New Drug Offers Promise Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Treatment Purges Plaque Deposits Within Brain

A new drug that can treat Alzheimer’s disease is finally on the horizon after scientists proved they can clear the sticky plaques from the brain which cause dementia and halt mental decline. Hailed as the best news in dementia research for 25 years, the breakthrough is said to be a potential game changer for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

aducanumab treats Alzheimer's disease
Red areas represent plaque deposits targeted by aducanumab. Click to enlarge.

Scientists said they were amazed to find that patients treated with the highest dose of the antibody drug aducanumab experienced an almost complete clearance of the amyloid plaques that prevent brain cells communicating, leading to irreversible memory loss and cognitive decline.

Crucially they also found that after six months of the treatment, patients stopped deteriorating compared with those taking a placebo, suggesting that their dementia had been halted.

If shown to be effective in larger trials, the first drug to treat dementia could be available in just a few years.

“The results of this clinical study make us optimistic that we can potentially make a great step forward in treating Alzheimer’s disease,” said Prof Roger Nitsch, at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Zurich. “In the high dose group the amyloid has almost completely disappeared. The effect size of this drug is unprecedented. Despite it being a small sample, there appeared to be a slowing of cognitive decline and functional decline. The group with a high degree of amyloid removal were basically stable. If we could reproduce this, it would be terrific.”

Alzheimer's disease treatment

Dr. Alfred Sandrock, from the Massachusetts-based biotech company Biogen, which is hoping to bring the drug to market, said: “This is the best news that we have had in 25 years and it brings new hope to patients with this disease.”

There are currently 850,000 people living with dementia in Britain, a figure that is expected to rise to one million by 2025 and two million by 2050. There are more than 50 million people battling the disease today. Despite a high death rate, the population of those afflicted with the disease is expected to soar over the next decade.

The most common kind of neurodegenerative disease is Alzheimer’s disease, but scientists have been unable to reach consensus about the cause of the condition, and despite more than 400 drug trials, nothing has been effective. Current treatments can reduce symptoms to some extent but doctors have nothing that can halt or slow progression of the disease.

Aducanumab is a treatment made up of antibodies, tiny y-shaped proteins that latch on to dangerous substances in the body, acting like flags, showing the immune system what to clear away.

Scientists tested various human immune cells with amyloid in a laboratory until they found one which produced an antibody that broke up the plaques. They then cloned it in large numbers for the new therapy, which is given intravenously just once a month.

Prions and Alzheimer's disease

In the trial, which was reported in the journal Nature, scientists tested varying levels of the drug over a year, as well as giving one group a placebo. They found that more amyloid was removed as the dose increased. Brain scans of those given the highest dose shown virtually no amyloid left at all.

The drug is likely to be most effective for patients in the very earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease, or those who have not yet begun to show symptoms. Several universities are working on early blood tests for dementia which could pick the disease up a decade or more before the first physical signs appear.

Dementia experts and charities said that the breakthrough offered real hope for the future treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. There are now two large phase-three clinical studies taking place to further evaluate safety and efficacy on a total of 2,700 patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease and researchers are currently recruiting British participants.

“These results provide tantalizing evidence that a new class of drug to treat the disease may be on the horizon,” said Dr David Reynolds, chief scientific officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK.

“The findings suggest that aducanumab may slow memory and thinking decline in people with early Alzheimer’s and, although the analysis is only exploratory in this early trial, it paints a positive picture for ongoing trials with the drug.”

caregivers Alzheimer's disease

Encouragingly, this treatment also appeared to slow memory decline, demonstrating that amyloid formation is a direct or indirect cause of memory loss. This has been suspected for some time, but has never been proven in humans.

“These findings could be a game changer if the effects on memory decline can be confirmed in more extensive follow-on studies.”

The Alzheimer’s Society said the “most compelling” evidence from the trial was the fact that more amyloid was cleared when patients took higher doses of the drug.

Dr James Pickett, head of research at the charity, said: “No existing treatments for Alzheimer’s directly interfere with the disease process, and so a drug that actually slows the progress of the disease by clearing amyloid would be a significant step.

