Deep Brain Stimulation: New Hope For Alzheimer?

alzheimersAlzheimer’s disease (AD) could be the next frontier for deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy.

A small phase 1 pilot study showed that some patients with AD who received constant stimulation to the fornix — the principle outflow tract from the hippocampus — had increased hippocampal volume after 1 year.

There was also some evidence that this increased hippocampal volume correlated with cognitive benefit.

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Alzheimer’s Gene Effects May Show Up in Infancy

infancyInfants and toddlers with the Alzheimer’s disease-associated APOE4 genotype already showed distinctive patterns of brain structure relative to other young children, researchers said.

MRI scans carried out in 60 normally developing children, age 2 to 25 months, who carried the APOE epsilon-4 allele, showed smaller volumes of gray matter and and lower white matter myelin water fraction (MWF) compared with 102 children in the same age range whose APOE genes only include the epsilon-2 and/or epsilon-3 alleles, according to Sean C. L. Deoni, PhD, of Brown University in Providence, R.I., and colleagues.

“While our findings should be considered preliminary, this study demonstrates some of the earliest brain changes associated with the major genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease,” the researchers wrote online in JAMA Neurology.

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Peanut Butter and Alzheimer?

peanut-butter“Could a scoop of peanut butter and a ruler become that elusive test?”

If you treat the elderly, or any member of the growing number of families devastated by Alzheimer’s disease, you may be asked some version of that question, as posed by CBS News, in the coming weeks. You can thank media coverage of a study in the Oct. 15 issue of the Journal of Neurological Sciences titled “A Brief Olfactory Test for Alzheimer’s Disease.”

Here’s that brief olfactory test, as the CBS headline suggests: “A container of 14 g of peanut butter was opened, held medially at the bottom of a 30 cm ruler, and moved up 1 cm at a time during the participants’ exhale. Upon odor detection, the distance between the subject’s nostril and container was measured.”

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Concussions cause brain abnormalities similar to Alzheimer’s

brainMore and more research has raised concern over the dangers of concussions – one of the most common forms of head trauma – as many sufferers go on to experience persistent neurological symptoms throughout their lives.

Now, scientists have discovered a clue as to why mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBI) can have such long-lasting health consequences.

In a study published in the journal Radiology, researchers found that white matter damage in the brains of people who had experienced concussions closely resembled the type of white matter damage found in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.  These findings suggest that concussions set off a chain of neurological events that can cause long-term damage to the brain.

“It’s not the hitting your head that’s the problem.  It’s everything else that happens after that,” said lead study author Dr. Saeed Fakhran, assistant professor of radiology in the Division of Neuroradiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

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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…]

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…]