used. OSA was self-reported and participants were labeled OSA positive, or OSA negative (mean ages = 72.3 ± 7.1; and 73.9 ± 7.3 respectively). Statistical analyses were conductedto examine whether OSA positive compared to OSA negative participants experienced significant differences in the rate of change of AD biomarkers over time (mean = 2.52 ± 0.51 years) in each group (CN, MCI and AD). Both OSA positives and negatives were similar in age, APOE e4 status, and history of cardiovascular disease. The final models controlled for sex, body mass index (BMI), and Continuous Pulmonary Airway Pressure (CPAP) use.

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Diet Rich in Anti-Inflammatory Foods May Help Preserve Brain Function

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Yian Gu, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neuropsychology (in Neurology and
Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain)
Columbia University Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We have previously shown that elderly individuals who consume healthier diet (certain foods, nutrients, and dietary patterns) have larger brain volume, better cognition, and lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The current study aimed to examine the biological mechanisms for the relationship between diet and brain/cognitive health

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Patients and Providers Feel Amyloid PET Scanning Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease Beneficial

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Liana Apostolova, MD, MSc, FAAN Barbara and Peer Baekgaard Professor  in Alzheimer's Disease Research Professor in Neurology, Radiology. Medical and Molecular Genetics Indiana University School of Medicine Indiana Alzheimer's Disease Center Indianapolis, IN 46202

Dr. Apostolova

Liana Apostolova, MD, MSc, FAAN
Barbara and Peer Baekgaard Professor  in Alzheimer’s Disease Research
Professor in Neurology, Radiology. Medical and Molecular Genetics
Indiana University School of Medicine
Indiana Alzheimer’s Disease Center
Indianapolis, IN 46202

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: While many studies have evaluated the diagnostic or prognostic implications associated with amyloid PET, few have explored its effects on the patient or caregiver. Amyloid imaging does not only help clinicians with their diagnosis and management. It also affects patient and caregiver decisions related to lifestyle, financial and long-term care planning, and at times also employment. Few studies to date have explored patient and caregiver views on the clinical use of amyloid PET and the potential benefits they could derive from having more precise diagnosis.

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Paper and Digital SAGE Brain Tests Equally Identify Cognitive Impairment and Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Douglas W. Scharre MD Professor of Clinical Neurology and Psychiatry Director Division of Cognitive Neurology, Department of Neurology  Director, Center for Cognitive and Memory Disorders Director, Memory Disorders Research Center Co-Director, Neuroscience Research Institute Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center  Columbus, OH

Dr. Douglas Scharre

Douglas W. Scharre MD
Professor of Clinical Neurology and Psychiatry Director, Division of Cognitive Neurology
Department of Neurology
Director, Center for Cognitive and Memory Disorders
Director, Memory Disorders Research Center
Co-Director, Neuroscience Research Institute
Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Columbus, OH

 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE) is a pen-and paper, valid and reliable cognitive assessment tool for identifying individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or early dementia. We published age and education normative data on SAGE and determined that one point be added to the scores when age over 79 and one point be added when education level is 12 years or less. We evaluated the identical test questions in digital format (eSAGE) made for tablet use, adjusted with previously published age and education norms, and determined eSAGE’s association with gold standard clinical assessments. eSAGE is commercially known as BrainTest.

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Gene Linked To Decreased Plasma Amyloid and Lower Alzheimer’s Disease Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mikko Hiltunen, PhD Professor of Tissue and Cell Biology University of Eastern Finland School of Medicine, Institute of Biomedicine Kuopio,  Finland

Dr. Hiltunen

Mikko Hiltunen, PhD
Professor of Tissue and Cell Biology
University of Eastern Finland
School of Medicine, Institute of Biomedicine
Kuopio,  Finland 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response:  We wanted to assess among the population-based METSIM (METabolic Syndrome In Men) cohort whether protective variant in APP gene (APP A673T) affects the beta-amyloid levels in plasma. The rationale behind this was that previous genetic studies have discovered that the APP A673T variant decreases the risk of having Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

However, the protective functional outcome measures related to this variant were lacking and thus we anticipated that the elucidation of plasma samples in terms of beta-amyloid levels would provide the much needed link between APP A673T variant and potential protective functions.

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Familial History Improves Predictive Value of TOMM40 Gene in Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Auriel Willette, M.S., Ph.D. Assistant Professor Departments of Food Science and Human Nutrition and Psychology Iowa State University

Dr. Willette

Auriel Willette, M.S., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Departments of Food Science and Human Nutrition and Psychology
Iowa State University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Translocase of Outer Mitochondrial Membrane 40 (TOMM40) is a gene that regulates the width of the outer mitochondrial pore, facilitating the transport of ribosomal pre-proteins into the inner mitochondrial matrix for translational modification into functional proteins. In 2010, Dr. Allen Roses, who discovered the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene, Dr. Michael Lutz, and other colleagues found that a variation in poly-T length at locus rs10524523 (‘523) within intron 6 predicted Alzheimer’s disease onset. Specifically, a “long” versus “short” poly-T length was related to earlier age of onset by 8 years.

However, several multi-cohort studies either failed to replicate the findings or found the opposite relationship, where a “long” or “very long” poly-T length was related to later age of onset. The literature has remained mixed to this day.

We were interested in testing factors that might change the relationship between TOMM40 and both cognitive decline and risk for having Alzheimer’s disease. It is known that a family history (FH) of Alzheimer’s disease has been associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. We reasoned, then, that FH may interact with TOMM40 to modulate how it was related to our outcomes of interest. We investigated this hypothesis in two separate cohorts: the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP), a late middle-aged cohort, and the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), a well-characterized sample of aged participants from across the Alzheimer’s spectrum.