“While there were hints that it might have an effect on the symptoms of the disease, we need to see the results from further, larger research trials to understand whether this is the case. These larger trials are now under way, including in the UK, and due to finish in 2020.”

Prof Richard Morris, Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh, said: “We cannot yet say we have a cure for Alzheimer’s, as this is only a first step … but the importance of this first step cannot be understated.

“Let’s keep our fingers crossed for success in the next steps.”

Alzheimer’s Disease News via http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/09/01/alzheimers-new-drug-that-halts-mental-decline-is-best-news-for-d/

Hallucinogen Offers Promise Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Neurogenesis A Possible Treatment For Alzheimer’s Disease

Scientists have discovered that a hallucinogenic substance from the Amazon stimulates the birth of new brains cells and could lead to treatment for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

The tea called ayahuasca, is also used a as traditional spiritual medicine in ceremonies in Peru. The Saint Pau Hospital Barcelona, which worked in collaboration with the Beckley Foundation and Spanish National Research Council in Madrid, has released the findings from a study investigating the potential of ayahuasca to promote neurogenesis – which is the development of new brain cells. The investigators believe that these findings will open up a new avenue of research that may help develop drugs to treat diseases, such as like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and addiction.

Ayahuasca and Alzheimer's disease

Dr. Jordi Riba, lead investigator, presented preliminary data, at the Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research in Amsterdam at the weekend. Results showed two compounds – harmine and tetrahydro harmine – which are found in the hallucinogenic tea, potently stimulated the transformation of stem cells into new neurons.

Amanda Feilding, director of the Beckley Foundation said: “The images from the Beckley/Saint Pau collaboration showing the birth of new neurons are very interesting and suggest that ayahuasca could lead to a new approach in the treatment of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.”

Experts have believed for years that the brain doesn’t make neurons during adulthood. In the 1990s, research changed this finding, showing that new neurons are generated throughout adult life in two regions of the human brain: the area around the ventricles and in the hippocampus.

ayahuasca and Alzheimer's disease treatment

The hippocampus, which is thought to be the center of emotion and the autonomic nervous system, plays a key role in memory. Its function declines with age and in neurological disorders. Under normal conditions, the rate of the birth of new neurons is very low, and it cannot keep up with the rate of neural death that occurs in diseases such such as Alzheimer’s disease.

In the study, neural stem cells were isolated from the hippocampus of adult mice. The stem cells were grown in the lab and substances that are present in ayahuasca were added to the cultures and compared with a saline placebo. Scientists have described the results as impressive, with ayahuasca substances stimulating the transformation of stem cells into new neurons.

Dr. Riba has studied ayahuasca for 20 years. Ayahuasca is a potent hallucinogenic brew used by shamans in the Amazon for centuries for medical and spiritual purposes. Obtained from a mixture of jungle plants, its popularity around the world has hugely increased in recent years, as an aid to spiritual exploration, psychotherapy and healing.

Alzheimer’s Disease Treatments Update via http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/680497/alzheimer-s-disease-brain-cells-treatment-halluicongenic-tea-Amazon

Red Chiles Can Spark Neuron Regeneration

Possible Treatment For Neurodegenerative Disease

Brazilian researchers from D’Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR), Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and Federal University of Bahia have demonstrated in laboratory that apigenin, a substance found in parsley, thyme, chamomile and red pepper, improves neuron formation and strengthens the connections between brain cells.

Alzheimer's disease treatment

Previous experiments with animals had already shown that substances from the same chemical group as the apigenin, known as flavonoids, positively affect memory and learning. Many studies highlight the potential of flavonoids to preserve and enhance brain function. While the effectiveness of flavonoids for brain health is not an entirely new concept, this research is the first to show the positive effects of apigenin directly on human cells and the first to unraveling its mechanism.

The scientists observed that just by applying apigenin to human stem cells in a dish they become neurons after 25 days — an effect they would not see without the substance. Moreover, the neurons that were formed made stronger and sophisticated connections among themselves after being treated with this natural compound.

“Strong connections between neurons are crucial for good brain function, memory consolidation and learning,” says neuroscientist from IDOR and UFRJ Stevens Rehen, leader author of the paper published in Advances in Regenerative Biology.

