Blog Archives

Some Early Stage Drug Research

Posted on by

Drug research relating to dementia and Alzheimer’s is ongoing. Below is a collection of relatively recent reports. All of the links have been added to Alzheimers > Treatment > Drugs


trazodone and dibenzoylmethane

From the articles:
A team of scientists who a few years ago identified a major pathway that leads to brain cell death in mice, have now found two drugs that block the pathway and prevent neurodegeneration. The drugs caused minimal side effects in the mice and one is already licensed for use in humans, so is ready for clinical trials.

Experts excited by brain ‘wonder-drug’
Scientists discover two repurposed drugs that arrest neurodegeneration in mice
Published research:
Repurposed drugs targeting eIF2α-P-mediated translational repression prevent neurodegeneration in mice


Methylene blue

Drug Could Improve Short-term Memory, Study Says [06/28/2016]
Methylene Blue Shows Promise for Improving Short-Term Memory [June 28, 2016]
Published research:
Multimodal Randomized Functional MR Imaging of the Effects of Methylene Blue in the Human Brain [November 2016]


LMTX

Testing of new Alzheimer’s drug disappoints, but it’s not all bad news [July 27, 2016]
TauRx Alzheimer’s Drug LMTX Fails in Large Study Although Some Benefit Seen [July 27, 2016]


mefenamic acid

This Common Period Pain Medication Reverses Alzheimer’s Symptoms in Mice [16 Aug 2016]
Treatment option for Alzheimer’s disease possible [11 Aug 2016]
Alzheimer’s Disease: Period Pain Drug Cures Symptoms In Mice, New Research Shows [08/13/16]
Research publication:
Fenamate NSAIDs inhibit the NLRP3 inflammasome and protect against Alzheimer’s disease in rodent models [11 August 2016]


Category: Announcements, Drugs

Evolution, Genetics, and Alzheimer’s

Posted on by

Numerous trials have been run hoping to develop and validate drugs which would either slow, stop, or reverse the development of Alzheimer’s in humans. Yet over several decades none have succeeded. Almost all of these attempts have been based on the “amyloid hypothesis”, and consequently, some researchers have started looking in new directions.

One exciting such new direction involves mitochondrial DNA, which we inherit from our mothers, but not our fathers. This difference might account for the fact that people whose family history showed Alzheimer’s on their mother’s side were more likely to get Alzheimer’s than people whose family history only showed Alzheimer’s on the father’s side. So various mitochondrial diseases and failures could be genetically responsible for the development of Alzheimer’s in the brain.

It is widely regarded that most non-human primates do not exhibit Alzheimer’s, although they exhibit related symptoms and brain changes. The new study focused on the idea that thus, Alzheimer’s ought to have come about in human beings due to some evolutionarily recent change in our brains setting us apart from existing primate species. The study focused on one such change, the development of “retrotransposons”, or so-called “jumping genes”.

An excellent extended exposition of this work is available at
When copy-paste attacks: A possible answer to the mystery of Alzheimer’s disease

Another article about the work is
‘Jumping genes’ may set the stage for brain cell death in Alzheimer’s, other diseases

The research publication itself is at
The Alu neurodegeneration hypothesis: A primate-specific mechanism for neuronal transcription noise, mitochondrial dysfunction, and manifestation of neurodegenerative disease

Links to the articles and the research publication have been posted in Alzheimers > Risk Factors > Genetics.

New Site for The Science of Aging

Posted on by

Geroscience is a new site devoted to exploring and explaining the developing science around human aging and longevity. Features and news on the site will cover topics including (from Geroscience > About):

  • …interviews with experts, looks behind the scenes of everyday lab life, and the latest trends from longevity conferences;
  • …perspectives of leading researchers, entrepreneurs, and other experts … shar[ing] ideas about aging and longevity;
  • …the business of geoscience, including investment coverage, clinical trial data, and insight into the regulatory world.

Strong Brain will post about selected Geroscience news and feature articles under Aging, or under one of the Alzheimer’s categories. A link to the site has been added to Aging > Organizations.

Category: Aging, Announcements

Green For Health

Posted on by

Old novels would send heroes and heroines (especially) to the country to recover from physical and/or mental maladies. Cliche or not, getting near at least some green is good for your health and longevity. Small studies have pointed at this over the years, but now a massive new 108,000-woman study, based on the Nurse’s Health Study, seriously quantifies this. In particular, the death rate of women living in the greenest areas was 12% lower than women living in the least green areas. Compared to women living in areas with less greenery, the researchers found that women in greener areas had:

  • lower levels of depression
  • 41% lower death rate for kidney disease
  • 34% lower death rate for respiratory disease
  • 13% lower death rate for cancer

The study results don’t say that you should immediately abandon city living and head for the country. But they do suggest that greater amounts of green in the immediate environs of your home will help your health.

Links to articles about the study and the study itself have been posted in both Aging and Health:

Living near nature linked to longer lives, says study
Being Surrounded By Greenery, Plant Life Linked To Lower Mortality Rates In Women
Published research:
Exposure to Greenness and Mortality in a Nationwide Prospective Cohort Study of Women

Additionally, here are links to some earlier articles and studies on the benefits of time spent in nature on physical and mental health:
Stanford researchers find mental health prescription: Nature
Published research:
Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation
A systematic review of evidence for the added benefits to health of exposure to natural environments

Category: Announcements, Health

Fighting The Fog Of Chemo Brain

Posted on by

As if fighting cancer wasn’t bad enough, it appears that many chemotherapy treatments (as well the cancer itself or related conditions) interfere with memory and thinking. While not many direct treatments for chemobrain currently exist (a few drugs may be of help), there are a number of coping strategies to minimize the effects of chemobrain.