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Salivary Biomarker May Lead To Spit Test For Early Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ali Yilmaz, PhD Beaumont Research Institute Beaumont Health, Royal Oak, MI

Dr. Yilmaz

Ali Yilmaz, PhD
Beaumont Research Institute
Beaumont Health, Royal Oak, MI

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that is characterized by the accumulation of β-amyloid plaques and tau tangles. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is progressive degree of impairment that is greater than might be attributed to normal age-related cognitive decline, but is not so severe as to merit a diagnosis of dementia. MCI is thought to be a transitional state between normal aging and AD sufferers phenotypically converting to AD at a rate of 10% per year. Currently there is no cure and few reliable diagnostic biomarkers for AD. As we live longer there is an ever increasing demand for valid and reliable biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease; not only because it will help clinicians recognize the disease in its earliest symptomatic stages but will also be important for developing novel treatment of AD. Using 1D H NMR metabolomics, we biochemically profiled saliva samples collected from healthy-controls (n = 12), mild cognitive impairment (MCI) sufferers (n = 8), and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients (n = 9). We accurately identified significant concentration changes in 22 metabolites in the saliva of MCI and AD patients compared to controls.

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Depressive Symptoms Not Found To Increase Risk of Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Archana Singh-Manoux, PhD Research Professor (Directeur de Recherche) Epidemiology of ageing & age-related diseases INSERM U1018, France Honorary Professor University College London, UK

Dr. Archana Singh-Manoux

Archana Singh-Manoux, PhD
Research Professor (Directeur de Recherche)
Epidemiology of ageing & age-related diseases
INSERM  France
Honorary Professor
University College London, UK 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Depressive symptoms are common in dementia patients. Previous studies, based on older adults, show depressive symptoms in late life to be associated with an increased risk of dementia. These studies do not allow conclusions to be drawn on the causal nature of the association between depressive symptoms and dementia.

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Alzheimer’s Disease: Tramiprosate Envelopes Amyloid Protein To Prevent Misfolding Into Aggregates

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Petr Kocis Vice President Preclinical Development Alzheon, Inc. University of Oxford

Dr. Kocis

Dr. Petr Kocis PhD
Vice President Preclinical Development
Alzheon, Inc.
University of Oxford

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Researchers widely accept that amyloid plaques are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. However, for many years, drug development has focused on the solid amyloid plaque as a primary disease culprit. Recent advances show that it is more likely that early stage soluble beta amyloid oligomers play a key role in the pathogenic process of Alzheimer’s disease.

A paper recently published by Alzheon, a company developing medicines for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders, suggests a new therapeutic mechanism for targeting toxic amyloid beta oligomers with a small molecule, tramiprosate, the active agent in the drug candidate, ALZ-801. ALZ-801 is a Phase 3-ready drug candidate that is an optimized prodrug of tramiprosate, with a substantially improved pharmacokinetic and safety profile compared to tramiprosate.

Alzheon scientists discovered that tramiprosate acts to inhibit the production of neurotoxic beta amyloid oligomers by ‘enveloping’ the amyloid peptide to prevent its misfolding into soluble amyloid aggregates. Beta amyloid oligomers are believed to be key drivers of the pathogenic process in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This novel enveloping mechanism of tramiprosate prevents the self-assembly of misfolded proteins into beta amyloid oligomers that lead to amyloid aggregation and, subsequently, cause neuronal toxicity and clinical progression in Alzheimer’s disease. These results were published in the medical journal, CNS Drugs, and the paper is available through Open Access here. [“Elucidating the Aß42 Anti-Aggregation Mechanism of Action of Tramiprosate in Alzheimer’s Disease: Integrating Molecular Analytical Methods, Pharmacokinetic and Clinical Data”]

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Can Greebles Help Identify People At Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Emily Mason, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Associate
Department of Neurological Surgery
University of Louisville

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Family History of Alzheimer’s Disease is Associated with Impaired Perceptual Discrimination of Novel Objects

Family History of Alzheimer’s Disease is Associated with Impaired Perceptual Discrimination of Novel Objects

Response: Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that currently affects one in eight Americans over the age of 65. Unfortunately, there is still no treatment that will halt or reverse the pathology associated with Alzheimer’s disease. One of the reasons for this may be that we still don’t fully understand what is happening in the very earliest stages of the disease. Previous studies have shown that one of the pathological hallmarks of the disease, called “tau tangles,” begins to accumulate in a specific area of the brain called the medial temporal lobe decades before people are typically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. We wondered if we could use cognitive tests targeted to structures in the medial temporal lobe to pick up very subtle behavioral changes in people who were at increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease. We examined people who were in their 40s and 50s, which is a time when if any differences could be detected, it’s possible that pathology may be reversible.

Using a cognitive task called “odd man out” that can be easily implemented using a computer, we found that subjects at risk for Alzheimer’s disease tended to do worse in identifying differences between objects called Greebles. These objects are highly visually similar, and most people have never seen them before. Those two things make this task very difficult. We believe that this study lays some of the groundwork in developing cognitive tests targeted at relatively young subjects who may be in the very earliest stages of the disease.

