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 HealthMajken 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, SingaporeJuan 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 DivisionLauren 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 ProfessorMedical 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 2.0Rosalyn 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 2.0Prof 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 imageRik 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…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Pharmacology / 16.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: MedicalResearch.comVesa Tapiainen, MD School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland Research Centre for Comparative Effectiveness and Patient Safety University of Eastern Finland Kuopio, Finland  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Alzheimer’s disease is a non-curable dementing disease and a major health concern and thus, identification of potential modifiable risk factors, such as benzodiazepines, is important. Benzodiazepines and related drugs are commonly used among older people as every fourth older people use them. Benzodiazepines and related drugs were associated with modestly increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. A dose-response relationship was observed with higher cumulative dose and longer use periods being associated with higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The risk associated with larger cumulative doses was partly explained by more common use of other psychotropics among these persons.  (more…)
Author Interviews / 09.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kwangsik Nho, PhD Assistant Professor of Radiology & Imaging Sciences Indiana University School of Medicine Indianapolis, IN MedicalResearch.com: What is the ADNI (Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative)? Response: The initial phase (ADNI-1) was launched in 2003 to test whether serial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), position emission tomography (PET), other biological markers, and clinical and neuropsychological assessment could be combined to measure the progression of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early Alzheimer's Disease (AD). ADNI-1 was extended to subsequent phases (ADNI-GO, ADNI-2, and ADNI-3) for follow-up for existing participants and additional new enrollments. To our knowledge, the ADNI cohort (370 cognitively normal older adults, 98 patients with significant memory concern, 284 early MCI, 505 late MCI, and 305 patients with AD) uniquely has multi-omics data sets including metabolomics and structural and functional neuroimaging data (MRI, PET) as well as rich clinical and fluid biomarker data on the same participants. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Memory / 05.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Antonina Pereira - CPsychol, PhD, FHEA, AFBPsS Head of Department of Psychology & Counselling University of Chichester Chichester, West Sussex UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Prospective memory (PM) is the ability to remember to perform future activities, such as remembering to take medication or remembering to attend an appointment. Prospective memory tasks pervade our daily lives, and PM failures, although sometimes merely annoying (e.g., forgetting an umbrella at home on a rainy day), can have serious and even life-threatening consequences (e.g., forgetting to turn off the stove). The fulfilment of such delayed intended actions can indeed be an early indicator of Alzheimer’s disease, with prospective memory failures representing one of the most prominent memory concerns in older adulthood and a fundamental requirement for independent living across the lifespan. We aimed to address this issue by exploring the potential benefits of a purposefully designed technique, encoded enactment, where participants were encouraged to act through the activity they must remember to do. This particular study was the fruit of an international research collaboration led by the University of Chichester and including members from Radboud University Nijmegen, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon. Our team has explored the potential benefits of this specific encoding strategy for healthy younger adults, healthy older adults as well as for patients with mild cognitive impairment. Results were very encouraging: All age groups reported improvement in prospective memory, but this was particularly evident in older patients with mild cognitive impairment, that is, potentially in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The study suggests that encouraging people in this category to adopt enactment as a means to enhance prospective memory could result in them leading independent, autonomous lives for longer. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Mental Health Research / 31.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: The Jackson LaboratoryCatherine Kaczorowski, Ph.D. Associate Professor and Evnin Family Chair in Alzheimer's Research Kristen O’Connell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Amy Dunn, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Associate The Jackson Laboratory MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Dr. Amy Dunn: “Alzheimer's disease is complex, with both genetic and environmental factors determining symptom onset and disease progression, though our current understanding of how genetic and environmental factors interact to influence disease risk is incomplete. We recently developed a panel of genetically diverse mice carrying human familial AD mutations (AD-BXDs) that better model human AD in order to determine how genetics and diet interact to modify disease onset and severity. We fed a high fat diet to AD-BXDs and monitored metabolic and cognitive function over the duration of the HFD feeding.  We observed accelerated working memory decline in most of the AD-BXD mouse strains, however, the impact of high fat diet on memory was dependent on individual genetic differences across the panel, with some AD-BXD strains maintaining cognitive function on high fat diet (resilient strains). Our data suggest that diet and genetic background interact to mediate vulnerability to AD pathogenesis, and that metabolic factors (e.g. obesity, body composition) that may contribute to cognitive decline differentially in normal aging versus AD. “ (more…)
Aging, Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews / 27.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: alkahestIan Gallager, MS Scientist at Alkahest Inc. San Francisco Bay Area  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our research is aimed to develop novel therapeutics for age-related disorders from fundamental understandings of blood plasma. This expands upon work initially performed in the Wyss-Coray lab at Stanford utilizing a model of parabiosis. By surgically conjoining the blood supplies between a young and aged mouse, they established that beneficial effects were observed in the aged mouse brain, suggesting that there are proteins in young blood which have enhancing properties. The research presented at AAIC was the culmination of several years of model and dosing paradigm development utilizing both human plasma and a proprietary fractionated plasma product leading to advances for clinical application. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Genetic Research / 27.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gregory Carter, PhD Associate Professor at The Jackson Laboratory MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Animal models for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) will be of significant benefit for the discovery and characterization of links between specific genetic factors and the molecular pathways associated with the disease. To date, most animal models have been based on rare, early-onset Alzheimer’s disease genes that incompletely capture the complexity of LOAD and have not translated well to therapies. Therefore, developing and utilizing animal models based on genes hypothesized to play a role in LOAD will provide new insights into its basic biological mechanisms.  (more…)