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Alzheimer’s Disease

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A test of monitoring systems to help those with dementia


The (Minneapolis) Star Tribune says  that the University of Minnesota Nursing School is turning to families for help in a $1.25 million study to see whether remote monitoring systems might help those with Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of memory loss “stay in their homes longer, reduce stress on family caregivers and potentially avoid costly emergency room visits or hospitalizations by spotting problems earlier.”

The system being used in study — Healthsense eNeighbor  — calls caretakers when motion is detected where patients live.

Arthritis drug may help fight Alzheimer’s



In Alzheimer’s disease, changes in tau protein lead to the disintegration of microtubules in brain cells.It’s early on, but a prescription drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis offers hope for treating  Alzheimer’s disease, research at the Gladstone Institutes, associated with the University of California at San Francisco, strongly suggests.

Gladstone researchers  discovered that salsalate blocked the build-up of a protein that collects in Alzheimer’s patients’ brains. The study showed that the drug reversed cognitive decline and prevented the loss of brain tissue  essential for memory.

The drug is considered  fairly safe but is associated with the  risk of heart attack and/or stroke in some patients.

Salsalate inhibits an enzyme in Alzheimer’s patients’ brains that makes tau  toxic, prompting memory loss. Tau has been a focus of other Alzheimer’s research. Scientists don’t understand why tau builds up some brains or how it causes disease.

This is the first time that researchers have reversed the toxic aspects of the protein tau with a drug, said Li Gan, Ph.D.,  one of the senior researchers.

“Remarkably, the profound protective effects of salsalate were achieved even though it was administered after disease onset, indicating that it may be an effective treatment option,” Ms. Gan said.

The research was conducted on mice at the Gladstone Institutes. The animals had a rare form of dementia associated with Alzheimer’s.


Confidence grows about Alzheimer’s drugs


Top Alzheimer’s Disease researchers are becoming more confident  about producing effective  pharmaceutical treatments.

If they do, of course, it would obviously have huge effects on the healthcare system.

Reports reports that new experimental drugs from Eli Lilly and Co. and Biogen “have shown promise in slowing down the progression of the mind-wasting disease, attracting the attention of investors and patients.

“Those drugs are still very early in their development and could still join the scrap heap. But the field has gained a major understanding of how the brain changes with Alzheimer’s and better insight on how and when to intervene medically.”

The Lilly and Biogen drugs block beta amyloid, a protein that causes toxic brain plaques that are markers of the  disease.

“‘This year is different because multiple mechanisms are being explored and there’s a tremendous revival of faith in the anti-amyloid approach,’ said Reisa Sperling, M.D., director of the Center for Alzheimer’s Research at the Harvard Medical School, told Reuters.

An officially estimated 5 million people have the disease in the United States, but some experts think that the real number is considerably higher. The Alzheimer’s Association projects that up  28 million Americans will develop the disease by 2050 and eat up 25 percent of Medicare spending by 2040.

That is, unless effective drugs are found.




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