Alzheimer’s Disease: Peptide Found in Sea Anemones May Prevent Neuron Destruction

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Elena LeychenkoElena Leychenko is a senior research associate at PIBOC (G.B. Elyakov Pacific Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry which is the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences), assistant professor, and lecturer at the chair of bioorganic chemistry and biotechnology of the School of Natural Sciences
Far Eastern Federal University 

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

Response: Sea anemones are the main object for study in the laboratory for peptide chemistry of PIBOC. These marine dwellers are very interesting for scientists because of a wide range of biologically active compounds, which are the main components of their venom. The development of modern research methods allows us to receive both major and minor components of that poison, and to study their medical properties. Interestingly, inhibitors of Kunitz-type proteinases, which are also content in sea anemones, can be used as anti-inflammatory compounds. In particular, in complex therapy, it could be applied in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. 

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Age, Sex and Genetics Can Identify Groups at Higher Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ruth Frikke-Schmidt, Professor, Chief Physician, MD, DMSc, PhD Department of Clinical Biochemistry Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej & Deputy Head Department of Clinical Medicine Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences University of Copenhagen

Dr. Frikke-Schmidt

Ruth Frikke-Schmidt, Professor, Chief Physician, MD, DMSc, PhD
Department of Clinical Biochemistry
Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej &
Deputy Head
Department of Clinical Medicine
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
University of Copenhagen

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

 

Response: Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are devastating, neurodegenerative disorders affecting more than 47 million people in 2015, a number projected to triple by 2050 (1,2). Available curative treatments are lacking, and no useful risk prediction tools exist. The potential for prevention is however substantial, emphasized by the recently observed incidence decline in Western societies, likely caused by improved treatment and prevention of vascular risk factors (1,3,4). Population growth and aging, will however triple dementia prevalence by 2050, if no action is taken. Acting now with ambitious preventive interventions, delaying onset of disease by five years, is estimated to halve the prevalence globally (1,5).

Despite important preventive efforts over the last decades – resulting in decreased smoking, lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels in the general population – physical inactivity, overweight, and diabetes remain threats for our health care system, and in particular for cardiovascular disease and dementia. Intensifying preventive efforts in general is thus of crucial importance, and especially for those patients at highest risk who most likely will benefit the most from early and targeted prevention. Risk stratification and specific treatment goals according to the estimated absolute 10-year risk, has been implemented in cardiovascular disease for years (6,7). There is an un-met need for similar strategies in dementia, underscored by the publication of several randomized multicomponent trials that seem to improve or maintain brain function in at-risk elderly people from the general population (8-10) Continue reading

Structural Brain Changes in Sleep Apnea Linked to Cognitive Decline

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Woman sleeping” by Timothy Krause is licensed under CC BY 2.0Nathan E. Cross PhD, first author
School of Psychology.
Sharon L. Naismith, PhD, senior author
Leonard P Ullman Chair in Psychology
Brain and Mind Centre
Neurosleep, NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence
The University of Sydney, Australia 

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

Response: Between 30 to 50% of the risk for dementia is due to modifiable risk factors such depression, hypertension, physical inactivity, obesity, diabetes and smoking.

In recent years, multiple longitudinal cohort studies have observed a link between sleep apnoea and a greater risk (1.85 to 2.6 times more likely) of developing cognitive decline and dementia.  Furthermore, one study in over 8000 people also indicated that the presence of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) in older adults was associated with an earlier age of cognitive decline, and that treatment of OSA may delay the onset of cognitive impairment.

This study reveals important insights into how sleep disorders such as OSA may impact the brain in older adults, as it is associated with widespread structural alterations in diverse brain regions. We found that reduced blood oxygen levels during sleep are related to reduced thickness of the brain’s cortex in both the left and right temporal areas – regions that are important in memory and are early sites of injury in Alzheimer’s disease. Indeed, reduced thickness in these regions was associated with poorer ability to learn new information, thereby being the first to link this structural change to memory decline. Continue reading

Amyloid PET Scan Can Predict Progression to Alzheimer’s in Patients With Mild Cognitive Impairment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

David A. Wolk, MD Associate Professor Department of Neurology Co-Director, Penn Memory Center Associate Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Wolk

David A. Wolk, MD
Associate Professor
Department of Neurology
Co-Director, Penn Memory Center
Associate Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center
University of Pennsylvania

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

Response: Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a state when individuals have mild memory problems, but not enough to impact day-to-day function.  Many patients with MCI are on the trajectory to developing Alzheimer’s Disease dementia, but about half will not and remain stable.  As such, patients with MCI are often uncertain about the likelihood they should expect to decline in the future which obviously may be associated with considerable anxiety and this may delay opportunities for them to plan for the future or begin therapeutic interventions.

