Alzheimer’s and Covid; a connection found

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Researchers have identified a genetic link between Alzheimer’s and severe cases of COVID-19 that may open new avenues into the treatment of both diseases.

The study, published in the journal Brain , found that the presence of a variant of the OAS1 gene increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by three to six per cent, while similar variants of the same gene increase the odds of contracting a case of severe COVID. In addition to presenting new possibilities for treatment, researchers hope this overlap may shed light on other infectious diseases and dementias.

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Alzheimer’s therapy for people with Down syndrome

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Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine have been awarded a $4.6 million, five-year grant by the National Institute on Aging to study whether a potential Alzheimer’s disease treatment is safe and effective in improving cognitive function in young adults with Down syndrome.

Huntington Potter, PhD, professor of neurology, and Peter Pressman, MD, assistant professor of neurology, are principal investigators on the study of sargramostim, which is also know by the brand name Leukine, an FDA-approved drug with nearly 30 years of safe use in numerous patient populations.

“This is the first clinical trial in years to target cognition in people with Down syndrome,” said Potter, who is director of University of Colorado Alzheimer’s and Cognition Center. “We are breaking new ground in studying both of these disorders – Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. We hope that this therapy will greatly improve their quality of life.”

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The importance of sleep in a new study

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Disrupted sleep is common in late life, the study authors wrote, and associated with changes in cognitive function — the mental capacity for learning, thinking, reasoning, problem-solving, decision-making, remembering and paying attention.Age-related changes in sleep have also been linked with early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, depression and cardiovascular disease, so the authors investigated possible associations between self-reported sleep duration, demographic and lifestyle factors, subjective and objective cognitive function, and participants’ levels of beta amyloid.

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Key mechanisms behind synapse degeneration in Alzheimer’s brain discovered

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Neurobiologists have uncovered the long-sought-after mechanisms behind the maintenance and decline of key synapses implicated in brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers identified the main components driving amyloid beta-associated synapse degeneration, which is found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. The findings suggest an alternative approach to addressing neurodegenerative disorders: protect synapses by directly blocking the toxic actions of amyloid beta.

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Finally a cure?

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A drug called aducanumab could become the first approved treatment designed to alter the course of Alzheimer’s disease rather than relieve symptoms.

But it’s unclear whether the Food and Drug Administration will approve the drug because of persistent questions about its effectiveness.

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‘Rejuvenating’ the Alzheimer’s brain

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Alzheimer’s disease is the main cause of dementia and current therapeutic strategies cannot prevent, slow down or cure the pathology. The disease is characterized by memory loss, caused by the degeneration and death of neuronal cells in several regions of the brain, including the hippocampus. Researchers have identified a small molecule that can be used to rejuvenate the brain and counteract the memory loss.

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Air quality may impact Alzheimer’s

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Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have found a link between traffic-related air pollution and an increased risk for age-related dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Their study, based on rodent models, corroborates previous epidemiological evidence showing this association.

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AI can help Alzheimer’s

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Have you ever wondered how Netflix knows the perfect show to recommend next? Or how Facebook suggests just the person you were looking to follow? 

Researchers have found the power of those predicting algorithms can also “predict” the biological language of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s – which could help change completely what researchers know about treating and preventing such diseases.

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13 Alzheimer’s gene variants found

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Researchers have identified 13 variants of genes connected to Alzheimer’s disease that are new to scientists. In a study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, the researchers report how they sequenced whole genomes of people in more than 600 families with individuals who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and searched for rare versions of genes.

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Gender and Alzheimer’s

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Mounting evidence suggests that a distinction in the chemistry or structure of women’s brains may be a factor — a distinction that may lead to a sex-based difference in the appearance and aggregation of tau and beta-amyloid proteins, key biomarkers of Alzheimer’s. In a study published this month in Brainresearchers at Lund University in Sweden have found evidence that the protein tau accumulates at a higher rate in women.

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A new approach to treat Alzheimer’s disease

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A new approach to treat Alzheimer’s disease, potentially targeting the root cause of memory decline

The ACT-AD and LIFT-AD trials are evaluating if a new investigational drug is safe and effective in improving symptoms of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

The investigational drug of the ACT-AD and LIFT-AD trials is designed to:

  • Boost a repair and regenerative pathway for brain cells
  • Promote brain health and function

There may be a trial near you check it out

Read all about it HERE

Not 1 but 3 Alzheimer’s?

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What if we think of Alzheimer’s not as one disease, but three separate ones, with overlapping symptoms? Researchers behind a new study say Alzheimer’s encapsulates three distinct molecular conditions, and that a better understanding of each could be a lifeline for failed Alzheimer’s treatment efforts and future research.

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For Alzheimer’s Patients, Racial Disparities Threaten Detection and Treatment

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Black people are about twice as likely as White people to get the disease, and Latino residents are 1.5 times more likely to suffer from it than White people. Besides their higher risks, people of color face additional Alzheimer’s challenges: noted racial disparities in how the disease is detected and how research on it is done.

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Alzheimer’s impact on covid-19

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Our study provides a causal link between the Alzheimer’s disease risk factor ApoE4 and COVID-19 and explains why some (e.g., ApoE4 carriers) but not all COVID-19 patients exhibit neurological manifestations. Understanding how risk factors for neurodegenerative diseases impact COVID-19 susceptibility and severity will help us to better cope with COVID-19 and its potential long-term effects in different patient populations.”

Yanhong Shi, Ph.D., Director, Division of Stem Cell Biology, City of Hope and Study’s Co-Corresponding Author

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Living in a Noisy Neighborhood May Cause Alzheimer’s Disease, According to Recent Study

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Individuals who reside in louder regions are more at risk of developing Alzheimer’s, new report shows.

A sound-level spike of only 10 decibels raised the risk by 30 percent. That is the gap between breathing and whispering. It also culminated in 36 percent greater chances of moderate cognitive disability, including memory and reasoning ability, scientists said.

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Improving apathy in Alzheimer patients with brain stimulation

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Twenty Veterans with Alzheimer’s disease and apathy took part in a pilot study. Half received repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), a type of brain stimulation. The others received sham stimulation, basically a placebo.

Through patient and caregiver interviews, the VA team documented “significantly greater improvement” in apathy levels in those who received brain stimulation compared with the control group. The positive effects continued up to three months.

Besides improvements in apathy, the researchers also noted “significantly greater improvement” in memory, attention, and cognition in the rTMS patients compared with the sham treatment group.

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Helping Alzheimer’s Patients Bring Back Memories

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The writer of the post in our link for today  developed an approach that allowed us to activate the neurons that store memory information, referred to as memory engrams, through optogenetics—that is, introducing a gene that is light sensitive into the memory engram cells of “Alzheimer’s” mice, then delivering blue light pulses to activate them—and measuring memory recall strength directly. To our surprise, we found comparable numbers of engram cells in normal healthy animals and Alzheimer’s animals, suggesting that the initial memory storage process is intact. Targeting the recall process in Alzheimer’s animals led to an improvement in their memory, which reached the performance level of normal animals.

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