MRI May Tell Alzheimer’s from Other Dementias

 MRI May Tell Alzheimer's from Other DementiasThree-fourths of patients with Alzheimer’s disease or frontal-lobe degeneration had MRI-detected biomarker levels that correlated with the diagnoses, suggesting MRI has potential as a screening tool for the conditions, investigators reported.

MRI-predicted values for total tau and β-amyloid ratio (tt/Aβ) in gray matter correctly pinpointed the diagnosis in 75% of patients with genetically or neuropathologically confirmed diagnoses, according to Corey McMillan, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues. Predicted values also had good correlation with actual tt/Aβ measured in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), they said.

The findings are consistent with previous in vivo and autopsy studies of CSF tt/Aβ, the group reported in the Jan. 8 issue of Neurology. [Read more…]

Brain Pacemakers Are Starting To Be Used To Fight Alzheimer’s Disease

Brain MetsFor the very first times, surgeons at Johns Hopkins have used a brain-implanted pacemaker device to try to slow memory loss in a patient suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s. So far there’s only one patient with a memory-saving zapper, but a second is on the way along with about 40 others over the course of the next year, with the help of several other research institutes. After implantation, the pacemakers zap a part of the brain called the fornix with up to 130 blasts of electricity per second, all without disturbing the brain’s owner.

The researchers hope that this will be an effective solution at treating Alzheimer’s in and of itself, but if nothing else it should at least provide valuable information that could further other treatments as well. Johns Hopkins is currently accepting volunteers for the program, and hopefully those implants will give them—and all who follow—a fighting chance at hanging on to those precious memories.

Read more: ExtremeTech

Second Bapineuzumab Trial Fails in Alzheimer’s

Pauline Anderson

A second phase 3 trial investigating bapineuzumab IV in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has been stopped, essentially spelling the end of the program to investigate this agent in patients with this type of dementia.

The 18-month, randomized, double-blind, multicenter studies were examining the efficacy and safety of bapineuzumab, a monoclonal antibody that targets beta-amyloid (Aß), in patients who carry the apolipoprotein E epsilon 4 (ApoE4) genotype and in those who do not. [Read more…]

Ceramides in Blood May Signal Alzheimer’s Disease Risk

High levels of a family of lipids called ceramides in the blood may be predictive of developing Alzheimer’s disease, a new study suggests.

Women with the highest levels of ceramides had a 10-fold higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s compared with those with the lowest levels, said Michelle M. Mielke, PhD, from the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

“The study is small — that’s a limitation, and it was a preliminary study. However, given the small sample size, to have hazard ratios that are near 10 was quite striking and we didn’t expect to see that at all,” Dr. Mielke told Medscape Medical News. [Read more…]

Bapineuzumab Fails in Phase 3 Alzheimer’s Trial

Pfizer Inc has announced topline results of a phase 3 trial of bapineuzumab showing treatment failed to meet the co-primary endpoint of change in cognitive or functional performance versus placebo in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease (AD) who are positive for the apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4) risk allele.

Bapineuzumab is an investigational monoclonal antibody that targets amyloid-ß (Aß) under development by the Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy Program (AIP), a partnership between Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy R&D LLC (Janssen AI) and Pfizer Inc. [Read more…]

DNA Mapping of Alzheimer’s Patients Gives Deep Dive View

Over the past 18 months, 81-year-old Bill Bunnell has visited the doctor a half-dozen times to take memory tests, provide blood samples, and undergo a spinal tap and imaging scans. It’s all part of the most extensive study ever conducted on Alzheimer’s.

Now researchers are about to take an even closer look at Bunnell, a retired engineer from Madison, Connecticut.

Working with $2 million in new grants to be announced this week, the researchers for the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative will, for the first time, start mapping the DNA of 800 participants in a study attempting to find the root causes of memory loss. The goal is to see if physical changes from Alzheimer’s can be matched to genetic disparities, which can then be compared with findings from healthy people like Bunnell. [Read more…]

Study finds drinking coffee can delay onset of Alzheimer’s

A study of senior citizens in Florida found that drinking coffee could delay the onset of or help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

The study, carried out on adults over the age of 65 in Miami and Tampa, found that those with higher levels of caffeine in their blood avoided the onset of Alzheimer’s in the two- to four-year period they were monitored.

Dr. Chuanhai Cao, a neuroscientist at the University of South Florida College of Pharmacy, said, “These intriguing results suggest that older adults with mild memory impairment who drink moderate levels of coffee — about three cups a day — will not convert to Alzheimer’s disease or at least will experience a substantial delay before converting to Alzheimer’s.” [Read more…]

Is Coconut Oil Effective for Alzheimer Disease?

Response from Gayle Nicholas Scott, PharmD
Assistant Professor, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Virginia; Clinical Pharmacist, Chesapeake Regional Medical Center, Chesapeake, Virginia

Coconut oil and a related medical food, Axona® (Accera, Inc; Broomfield, Colorado), are being promoted as treatments for Alzheimer disease (AD). Obtained from the kernel of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera),[1] coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids, predominately lauric acid but also caprylic, myristic, and palmitic acids. Medium-chain triglycerides are the esterified form of medium-chain fatty acids; the terms are often used interchangeably.[2] The active ingredient of Axona is caprylic triglyceride. In the published research available, the product is called AC-1202. [Read more…]

New Alzheimer’s Prevention Trial Part of US National Plan

May 18, 2012 — An ambitious National Alzheimer’s Plan announced this week by the Department of Health and Human Services to address the growing threat of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in the United States includes funding for the first prevention trial in people genetically predisposed to develop early symptoms.

The double-blind, placebo-controlled study will test the drug crenezumab, an antibody that targets beta-amyloid, in a large extended family in Colombia, many of whom carry genetic risk mutations. Typically, cognitive impairment begins at around age 45 in affected individuals. [Read more…]

Deep Brain Stimulation May Improve Symptoms in Alzheimer’s

May 23, 2012 — Deep brain stimulation (DBS), a therapy already approved for use in Parkinson’s disease, may also be useful for treating some patients with early signs of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a pilot study suggests.

After 1 year of continuous DBS, a clinically meaningful increase in cerebral metabolism in the hippocampal area was observed in 1 of the 5 patients, lead author Gwenn Smith, PhD, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, told Medscape Medical News.

Curb Eating, Improve Memory

“The idea to try deep brain stimulation came from a single individual who had morbid obesity and who underwent DBS to try and curb his eating behavior,” Dr. Smith said. “Even though that individual did not have a memory problem at baseline, when the electrodes were turned on, he showed a substantial improvement in memory.” [Read more…]