View in browser
Issue 45 Alzheimer’s Insights by Curation Health 21 July 2015
More is to come in next week’s INSIGHTS, but the Alzheimer’s conference that is currently underway in Washington DC is already producing dozens of good stories on advances in diagnostics and renewed hope for new drugs entering the pipeline.
Most read stories this week
Alzheimer’s scientists gather amid signs of progress for treating dementia
Have scientists found a drug to stop Alzheimer's disease?
Cultural awareness improves dementia care for South Asian minorities
Alzheimer's Prevention: Benefits of Meditation and Spiritual Fitness
Paul Allen Takes On Alzheimer's With $7M In New Research Grants
Drugs & Clinical Trials
Saliva test rides tsunami of conference stories
Thousands of delegates from around the world are converging this week on Washington DC for the annual conference of The Alzheimer’s Association, and more stories are emerging each day than normally appear in a week. Cresting the wave of emerging optimism about the future for Alzheimer’s research, a new focus on prevention and on diagnostic tools reflects a reality that is now pretty much generally recognised: our best hope in understanding this disease is in spotting it early. Doing so inexpensively, as with this saliva test – one of the most popular stories from the opening days of the conference – will be an additional bonus if the science plays out successfully through follow-up research.

Of the many preview features written as the conference kicked off last weekend, one of the better summaries was provided on the Reuters website, acknowledging the challenges that the research community has faced over the past two decades, but mentioning the new hope in treatments from companies like Biogen and Eli Lilly. No doubt the continuing tussle over patient data, involving two Californian universities and reviewed at length in last week’s INSIGHTS, will drive much of the discussion when Eli Lilly, in particular, make their presentation tomorrow. While they are closely involved with the Californian data study, they have had high hopes for their drug solanezumab, an antibody designed to bind to harmful amyloid plaques and clear them from the brain. More than a few fingers are crossed for what would be the first drug with proven benefits in treating dementia generally.

There is a growing awareness, arising from neurological research generally as much as anything being done in the narrower world of dementia study, that the brain is sufficiently complex that drugs with single targets are less likely to provide the answers than are treatments that look at brain function generally. As this story on the American NPR website explains, amyloid and tau will continue to provide the focus for brain scientists but a wider research approach is looking at brain inflammation and the workings of the immune system as well, revealing processes that will influence new treatments for Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders as well.

Additional “combination approaches” are being explored with treatments that cross over into other diseases, e.g. diabetes, cancer and heart disease. In the UK, researchers at Imperial College have managed to turn off an enzyme that is implicated in the development of several incurable diseases including Alzheimer’s, and scientists at Ulster and Lancaster Universities have been exploring the diabetes/Alzheimer’s link in showing that diabetes drugs Liraglutide and Lixisenatide can prevent the formation of amyloid plaques in mouse brains.
Pipeline report launched before conference
Well timed to coincide with the Washington conference, the professional reports specialist Research and Markets published their Alzheimer’s Drugs Market Pipeline Report to 2020. As reported on the Reuters website, the new publication covers drugs both in the market and in the near-term pipeline, reviewing activities in nine major markets and involving all the top pharma companies in Alzheimer’s.

Drugs & Clinical Trials
Lifestyle Issues
Preventive radiology is becoming “a thing”
Increased interest among neuroradiologists, driven by society’s growing awareness of the relationship between lifestyle factors and brain health, has led to the dawning of an age of “preventive neuroradiology” according to a feature on a website that describes itself as “social media’s leading physician voice. Already established in the fields of breast and chest imaging, it seems that brain imaging can help guide the management of risk reduction in Alzheimer’s, particularly in the areas of obesity and physical activity. Increasing obesity has been shown to be related to decreased grey matter volume on MEI scans, and reduced blood flow on functional MRI. Similarly, increases in physical activity lead to increased grey matter and improved blood flow. The use of brain imaging is useful not only as an early warning signal but as a means of measuring the effectiveness of lifestyle modification regimes.
Meditation shows gains in cognitive function
Long acknowledged as a useful tool in managing stress and depression, meditation is attaining a stronger base of scientific evidence in support of the idea that it can help in the regulation of memory and emotional function. Research to be published next month in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, and summarised last week on the BloombergBusiness website, showed that meditative activities generally and, in particular, a technique called Kirtan Kriya have been successful in improving memory and, over time, diminishing the loss of brain volume as well as levels of depression.

