Author Interviews, Dental Research, Mental Health Research, NYU / 15.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: ANGELA R. KAMER, DMD, MS, PhD Associate Professor Periodontology and Implant Dentistry NYU Dentistry MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The accumulation of amyloid β plaques and neurofibrillary pathology in the brain are pathognomonic to Alzheimer's disease (AD). Brain amyloid deposition begins decades before cognitive dysfunction and is thought to be the first AD pathological feature followed by tau tangle accumulations and other pathologies. The mechanisms by which brain amyloid develops are incompletely understood although inflammation and bacterial imbalances (known as dysbiosis) of the gut and oral cavity may be involved. Periodontal disease affecting more than 50% of elderly is an inflammatory, chronic condition characterized by periodontal tissue destruction and bacterial imbalances. Using PET studies, we showed previously that measures of periodontal destruction were associated with brain amyloid retention in the brain [1]. In this study, we sought to investigate whether subgingival (under the gum line) bacteria associated with Alzheimer’s disease specific pathology, namely amyloidosis and tauopathy. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Eli Lilly, NEJM / 16.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stephen Salloway, M.D., M.S. Director of Neurology and the Memory and Aging Program, Butler Hospital Martin M. Zucker Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior Professor of Neurology, Alpert Medical School of Brown University Providence, RI 02906 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This 78 week phase 2 study tested donanemab in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease. Donanemab is a an anti-amyloid monoclonal antibody that targets the N3 pyroglutamate epitope. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: The drug produced a substantial lowering of amyloid plaques and showed a slowing in cognitive decline. Key innovations included using PET scans to ensure all patients were amyloid positive and had a moderate level of tau build-up and switching from drug to placebo once the amyloid level was below the expected cut-off for Alzheimer’s disease. There were no new safety signals. The main side-effect was amyloid-related imaging abnormalities (ARIA) that have been seen with other anti-amyloid treatments. ARIA is managed with regular safety MRI scans. Donanemab is now being tested in a larger phase 3 trial that could lead to regulatory approval. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, UCSD / 03.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Steven L. Wagner PhD University of California, San Diego Department of Neurosciences Professor in Residence School of Medicine, Medical Teaching Facility Room 150 La Jolla, California 92093-0624 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Amyloid plaques are pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD)—clumps of misfolded proteins that accumulate in the brain, disrupting and killing neurons and resulting in the progressive cognitive impairment that is characteristic of the widespread neurological disorder. Amyloid plaques are composed of small protein fragments called amyloid beta (Aβ) peptides. These peptides are generated by enzymes called β-secretase and γ-secretase, which sequentially cleave a protein called amyloid precursor protein on the surfaces of neurons to release Aβ fragments of varying lengths. Some of these fragments, such as Aβ42, are particularly prone to forming plaques, and their production is elevated in patients with mutations predisposing them to early-onset AD. Several attempts have been made to treat or prevent AD using drugs that inhibit either β-secretase or γ-secretase, but many of these drugs have proved to be highly toxic or unsafe in humans, likely because β-secretase and γ-secretase are required to cleave additional proteins in the brain and other organs. Instead, Wagner and colleagues investigated the therapeutic potential of drugs known as γ-secretase modulators or GSMs, which instead of inhibiting the γ-secretase enzyme, slightly alter its activity so that it produces fewer Aβ peptides that are prone to form plaques while continuing to duties cleaving other protein targets. “GSMs offer the ability to mitigate mechanism-based toxicities associated with γ-secretase inhibitors,” said Wagner. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Medical Imaging, Mental Health Research / 01.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maria Vittoria Spampinato, MD Neuroradiology Division Director Department of Radiology and Radiological Science Medical University of South Carolina Charleston, SC 29425-3230 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) represents a major public health crisis worldwide. More than 5 million people currently have AD in the United States. AD is a slowly progressing neurodegenerative brain disorder with a long preclinical phase. Many people with AD first suffer from mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a decline in cognitive abilities like memory and thinking skills that is greater than that associated with normal aging. A person with MCI is at an increased risk of developing AD or another dementia, although some individuals with MCI remain cognitively stable or improve. Anxiety is frequently observed in individuals with MCI. The reported prevalence of anxiety in MCI patients varies between 10 and 50%. In this study we evaluated a cohort of 339 individuals with MCI participating in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative study (ADNI2). During the five years of study participation, 72 patients experienced cognitive decline and were diagnosed with AD. We did not find difference