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Neither Vitamin E or Selenium Found To Prevent Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Richard J. Kryscio, Ph.D. Statistics and Chair, Biostatistics and Sanders-Brown Center on Aging Sanders-Brown Center on Aging University of Kentucky

Dr. Richard Kryscio

Richard J. Kryscio, Ph.D.
Statistics and Chair, Biostatistics and Sanders-Brown Center on Aging
Sanders-Brown Center on Aging
University of Kentucky 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: At the time the trial was initiated (2002), there was ample evidence that oxidative stress is an important mechanism in brain aging. Research showed that protein oxidation is linked to the brain’s response to the abnormal proteins seen in Alzheimer disease (amyloid beta plaques in particular) leading to inflammation, DNA repair problems, reduced energy production, and other cellular changes that are identified mechanisms in the Alzheimer brain.

Both vitamin E and selenium are antioxidants. Antioxidants, either through food or supplements, are believed to reduce oxidative stress throughout the body. In the brain, they may reduce the formation of amyloid beta plaques, reduce brain inflammation, and improve other brain processes. Studies in humans support these hypotheses. The Rotterdam study in the Netherlands, as an example, showed that initial blood levels of vitamin E could predict dementia risk. Those people with higher vitamin E levels were 25% less likely to develop dementia. Also, selenium deficiency results in cognitive difficulties and several population-based studies have shown an association between selenium level and cognitive decline (lower selenium levels are linked to thinking changes in the elderly).
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No Decrease In Incidence of Dementia Over Past Decades

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Emma van Bussel MD, MSc Academic Medical Center | University of Amsterdam Amsterdam | The Netherlands

Dr. Emma van Bussel

Emma van Bussel MD, MSc
Academic Medical Center | University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam | The Netherlands 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Dementia forms a high social and economic burden on society. Since there is a growing number of older people, the occurrence of dementia is expected to increase over the years to come. For future planning of care, it is important to have reliable predictions on new dementia cases for the population at large. Studies in Western countries suggested that the incidence per 1000 person years is declining.

We studied the incidence trend of dementia in the Netherlands in primary care registry data, in a population of over 800,000 older people (60 years and over) for the years 1992 to 2014. Our results indicate a small increase of 2.1% (95% CI 0.5% to 3.8%) per year in dementia incidence over the past decades. The trend did not change in the years after 2003, when a national program was developed to support dementia care and research, compared to the years prior to 2003.

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Safety and Immunogenicity of the Tau Vaccine AADvac1 in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Petr Novak, MD, PhD AXON Neuroscience Bratislava, Slovakia

Dr. Petr Novak

Petr Novak, MD, PhD
AXON Neuroscience
Bratislava, Slovakia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Alzheimer’s disease is a complex, multifactorial disorder, with many-faceted neuropathology. A hallmark finding is the co-existence of neurofibrillary pathology (such as neurofibrillary tangles) composed of tau protein, and amyloid-β pathology (plaques) [1].

Neurofibrillary pathology is closely correlated with cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s disease [2], while support for the role amyloid in the disease pathogenesis comes from the ability of certain mutations to induce AD in an autosomal-dominant fashion [3].

The field has explored various anti-amyloid therapies to great extent, and continues to do so with undiminished effort [4]; meanwhile, there is a noticeable paucity of investigated therapies aimed at neurofibrillary tau protein pathology, despite the ability of tau protein dysfunction to cause a multitude of neurodegenerative disorders, collectively named “tauopathies” [5].

AADvac1 is the first tau-targeted immunotherapy investigated in humans [6], a pioneering effort to target the component of AD neuropathology that is proximal to neuronal damage and cognitive loss, and thus to halt or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

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Stopping Warfarin in Dementia Patients with Atrial Fib Associated With Increased Risk of Stroke and Death

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ariela Orkaby, MD, MPH Geriatrics & Preventive Cardiology Associate Epidemiologist Division of Aging, Brigham and Women's Hospital Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Ariela Orkaby

Ariela Orkaby, MD, MPH
Geriatrics & Preventive Cardiology
Associate Epidemiologist
Division of Aging, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Atrial Fibrillation is a common heart rhythm that affects 1 in 25 adults over age 60 and 1 in 10 adults over age 80. The feared consequence of atrial fibrillation is stroke, leading to the prescription of blood thinning medications (anticoagulants such as warfarin) to prevent strokes. However, there is an underutilization of these life-saving medications in older adults, and particularly in those who have dementia. In part, this is due to a lack of research and inclusion of older adults with dementia in prior studies.

In this study, we used clinical Veterans Administration data, linked to Medicare, to follow 2,572 individuals over age 65 who had atrial fibrillation and until a diagnosis of dementia. The average age was 80 years, and 99% were male. We found that only 16% remained on warfarin. We used statistical methods to account for reasons why a patient would or would not be treated with warfarin and found that those who continued to take warfarin had a significantly lower risk of stroke (HR 0.74, 95% Confidence interval 0.54- 0.99, p=0.47) and death (HR 0.72, 95% CI 0.60-0.87, p<0.01) compared to those who did not continue to take warfarin, without an increased risk of bleeding.

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Excessive Sleeping May Be Early Marker of Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Matthew P. Pase Sidney Sax NHMRC Fellow, Department of Neurology Boston University School of Medicine Investigator, Framingham Heart Study;  Senior Research Fellow, Swinburne University of Technology. Boston MA 02118

Dr. Matthew Pase

Dr. Matthew P. Pase
Sidney Sax NHMRC Fellow, Department of Neurology
Boston University School of Medicine

Investigator, Framingham Heart Study;
Senior Research Fellow, Swinburne University of Technology.
Boston MA 02118

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Sleep disturbances are common in dementia. However, most studies have focused on patients who already have dementia and so it is unclear whether disturbed sleep is a symptom or a cause of dementia.