Alzheimer's Lifestyle Issues
Care Advice
Cultural sensitivities can improve care
A thoughtful article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper has highlighted the vital importance of cultural sensitivity training in the management of dementia care, especially given the marked preference in south Asian communities in particular for keeping older people at home for longer. This is an increasingly significant topic as care sector budgets are stretched and the integration of medical and social care progresses. Bringing the subjects of dementia more explicitly into the mainstream of community life is seen as particularly important if, as tends to be the case with ethnic Asian communities, there is an enduring association of primary care providers with questions particularly of physical, as opposed to mental health.
Lifelong ties endure beyond diagnosis
A typically thoughtful piece on the Alzheimer’s Reading Room looks at the communication patterns that sustain the best spouse/caregiver relationships. What matters most boils down to compassion, patience and trust: but the whole piece is worth a read, especially for the identification of the small details that help caregivers and their loved ones to get through the day.

Alzheimer's Care Advice
Medical Information
Imaging brain networks
More stories are emerging which feature cooperation between diagnostic imaging and the computational muscle of Artificial Intelligence. In a story reported on the MedicalXpress website, Swiss researchers have applied complex computational protocols to fMRI images of neural bloodflow to distinguish 13 distinct neural networks at work in the brain, an average of four of which were active at any one time. Examining the activity and inter-relationships of these networks enable the researchers to detect deterioration before any clinical symptoms become detectable by more conventional means – in other words, earlier in any disease process.
Dementia pathologies differ by race
Researchers at Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago have suggested that the pathologies underlying different presentations of dementia are even more complicated than has previously been supposed, with at least some differences appearing to arise on a racial basis. Their findings, as summarised here on the Medscape website, were reported in the specialist magazine Neurology and picked up by media around the world.

Brain autopsies of a selection of black and white subjects were carried out to discover the prevalence of pathologies relating to various types of dementia including Alzheimer’s, which was found to be much more prevalent in the white population. The black population displayed a greater proportion of mixed pathologies – that is, Alzheimer’s mixed with vascular dementia and/or dementia with Lewy bodies. There is more work to be done in determining the implications of this in clinical terms, but what has clearly emerged is the need for prevention and treatment regimes that are more inclusive of the wider population.

Latest Alzheimer's Medical Info
And Finally…
Amidst the frenzy of news emerging from this week’s Alzheimer’s conference, with all the attendant hubbub and buzz over new treatments, squabbles over data, worries about how it’s all going to be funded, and the rest of it: sometimes it’s just good to kick back and watch a film. It is summer, after all. And this review of Alzheimer’s and the Movies shows us that while Hollywood doesn’t always get it right – consider its treatment of robots and Artificial Intelligence, for example – it has a pretty good record in dealing with dementia. And this review has some useful points to make on the relationship between film and memory…
More Alzheimer’s Disease Feeds on CurationHealth
Depression, Stress & Coping with Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s Care Advice
Alzheimer’s Lifestyle Issues
Latest Alzheimer’s Medical Info
Drugs & Clinical Trials
Medical Devices & Alzheimer’s
Tweets of the week twitter logo
Wall Street Journal (@WSJ)
A new way of looking at brain proteins could help the fight against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and more.
Shirley S Wang (@ShirleyWang)
Latest from #AAIC2015: Women with memory impairment deteriorate faster than men, according to new study via @WSJ
CBS News (@CBSNews)
New wave of Alzheimer’s research aims to diagnose, treat much earlier -
Alzheimer's Assoc. (@alzassociation)
Highly anticipated research on @biogen's Alzheimer’s medicine to be presented this week at #AAIC2015. #ENDALZ
The Telegraph (@Telegraph)
Have scientists found a drug to stop Alzheimer’s disease?…
Follow Alzheimer’s Insights
About Alzheimer’s Insights
Alzheimer’s Insights is an online newsletter created for consumers -- primarily patients and carers -- who live with the challenge of Alzheimer’s disease. Based upon intelligent search algorithms that scour the Internet for the most read, relevant and useful stories from around the world, it is curated and published each Tuesday by a team of health and publishing experts.
Tam McDonald  
Tam McDonald Senior Curator
A publishing professional with three decades of experience in health, hospitality and financial services publishing. His interest in the human brain goes back to his university days of studying philosophy. His commitment to securing the very best information about health matters goes back to his decade as a carer.
Explain This!
After a Letter to the Editor of the Washington Post went viral, complaining about “fear-drenched language”, do we need to reassess our attitudes to talking about Alzheimer’s?
Click here to find out
Looking ahead…
Issue 46 28 July 2015
After this week’s huge Alzheimer’s conference, it will be a good time to assess the state of research today. Thousands of people – patients and professionals, researchers and caregivers – have been congregating in Washington DC for all the latest news. A special issue of INSIGHTS will consider the highlights.
Powered by Curation© Corporation
25 Copthall Avenue | London | EC2R 7BP | United Kingdom
Curation Corporation Limited is registered in England no.07864348
Curation Corporation Limited is an Appointed Representative of Makor Securities LLP who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.