in age, gender and education among patients with and without AD conversion. Patients who progressed had greater atrophy of the hippocampi and entorhinal cortex on their MRI scan, as expected (hippocampal atrophy is often used as a marker of neurodegeneration in AD), as well as greater prevalence of APOE4 is the strongest known genetic risk factor for AD. Patients who progressed to Alzheimer’s disease also had greater severity of anxiety during the study, as measured using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory-Questionnaire. Next we determined the effect of the MRI findings (hippocampal and entorhinal cortex atrophy), of the genetic risk factor (APOE4) and of the severity of anxiety on the time to progression to AD. We found that higher levels of anxiety were associated with faster progression from MCI to AD, independently of whether they had a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease or brain volume loss. We still need to understand better the association between anxiety disorders and cognitive decline. We do not know whether increased levels of anxiety are a consequence of cognitive decline or if anxiety exacerbates to cognitive decline. If we were able to find in the future that anxiety is actually contributing to cognitive decline, then we should more aggressively screen for anxiety disorders in the elderly population. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Lipids, Mental Health Research, Microbiome / 18.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Moira Marizzoni, PhD Researcher, Fatebenefratelli Center in Brescia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. Still incurable, it directly affects nearly one million people in Europe, and indirectly millions of family members as well as society as a whole. The gut microbiota could play a role in brain diseases including Alzheimer’s disease. Some gut bacteria components or products can reach the brain via the blood and might promote brain amyloidosis (one of the main pathological features in Alzheimer’s disease). MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: This study evaluated a cohort of 89 people between 65 and 85 years of age composed of subjects suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other neurodegenerative diseases causing similar memory problems, and of subjects with no memory problems. The study revealed that elevated levels of microbiota-products with known pro-inflammatory properties (i.e. lipopolysaccharides and the short chain fatty acids acetate and valerate) were associated with greater cerebral amyloid pathology while elevated levels of those with anti-inflammatory properties (i.e. the short chain fatty acid butyrate) were associated with lower amyloid pathology. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews / 05.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Pamela Maher, PhD Senior Staff Scientist Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory Salk Institute for Biological Studies Dr. Pamela Maher, is a senior staff scientist in the lab of Salk Professor David Schubert. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: An estimated 5.2 million Americans over the age of 65 currently suffer from Alzheimer's disease (AD). There are no treatments that prevent, slow down or cure it. Moreover, the number of people suffering from it is expected to grow with the increase in the aging population. To meet this challenge, the NIH has set the ambitious goal of effectively treating AD by 2025. This will require the development of new disease-modifying drugs. Indeed, compared to cancer research, the drug discovery pipelines for AD are very limited. A missing key ingredient that is needed to re-invigorate AD-related drug discovery is new, promising AD drug targets. Our lab is experienced in screening existing (natural) compounds for their protective abilities against several toxicities related to AD. Protective compounds are then further optimized to generate drug candidates with a favorable profile for the treatment of brain diseases. CMS121 is such a compound which is derived from fisetin, a natural product that can be found in many fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, grapes, cucumbers. Fisetin itself is not as potent and does not have the necessary chemical features to reach the brain efficiently. CMS121 is more potent and easily reaches the brain. We had previously shown that CMS121 improves several age-related cognitive dysfunctions. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues / 28.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joanne Ryan, PhD Senior Research Fellow, ASPREE From the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine Monash University Melbourne, Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Aspirin is a commonly used drug known to reduce inflammation, and prevent blood clotting (antiplatelet) - which is why it is commonly used in secondary prevention in individuals with established cardiovascular disease. Inflammation is thought to be a central mechanism in Alzheimer's disease, implicated in the neuropathological cascade leading to the development of dementia and other forms of dementia. Cardiovascular risk factors and stroke are both associated with cognitive decline and an increased risk of dementia. This formed the basis of the hypothesis that aspirin could be beneficial in helping to reduce cognitive decline and the occurrence of Alzheimer's Disease. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Heart Disease / 25.02.