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US opens criminal probe into pharma company over potential Alzheimer’s drug fraud: report

Cassava Sciences is also facing an SEC probe

The Department of Justice has opened a criminal probe into Cassava Sciences Inc to determine whether the company falsified its Alzheimer’s drug tests.

Cassava, based in Texas, is the pharmaceutical company behind the Alzheimer’s drug simuflam. The company is already under investigation by the SEC regarding allegations that the company manipulated data related to the same drug, Reuters reported Wednesday. 

“To be clear: Cassava Sciences vehemently denies any and all allegations of wrongdoing,” Cassava’s lawyer, Kate Watson Moss told Reuters. “[Cassava] has never been charged with a crime, and for good reason – Cassava Sciences has never engaged in criminal conduct.”

Full Article Here with Video

Alzheimer’s Foundation warns heat can be deadly for dementia patients

By Sarah Motter

Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 10:38 AM EDT|Updated: 3 hours ago

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – The Alzheimer’s Foundation has warned that extreme heat can be deadly for patients with dementia-related illnesses.

With a heat wave across the U.S. bringing dangerously high temperatures for tens of millions of residents, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America says it has provided important tips to help keep those affected by dementia-related illnesses safe.

“The dangers of extreme temperatures, which can cause heat stroke in a manner of minutes, are magnified for someone living with dementia. Dementia-related illnesses can impair a person’s ability to know when they are thirsty or in danger of overheating, communicate basic needs, and remember heat safety protocols,” said Jennifer Reeder, LCSW, SIFI, AFA’s Director of Educational and Social Services. “Taking a few simple precautions can go a long way toward keeping your loved one safe.”

Read the entire article here.

‘Alzheimer’s disease is the only illness where the person passes away twice.’ Latino caregivers say they’re facing more barriers

By Maya Brown, CNN

Published 8:33 AM EDT, Sun March 13, 2022

Researchers at the Alzheimer’s Association recently published a journal article, titled “Addressing the disparities in dementia risk, early detection and care in Latino populations.” The findings showed Latinos have an increased risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementias due to barriers, which include perceptions of memory loss as normal aging; limited access to high-quality care; and being underrepresentated in research and clinical trials. These barriers come at a time when the Latino population is also growing at a dramatic rate. Latinos accounted for 51.1 percent of the country’s growth, rising to almost 19 percent of the US population, according to the US Census.

The barriers also pose a threat to the health and well-being of the nation’s largest minority group. Latinos are projected to have the steepest increase in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in the next 40 years compared to other ethnic groups, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Researchers estimate the disease will affect 6.3 million non-Latino whites, 3.2 million Latinos and 2.2 million African Americans by the year 2060. Although Latinos aren’t expected to have the highest number, they have the largest increase over time.

Dr. Maria Carrillo, chief science officer of the Alzheimer’s Association and an author of the report, told CNN the group wants more people to better understand the barriers that Latinos with Alzheimer’s face.

“Learning to address the challenges that Latinos face in health care and dementia is really going to be key to understanding how we can ameliorate the potential tsunami of changes that are to come and that are challenging us today across the country,” Carrillo said.

Read the full article here.

Gene discovery may explain why more women get Alzheimer’s disease

By Sandee LaMotte, CNN

“It’s a female-specific finding — perhaps one of the strongest associations of a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s in women,” said senior study coauthor Lindsay Farrer, chief of biomedical genetics at Boston University School of Medicine.

Update from CNN Health

Two-thirds of the 6.5 million Americans currently living with the devastating brain disease are women, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. It’s a trend that holds true worldwide.

“Women, due to unique genetic risk factors like APOE ε4 and MGMT, and sex-specific risk factors like the sudden reduction in estrogen during the peri-menopause transition, may be in the fast-lane toward the disease, while men are sitting in traffic,” said Dr. Richard Isaacson, director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine, who was not involved in the study.

New Dementia Prevention Method May Be Behavioral, Not Prescribed

As experimental drugs prove ineffective against increasing dementia cases in the U.S., researchers argue that improving eyesight can have an effect.

From Paula Span, The New York Times

Dementia cases are climbing along with an aging world population, and yet another much-anticipated Alzheimer’s medication, crenezumab, has proved ineffective in clinical trials — the latest of many disappointments. Public health experts and researchers argue that it is past time to turn our attention to a different approach — focusing on eliminating a dozen or so already known risk factors, like untreated high blood pressure, hearing loss and smoking, rather than on an exorbitantly priced, whiz-bang new drug.

“It would be great if we had drugs that worked,” said Dr. Gill Livingston, a psychiatrist at University College London and chair of the Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention and Care. “But they’re not the only way forward.”

Read the full article here:

Single Brain Scan Can Diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease

A neuroimaging-based machine learning algorithm can detect Alzheimer’s in the brain with 98% accuracy. The system is also 79% accurate at determining which stage of Alzheimer’s disease a patient has.

Imperial College London

The research uses machine learning technology to look at structural features within the brain, including in regions not previously associated with Alzheimer’s. The advantage of the technique is its simplicity and the fact that it can identify the disease at an early stage when it can be very difficult to diagnose. 

Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, getting a diagnosis quickly at an early stage helps patients. It allows them to access help and support, get treatment to manage their symptoms and plan for the future. Being able to accurately identify patients at an early stage of the disease will also help researchers to understand the brain changes that trigger the disease, and support development and trials of new treatments.