The research team conducted by Rehen demonstrated that apigenin works by binding to estrogen receptors, which affect the development, maturation, function, and plasticity of the nervous system. This group of hormones is known to delay the onset of psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. However, the use of estrogen-based therapies is limited by the increased risk of estrogen-dependent tumors and cardiovascular problems.

Researchers believe apigenin can be used as an alternative approach on future treatments for neurodegenerative diseases as well as in neuronal differentiation strategies in laboratory.

“We show a new path for new studies with this substance,” points out Rehen. “Moreover, flavonoids are present at high amounts in some foods and we can speculate that a diet rich in flavonoids may influence the formation of neurons and the way they communicate within the brain.

Alzheimer's disease prevention

Order the eBook now and learn how to:

  • Avoid neurotoxins in food, water and the circles of life;
  • Prevent brain disease with targeted nutritional guidance;
  • Effectively treat brain disease with nutritional therapies. It’s the most logical and comprehensive nutritional advice available for neurological disease; and
  • Keep caregivers safe. Misinformation and misdiagnoses are putting them at risk.

Neurology News via http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151210144912.htm?utm_content=bufferd551b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Can Magnesium Prevent, Treat Alzheimer’s Disease

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, this study was retracted one year after publication due to calculation errors. However, the promise of magnesium rich diets appears to be real and there is no downside to increasing magnesium in most diets through food sources and some supplements. Consult your physician about any concerns that you might have.

Alzheimer’s Disease Symptoms Reversed

Magnesium plays an important role in brain cell functioning. A form known as magnesium L-threonate, previously found to be exceptionally good at increasing brain magnesium levels, may be the best supplement for improving brain function. Research published in The Journal of Neuroscience shows that the mineral may effectively treat memory loss and cognitive impairment associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer's disease treatment

Scientists from the Tsinghua University School of Medicine in Beijing made some remarkable discoveries while researching the effects of magnesium L-threonate on the brain. It’s the first study to demonstrate a mechanism for reversing cognitive decline in mice with advanced stage Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also the first research to show an effective long-term treatment for mice with early stage Alzheimer’s disease.

In mice with early stage Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers showed that supplementation with magnesium-L threonate prevented cognitive impairment and that the effect lasted for at least 16 months. Even more remarkably, mice with advanced stage Alzheimer’s disease showed significant improvements in memory and cognition.

The investigators determined in earlier studies that magnesium L-threonate, a form of magnesium chelated to the compound L-threonate, seems to be the best magnesium supplement for increasing brain levels of this important mineral. Most other forms of magnesium commonly found in supplements do not efficiently cross the blood brain barrier and thus don’t substantially increase levels of magnesium in the brain. Even intravenous magnesium, according to the researchers, is not very effective at getting magnesium into the brain.

Alzheimer's disease prevention and treatment

Magnesium L-threonate may be the best magnesium supplement for memory loss because it enhances neuronal synapses and reduces beta amyloid plaques in the brain.

The team’s previous research found that not only does magnesium L-threonate effectively cross the blood brain barrier and increase brain magnesium levels, supplementation with this form of magnesium enhances the connections (synapses) between brain neurons in the hippocampus, the region of the brain region where memories are processed. Profound loss of synapses is a major hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease and memory impairment. Earlier research also showed that magnesium-L-threonate reversed memory decline in aging rats without Alzheimer’s, indicating it may also be the best magnesium supplement for improving milder forms of memory loss associated with aging.

The latest study in Alzheimer’s mice shows that not only does supplementation with magnesium L-threonate prevent the loss of synapses between neurons, it reduces beta amyloid plaques and prevents memory decline. Strikingly, magnesium L-threonate treatment was effective even when given to the mice at the end stage of their Alzheimer’s progression.

In large observational studies, higher intakes of magnesium in the diet reduce the risk for all types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Studies also show that blood levels of magnesium are significantly lower in people with Alzheimer’s disease than on average.