We studied 2,457 older participants enrolled in the Framingham Heart Study, a large group of adults sampled from the community in Framingham, Massachusetts. We asked participants to indicate how long they typically slept each night. Participants were then observed for the following 10-years to determine who developed dementia, including dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. Over the 10 years, we observed 234 cases of dementia. Information on sleep duration was then examined with respect to the risk of developing dementia.
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Role Identified for Neuronal Protein in Dementia of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Shinsuke Ishigaki

Department of Neurology
Department of Therapeutics for Intractable Neurological Disorders
Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine
Nagoya,Japan

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a pathological process that
has been characterized by personality changes, abnormal behaviors,
language impairment, and progressive dementia. The genetic and
pathological similarities in fused in sarcoma (FUS), transactive
response (TAR) DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43), and C9orf72 in relation
to FTLD and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) have recently lead to
the recognition that the two conditions represent points on a spectrum
of a single disease entity. Additionally, Frontotemporal lobar degeneration has also been classified as a tauopathy, characterized by an accumulation of phosphorylated
microtubule-associated protein tau (tau) in affected neurons.

Our study demonstrated a biological link between FUS/SFPQ and the regulation of
tau isoforms involved in the early phase of Frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

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Living Near Major Roads Associated With Increased Dementia Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hong Chen, PhD Scientist, Environmental Health Assessment Public Health Ontario | Santé publique Ontario Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto Adjunct Scientist, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) Toronto, ON

Dr. Hong Chen

Hong Chen, PhD
Scientist, Environmental Health Assessment
Public Health Ontario | Santé publique Ontario
Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
University of Toronto
Adjunct Scientist, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences
Toronto, ON

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Over the past several decades, there is unequivocal evidence that living close to major roadways may lead to various adverse health outcomes, such as cardio-respiratory related mortality and mortality. In the past decade, concern is growing that exposures associated with traffic such as air pollution and noise may also have an adverse impact on brain health. Several experimental studies show that air pollutants and diesel exhaust induce oxidative stress and neuroinflammation, activate microglia (which act as the first and main form of immune defense in the central nervous system), and stimulate neural antibodies. There are also a small number of epidemiological studies linking traffic-related noise and air pollution to cognitive decline and increased incidence of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Studies also showed that living near roads was associated with reduced white matter hyperintensity volume and cognition, but its effect on the incidence of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis is unknown. Given hundreds of millions of people worldwide live close to major roads, we conducted this population-based cohort study to investigate the association between residential proximity to major roadways and the incidence of these three neurological diseases in Ontario, Canada.

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Protein Loss in Urine Associated With Increased Risk of Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kay Deckers, MSc PhD student School for Mental Health and Neuroscience Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology Maastricht University The Netherlands

Kay Deckers

Kay Deckers, MSc
PhD student
School for Mental Health and Neuroscience
Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology
Maastricht University
The Netherlands

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In an earlier review (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25504093), we found that renal dysfunction was one the new candidate risk factors of dementia and needed further investigation.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Albuminuria is associated with an increased risk of developing cognitive impairment or dementia.

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Access To Two Different Health Care Systems Can Lead To Dangerous Presciption Combinations

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Joshua-M-Thorpe.jpg

Dr. Joshua Thorpe

Joshua M. Thorpe, PhD, MPH
From the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion
Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, and
Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care
Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics
University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Care coordination for persons with dementia is challenging for health care systems under the best of circumstances. These coordination challenges are exacerbated in Medicare-eligible veterans who receive care through both Medicare and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Recent Medicare and VA policy changes (e.g., Medicare Part D, Veteran’s Choice Act) expand veterans’ access to providers outside the VA. While access to care may be improved, seeking care across multiple health systems may disrupt care coordination and increase the risk of unsafe prescribing – particularly in veterans with dementia. To see how expanded access to care outside the VA might influence medication safety for veterans with dementia, we studied prescribing safety in Veterans who qualified for prescriptions through the VA as well as through the Medicare Part D drug benefit.

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Is Depression in Mild Cognitive Impairment a Precursor to Dementia?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Zahinoor Ismail MD FRCPC

Clinical Associate Professor,
Hotchkiss Brain Institute
University of Calgary

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Depression and depressive symptoms are common in mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Evidence suggests that depression in MCI increases the likelihood of progression from MCI to dementia, compared to non-depressed people with MCI. In the newer construct of mild behavioural impairment (MBI), which describes the relationship between later life onset of sustained and impactful neuropsychiatric symptoms and the risk of cognitive decline and dementia, depression is an important subdomain (in addition to apathy, impulse control, social cognition and psychotic symptoms). Thus, depression and depressive symptoms are a significant risk factor for cognitive, behavioural and functional outcomes in older adults who have at most mild cognitive impairment. As the importance of neuropsychiatric symptoms in older adults emerges, good prevalence estimates are required to inform clinicians and researchers as well as public health policy and decision makers.

We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the best estimate of prevalence of depression in  mild cognitive impairment. We included 57 studies, representing 20,892 participants in the analysis. While we determined that the omnibus prevalence estimate was 32%, there was significant heterogeneity in this sample based on setting. In community samples, the rate was 25%, but in clinical samples this was higher at 40%. Additionally, different case ascertainment methods for depression (self report, clinician administered or caregiver report) and different MCI criteria didn’t change the prevalence estimates.

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Dementia Risk Raised When Elderly Lose Home During Disaster

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hiroyuki Hikichi, Ph.D. Research Fellow Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA 02215

Dr. Hiroyuki Hikichi

Hiroyuki Hikichi, Ph.D.
Research Fellow
Harvard T.H. Chan School of  Public Health
Boston, MA 02215

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Recovery after major disaster poses potential risks of dementia for the elderly population, such as resettlement in unfamiliar surroundings or psychological trauma. However, no previous studies have demonstrated that experiences of disaster are associated with the deterioration of dementia symptomatology, controlling changes of  risk factors in a natural experimental setting.