This study examined the degree to which amyloid PET, which detects the amyloid pathology of Alzheimer’s Disease, a measure of shrinkage of the hippocampus with MRI, and cognitive measures predicted development of dementia over 3 years.  We found that each of these measures enhances prediction of whether an individual will or will not develop dementia in the future.  If all of these measures are positive, one has a very high risk of progression whereas if amyloid PET and the MRI measurement are normal, there is very little risk of progression. Continue reading

Sleep Deprivation Leads to Build Up of Junk Amyloid in Brain

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nora D. Volkow MD Senior Investigator Laboratory of Neuroimaging, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892

Dr. Nora Volkow

Nora D. Volkow MD
Senior Investigator
Laboratory of Neuroimaging, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892

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

Response: Findings from animal studies had shown that sleep deprivation increased the content of beta-amyloid in brain, which is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.  We wanted to test whether this also happened in the human brain after one night of sleep deprivation. We found that indeed one night of sleep deprivation led to an accumulation of beta amyloid in the human brain, which suggest that one of the reasons why we sleep is to help clean our brain of degradation products that if not removed are toxic to brain cells.  Continue reading

Genetic Overlap Between Some Types of ALS and and Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Celeste Karch, PhD Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Molecular mechanisms underlying tauopathies Washington University School of Medicine St Louis

Dr. Karch

Celeste Karch, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Molecular mechanisms underlying tauopathies
Washington University School of Medicine
St Louis

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

Response: Nearly half of all patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal neuromuscular disorder, develop cognitive problems that affect memory and thinking. Why a disease that primarily affects movement also disrupts thinking has been unclear.

Our findings suggest that genetic connections between the two disorders may explain why they share some of the same features and suggest that some drugs developed to treat ALS also may work against frontotemporal dementia and vice versa. We used a statistical method in almost 125,000 individuals with ALS, frontotemporal dementia (FTD), progressive supranuclear palsy, corticobasal degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease to determine whether there are common genetic variants that increase risk for multiple neurodegenerative diseases.

We found that common variants near the MAPT gene, which makes the tau protein, increases risk for ALS. MAPT has previously had been associated with diseases including frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. But the gene hadn’t been linked to ALS. We also identified variations in a second gene, BNIP1, which normally plays an important role in protecting against cell death, increased the risk of both ALS and frontotemporal dementia. ImportantlyBNIP1 mRNA levels were altered in people who had ALS and in patients with frontotemporal dementia, suggesting the BNIP1 may be a potential therapeutic target for both disorders.

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LMTX® Shows Promise As Monotherapy In Mild Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Claude Wischik Co-Founder and Executive Chairman TauRx Pharmaceuticals

Prof. Wischik

Professor Claude Wischik
Co-Founder and Executive Chairman
TauRx Pharmaceuticals

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

Response: The study TRx-237-005 was the second of two Phase 3 trials conducted by TauRx, and was specifically set up to investigate the efficacy and safety of LMTX® in 800 patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease at a dose of 100 mg twice daily compared to 4 mg twice daily (intended as an inactive control dose) over an 18-month treatment period.

Results from this study were found to be consistent with those from the first Phase 3 study in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, published in The Lancet [(TRx-237-015) Gauthier et al. 2016], indicating that patients obtained no benefit from LMTX® when it was taken in combination with existing approved drugs for Alzheimer’s disease and supporting the hypothesis that LMTX® might be effective as monotherapy at doses as low as 4 mg twice daily. Please refer to the press release for full study results.

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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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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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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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Nasal Spray of Stem Cell Vesicles First Step Toward Treating Brain Diseases

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Darwin J. Prockop, M.D., Ph.D. Professor and Director Institute for Regenerative Medicine Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine Temple, TX

Dr. Prockop

Dr. Darwin J. Prockop, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor and Director
Institute for Regenerative Medicine
Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine
Temple, TX

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

Response: We and many others have been trying for many years to develop therapies with adult stem cells that might rescue the brain from the injuries and disease. Recently many of found that small vesicles secreted by adult stem cells have many of the beneficial effects of the cells themselves. The paper shows that a nasal spray of the vesicles can rescue mice from the long-term effects of severe epilepsy.

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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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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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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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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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Intellectual Activity May Delay Onset of Alzheimer’s Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prashanthi Vemuri, PhD Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota

Dr. Prashanthi Vemuri

Prashanthi Vemuri, PhD
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, Minnesota 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Vemuri: Lifetime Intellectual enrichment has been found to delay the symptoms of dementia but the impact on brain changes due to Alzheimer’s disease has been poorly understood. In this study we studied the impact of lifetime intellectual enrichment (education, occupation, and midlife cognitive activities) on the brain changes related to Alzheimer’s disease. We obtained serial imaging on 393 individuals from a population based sample. We found that in majority of the individuals, there were minimal effects of intellectual enrichment on brain changes due to Alzheimer’s disease. However in those with higher genetic risk of Alzheimer’s, lifetime intellectual enrichment had a protective effect on the brain.

