Monthly Archives: July 2014

An article published in the journal Nature Medicine describes that tau protein isoforms of subjects with Huntington’s disease are similar to those produced in known tauopathies (frontotemporal dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, progressive supranuclear palsy and corticobasal degeneration)

This results in an imbalance in the tau protein isoforms and deposits of hyper-phosphorylated tau in neurons and glial cells in the brain.

The study was developed by CIBERNED researchers from the Center for Molecular Biology Severo Ochoa (CSIC-UAM) in collaboration with the group CIBERNED at IDIBELL and VU University Medical Center, in Amsterdam.

As explained by one of the co-authors of the study, Isidre Ferrer, director of the Institute of Neuropathology IDIBELL and Chair at the University of Barcelona “in Huntington the same abnormal protein deposits of hyper-phosphorylated tau dont occur like in neurons in known tauopathies, but we could identify alterations in the different isoforms of tau protein in the brain and thus demonstrate that tau is also impaired in Huntington and in murine models of Huntington’s disease.

Source:  University of Barcelona

Gardens in care homes could be crucial in helping to stimulate memories for dementia patients, scientists have found.

A Systematic Review of Quantitative and Qualitative Evidence entitled “What Is the Impact of Using Outdoor Spaces Such as Gardens on the Physical and Mental Well-Being of Those With Dementia”? was recently published in the Journal of American Medical Directors Association.

Lead researcher Rebecca Whear of the University of Exeter said: “There is an increasing interest in improving dementia symptoms without the use of drugs. We think that gardens could be benefiting dementia sufferers by providing them with sensory stimulation and an environment that triggers memories.

“They not only present an opportunity to relax in a calming setting, but also to remember skills and habits that have brought enjoyment in the past,” she said.

The research represents the first attempt to bring together findings from a range of studies and has also highlighted several factors that must be overcome if gardens are to be useful in the future care of dementia patients. These include understanding possible hazards that a garden might represent to residents, and ensuring staff have time to let residents enjoy an outdoor space to its full potential.

Residents at 11 UK care homes were included in the research, as well as services in America, China and Europe.

Source:  Nursing Times

Researchers from the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix introduced Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation as their partner in the upcoming Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative ApoE4 trial.

Banner will work with the Swiss pharmaceutical company to test experimental therapies in people who carry two copies of the ApoE4 allele, the major genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The study complements the API ADAD trial, which will test the anti-A? antibody crenezumab in otherwise healthy people who carry an autosomal-dominant AD mutation and typically begin to show signs of the disease by age 50.

“We are excited about the chance to evaluate promising preclinical AD treatments in those at risk for developing AD at older ages,” said Eric Reiman, who leads API together with Pierre Tariot and Jessica Langbaum at Banner. “We previously argued that now is the time to launch a new era in Alzheimer’s prevention research—one in which we could efficiently test the range of preclinical AD treatments and find those that work,” he said.

Source:  AlzForum

One in three cases of Alzheimer’s disease worldwide is preventable, according to research from the University of Cambridge.

The main risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease are a lack of exercise, smoking, depression and poor education, the study says.  Previous research from 2011 put the estimate at one in two cases, but this new study takes into account overlapping risk factors.

The Cambridge team analysed population-based data to work out the main seven risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.

These are:

  • Diabetes
  • Mid-life hypertension
  • Mid-life obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Depression
  • Smoking
  • Low educational attainment

They worked out that a third of Alzheimer’s cases could be linked to lifestyle factors that could be modified, such as lack of exercise and smoking.

The researchers then looked at how reducing these factors could affect the number of future Alzheimer’s cases. They found that by reducing each risk factor by 10%, nearly nine million cases of the disease could be prevented by 2050.

“Simply tackling physical inactivity, for example, will reduce levels of obesity, hypertension and diabetes, and prevent some people from developing dementia”
said Prof. Carol Brayne, study leader.

Source:  Lancet Neurology

A recent Cochrane Review update was published to assess the clinical efficacy and safety of statins in treating Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Dementia.

Statins for the treatment of dementia” is an update of a Cochrane Review originally published in 2010.  Its primary objective is to assess the clinical efficacy and safety of statins in treating Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Dementia.

The Cochrane researchers identified four studies (one more than the 2010 review) meeting the inclusion criteria of high quality, randomised double-blinded placebo-controlled trials with cognition measured as an outcome. There were no studies found on the effect of statins on people with vascular dementia.

The pooled data from the four trials found no evidence that statins help in the treatment of cognitive decline in dementia (as indicated by significant improvement in behaviour, global function or activities of daily living).

A secondary objective of the review was to see if a treatment effect was dependent on cholesterol level, ApoE genotype or cognitive level. The studies did not report any differences depending on ApoE or cognitive level. However, patients with elevated cholesterol levels were excluded from the two larger studies for safety and ethical reasons, and one of the smaller studies reported that people with higher cholesterol level at baseline experienced most cognitive benefit. However, this study was too small to show clinical significance.

Thousands of researchers from over 60 countries will gather later this week (July 12-17) in Copenhagen, Denmark for the 2014 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC).

The outputs of the JPND Action Group on Longitudinal Cohorts will be presented on Monday, July 14 (4:00pm – 5:30pm) in Auditorium 15 of the conference center.

Elizabeth Breeze, PhD from the UK Alzheimer’s Society will deliver a presentation entitled Cohort studies have a role to play in dementia research drawing from an analysis of European longitudinal cohorts from the published JPND portfolio of research and a scoping exercise undertaken by the UK Alzheimer’s Society.


  1. Elizabeth Breeze, Alzheimer’s Society, London, United Kingdom
  2. Nicola Jean Hart, Alzheimer’s Society, London, United Kingdom
  3. Dag Aarsland, Karolinska Institutet, Stavanger, Norway
  4. Catherine Moody, UK Medical Research Council on behalf of JPND
  5. Carol Brayne, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom

The AAIC conference in Copenhagen will reveal the latest study results, theories and discoveries bringing the world closer to breakthroughs in dementia science.

A recent paper addresses the challenges and explores opportunities to stimulate repurposing of FDA-approved drugs for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and related diseases.

A new peer-reviewed publication from the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) and The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) offers strategic insight on how philanthropy, industry and government organizations can advance repurposing of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

The paper, published in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, was produced in collaboration with experts from these sectors and highlights the unique challenges and lack of commercial incentives for testing approved drugs in new disease indications, like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, where they might be beneficial.

Source:  Digital Journal