We prospectively examined whether experiences of a disaster were associated with incident dementia in the aftermath of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: The main findings are that major housing damage and home destroyed were associated with cognitive decline: regression coefficient for levels of dementia symptoms = 0.12, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.01 to 0.23 and coefficient = 0.29, 95% CI: 0.17 to 0.40, respectively.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The effect size of destroyed home is comparable to the impact of incident stroke (coefficient = 0.24, 95% CI: 0.11 to 0.36).

From these findings, cognitive decline should be added to the list of health risks of older survivors in the aftermath of disasters.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Hiroyuki Hikichi, Jun Aida, Katsunori Kondo, Toru Tsuboya, Yusuke Matsuyama, S. V. Subramanian, Ichiro Kawachi. Increased risk of dementia in the aftermath of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016; 201607793 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1607793113

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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At Least Two Genetic Causes For Early Onset Dementia of Leukoencephalopathy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr David Lynch MB, MRCPI Leonard Wolfson Clinical Fellow UCL Institute of Neurology Queen Square, London

Dr David Lynch

Dr David Lynch MB, MRCPI
Leonard Wolfson Clinical Fellow
UCL Institute of Neurology
Queen Square, London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In 2011 it was discovered that mutations in a gene called CSF1R cause a rare syndrome of early onset dementia often accompanied by movement disorders, spasticity and seizures, which is named adult onset leukoencephalopathy with axonal spheroids (ALSP). The hallmarks of ALSP are a characteristic appearance on MRI imaging and findings in brain pathological specimens – axonal swellings or ‘spheroids’. We manage a multidisciplinary group with expertise in leukoencephalopathies and have previously identified patients with mutations in CSF1R. However, we also found patients with a syndrome typical of ALSP who did not carry mutations in CSF1R.
In this study, we showed that some of these patients carry recessive mutations in a different gene, AARS2. This included a patient with characteristic axonal spheroids in brain tissue and typical ALSP clinical and imaging features.

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Androgen Deprivation For Prostate Cancer Linked to Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kevin T. Nead, MD, MPhil

Resident, Radiation Oncology
Perelman School of Medicine
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Androgen deprivation therapy is a primary treatment for prostate cancer and works by lowering testosterone levels. There is a strong body of research suggesting that low testosterone can negatively impact neurovascular health and function. We were therefore interested in whether androgen deprivation therapy is associated with dementia through an adverse impact on underlying neurovascular function.

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Mechanical Ventilation Doubles For Persons With Advanced Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Joan M. Teno, MD, MS Department of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence University of Washington Medicine Seattle, Washington

Dr. Joan Teno

Joan M. Teno, MD, MS
Department of Gerontology and Geriatrics,
Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence
University of Washington Medicine
Seattle, Washington

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: An important challenge for our health care system is effectively caring for persons that high-need, high-cost — persons afflicted with advanced dementia and severe functional impairment are among these persons, with substantial need and if hospitalized in the ICU and mechanically ventilated are high cost patients, who are unlikely to benefit from this level of care and our best evidence suggest the vast majority of persons would not want this care. In a previous study, we interviewed families of advance dementia with 96% starting the goals of care are to focus comfort. Mechanical ventilation in some cases may be life saving, but in cases such as those with advanced dementia and severe functional impairment, they may result in suffering without an improvement in survival.

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Early Use of Gene Therapy May Stop Plaques of Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Magdalena Sastre PhD Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medicine Senior Lecturer Imperial College London

Dr. Magdalena Sastre

Dr. Magdalena Sastre PhD
Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medicine
Senior Lecturer
Imperial College London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disorder, affecting over 45 million people around the world. Currently, there are no therapies to cure or stop the progression of the disease. Here, we have developed a gene therapy approach whereby we delivered a factor called PGC-1α, which regulates the expression of genes involved in metabolism, inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain of transgenic mice. This factor is also involved in the regulation of energy in the cells, because it controls the genesis of mitochondria and in the generation of amyloid-β, the main component of the neuritic plaques present in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients.

We have found that the animals with Alzheimer’s pathology treated with PGC-1α develop less amyloid plaques in the brain, perform memory tasks as well as healthy mice and do not have neuronal loss in the brain areas affected by the disease.

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Genetic Mutation Common In Ashkenazi Jews With Lewy Body Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Tamara Shiner MD PhD Specialist in Neurology Neurology Division Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Centre

Dr Tamara Shiner

Dr Tamara Shiner MD PhD
Specialist in Neurology
Neurology Division
Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Centre

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Although in the past believed to be sporadic, there is much emerging evidence for a significant genetic contribution to Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Hetrozygosity for common mutations in the GBA gene have been shown to be more frequent among DLB patients and Parkinson’s disease patients than in the general population.

We found that GBA mutations are in fact exceptionally frequent among Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) patients with Dementia with Lewy bodies. Our results indicate that one in three of all Ashkenazi DLB patients carry mutations in this specific gene (compared to approximately 6% in the general Ashkenazi Jewish population). We also found that those who carry these mutations have a more severe disease phenotype.