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Reading Difficulties May Complicate Identification of Early Alzheimer’s Disease

Brian K. Lebowitz

Dr. Lebowitz

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Brian K. Lebowitz, PhD ABPP-CN
DIRECTOR OF NEUROPSYCHOLOGY TRAINING
Clinical Neuropsychologist
Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurology
Stony Brook University Medical Center

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Lebowitz: As a lifespan neuropsychologist, my clinical work involves evaluating cognitive concerns in both children and adults.  We know that children with learning disorders, such as dyslexia, often demonstrate difficulties on neuropsychological tests that are seemingly unrelated to reading.  For example, children with dyslexia may have difficulty with auditory processing and short-term memory.  We also know that, for many individuals, learning disorders remain present throughout the lifespan.  Despite awareness of the relationship between reading disorder and other areas of cognitive weakness, many clinicians who work with older adults do not routinely ask about academic/neurodevelopmental history.  Further, little research has assessed the potential impact of lifelong learning disorder on later life neuropsychological test performance. Our study attempted to assess whether or not a history of possible reading disorder increased the likelihood that an individual’s performance would fall at a level suggestive of possible Mild Cognitive Impairment MCI), a diagnosis associated with increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease.  Individuals with MCI continue to function normally in everyday life but experience subjective memory problems and identified weaknesses on neuropsychological tests.  Our study found a strong relationship between poor reading ability and low memory test scores on two tests commonly used to evaluate memory complaints in older adults.  Depending on the test, individuals with a suspected reading disorder were two to three-and-one-half times more likely than their peers to score at a level indicative of Mild Cognitive Impairment.

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Can High-Dose Resveratrol Slow Dementia?

R. Scott Turner, MD, PhD Director of the Memory Disorders Program Georgetown University Medical CenterMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
R. Scott Turner, MD, PhD
Director of the Memory Disorders Program
Georgetown University Medical Center

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Turner: The resveratrol trial originated from the extensive scientific literature demonstrating that caloric restriction (consuming only 2/3 usual calories) prevents or delays diseases of aging – including Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in laboratory animals. The molecular mechanism is thought to involve sirtuins – a group of genes/proteins that sense energy balance to regulate gene expression. Sirtuins are activated by caloric restriction (a mild stressor) to express genes that promote resilience of the organism. Resveratrol is a potent activator of sirtuins – thus bypassing the requirement for caloric restriction. On the opposite side of the coin – caloric excess, midlife obesity, and diabetes are strong risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. And we have  long-known that resveratrol is found in red grapes, red wine, and other foods that promote general health.

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Many Patients with Clinical Alzheimer’s Do Not Have Significant Amyloid Pathology

Dr. Eric Reiman MD Executive Director, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI) Chief Executive Officer, Banner Research, Clinical Director of the Neurogenomics Division at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) Professor of Psychiatry, University of Arizona Director, Arizona Alzheimer’s ConsortiumMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Eric Reiman MD
Executive Director, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI)
Chief Executive Officer, Banner Research
Clinical Director of the Neurogenomics
Division at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen)
Professor of Psychiatry, University of Arizona
Director, Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium Phoenix Arizona  

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Reiman: Beta-amyloid plaque deposition is a cardinal feature of Alzheimer’s disease. Recent positron emission tomography (PET) have suggested that about one-fourth of patients with the clinical diagnosis of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s dementia—and more than a third of those who had no copies of the APOE4 gene, the major genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s—do not have appreciable amyloid plaque deposition. We wondered whether this finding reflected an absence of appreciable brain amyloid, particularly in APOE4 non-carriers, or instead an underestimation of amyloid plaques using PET. In those patients with minimal plaque deposition, we also wondered what percentages had neuropathological evidence of another dementia-causing disease, neurofibrillary tangle pathology (the other cardinal feature of Alzheimer’s, or no known pathological contribution.

We surveyed data from the 100 APOE4 non-carriers and 100 APOE4 carriers who had the clinical diagnosis of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s dementia during their last visit at any of the nation’s Alzheimer’s Disease Centers and had an autopsy performed within the next 2 years.

As we reported in JAMA Neurology, 37 percent of APOE4 non-carriers and 13 percent of APOE4 carriers with a clinical diagnosis of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s had minimal evidence of neuritic or diffuse amyloid plaques—and those for whom we had brain samples had no evidence of increased soluble amyloid. A proportion of individuals had a different neuropathological diagnosis. While nearly half of those patients with minimal amyloid or any other pathology had extensive tangle formation, a similar percentage was found in cognitively unimpaired persons in the same age range.