The great majority of adults fail to obtain adequate magnesium from their diets. Failing to eat enough magnesium-rich foods such as whole grains, nuts, and green vegetables can lead to low magnesium levels in the brain and result in memory problems or even mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Even in those who do get adequate magnesium, increasing brain levels through supplementation may enhance memory and prevent cognitive decline.

Whether magnesium L-threonate is truly the best magnesium supplement for memory loss and other brain-related issues remains to be seen. Human studies are underway. Certainly, it is a safe form of magnesium to try now, even before human studies are in. It is manufactured by the company Magceutics under the brand name Magtein. It can be purchased directly from Magceutics or from many other supplement manufacturers, including Life Extension, Jarrow Formulas, Doctor’s Best, Pure Encapsulations, and many others. The recommended dose is two grams per day, one gram (1000 mg) in the afternoon and another gram in the evening.

Increasing brain magnesium levels is only one of many potential natural treatments for memory issues and Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer's disease prevention

Order the eBook now and learn how to:

  • Avoid neurotoxins in food, water and the circles of life;
  • Prevent brain disease with targeted nutritional guidance;
  • Effectively treat brain disease with nutritional therapies. It’s the most logical and comprehensive nutritional advice available for neurological disease; and
  • Keep caregivers safe. Misinformation and misdiagnoses are putting them at risk.

Source: http://www.naturalhealthadvisory.com/daily/cognitive-decline-and-memory-issues/the-best-magnesium-supplement-for-reversing-memory-loss-in-alzheimers/

Switzerland Hosts International Summit On Alzheimer’s Disease

Accelerating Alzheimer’s Disease Research

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The main barriers to the development of effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease are an incomplete understanding of the disease, fragmented resources, and challenges with the design and implementation of clinical trials. Experts gathered at a two day meeting in Lausanne to discuss future steps to address dwindling product pipelines and to increase the productivity of drug development processes.

Alzheimer's disease treatment

Alzheimer’s disease is an increasing challenge. As our global population ages, the prevalence of the disease will skyrocket.  By 2050, experts estimate that 135 million people around the world will live with Alzheimer’s disease and the largest impact will be felt in low and-middle income countries.

At the workshop of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), entitled “Enhancing Translational Research and Clinical Development in Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementia: The Way Forward,” hosted by The Swiss Government and in cooperation with The Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease (CEOi) and Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), participants shared ideas on how to ramp up drug and diagnostics development. The goal is to accelerate the translation of innovative research into effective therapies for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Important opportunities include, for example, new clinical trial designs, a global clinical trial platform, and flexible regulatory processes. Treatment of early Alzheimer’s disease represents a cornerstone of current biomedical research and health innovation strategies.

Prions and Alzheimer's disease

The workshop is a follow-up event to the OECD Workshop on “Better Health through Biomedicine: Innovative Governance” that took place in Berlin, Germany in 2010.

“The OECD member states identified as key questions that need to be further addressed international collaboration towards more innovative research and adequate governance models to foster drug development. Neurodegenerative diseases and in particular Alzheimer’s Disease, which have become a major challenge for R &D and public health, are on the focus of the Lausanne workshop” stated Isabella Beretta, Chair of the OECD Working Party on Biotechnology and representative of the Swiss State Secretariat of Education, Research and Innovation.

Today’s meeting in Lausanne provided a unique opportunity for governments, international organizations, regulators, leading researchers, and the pharmaceutical industry to examine the challenges and opportunities and to encourage a move for greater innovation and collaboration. The output of the meeting will form the basis for a continuing dialogue among all stakeholders regarding the path forward in the development of safe and effective therapies to address this global unmet need. Plans for a follow-up meeting are currently underway.

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“The meeting produced an important dialogue regarding the challenges we face as we all work together in the shared effort to identify a disease-modifying drug by 2025,” stated Dirk Pilat, Deputy Director, Directorate for Science, Technology & Innovation at the OECD.  “OECD countries account for nearly half the global cases of dementia today and have a particular responsibility in accelerating efforts in the research, development and evaluation of innovative therapies and diagnostics.”