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Inflammatory Biomarkers May Presage Development of Alzheimer’s

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Inflammatory Biomarkers May Presage Development of Alzheimer's

Prof. Paul Morgan

Professor B. Paul Morgan
Director, Systems Immunity Research Institute
Institute of Infection and Immunity
School of Medicine
Cardiff University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Inflammation is a normal response of the body to infection or injury; however, it is well known that inflammation also has a dark side and when it escapes normal controls can cause disease. Some illnesses, like rheumatoid arthritis, have been known for many years to be caused by rogue inflammation and most of the drugs used to treat work by suppressing the inflammation (anti-inflammatories). More recently, it has become clear that inflammation is behind many other diseases that were previously thought of as diseases of ageing caused by wear and tear and lifestyle – these include heart disease and some brain diseases, notably Alzheimer’s disease the commonest cause of dementia. Evidence that inflammation is one of the drivers of disease has come from many sources, including some where it was noticed that people on long-term anti-inflammatory drugs for other reasons appeared to be protected from developing Alzheimer’s disease.

A problem is that Alzheimer’s disease, despite the name, is not a single disease but rather a group of conditions with similar symptoms, and inflammation is likely to be a cause in only some of the patients; further, most of the inflammation might be occurring very early in the disease, even before symptoms are obvious. So, there is an urgent need for a simple test or set of tests that can be used in individuals with the very earliest hints of Alzheimer’s disease – mild memory loss – that will pick out those who have brain inflammation and are most likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. It might then be possible to treat this select group with anti-inflammatory drugs that will reduce brain inflammation and slow or stop progression of the disease.

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Experimental Antibody Reduced Amyloid Plaques in Alzheimer’s

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Roger M. Nitsch, MD Professor and Director Institute for Regenerative Medicine · IREM University of Zurich Campus Schlieren Switzerland

Prof. Roger Nitsch

Roger M. Nitsch, MD
Professor and Director
Institute for Regenerative Medicine · IREM
University of Zurich Campus Schlieren
Switzerland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The main finding is that treatment with aducanumab resulted in an unprecedented reduction of brain amyloid plaques in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.  The removal of amyloid from patients brains were both dose- and time-dependent.  We also observed initial hints for stabilized brain functions in patients receiving aducanumab.  In contrast, patients in the placebo group continued to declined as usual in this stage of Alzheimer’s disease.

The main safety finding in 22% of all treated patients was ARIA – an Amyloid-Related Imaging Abnormality – suggestive of fluid shifts in the brains. In most cases, ARIA occurred in the absence of clinical signs and resolved spontaneously.  In one third of the ARIA cases, patients experienced transient headaches.  None of the patients had to hospitalized because of ARIA.

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Study Supportive of Modest Effect of Cognitive Activity on Prevention of Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Deborah Blacker MD, ScD Director of the Gerontology Research Unit Department of Psychiatry Massachusetts General Hospital

Dr. Deborah Blacker

Deborah Blacker MD, ScD
Director of the Gerontology Research Unit
Department of Psychiatry
Massachusetts General Hospital

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings

Response: Many observational studies have found that those who are cognitively active have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or any type of
dementia.

However, we and others have been concerned that these findings
might be spurious due to two potential biases:

  • 1) “confounding,” meaning that those who are cognitively active have lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease for another reason, in particular the effect of greater education,
    which is associated with both lower risk of Alzheimer’s and higher levels
    of cognitive activity; and
  • 2) “reverse causation,” meaning that theassociation could be due to a reduction in cognitive activity among those already in the long preclinical phase of cognitive decline before Alzheimer’s dementia (rather than the lack of cognitive activity causing
    the Alzheimer’s).

    Our study performed a systematic review of the literature on the association, and then a set of bias analyses to assess whether confounding or reverse causation could account for the observed associations.

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Multicountry Assesses Dietary Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

William B. Grant, Ph.D. Director, Sunlight, Nutrition, and Health Research Center San Francisco, CA www.sunarc.org,

Dr. William Grant

William B. Grant, Ph.D.
Director, Sunlight, Nutrition, and Health Research Center
San Francisco, CA
www.sunarc.org

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The present study is the culmination of 20 years of investigating dietary links to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). I am a physicist by training and spent my salaried career as an atmospheric scientist. In the 1990s while studying the effect of acid rain and ozone on eastern hardwood forests, I became familiar with the geographical ecological study approach. In this approach, populations are defined geographically, such as by state or country, and health outcomes are compared statistically with risk-modifying factors. Ecological studies are an efficient way to analyze the results of unplanned experiments.

In 1996, I read that Japanese-American men living in Hawaii had two and a half times the prevalence of  Alzheimer’s disease as native Japanese. I knew that AD patients often had higher concentrations of aluminum in their brains than other people, and that acid rain increased the concentration of aluminum in trees. It quickly occurred to me that the American diet must be the cause of the increased AD rate, and that by using the ecological approach, I could prove it. My first study, published in 1997, compared AD prevalence rates for 11 countries with macro-dietary factors of national diets. Total fat was found to have the highest correlation with AD, followed by total energy (calories), with fish reducing risk slightly, while countries such as China, Japan, and India, with large amounts of rice in the diet, had very low  Alzheimer’s disease rates. This study was the first major study linking diet to risk of AD and led to observational studies that confirmed the findings five years later.

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Calcium Supplements May Raise Risk of Dementia in Elderly Women with Cerebrovascular Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Silke Kern, MD, PhD Neuropsychiatric Epidemiology Unit and Clinical Neurochemistry Laboratory Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology Sahlgrenska Academy University of Gothenburg Gothenburg, Sweden

Dr. Silke Kern

Silke Kern, MD, PhD
Neuropsychiatric Epidemiology Unit and Clinical Neurochemistry Laboratory
Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Sahlgrenska Academy
University of Gothenburg
Gothenburg, Sweden

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Calcium has an important role in ischemic neuronal cell death and atherosclerosis. Several studies suggest that increased serum calcium increases the risk for vascular events and worsens the outcome after stroke. Widespread ischemic neuronal cell death and atherosclerosis might lead to dementia. We therefore examined if Calcium supplementation is associated with development of dementia. Our study is the first to show a relationship between Calcium supplementation and increased risk for dementia in older women. This risk is mainly confined to women with cerebrovascular disease (history of stroke or presence of white matter lesions).