The research is published in Communications Medicine, and funded through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Imperial Biomedical Research Centre. Full Article Here.

Actor David Hyde Pierce Talks About Alzheimer’s Disease on The Today Show June 21, 2022

Hispanics/Latinos 50% More Likely to Develop Alzheimer’s Disease

University of Houston students producing a series of Telenovelas to showcase how Alzheimer’s disease is impacting the Hispanic/Latino population

A University of Houston researcher is working to increase health literacy among Hispanics/Latinos (H/Ls) when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The largest ethnic minority in the U.S., at 18% of the population, H/Ls are 50% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than non-Hispanic whites. H/Ls also live longer, develop AD symptoms earlier, are diagnosed at later stages and are less likely to be treated.

The University of Houston announced back in December how a student had a mission to raise awareness about brain health in the Hispanic community and was one of nearly 30 aspiring writers from across Houston to compete in a one-day creative script writing “hackathon” hosted by the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication. The goal was to develop a telenovela script, or Latin American soap opera, to inform Hispanics of all ages about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Health experts at UH say Hispanics are 50% more likely to develop dementia or other related diseases than non-Hispanic white Americans but only account for 1% of clinical trials studying Alzheimer’s disease. 

Filming for the project started Saturday, April 9th, 2022 and is expected to continue each weekend, except Easter, until April 24th. UH officials say the majority of the filming will take place at the campus but do have some other location shots. 

Jason Michael Carroll
 – Tell Me Your Name (Diane’s Song) was written by myself (Jason Michael Carroll) and Johnny Orr. The idea started with Johnny reflecting on his grandmother and aunt who have battled the disease. Johnny posted a video on instagram singing part of the chorus as an “unfinished idea” stating he wasn’t sure why he was posting a song that wasn’t finished but he “felt the need” to post it because someone needed to hear it. I was definitely one of those people that needed to hear it.

We are currently dealing with my wife’s Mom’s battle with Alzheimer’s and watching her decline day after day. I called Johnny and explained what our family was going through and asked if I could finish the idea with him, and he agreed.

After we wrote the song and still thinking about the message that it had, I started thinking how to show our families’ battle with this disease in the song. I typically cook dinner for my wife’s family at least once a week and one night while they were here I had the idea for them come upstairs to my studio and have Diane say her name in my mics. We got just enough audio that we could make it work.

Her disease has progressed so much since then that if I had waited, we wouldn’t have been able to get her to do it now. I wanted to make the video more like a “home video” style shot so our family would have something to remember when she isn’t going to be here.

Thanks for watching “Tell Me Your Name (Diane’s Song)”.

FORBES MAGAZINE: Should You Push Your Stubborn Parents Who Refuse Elder Care?

Carolyn Rosenblatt Contributor

It’s nothing new when your stubborn aging parent refuses help. Maybe they have been generally stubborn for as long as you can remember. But with aging, you see them less and less able to do things, and you worry. Aging takes its toll on independence with everyday things like shopping, driving, cooking, and laundry. It can make even bathing and walking risky. READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE.

April 15, 2022

‘Good’ Cholesterol in Brain May Help Keep Alzheimer’s at Bay

FRIDAY, April 15, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Higher levels of “good” cholesterol in the fluid surrounding your brain and spinal cord may help protect you from Alzheimer’s disease, a new study suggests.

“This study represents the first time that small HDL particles in the brain have been counted,” said study co-author Dr. Hussein Yassine. He is an associate professor of medicine and neurology at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles.

For the study, Yassine and his colleagues analyzed concentrations of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) — often referred to as “good cholesterol” — in the cerebrospinal fluid of 180 healthy volunteers with an average age of nearly 77.

The study linked a higher number of small HDL particles in cerebrospinal fluid with two key indicators that they might protect against Alzheimer’s.

One indicator is better performance on tests of memory and thinking (or “cognitive”) skills. Of 141 participants who completed a series of these cognitive tests, those with higher levels of small HDL particles in their cerebrospinal fluid had better scores. And that was independent of age, sex, education or whether they carried the APOE4 gene, which boosts Alzheimer’s risk.

The link was even stronger among those who had no cognitive impairment, the findings showed.

The other indicator of a protective effect is that people with higher levels of small HDL particles also had higher levels of a peptide called amyloid beta 42 in their cerebrospinal fluid.

Blood test for Alzheimer’s highly accurate in large, international study

When combined with genetic risk factors, test up to 93% accurate at identifying people at risk of Alzheimer’s dementia

Using mass spectrometry, Bateman and colleagues have developed a blood test that is up to 93% accurate at identifying people at risk of Alzheimer’s dementia. A blood test developed at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

“Our study shows that the blood test provides a robust measure for detecting amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease, even among patients not yet experiencing cognitive declines,” said senior author Randall J. Bateman, MD, the Charles F. and Joanne Knight Distinguished Professor of Neurology.

“A blood test for Alzheimer’s provides a huge boost for Alzheimer’s research and diagnosis, drastically cutting the time and cost of identifying patients for clinical trials and spurring the development of new treatment options,” Bateman said. “As new drugs become available, a blood test could determine who might benefit from treatment, including those at very early stages of the disease.”