“This meeting is historic. It’s the first time that regulators, industry, scientists and patient advocates have gathered globally to tackle Alzheimer’s and dementia. We need more of these collaborations, reminiscent of HIV/AIDS meetings in the 1980s, if we are going to find a cure or prevention,” said George Vradenburg, Convener of the CEOi.  “Regulatory agencies across the globe are our partners in this fight and innovative regulatory models are needed to ensure that we can help those living with Alzheimer’s disease today and stop the disease for future generations.”

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“If we speed up the drug development process by one year potentially 8 million more people with dementia will have access to a new treatment,” said Marc Wortmann, Executive Director of Alzheimer’s Disease International. “One of the things we can do is engage people living with dementia and their care partners more into the process and learn from them how to make research participation more dementia-friendly. That will bring more people into the trials.”

“Dementia is a healthcare policy challenge and Switzerland has approved a National Dementia Strategy 2014-2017,” said Tania Dussey-Cavassini, Ambassador for Global Health, Vice-Director General of Swiss Federal Office of Public Health.

“Switzerland is committed to work with national and international partners and industry and promoting collaboration in the fight against dementia,” added Isabella Beretta.

“Innovation is shaped through conversation and the conversation here at this meeting continues us down the right path of stopping Alzheimer’s by 2025,” said Dr. Dennis Gillings, World Dementia Envoy. “But if we don’t address the barriers in accelerating translation of innovation to therapies for patients we will not reach our goal.”

The meeting organizers and participants committed to continuing the dialogue and will reconvene to assess progress in a follow-up forum in 2015.

ADI is the international federation of 84 Alzheimer associations throughout the world.  Each of our members is a non-profit Alzheimer association supporting people with dementia and their families.  ADI was founded in 1984 and registered as a non-profit organisation in the USA.  Based in London, ADI has been in official relations with the WHO since 1996 and has had consultative status with the UN since 2012.

ADI’s vision is an improved quality of life for people with dementia and their families throughout the world. ADI believes that the key to winning the fight against dementia lies in a unique combination of global solutions and local knowledge. As such, it works locally, by empowering Alzheimer associations to promote and offer care and support for people with dementia and their family carers, while working globally to focus attention on dementia and campaign for policy change from governments.

The Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease (CEOi) is a patient-powered industry coalition of private-sector leaders who have joined together to provide business leadership in the fight against Alzheimer’s. The CEO Initiative seeks to partner with public leaders to transform the disease from a social, health, and economic crisis into an opportunity for healthy aging and innovation in research and care.  In this era of aging populations, The CEO Initiative believes that it will take visionary, action-oriented leadership of public and private leaders working together to solve our greatest challenges.

The creation of a World Dementia Council was one of the main commitments made at the G8 dementia summit in December 2013. The council aims to stimulate innovation, development and commercialization of life enhancing drugs, treatments and care for people with dementia, or at risk of dementia, within a generation. It will do this by providing independent, non-governmental advocacy and global leadership.  The views expressed by the council will be independent of any government and not representative of government policy. The World Dementia Council met for the first time on April 30, 2014 to develop a global agenda to fight Alzheimer’s disease.

treat Alzheimer's disease

 

Order our new eBook to learn more about the epidemic and ways to beat and treat brain disease.

For more information, visit www.alz.co.uk

Walnuts Might Fight Alzheimer’s Disease

Walnuts Show Potential Preventive and Therapeutic Benefits

A walnut-enriched diet every day may help reduce the risk, delay the onset, slow the progression of, or prevent Alzheimer’s disease all together.

“Our study adds to the growing body of research that demonstrates the protective effects of walnuts on cognitive functioning,” said Indian-origin researcher Abha Chauhan, who was part of a group that examined the effects of dietary supplementation on mice with six percent and nine percent walnuts, that is equivalent to one ounce (28.3 gram) and 1.5 ounces (42.5 gram) per day.

Alzheimer's disease prevention

The researchers found significant improvement in learning skills, memory, reducing anxiety and motor development in mice fed a walnut-enriched diet. The high antioxidant content of walnuts (3.7 mmol/ounce) may have been a contributing factor in protecting the mouse’s brain from the degeneration typically seen in Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers suggested.