We’ve added new links pointing at four web articles about chemo brain generally, and about coping with it. The links have been added under Chemo Brain. The articles are:
Chemo brain [Mayo Clinic]
Chemobrain [MD Anderson Center]
Chemo Brain
Attention, Thinking, or Memory Problems

Category: Announcements

Bad Sleep Can Indicate Higher Stroke Liklihood

Posted on by

In seniors, a raised risk of hardening of the brain arteries, and hence possibly a raised risk of the chances of a stroke, can be signaled by poor sleep. A study examined the autopsied brains of 315 people, twenty-nine percent of whom had suffered a stroke, and 61 percent had moderate-to-severe damage to blood vessels in the brain.
All of the people studied had participated in at least a week of sleep quality assessment sometime before dying. Sleep was disrupted (called “sleep fragmentation” — repeated awakenings or arousals) an average of nearly seven times an hour among the study participants. Those with the highest levels of sleep fragmentation were 27% more likely to have hardening of the brain arteries.

Two articles about the study, as well as the study itself, are linked in: Alzheimer’s > Risk Factors:

Sleep disruptions in seniors tied to unhealthy brain changes

Fragmented sleep in older adults may lead to severe cerebral arteriolosclerosis

Published research:
Sleep Fragmentation, Cerebral Arteriolosclerosis, and Brain Infarct Pathology in Community-Dwelling Older People

Category: Announcements

Anti-Aging Effects From An Anti-Alzheimer’s Drug

Posted on by

So far it’s only in mice, but a promising drug from a Salk Institute laboratory has shown the ability to not only reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s and memory loss, but to improve memory and other tests for cognition. In addition, older mice receiving the drug also displayed more robust motor movement, and based on gene expression monitoring, showed physiological aspects more similar to young mice, including increased energy metabolism, reduced brain inflammation and reduced levels of oxidized fatty acids in the brain. The laboratory hopes to being human trials next year.

Links to articles about the work, as well as the published study, have been posted in both Aging and Alzheimers > Treatment > Drugs:

Experimental Alzheimer’s Drug Shows Anti-Aging Effects

Experimental drug targeting Alzheimer’s disease shows anti-aging effects

Published study:
A comprehensive multiomics approach toward understanding the relationship between aging and dementia

Category: Announcements

Unexpectedly, Dementia Incidence Has Stabelized Or Declined

Posted on by

The incidence of dementia has been expected to substantially rise as the average life expectancy increased in high income countries. Surprisingly, two studies seem to contradict that expectation. One covering Europe shows that the rate of dementia there has stabilized, while the other study shows that the dementia rate in the US has been declining. Researchers have been unable to explain why this has been happening.

Links to articles on these studies, as well as the studies themselves, have been posted in Alzheimer’s > Epidemiology:

The article and research dealing with Europe are:

Dementia levels stabilizing in Western Europe
Research:
Dementia in western Europe: epidemiological evidence and implications for policy making

The article and research dealing with the US are:

Dementia rates decline in U.S., researchers unsure why
Research:
Incidence of Dementia over Three Decades in the Framingham Heart Study

Category: Announcements

Family & Friends Can Help Diagnose Alzheimer’s

Posted on by

Since Alzheimer’s attacks the brain, the major visible changes to a person descending into Alzheimer’s are changes in behavior. So it is certainly no surprise that in general, the people who can most knowledgeably speak to a person’s behavioral changes are that person’s family and friends. Because of this, the “AD8, A brief informant interview to detect dementia” was developed at Washington University for use in interviewing family and friends. It contains eight yes-no questions dealing with issues such as:

Less interest in hobbies/activities

Trouble handling complicated financial affairs (e.g., balancing checkbook, income taxes, paying bills)

Trouble remembering appointments

A pdf of the complete AD8 is available here; Permission to use the AD8 can be obtained here.
(It would seem that a combination of the AD8 with the UPSIT “scratch and sniff” test would make a moderately good inexpensive screening combination.)

These links to some articles on the AD8 have been posted in
Alzheimer’s > Diagnosis & Tests:

The AD8 and its Use as an Alzheimer’s Screening Test

Family, Friends Seem Best at Spotting Early Dementia

And these research publication links have also been posted in Alzheimer’s > Diagnosis & Tests. The first link is the original publication on the AD8, and the others are follow-ups:

The AD8: A brief informant interview to detect dementia

Relationship of dementia screening tests with biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease

The impact of dementia prevalence on the utility of the AD8

Reply: The impact of dementia prevalence on the utility of the AD8

Category: Announcements

Which Diet Is Best?

Posted on by

It seems as if there are zillion competing diets out there, with articles and books recommending them, and many of them are contradictory in their recommendations. Amid all that tumult, publisher Annual Reviews approached respected Professor and practicing physician Dr. David Katz, known for his balanced views, to evaluate and compare the current major diet recommendations. Katz and his colleague wrote: “There have been no rigorous, long-term studies comparing contenders for best diet laurels using methodology that precludes bias and confounding. For many reasons, such studies are unlikely.” They go on to state that no diet is clearly best, but there are common elements across eating patterns that are proven to be beneficial to health: “A diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention.”

Links to two articles about the study, as well as a link to the study itself, have been posted in Health > Diet:

Science Compared Every Diet, and the Winner Is Real Food

Is There Really A ‘Best Diet’? Scientists Say Eat ‘Real’ Food, And Not Too Much Of It

Original article:

Can We Say What Diet Is Best for Health?

Category: Announcements