November 2014

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ACT-AD Holds 7th Annual FDA/Alzheimer’s Disease Allies Meeting

Our 7th Annual FDA/Alzheimer’s Disease Allies Meeting held in Bethesda, Md., drew patients, family caregivers, scientists and representatives from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to discuss how to better treat Alzheimer’s disease. It was cohosted with the Society for Women’s Health Research. The meeting explored how to improve clinical trials of Alzheimer’s disease therapeutics, with specific focus on balancing the needs of all stakeholders in the drug development process who seek more effective treatments and forging agreement on current strategies for demonstrating clinical meaningfulness in existing trials of early Alzheimer’s patients and how they might inform approaches for future trials. We will have a more detailed summary of the results of the meeting in the near future. We’d like to thank everyone who made this event possible and who came out to offer their insights.

Updates of Note from NIH, CDC, Other Agencies

Here are a couple of items of interest on the federal government front. First, NIH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Administration for Community Living have announced a project called Recruiting Older Adults into Research (ROAR) to encourage older adults and their family caregivers to consider participating in research. This is especially of note for ACT-AD because the project’s first area of focus is on Alzheimer’s and dementia research. Go here to learn more. Also, the Department of Health & Human Services and NIH have announced proposed regulations that will encourage more transparency in clinical trial results. Find out more.

Organization Releases Trend Report of Antipsychotic Drug Use

The Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes has released an update on antipsychotic drug use in nursing homes across the U.S. The report found that in the U.S. in 2011 23.9 percent of long-stay nursing home residents were receiving an antipsychotic medication. However, this year that national prevalence rate has decreased to 19.4 percent. This success has varied by state and region, with some states and regions seeing a reduction of greater than 20 percent. To view the complete report, please visit here.

New Neurological Disorder Has Links to Alzheimer’s

A new study from experts at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York details a new neurological disease with the same cognitive impairment traits as Alzheimer’s, but with different brain pathology. The disease was named primary age-related tauopathy (PART). One of the potential benefits of this study is that the new criteria for PART may help boost the accuracy of clinical trials testing medication for Alzheimer’s. Their study was published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica.

Conference on Drug Discovery for Neurodegeneration Set for March 1-3, 2015

The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation announces its 9th Annual Drug Discovery for Neurodegeneration Conference to be held on March 1-3, 2015, in San Diego. The conference is “designed as a comprehensive course on the drug discovery process, from target validation through to clinical development” and “provides participants with the fundamental knowledge and resources to translate their research into new drugs to treat and prevent neurodegenerative diseases.For more information, please visit here.

Study Finds Tau, Not Amyloid-Beta Plaque,Causes Neuron Death

New research published in the journal Molecular Neurodegeneration indicates that malfunctioning tau, not amyloid-beta plaque, contributes to neuron death in conditions such as Alzheimer’s. This finding represents a divergence from the prevailing theory on how Alzheimer’s develops. It also offers an explanation as to why some people with plaque buildup do not have dementia. The study’s lead researcher, Charbel E-H Moussa, MB, Ph.D., assistant professor of neuroscience at Georgetown University Medical Center, also notes, “The common culprit is tau, so a drug that helps tau do its job may help protect against progression of these diseases.” Read more about the study.

Growth of Older Population to Drive Higher Alzheimer’s Costs

The USC Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics has released sobering data on the expected impact of Alzheimer’s costs. The report predicts that over the next 40 years annual costs will increase from $307 billion annually to $1.5 trillion. This will be fueled by the dramatic rise of the 65 and over population. The report did also deliver some positive news. It noted that delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s by five years would add about 2.7 years of life for patients. For more on the report go here.