Walnuts have other nutritional benefits as they contain numerous vitamins and minerals and are the only nut that contains a significant source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) (2.5 grams per ounce), an omega-3 fatty acid with heart and brain-health benefits. The researchers also suggest that ALA may have played a role in improving the behavioral symptoms seen in the study.

The study adds to the growing body of research that demonstrates the health benefits of walnuts. For example, studies show that walnuts and other nuts boast a heart-protective benefit during times of stress. Indeed researchers at Harvard Medical School report that men can reduce cardiovascular risk by regularly eating nuts, including walnuts.

When it comes to dementia, walnuts and certain other foods, including broccoli, have been found to also significantly reduce the risk of developing the condition.

Alzheimer's disease treatment

Oxidative stress and inflammation are prominent features in the Alzheimer’s disease and these “findings are very promising and could help lay the groundwork for future human studies on walnuts and Alzheimer’s disease – a disease for which there is no known cure,” Chauhan added.

Chauhan had earlier conducted cell culture study that highlighted the protective effects of walnut extract against the oxidative damage caused by amyloid beta protein. The protein is the major component of amyloid plaques that form in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Source: http://www.microfinancemonitor.com/2014/10/22/walnut-enriched-food-helps-to-keep-alzheimers-at-bay-finds-indian-origin-researcher/

Ann Romney Launches Center To Study Neurological Diseases

Center Seeks Cures, Treatments For Brain Disease

By Maeve Reston, Los Angeles Times

Today at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the Romneys are launching the Ann Romney Center for Neurological Diseases, a research facility that will focus on finding cures and new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease (known as ALS), Parkinson’s disease and brain tumors.

Ann Romney Neurological Center

Fresh off a presidential effort that raised nearly a billion dollars, Ann Romney hopes to raise $50 million to lay the groundwork for the center’s research into the five diseases that affect about 50 million people in the U.S. already. The epidemic is growing fast.

Romney describes the center as her answer to the scores of MS patients who approached her on the campaign trail, desperate for advice and guidance from a fellow MS patient. After her husband’s 2012 run, she wrote a cookbook and planned to donate the proceeds to ongoing research at Brigham, a teaching hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School.

But she became fascinated by the breakthroughs that her doctor, Brigham’s Howard L. Weiner, was making with his longtime research partner, Dr. Dennis J. Selkoe, as they developed treatments to stop the advance of Alzheimer’s disease.

“I got so excited about it,” Romney said of their research during an interview at the Moorpark ranch in California where she rides horses as part of a therapy regimen that has helped drive her MS into remission. As she and her doctor talked about the overlapping discoveries into new treatments for MS and Alzheimer’s, she began thinking about the fundraising potential of a research center with a broader focus on five diseases affecting the brain.

Alzheimer's disease treatment

Alzheimer’s alone affects tens of millions of people worldwide, she noted, creating an opportunity to bring in donors who have family members with Alzheimer’s and “mid-lifers getting to that point in life where we’re scared to death.”

She wanted the center “to be a catalyst for pushing” the research faster and wanted to thank all the patients who “showed up for me all the time” on the campaign trail, she said.

“I want people to sign up for the experiments that we are doing; to sign up for the studies,” said Romney, who has participated in Brigham’s long-term CLIMB study of MS patients that uses bloodwork, MRIs and quality-of-life surveys to gauge the effectiveness of treatment. “I want people to have hope that this is going to help, not just them, but future generations.”

Remembering her own terror when she got her diagnosis — “you get on the Internet and it scares the living daylights out of you” — Romney wanted to make the center and its website a resource to inform new patients how to reduce the severity of their symptoms and to encourage them to stick with their medicines, even when the treatments make them feel ill.

Weiner said he and Selkoe were excited about expanding their research because ALS, Parkinson’s and brain tumors “are also untreatable diseases that are in desperate need of advances.” They see broad potential, he said, in studying aspects of the immune system and degenerative changes in the brain that could provide possible treatments for all five diseases. The Romney center hopes to spur collaborative research rather than study concentrated on one disease.

Weiner noted that their research into T-cells within the body’s immune system — some of which fight off infection and others that act to regulate other cells — could help develop treatments for both MS and brain tumors.

