Dementia in the News

September 6, 2018

Harvard Gazette (September 6, 2018): Exercise Can ‘Clean Up’ Alzheimer’s Environment

A study by a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research team finds that neurogenesis — inducing the production of new neurons — in the brain structure in which memories are encoded can improve cognitive function in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Their investigation shows that cognition can be blocked by the hostile inflammatory environment in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and that physical exercise can “clean up” that environment, allowing new nerve cells to survive and thrive and improving cognition in the Alzheimer’s mice.

September 6, 2018

Harvard Medical School (September 5, 2018): Neural Disruption

A multi-institutional study led by Harvard Medical School investigators based at Massachusetts General Hospital and researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has found how the abnormal form of tau, which accumulates in the neurofibrillary tangles that characterize Alzheimer’s disease, can disrupt the normal function of brain cells.

August 30, 2018

Science Magazine (August 30, 2018): The Alzheimer’s Gamble: NIH Tries to Turn Billions in New Funding into Treatment for Deadly Brain Disease

When molecular biologist Darren Baker was winding up his postdoc studying cancer and aging a few years ago at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, he faced dispiritingly low odds of winning a National Cancer Institute grant to launch his own lab. A seemingly unlikely area, however, beckoned: Alzheimer's disease. The U.S. government had begun to ramp up research spending on the neurodegenerative condition, which is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and will afflict an estimated 14 million people in this country by 2050.

August 16, 2018

Boston Globe (August 13, 2018): A Landmark Law Hopes to Improve Alzheimer’s Care in Mass.

Rhiana Kohl has faced many sad surprises in the seven years since her husband, Alfredo Bartolozzi, first showed symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. But perhaps the biggest shock was finding out that even health care workers often don’t understand this common illness.

During a hospital stay, an X-ray technician didn’t grasp that Bartolozzi couldn’t follow directions. In an emergency room visit, staffers asked factual questions of a stricken man who didn’t know where he was.

August 1, 2018

Harvard Gazette (July 31, 2018): ‘Alzheimer’s in a Dish’ Model Provides Answers

Building on their development of the first culture system to replicate fully the pathology behind Alzheimer’s disease, a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research team has now produced a system that includes neuroinflammation, the key biological response that leads to the death of brain cells. The investigators describe their system, which incorporates the glial cells that that not only surround and support neurons but also provide some immune system functions, in a paper published in Nature Neuroscience.

July 30, 2018

CNN News (July 30, 2018): Borrowing from the Cancer Playbook to Find Treatment for Alzheimer's Disease

It's been notoriously difficult to develop medicines for Alzheimer's disease, the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Each year, it seems, pharmaceutical companies release data from studies of promising drug candidates that merit only a collective sigh of disappointment.

In search of fresh ideas, researchers have begun to borrow a phrase or two from the more familiar language of cancer treatment.

July 26, 2018

The New York Times (July 25, 2018): New Alzheimer’s Drug Shows Big Promise in Early Trial Results

An exciting update on the race to end Alzheimer's disease: in a clinical trial, a new drug reduced amyloid plaques and improved cognitive function -- the first time a drug has had both effects. Dr. Reisa Sperling of the MADRC, quoted in the The New York Times, said, "I don't know if we've hit a home run yet. It's important not to over-conclude on the data. But as a proof of concept, I feel like this is very encouraging." To read the article in its entirety, click here.

July 26, 2018

Alzheimer's Association (July 25, 2018): Study Shows Intensive Blood Pressure Control Reduces Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) & the Combined Risk of MCI and Dementia

Significant reductions in the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI)*, and the combination of MCI and dementia**, have been shown for the first time through aggressive lowering of systolic blood pressure in new research results from the federally-funded SPRINT MIND Study reported at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2018 in Chicago.

July 24, 2018

PR NewsWire (July 23, 2018): New National Strategy For Recruitment And Participation In Alzheimer's Disease Clinical Trials Takes Shape

Increased public and private investments in Alzheimer's disease research have brought about a proliferation of potential therapeutic targets. Drugs and other interventions to hit those targets are moving into clinical trials. Other studies are helping us better understand risks for dementia and examining best approaches to clinical and long-term care. Yet engagement and participation has not kept pace with the acceleration of research and great need for volunteers.


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