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Konstantinos Stellos, MD, DM, MRCP, DSc, FAHA, FESC Professor of Medicine, Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine, Chair of Epitranscriptomics Lead, Vascular Biology & Medicine Theme Hon. Consultant Cardiologist, Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Biosciences Institute Faculty of Medical Sciences Newcastle University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this seminar? Can you tell us a little about how amyloid is made and stored? Response: Patients are afraid that they may die due to a heart attack - a major cause of death worldwide- or if they live long they may get dementia compromising severely their quality of life in their last years of life. Many years ago we asked the question whether there is a link between these two ageing-associated diseases. For this reason we studied the clinical value of amyloid-beta peptides in patients with coronary heart disease. We chose to study the amyloid-beta peptides, which are the cleavage product of the beta- and gamma-secretases of the mother protein amyloid precursor protein, because amyloid-beta plaques in brain is the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. Following amyloid precursor protein (APP) gene transcription, APP is cleaved in the nonamyloidogenic pathway (plasma membrane) by α- and γ- secretases or in the amyloidogenic pathway (endosomes) by β- and γ- secretases. The later pathway generates amyloid beta (Αβ) peptides that are released extracellularly. Αβ accumulation in blood or tissues may result from enhanced production/cleavage or by impaired degradation and/or clearance. The related mechanisms are depicted in Figure 2 of our publication in JACC: http://www.onlinejacc.org/content/75/8/952 (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Medical Imaging, UCSF / 06.01.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: William G. Mantyh, MD Clinical Fellow, UCSF Memory and Aging Center Weill Institute for Neurosciences UCSF MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Similar to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other dementing illnesses, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive neurodegenerative condition associated with abnormally folded tau protein in the brain. CTE is thought to be caused by exposure to repetitive head trauma, and recently has been the subject of intense media coverage given the frequency of CTE found in brains of deceased former American professional football players. CTE is almost impossible to confidently diagnose during life as the symptoms are diverse and vary from patient-to-patient. Symptoms can include impairments in memory, multi-tasking, behavioral/mood regulation, and movement. As there are no blood, imaging, or other tests for this disease, one active area of research is developing a test to help doctors diagnose this condition. As tau tangles in CTE are similar in many respects to those in Alzheimer’s disease, there was hope that PET tracers that detect tau in AD might also work in CTE. Flortaucipir (FTP) is probably the most widely used tau tracer in AD. Recent work has reported some signal from FTP-PET in symptomatic former NFL players and other patients at risk for CTE (Stern et al. New Engl Jour Med 2019; Lesman-Segev et al. Neuroimage Clinical 2019). The overall signal was lower than that observed in Alzheimer’s disease, and, in lieu of correlations with post-mortem findings, it was unclear how well FTP binds to tau pathology in CTE. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Environmental Risks / 20.12.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Esme Fuller-Thomson, PhD Director of the Institute for Life Course & Aging, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work Cross-appointed to the Faculty of Medicine University of Toronto Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Several studies from the US, Canada, and Europe suggest a promising downward trend in the incidence and prevalence of dementia. Important risk factors for dementia, such as mid-life obesity and mid-life diabetes, have been increasing rapidly, so the decline in dementia incidence is particularly perplexing. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Clots - Coagulation / 09.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marta Cortes Canteli, PhD Miguel Servet Research Fellow Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III (CNIC) Madrid, Spain MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Alzheimer´s disease is the most common form of dementia affecting more than 30 million people worldwide. Research in recent years has linked the disease to a reduction in the cerebral circulation; this results in an insufficient supply of nutrients and oxygen to brain cells, leading to their death. Alzheimer disease is also known to be linked to an underlying chronic prothrombotic state. The present study combined physiological and molecular analyses to demonstrate that long-term anticoagulation effectively slows disease progression in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer disease. (more…)
Alcohol, Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cognitive Issues / 30.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Manja Koch Dr. oec. troph. (Ph.D. equivalent) Research Associate Department of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Majken K. Jensen, PhD Associate Professor of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Majken K. Jensen, PhD Associate Professor of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are highly prevalent conditions. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 50 million people are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias worldwide. Given the lack of a cure or even disease-modifying therapies for most dementias, the identification of risk factors or factors that prevent or delay the onset of dementia remains of paramount concern. Alcohol is a globally consumed beverage and light-to-moderate alcohol consumption, defined as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men, tends to be associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease, a major risk factor for dementia. However, the effects of light-to-moderate alcohol intake on the brain are less clear. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Duke, Neurology / 24.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Juan Helen Zhou, PhD, on behalf of the co-authors Associate Professor and Principal Investigator Neuroscience and Behavioural Disorders (NBD) Programme Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore Juan Helen Zhou, PhD, on behalf of the co-authors Associate Professor and Principal Investigator Neuroscience and Behavioural Disorders (NBD) Programme Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Alzheimer’s disease and cerebrovascular disease are among the leading disorders affecting the elderly, with up to 50 per cent of dementia patients showing co-occurrence of both disorders. It is therefore of great interest to understand the influence of co-occurring Alzheimer’s disease and cerebrovascular disease pathologies on brain changes, and examine if such changes are able to track early differential disease progression. Past cross-sectional studies have suggested that Alzheimer's disease and cerebrovascular disease pathologies contribute independently to brain functional and structural changes, and cognitive decline. Our study sought to demonstrate the independent contributions of both pathologies to brain functional networks in a longitudinal cohort of mild cognitive impairment patients, often regarded as early stage of the disease. (more…)
ALS, Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, JAMA, Multiple Sclerosis / 27.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Charlotte E. Teunissen, PhD Neurochemistry Laboratory, Department of Clinical Chemistry VU University Medical Centre, Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam Amsterdam, the Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Several reports have shown increased in NfL in various neurological disorders, separately. We wanted to know how the levels are in these disorders relative to each other. Moreover, some reports showed absence of age effects in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients, which is normally present in controls. So, we thought that it would be good to study age effects in a large group of controls, and if these effects are absent in other diseases, similarly as in MS. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Neurological Disorders, Neurology, University of Pennsylvania / 08.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lauren McCollum, MDCognitive and Behavioral Neurology FellowPenn Memory Center / Cognitive Neurology Division Lauren McCollum, MD Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology Fellow Penn Memory Center / Cognitive Neurology Division MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a heterogenous condition, with considerable variability in cognitive symptoms and progression rates. One major reason for this heterogeneity is “mixed pathology,” – i.e., both AD- and non-AD pathology. Examples of non-AD pathology include cerebrovascular disease (CVD), Lewy Bodies, and TDP-43. Pathologically, Alzheimer’s Disease is defined by characteristic amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, which can be assessed for in living patients with CSF- or PET-based biomarkers for amyloid and tau, respectively. Classically, amyloid deposition begins years or even decades before pathologic tau accumulation, which is in turn associated with brain atrophy and cognitive decline. The recently developed NIA-AA “ATN” research framework allows for the classification of individuals with regard to 3 binary biomarkers: Amyloid (A), Tau (T), and Neurodegeneration (N). An individual’s ATN biomarker status indicates where along the “Alzheimer’s Disease continuum” they lie. Additionally, some ATN statuses are on the “typical AD” continuum, while others are not. Research has shown that 15-30% of cognitively normal older adults have elevated amyloid. It stands to reason that some portion of cognitively impaired individuals with elevated amyloid and neurodegeneration have something other than AD driving their neuronal injury. Within the context of the ATN research framework, this subset of people is the A+T-N+ group (i.e., people who have elevated amyloid and neurodegeneration, but are tau-negative), as amyloid alone (that is, amyloid without tau) is not thought to cause significant cognitive impairment or brain atrophy. Our hypothesis was that, compared to A+T+N+ (a set of typical-AD biomarkers), A+T-N+ have cognitive and neuroimaging profiles that deviate from a typical Alzheimer’s Disease pattern – i.e., with less memory loss and less atrophy in AD-signature regions – and may have biomarkers suggestive of alternate non-AD pathologies [e.g., white matter hyperintensities (WMHs), a marker of CVD]. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, End of Life Care, JAMA, University of Pennsylvania / 30.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emily Largent, PhD, JD, RN Assistant Professor, Medical Ethics and Health Policy Perelman School of Medicine Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics University of Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Public support for aid in dying in the United States is rapidly growing. As a result, we’re now seeing debates about whether to expand access to aid-in-dying to new populations – such as people with Alzheimer’s disease – who wouldn’t be eligible under current laws. With those debates in mind, we asked currently healthy people who recently learned about their risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease dementia (i.e., due to the presence of amyloid, an Alzheimer’s disease biomarker) whether they would be interested in aid-in-dying. Our findings suggest that about 20% of individuals with elevated amyloid may be interested in aid-in-dying if they become cognitively impaired. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, BMJ, Hormone Therapy / 07.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tomi Mikkola MD Associate Professor Helsinki University Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Helsinki, Finland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In Finland we have perhaps the most comprehensive and reliable medical registers in the world. Thus, with my research group I have conducted various large studies evaluating association of postmenopausal hormone therapy use and various major diseases (see e.g. the references in the B;MJ paper). There has been various smaller studies indicating that hormone therapy might be protective for all kinds of dementias, also Alzheimer’s disease. However, we have quite recently shown that hormone therapy seems to lower the mortality risk of vascular dementia but not Alzheimer’s disease (Mikkola TS et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2017;102:870-7). Now in this upcoming BMJ-paper we report in a very large case-control study (83 688 women with Alzheimer’s disease and same number of control women without the disease) that systemic hormone therapy was associated with a 9-17% increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, this risk increase is particularly in women using hormone therapy long, for more than 10 years. This was somewhat surprising finding, but it underlines the fact that mechanisms behind Alzheimer’s disease are likely quite different than in vascular dementia, where the risk factors are similar as in cardiovascular disease. We have also shown how hormone therapy protects against cardiovascular disease, particularly in women who initiate hormone therapy soon after menopause. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, JAMA, Pharmacology, University of Pittsburgh / 01.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alvaro San-Juan-Rodriguez, PharmD Pharmacoeconomics, Outcomes and Pharmacoanalytics Research Fellow Pharmacy and Therapeutics School of Pharmacy University of Pittsburgh MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: Currently, there are 4 antidementia drugs approved by the FDA for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, including 3 acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs)—donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine—and the N-methyl-D-aspartic receptor antagonist memantine. On the one hand, evidence about the effect of these drugs at delaying nursing home admission is still sparse and conflicting. On the other, all these antidementia medications have been associated with several cardiovascular side effects, such as bradycardia, ventricular tachycardia, syncope, QT interval prolongation, atrioventricular block or even myocardial infarction. In this study, we aimed to compare time to nursing home admission and time to cardiovascular side effects across all drug therapies available for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. In doing so, we used 2006-2014 medical and pharmacy claims data from Medicare Part D beneficiaries with a new diagnosis Alzheimer’s disease who initiated antidementia drug therapy. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews / 27.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Paul Harch MD Clinical Professor and Director of Hyperbaric Medicine LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The background is a 30 year clinical experience and investigation in which I explored the effects of low-pressure hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) on acute, subacute, and chronic neurological conditions. Beginning with brain-injured Louisiana boxers and commercial divers in the late 1980s I attempted to see if patients with central nervous system disorders could respond to a lower dosing of the drug hyperbaric oxygen therapy than was traditionally used for other wound conditions like diabetic foot wounds, radiation wounds, and decompression sickness (the "bends"). I was successful with the very first cases after which I expanded this treatment to nearly 90 neurological conditions. The very first patient was a boxer 23 years after his last bout who was formally diagnosed with dementia pugulistica (dementia from boxing). Since that time I have treated over 100 patients with cognitive decline or dementia, including 11 Alzheimer's cases. Nearly all of the Alzheimer's and other dementia cases were documented with high-resolution brain blood flow imaging (SPECT). The present case report was the first Alzheimer's case that I was able to document with PET metabolic imaging. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Science, Sleep Disorders / 13.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brendan P. Lucey, MD, MSCI Assistant Professor of Neurology Director, Sleep Medicine Section Washington University School of Medicine Saint Louis, Missouri 63110 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Alzheimer’s disease and sleep are currently thought to have a two-way or bidirectional relationship. First, sleep disturbances may increase the risk of developing AD. Second, changes in sleep-wake activity may be due to Alzheimer’s disease pathology and our paper was primarily focused on this aspect of the relationship. If sleep changes were a marker for AD changes in the brain, then this would be very helpful in future clinical trials and possibly screening in the clinic. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA / 27.