In a patient with MS, Weiner said, researchers believe there may be a defect in the regulatory cells that causes the immune system to be overactive. They developed an antibody that marks those regulatory cells, giving researchers a better sense of how a patient is responding to treatment. In patients with brain tumors, the tumor sends signals that create more regulatory cells, which then suppress the ability of the immune system to fight the tumor.

“We hypothesized that if we used this new antibody we found [in MS research] and were able to knock down the regulatory cells in tumors, then the immune system may be more effective and the tumors would shrink,” he said. “That’s actually what we found.”

They hope to extend that kind of research through the Ann Romney center. Ann Romney cautioned that the $50-million fundraising goal won’t “solve all of it.” But she called it a start that would allow researchers to leverage and pursue other grants.

“And if we really are starting to make some progress, it will be easier and easier to raise the money,” she said.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/politicsnow/la-pn-ann-romney-new-center-study-neurological-diseases-20141014-story.html#page=1

Alzheimer’s Research Earns Nobel Prize In Medicine

Discovery Could Pave Roads To Prevention, Treatment

The discovery of cells in the brain that act as the body’s internal global positioning system, which won three scientists the Nobel Prize for medicine on Monday, opens an intriguing new window onto dementia.

Since these spatial cells are among the first to be hit in Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia — explaining why sufferers often lose their way — understanding how they are degraded should shed important light on the disease process.

Alzheimer's disease research Nobel Prize in medicine

That is the belief of British-American researcher John O’Keefe, winner of the 2014 prize alongside Norwegians May-Britt and Edvard Moser, who plans to take his research to the next level as director of a new brain institute in London.

“We’re now setting up to do much more high-tech studies where we hope to follow the progression of disease over time,” he told reporters after hearing he would share the 8 million Swedish crowns ($1.1 million) prize.

“This will give us the first handle as to when and where the disease starts and how we can attack it at a the molecular and cellular level.”

The battle against Alzheimer’s has been long and frustrating. Global cases of dementia are expected to treble by 2050, yet scientists are still struggling to understand its basic biology and drug development is littered with failures.

The work by O’Keefe and the Mosers will not lead to immediate breakthroughs but by explaining how cells function — and then fail to function — in two very specific regions of the brain it is seen as vital for unpicking how Alzheimer’s develops.

Alzheimer's disease treatment

Dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is the most common form, already affects 44 million people worldwide and that number is set to reach 135 million by 2050, according to Alzheimer’s Disease International, a non-profit campaign group.

“Understanding how the healthy brain functions, especially areas of the brain crucial to learning and memory, is incredibly important in understanding what changes occur during conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease,” said Doug Brown, director of research and development at Britain’s Alzheimer’s Society.

The Nobel Prize winners’ work on the brain’s navigation system stretches back more than 40 years, but more recently scientists have developed powerful new tools for studying brain circuits that O’Keefe plans to put to work at the new London research institute where his is director.

The first of more than 150 scientists will start work at the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour at University College London next year, using state-of-the-art lasers, molecular biology and computational modeling to explore the brain’s intricate wiring.

“It’s a very exciting time,” O’Keefe said.

The Group of Eight leading industrial countries set a goal last December of finding a cure or effective treatment for dementia by 2025. It is a decade since the last drug was approved to treat Alzheimer’s, and there is still no treatment that can slow the progression of the disease, with current drugs only easing some of the symptoms of the disorder.

“We all know there is a time bomb there,” O’Keefe said. “We are starting to get a handle on it but that doesn’t mean it is going to turn into a cure in the immediate future.”

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/06/us-nobel-prize-medicine-alzheimers-idUSKCN0HV1ND20141006

Turmeric Offers Promise On Brain Recovery, Resilience

Food For Thought On Alzheimer’s Treatment

A spice commonly found in curries may boost the brain’s ability to heal itself, according to a report in the journal Stem Cell Research and Therapy. The German study suggests a compound found in turmeric could encourage the growth of nerve cells thought to be part of the brain’s repair kit.