Our findings suggest the PET findings are correct – that a quarter of all patients (and more than a third of APOE4 non-carriers) with the clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s dementia do not have appreciable amyloid pathology, and that about 10 to 15 percent of patients do not have a clear explanation for their dementia.

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Men With Sleep Disorders Have Greater Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Christian Benedict PhD Associate Professor of Neuroscience Uppsala University Dept. of NeuroscienceMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Christian Benedict PhD
Associate Professor of Neuroscience
Uppsala University Dept. of Neuroscience

 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Answer: Our study involved ~1500 men who were followed from 1970 to 2010. All participants were 50 years old at the start of study.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Answer: Men with reports of sleep disturbances had a 50%-higher risk to develop Alzheimer’s disease during the 40-year follow-up period, than men without reports of sleep disturbances.
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Long Term Benzodiazepines May Increase Alzheimer’s Disease Risk

Sophie Billioti de Gage PharmD University of Bordeaux Segalen FranceMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sophie Billioti de Gage PharmD
University of Bordeaux Segalen
France

 

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: The risk of Alzheimer’s disease was found increased by 43-51% in persons (>65) having initiated a treatment with benzodiazepines in the past (>5 years before). Risk increased with the length of exposure and when long acting benzodiazepines were used.
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Cannabis Component May Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease Progression

Chuanhai Cao Ph.D. Neuroscientist at the Byrd Alzheimer's Institute and the USF College of Pharmacy.MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Chuanhai Cao Ph.D.
Neuroscientist at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute
and the USF College of Pharmacy.

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Cao: The major goal of this study was to investigate the effect of Ä9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a major component of marijuana, on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology. THC has long been known to have anti-inflammatory effects, but we were looking to determine whether THC directly affected amyloid beta (Aâ). Aâ aggregation is considered one of the key pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. Our study showed that extremely low doses of THC were able to decrease Aâ production, inhibit Aâ aggregation, and enhance mitochondrial function in a cellular model of AD. Decreased levels of amyloid beta, coupled with THC’s inhibitory effect on aggregation may protect against the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
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Widowhood May Delay Dementia

Dr. Bryan K. Woodruff Assistant Professor of Neurology Mayo Clinic, ArizonaMedicalResearch.com Interview Invitation
Dr. Bryan K. Woodruff
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Mayo Clinic, Arizona

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Woodruff: There is evidence in the medical literature supporting a negative impact of losing a spouse for health conditions such as cancer or cardiovascular disease, but this has not been evaluated in terms of the impact of widowhood on the development of dementia.  We used the National Alzheimer’s Disease Coordinating Center (NACC) database, which pools data gathered by multiple federally-funded Alzheimer’s disease research centers to try to answer this question.  Specifically, we looked at the age at which individuals ultimately developed dementia in both individuals who lost their spouse and in those who remained married over the course of the study.  Surprisingly, the data we analyzed did not support a negative impact of losing a spouse in individuals who had no cognitive difficulties when they entered the study, and we saw a paradoxical effect of widowhood in those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
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MRI Findings as Surrogate Markers for Brain Microinfarcts

Kejal Kantarci, M.D. M.S. Professor of Radiology Division of Neuroradiology Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905 MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kejal Kantarci, M.D. M.S.
Professor of Radiology
Division of Neuroradiology
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Kantarci: Microinfarcts are one of the most common pathologies identified in the brains of older individuals and they impact cognition. However they are invisible lesions on MRI. We demonstrated that presence of microinfarcts in autopsied individuals are associated with the macroinfarcts identified on their MRI scans than they were alive. We also demonstrated that the presence of these invisible lesions are related to greater brain atrophy rates that are localized to watershed zones.
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Early Alzheimer’s Detection Using Computerized Cognitive Screening

Ioannis Tarnanas M.Sc Senior Researcher Gerontechnology and Rehabilitation Research Group, ARTORG Centre for Biomedical Engineering, University of Bern, 3010 Bern, SwitzerlandMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ioannis Tarnanas M.Sc
Senior Researcher
Gerontechnology and Rehabilitation Research Group,
ARTORG Centre for Biomedical Engineering,
University of Bern, 3010 Bern, Switzerland

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: We examined 75 healthy older people and 134 patients with mild cognitive impairment. Our aim was to collect neuropsychological, neurophysiological, neuroimaging and behavioural data by means of a virtual reality serious game, in order to model the profile of the patients who will progress to dementia within the next 2-4 years. We found that the prediction based on the performance at the virtual reality based computerized assessment instrument is comparable to that of more established and widely accepted biomarkers, such as ERP and MRI. This can be explained by the cognitive fidelity and richness of behavioural data collected with virtual reality based measures, which directly reflect neurocognitive processes affected at a very early stage.
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