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Formal Education May Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk By Building Stronger Brain Connections

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Auriel Willette, PhD Assistant Professor Departments of Food Science and Human Nutrition, and Psychology Iowa State Universit

Dr. Auriel Willette

Auriel Willette, PhD
Assistant Professor
Departments of Food Science and Human Nutrition, and Psychology
Iowa State University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The Alzheimer’s disease (AD) field continues to look for biological markers that can detect onset and progression of the disease, mainly memory decline and atrophy of medial temporal lobe where conscious memories are formed. The immune system has long been known to affect the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), usually through a process called inflammation in the brain that causes damage to brain cells called neurons. We wished to examine all available immune system data in a large, well-established cohort across the AD spectrum and discover which immune markers best explained memory decline and medial temporal atrophy over 2 years.

In essence, among dozens of candidate immune markers, we consistently found two to be most relevant: neuronal pentraxin 2 (NPTX2) and chitinase-3-like-protein-1 (C3LP1). NPTX2 is important for facilitating communication between neurons, whereas C3LP1 is related to activation of a part of the immune system that causes inflammation in the brain. To our surprise, higher NPTX2 levels at baseline were potently related to less memory loss and less medial temporal atrophy over 2 years. C3LP1, by contrast, was a relatively poor predictor. NPTX2 also better predicted levels of amyloid and tau in the brain, which are generally thought to help cause AD.

Finally, we found that more years of education led to higher NPTX2 levels, suggesting that more formal learning leads to more stable, stronger connections between neurons that give rise to memory.

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Estrogen Patch in Newly Postmenopausal Women May Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kejal Kantarci, M.D. M.S. Professor of Radiology Division of Neuroradiology

Dr. Kejal Kantarci

Kejal Kantarci, M.D. M.S.
Professor of Radiology
Division of Neuroradiology

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: A rapid decline in estrogen with menopause may be associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease risk in women. This study was conducted in newly postmenopausal women who received 17β-Estradiol via a skin patch or conjugated equine estrogen orally or placebo.

Those who received 17β-Estradiol patch had reduced β-amyloid deposits, the plaques found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, three years after the end of the hormone therapies.

In the study, women with APOE e4 — one form of the most common gene associated with late-onset Alzheimer’s disease — who received the 17β-Estradiol patch had lower levels of β-amyloid deposits than those who received placebo.

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Promising Study Evaluates Chemotherapy for Parkinson’s and Lewy Body Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Charbel Moussa MD. PhD Assistant Professor of Neurology Director- Laboratory for Dementia and Parkinsonism Clinical Research Director- National Parkinson's Foundation Center for Excellence Translational Neurotherapeutics Program Department of Neurology Georgetown University Medical Center Washington DC.

Dr. Charbel Moussa

Charbel Moussa MD. PhD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Director- Laboratory for Dementia and Parkinsonism
Clinical Research Director- National Parkinson’s Foundation Center for Excellence
Translational Neurotherapeutics Program
Department of Neurology
Georgetown University Medical Center
Washington DC.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We conducted a pilot open label proof-of-concept study to evaluate the safety and tolerability of Nilotinib in participants with advanced Parkinson’s disease (PD) with dementia (PDD) or dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Our primary objective is to demonstrate that low oral daily doses of 150mg or 300mg Nilotinib (compared to 600-800mg in cancer) are safe and tolerated.

Our secondary objectives are that Nilotinib will cross the blood brain barier and may inhibit cerebral spinal fluid Abl. Based on preclinical data we also hypothesized that Nilotinib will increase DA levels. Motor and cognitive functions were also measured as exploratory clinical outcomes. Other exploratory outcomes are that Nilotinib may alter PD-related CSF biomarkers DJ-1 and α-synuclein. As most participants in this study had dementia we also explored the effects of Nilotinib on Alzheimer’s Disease-related CSF biomarkers, including Aβ40 and Aβ42, total tau and phosphorylated tau (p-tau).

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Single Head Injury Linked To Parkinson’s but Not Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Paul K. Crane, MD MPH Professor Department of Medicine Adjunct Professor Department of Health Services University of Washington

Dr. Paul Crane

Paul K. Crane, MD MPH Professor
Department of Medicine Adjunct Professor
Department of Health Services
University of Washington

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The background is that the most common experience of head injury with loss of consciousness is an apparent recovery. Sometimes this is very fast, sometimes it takes somewhat longer, but typically people return to their prior baseline. Nevertheless there is concern that the head injury may have set in motion processes that would lead to late life neurodegenerative conditions. Previous research has focused especially on Alzheimer’s disease. A more limited research has focused on Parkinson’s disease.

We used data from three prospective cohort studies that included more than 7,000 people to study the relationship between head injury with loss of consciousness and subsequent risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. We collected head injury exposure data at study enrollment, at a time when we administered cognitive tests and knew they did not have dementia, so our exposure data are not biased. Each of these studies also performed brain autopsies on people who died, and we evaluated data from more than 1500 autopsies.

