“Amyloid is important in initiating disease, but the actual damage in the brain is probably due to the accumulation of tau,” Holtzman told MedPage Today. “Normally, tau protein is inside cells, but there is more and more evidence suggesting that its spread to different parts of the brain is responsible for the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.”
Two studies in January explored how sleep might be associated with Alzheimer’s tau pathology. The first, led by Brendan Lucey, MD, and David Holtzman, MD, both of Washington University in St. Louis, found that older adults who had less slow-wave sleep had higher levels of brain tau.
Dr. Nilüfer Ertekin-Taner, neurogeneticist and behavioral neurologist, discusses characteristics of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and movement disorders. She also discusses her research on the complex genetics of Alzheimer’s disease, including identifying therapeutic targets and biomarkers. She highlights Mayo Clinic’s unique approach to patient care.
Mr. Chambers, a 48-year-old physical therapist in Jersey City, N.J., modified his sleep, diet and exercise routines. Eighteen months later, his performance on a battery of cognitive tests improved, particularly in areas like processing speed and executive function, such as decision-making and planning.
Most surprising, says Dr. Isaacson, is that the MCI patients who followed at least 60% of their recommendations showed cognitive improvement. However, MCI patients who followed less than 60% of the recommendations experienced cognitive declines similar to the control groups, he notes.
Mr. Chambers is among 154 patients in a study, published Wednesday in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, that doctors say shows encouraging results. Among healthy patients, people who made changes in nutrition and exercise showed cognitive improvements on average. People who were already experiencing some memory problems also showed cognitive improvement—if they followed at least 60% of the recommended changes.
At the core of the 2019 report are the results of a global survey, commissioned by ADI and undertaken by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Almost 70,000 people globally engaged with the survey, making it the biggest of its kind ever undertaken.
LSE developed the survey to target four key groups:
(1) people living with dementia, (2) careers, (3) healthcare practitioners and (4) the general public, with analysis being provided in three categories: knowledge, attitudes and behaviour.
In the survey analysis we highlight the behavioural element first, giving prominence to the voices and experiences of people living with dementia as direct assessment of actual behaviour is central to discrimination and is the closest representation of the true impact of stigma on people living with dementia.
From a Washington University School of Medicine news release:
A blood test to detect the brain changes of early Alzheimer’s disease has moved one step closer to reality. Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report that they can measure levels of the Alzheimer’s protein amyloid beta in the blood and use such levels to predict whether the protein has accumulated in the brain. The findings represent a key step toward a blood test to diagnose people on track to develop the devastating disease before symptoms arise.
Up to two decades before people develop the characteristic memory loss and confusion of Alzheimer’s disease, damaging clumps of protein start to build up in their brains. Now, a blood test to detect such early brain changes has moved one step closer to clinical use.
Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report that they can measure levels of the Alzheimer’s protein amyloid beta in the blood and use such levels to predict whether the protein has accumulated in the brain. When blood amyloid levels are combined with two other major Alzheimer’s risk factors – age and the presence of the genetic variant APOE4 – people with early Alzheimer’s brain changes can be identified with 94% accuracy, the study found.