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IN THE NEWS

Scientists discover amyloid accumulation in young human brains
News Medical
Amyloid — an abnormal protein whose accumulation in the brain is a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease — starts accumulating inside neurons of people as young as 20, a much younger age than scientists ever imagined, reports a surprising new Northwestern Medicine study. Scientists believe this is the first time amyloid accumulation has been shown in such young human brains. It's long been known that amyloid accumulates and forms clumps of plaque outside neurons in aging adults and in Alzheimer's.
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Reduced heart function tied to raised risk of dementia, Alzheimer's
Medical News Today
A new study led by Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, suggests that having a healthy heart may protect against Alzheimer's disease. In the journal Circulation, the researchers report how they found people with decreased heart function were two to three times more likely to develop significant memory loss over a decade of study.
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Behavioral therapy helps more than drugs for dementia patients
NPR
When we think of Alzheimer's disease or other dementias, we think of the loss of memory or the inability to recognize familiar faces, places and things. But for caregivers, the bigger challenge often is coping with the other behaviors common in dementia: wandering, sleeplessness and anxiety or aggression. Using antipsychotic drugs to try to ameliorate these symptoms has been common.
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NIH backs Alzheimer's drug development with open science portal to speed development
Medical Daily
Though more than five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease, patients have scant options to prevent and treat this form of dementia. So how do you speed the process of getting drugs to market? The National Institutes of Health believes you begin by sharing scientific data. To that end, the NIH has launched the Accelerating Medicines Partnership-Alzheimer's Disease (AMP-AD) Target Discovery and Preclinical Validation Project.
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A new understanding of Alzheimer's
Harvard Gazette
Although natural selection is often thought of as a force that determines the adaptation of replicating organisms to their environment, Harvard researchers have found that selection also occurs at the level of neurons, which are post-mitotic cells, and plays a critical role in the emergence of Alzheimer's disease. Using the principles of natural selection, Lloyd Demetrius, a researcher in population genetics at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology, and Jane Driver, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, have proposed a new model of Alzheimer's that suggests mitochondria — cellular power plants — might be at the center of the disease.
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GAO report urges fewer antipsychotic drugs for dementia patients
NPR
Older adults with Alzheimer's Disease or other forms of dementia are at risk of being prescribed dangerous antipsychotic medication whether they live in nursing homes or not. That's according to a study from the Government Accountability Office. The chance of a person with dementia receiving antipsychotic drugs in a nursing home is about 1 in 3, according to the report. For dementia patients who aren't in nursing homes — those living with family, for example, or in assisted living — the chance of being prescribed an antipsychotic is about 1 in 7.
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An upside to gout: It may offer Alzheimer's protection
The New York Times
Gout, a form of arthritis, is extremely painful and associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular problems. But there is a bright side: It may be linked to a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers compared 59,204 British men and women with gout to 238,805 without the ailment, with an average age of 65. Patients were matched for sex, B.M.I., smoking, alcohol consumption and other characteristics. The study, in The Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, followed the patients for five years.
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Caregiving in US to be focus of new congressional caucus
The Washington Post
A new congressional caucus has been formed to focus on the needs of family caregivers in the United States. Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, and Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, along with Reps. Diane Black, R-Tennessee, and Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-New Mexico), announced that they created the Assisting Caregivers Today (ACT) caucus with the backing of AARP, the American Health Care Association, and other groups with a stake in providing healthcare and other support for caregivers.
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Skin test may aid Alzheimer's, Parkinson's diagnosis
Medscape
A new skin test may eventually be used to diagnose Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), and other neurodegenerative diseases in living patients, new research shows. Investigators at the Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi and Hospital Central, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, found that skin biopsy specimens from patients with AD and those with PD had significantly higher levels of tau protein (p-Tau) compared with those from patients without these diseases and those from patients with nondegenerative dementias. In addition, patients with PD had higher levels of α-synuclein protein (α-Syn).
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