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lee A. Jennings, MD, MSHS Assistant Professor of Medicine Director, Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative Reynolds Department of Geriatric Medicine University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Oklahoma City, OK 73117 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The research study focused on a novel model of care for persons living with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, the UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program. In the program, people with dementia and their caregivers meet with a nurse practitioner specializing in dementia care for a 90-minute in-person assessment and then receive a personalized dementia care plan that addresses the medical, mental health and social needs of both people. The nurse practitioners work collaboratively with the patient’s primary care provider and specialist physicians to implement the care plan, including adjustments as needs change over time. The research was designed to evaluate the costs of administering the program, as well as the health care services used by program participants, including hospitalizations, emergency room visits, hospital readmissions and long-term nursing home placement. A total of 1,083 Medicare beneficiaries with dementia were enrolled in the program and were followed for three years. The study compared them to a similar group of patients living in the same ZIP codes who did not participate in the program. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, MRI / 29.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cyrus A. Raji, MD PhD Asst Prof of Radiology, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology Neuroradiology Faculty and the Neuoimaging Laboratories Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia and every patient suspected of having this disorder receives an MRI scan of the brain. MRI scans of the brain in dementia are currently limited to evaluating for structural lesions that could be leading to memory loss such as stroke or tumor. What this study sought to accomplish was to determine if a newer type of MRI scan called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) can predict who will experience cognitive decline and dementia. We found that DTI can predict persons who will demented 2.6 years before the earliest onset of symptoms. This study was done in 61 individuals, 30 converters and 31 non-converters, from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative and we found that DTI metrics could predict dementia 2.6 years later with 89-95% accuracy. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, CMAJ, Pharmacology / 26.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jennifer Watt, PhD Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation University of Toronto MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (e.g. aggression, agitation) are common among persons living with dementia. Pharmacological (e.g. antipsychotics) and non-pharmacological (e.g. reminiscence therapy) interventions are often used to alleviate these symptoms. However, antipsychotics are associated with significant harm among older adults with dementia (e.g. death, stroke). Regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada issued black box warnings to advise patients and clinicians of this potential for harm. And initiatives were championed to decrease the use of antipsychotics in persons living with dementia. In response, we have seen a rise in the use of other pharmacological interventions, such as trazodone (an antidepressant). Its potential to cause harm in older adults with dementia is largely unknown. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, JAMA / 19.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "A neonate with Down's?" by Sadasiv Swain is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Rosalyn Hithersay LonDowns Kings College, London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In our research group, we have been following a large group of adults with Down syndrome in the UK to track changes with ageing in their health and cognitive function. It has been known for some time now that people with Down syndrome are at high risk for developing dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. This new study has shown the huge impact that this risk has on mortality for these adults. We found that dementia is now the likely underlying cause of death in more than 70% of adults with Down syndrome aged over 35 years. This is a much bigger proportion of deaths due to Alzheimer’s disease compared to the general population: in England and Wales only 17.5% of deaths past the age of 65 would be related to dementia of any kind. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Coffee, Parkinson's / 14.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Donald Weaver, PhD, MD, FRCPC, FCAHS Senior Scientist and Director, Research Institute Krembil Research Institute University Health Network Toronto, Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: First, we are seeking novel molecules that might have usefulness in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Since Mother Nature is a superb chemist, natural products are an ideal place to start looking for possible therapeutics. There is a long history (penicillin, digitalis …) of drugs identified from natural product sources. Moreover, in earlier work by us, we have shown that other natural products extracted from maple syrup have possible therapeutic efficacy against AD. Therefore, it was logical for us to look at extracts of coffee. We see similarities between maple syrup and coffee. In both of these natural products, the plant derived material (i.e. the coffee bean, or sap from maple syrup) is initially boiled or roasted prior to its use; thus, it is not a direct simple plant product, but one that has been heated (boiled or roasted). We suspect that the heating process “does more chemistry” enabling the generation of new molecules from the plant derived materials. In our study we show that a class of compounds (phenylindanes) from roasted coffee has the ability to inhibit the misfolding of two proteins (beta-amyloid, tau) whose misfolding and aggregation (“clumping”) is implicated in the disease process of AD. Second, as described below, there is already epidemiological evidence that coffee consumption may offer some protective effects against Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease (PD), so by looking at the constituents of coffee for chemicals that might block the clumping of beta-amyloid and/or tau, was an attempt to seek a molecular link explaining the epidemiology. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, University of Pittsburgh / 18.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rachel H. Mackey, PhD, MPH, FAHA Assistant Professor of Epidemiology Graduate School of Public Health University of Pittsburgh MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: “Hardening,” or stiffening, of the arteries is a risk factor for heart attacks and other cardiovascular disease. Arterial stiffness can be measured by pulse wave velocity (PWV), because the pulse pressure wave travels faster in stiffer arteries. Stiffer arteries transmit increased pulsatile blood flow to the brain and are linked with markers of silent, or subclinical, brain disease, which are related to increased risk of dementia. However, it was not clear whether arterial stiffening would predict risk of dementia, especially in older adults, who often have existing subclinical brain disease. Therefore, a University of Pittsburgh team, led by Chendi Cui, M.S, doctoral student, and Rachel Mackey, PhD, MPH, FAHA, assistant professor of epidemiology at Pitt Public Health, analyzed the association between arterial stiffness and 15-year risk of dementia among 356 older adults, with an average age of 78. Study participants were part of the Cardiovascular Health Study Cognition Study (CHS‐CS), a long‐term study to identify dementia risk factors, led by coauthors Oscar Lopez MD and Lewis Kuller, MD, DrPH. In 1996-2000, study participants had had arterial stiffness measured by pulse wave velocity (PWV), brain imaging by MRI, and had annual follow-up visits for cognitive status. (more…)
Author Interviews / 17.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Herpes" by LEONARDO DASILVA is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Prof Ruth Itzhaki PhD Emeritus Professor Division of Neuroscience & Experimental Psychology The University of Manchester MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Over 30 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and unfortunately, this figure will rise as longevity increases, so the need for effective treatments is extremely urgent. Current treatments, at best, alleviate symptoms but do not prevent further deterioration. Our research has strongly implicated a common virus in the development of the disease, indicating a direct route to treatment: very effective and safe antiviral agents are available to combat the virus and thus to treat AD patients. They indicate also the future possibility of preventing the disease by vaccination against the virus in infancy. The virus implicated in Alzheimer's disease, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1), is the one that causes cold sores. It infects most humans in infancy and thereafter remains lifelong in the body in latent (i.e., dormant) form within the peripheral nervous system (PNS - the part other than the brain and the spinal cord). Occasionally, if the person is stressed, the virus becomes activated and in some people it then causes cold sores. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Geriatrics, Inflammation, Johns Hopkins / 11.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Keenan Walker, PhD Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study was conducted in response to anecdotal accounts and scientific evidence which suggests that major medical conditions, such as critical illness and severe infections, can have a long-term neurological effect on some individuals. There are quite a few studies to date which have found that critical illnesses, such as severe sepsis, are associated with long-term cognitive impairment. Based on this evidence, we wanted to figure out to what degree critical illness and major infection may affect later brain structure and to determine whether the structural changes associated with these events were similar to those observed in Alzheimer’s disease. Our main finding was that individuals who had one or more critical illness or major infection major infection during the decades leading up to older adulthood were more likely to have smaller brain volumes in brain regions most vulnerable to Alzheimer's disease. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, CT Scanning, JAMA, Medical Imaging / 20.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: PET scanner Wikipedia image Rik Ossenkoppele -PhD Lund University & VU University Medical Center Oskar Hansson - Lund University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: [18F]flortaucipir is a relatively novel PET tracer that can be used to detect tau pathology in the living human brain. Previous studies have shown a robust signal in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, but in patients with other types of dementia the signal was more variable. We aimed to assess the ability of [18F]flortaucipir PET to distinguish Alzheimer’s disease from other neurodegenerative disease in more than 700 study participants. T he main finding was that [18F]flortaucipir discriminated Alzheimer’s disease patients from patients with other neurodegenerative diseases with high accuracy. Furthermore, [18F]flortaucipir PET outperformed established MRI markers and showed higher specificity than amyloid-β PET. (more…)