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Could Methylene Blue Improve Memory in Patients With Cognitive Impairment?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Timothy Q. Duong, Ph.D Stanley I. Glickman MD Professor of Ophthalmology, Radiology, and Physiology South Texas Veterans Health Care System, VA Southwest National Primate Research Center University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, Texas

Dr. Timothy Duong

Timothy Q. Duong, Ph.D
Stanley I. Glickman MD Professor of Ophthalmology, Radiology, and Physiology
South Texas Veterans Health Care System, VA Southwest National Primate Research Center
University of Texas Health Science Center
San Antonio, Texas

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: A single oral dose of methylene blue increased fMRI response in the bilateral insular cortex during a task that measured reaction time to a visual stimulus. The fMRI results also showed an increased response during short-term memory tasks involving the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which controls processing of memories. Methylene blue was also associated with a 7 percent increase in correct responses during memory retrieval. The findings suggest that methylene blue can regulate certain brain networks related to sustained attention and short-term memory after a single oral low dose.

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Patients with Dementia Incur Higher Health Care Costs Even Before Diagnosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Pei-Jung Lin, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Center for the Evaluation of Value and Risk in Health Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies Tufts Medical Center Boston, MA 02111

Dr. Pei-Jung Lin

Pei-Jung Lin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Center for the Evaluation of Value and Risk in Health
Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies
Tufts Medical Center
Boston, MA 02111

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a slow, progressive disease. Many people with AD may live for years with the disease left unrecognized or untreated, in part because the early symptoms are mild and often mistaken as part of normal aging. In this study, we found that Alzheimer’s patients may use more health care services and incur higher costs than those without dementia even before they receive a formal diagnosis. For example, total Medicare expenditures were 42% higher among Alzheimer’s patients than matched controls during the year prior to diagnosis ($15,091 vs. $10,622), and 192% higher in the first year immediately following diagnosis ($27,126 vs. $9,274). We also found similar trends among Medicare patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI)— a prodromal stage of AD and associated with higher dementia risk.

Our study suggests that an Alzheimer’s disease or MCI diagnosis appears to be prompted by other health problems such as cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, pneumonia, renal failure, urinary tract infections, and blood and respiratory infections. This finding likely reflects a failure of ambulatory care related to the impact of cognitive impairment on other chronic conditions.

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After Hemorrhagic Stroke, Patients at High Risk of Early and Delayed Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alessandro Biffi, MD Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School

Dr. Alessandro Biffi

Alessandro Biffi, MD
Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry
Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry
Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Biffi: Intracerebral Hemorrhage (ICH) is the most severe form of stroke. It is a form of hemorrhagic (i.e. bleeding) stroke that accounts for ~ 15% of all acute cerebrovascular conditions, affecting ~ 70,000 Americans every year. However, because of its severity it is responsible for almost half of all stroke-related disability worldwide. Survivors of ICH are at very high risk for cognitive impairment (up to and including dementia) following the acute cerebral bleeding event. However, we possess very limited understanding of the time dynamics and risk factors for post-ICH dementia. In particular, prior to our study it was unclear whether the acute cerebral injury due to ICH would be the only mechanism potentially responsible for subsequent development of dementia.

This question is motivated by prior observations suggesting that Intracerebral Hemorrhage represents the acute manifestation of cerebral small vessel disease, a progressive degenerative disorder of small caliber arteries of the central nervous system.

There exist two major subtypes of small vessel disease:

1) cerebral amyloid angiopathy, caused by the deposition of a toxic protein product, beta-amyloid, in the blood vessels (in a process similar to the formation of beta-amyloid plaques that cause Alzheimer’s disease);

2) arteriolosclerosis, caused by long-standing elevated blood pressure. ICH survivors have been previously shown to harbor very severe small vessel disease, which has been linked to dementia in patients without cerebral bleeding.

Our hypothesis was that early-onset dementia (occurring in the first 6 months after ICH) is a manifestation of the acute neurological damage associated with cerebral bleeding, whereas delayed onset dementia (developing beyond 6 months from the acute ICH event) is associated with known markers of small vessel disease, including imaging findings on CT/MRI and genetic markers (such as the APOE gene).

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Multiple Brain Microbleeds Linked To Cognitive Decline and Risk of Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Meike Vernooij, MD PhD Associate professor Radiology and Epidemiology Neuroradiologist and head & neck radiologist Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Dr. Meike Vernooij

Meike Vernooij, MD PhD
Associate professor
Radiology and Epidemiology
Neuroradiologist and head & neck radiologist
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Vernooij: Background of this study was the fact that small brain bleeds, so-called cerebral microbleeds, are recognized increasingly as markers on brain scans of disease of the brain’s small vessels. In earlier years, microbleeds were demonstrated to be very frequent in patients with stroke, and also in persons with Alzheimer’s disease. Yet, our previous work indicated that microbleeds are not only common in patients, but are also frequently seen (in up to 1 in 5 individuals over age 45) in presumably healthy persons. Our main research question was therefore whether the presence of microbleeds on brain scans of asymptomatic, stroke-free and dementia-free individuals, was related to risk of cognitive decline and risk of dementia. We studied this in a population of > 4,800 persons whom we followed for nearly 6 years.

Our main findings are that presence of microbleeds, especially when multiple (esp > 4), relates to cognitive decline and risk of dementia, in particular Alzheimer’s disease.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Dr. Vernooij:  Our results indicate that microbleeds mark the presence of diffuse vascular and neurodegenerative brain damage.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Vernooij:  Future research should focus on exact mechanisms how microbleeds lead to dementia and cognitive decline, to identify possible preventive pathways.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Akoudad S, Wolters FJ, Viswanathan A, et al. Association of Cerebral Microbleeds With Cognitive Decline and Dementia. JAMA Neurol. Published online June 06, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2016.1017.

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