Alzheimer's disease treatment

Scientists say this work, based in rats, may pave the way for future drugs for strokes and Alzheimer’s disease. But they say more trials are needed to see whether this applies to humans.

Researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine in Julich, Germany, studied the effects of aromatic-turmerone – a compound found naturally in turmeric. Rats were injected with the compound and their brains were then scanned. Particular parts of the brain, known to be involved in nerve cell growth, were seen to be more active after the aromatic-turmerone infusion. Scientists say the compound may encourage a proliferation of brain cells.

In a separate part of the trial, researchers bathed rodent neural stem cells (NSCs) in different concentrations of aromatic-tumerone extract. NSCs have the ability to transform into any type of brain cell and scientists suggest they could have a role in repair after damage or disease.

“In humans and higher developed animals their abilities do not seem to be sufficient to repair the brain,” said Dr. Maria Adele Rueger, who was part of the research team. “But in fish and smaller animals they seem to work well.”

On a more promising note, one of the most comprehensive summaries of turmeric studies to date was published by the respected ethnobotanist James A. Duke, Phd., in the October, 2007 issue of Alternative & Complementary Therapies, and summarized in the July, 2008, issue of the American Botanical Council publication HerbClip.

treat Alzheimer's disease

Reviewing some 700 studies, Duke concluded that turmeric appears to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effects against several chronic, debilitating diseases, and does so with virtually no adverse side effects.

Duke found more than 50 studies on turmeric’s effects in addressing Alzheimer’s disease. The reports indicate that extracts of turmeric contain a number of natural agents that block the formation of beta-amyloid, the substance responsible for the plaques that slowly obstruct cerebral function in Alzheimer’s disease.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-29361351

Marijuana Possible Treatment For Alzheimer’s Disease

THC Offers Hope For Prevention, Treatment

Extremely low levels of the compound in marijuana known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, may slow or halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, a recent study from neuroscientists at the University of South Florida shows. Findings from the experiments, using a cellular model of Alzheimer’s disease, were reported online in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Alzheimer's disease treatment

Researchers from the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute showed that extremely low doses of THC reduce the production of amyloid beta, found in a soluble form in most aging brains, and prevent abnormal accumulation of this protein — a process considered one of the pathological hallmarks evident early in the memory-robbing disease. These low concentrations of THC also selectively enhanced mitochondrial function, which is needed to help supply energy, transmit signals, and maintain a healthy brain.

“THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, but this is the first report that the compound directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels, inhibiting its aggregation, and enhancing mitochondrial function,” said study lead author Chuanhai Cao, PhD and a neuroscientist at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute and the USF College of Pharmacy. “Decreased levels of amyloid beta means less aggregation, which may protect against the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Since THC is a natural and relatively safe amyloid inhibitor, THC or its analogs may help us develop an effective treatment in the future.”

prevent Alzheimer’s disease with marijuana

The researchers point out that at the low doses studied, the therapeutic benefits of THC appear to prevail over the associated risks of THC toxicity and memory impairment. Neel Nabar, a study co-author and MD/PhD candidate, recognized the rapidly changing political climate surrounding the debate over medical marijuana.

“While we are still far from a consensus, this study indicates that THC and THC-related compounds may be of therapeutic value in Alzheimer’s disease,” Nabar said. “Are we advocating that people use illicit drugs to prevent the disease? No. It’s important to keep in mind that just because a drug may be effective doesn’t mean it can be safely used by anyone. However, these findings may lead to the development of related compounds that are safe, legal, and useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.”

The body’s own system of cannabinoid receptors interacts with naturally-occurring cannabinoid molecules, and these molecules function similarly to the THC isolated from the cannabis (marijuana) plant.

Dr. Cao’s laboratory at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute is currently investigating the effects of a drug cocktail that includes THC, caffeine as well as other natural compounds in a cellular model of Alzheimer’s disease, and will advance to a genetically-engineered mouse model of Alzheimer’s shortly.

“The dose and target population are critically important for any drug, so careful monitoring and control of drug levels in the blood and system are very important for therapeutic use, especially for a compound such as THC,” Dr. Cao said.

Alzheimer's disease prevention

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Source; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140827131801.htm