Alzheimer’s Disease Overview

Alzheimer's disease (AD), also known as Alzheimer disease, or just Alzheimer's, accounts for 60% to 70% of cases of dementia. It is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and gets worse over time.

The most common early symptom is difficulty in remembering recent events (short-term memory loss). As the disease advances, symptoms can include problems with language, disorientation (including easily getting lost), mood swings, loss of motivation, not managing self care, and behavioral issues.

Link to Alzheimer's Hub

Initial Overview based on Wikipedia entry Jan. 5, 2016.

Retrieving memories from early Alzheimer’s

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, patients are often unable to remember recent experiences. However, a new study from MIT suggests that those memories are still stored in the brain — they just can’t be easily accessed.

The MIT neuroscientists report in Nature that mice in the early stages of Alzheimer’s can form new memories just as well as normal mice but cannot recall them a few days later.

"Memory retrieval by activating engram cells in mouse models of early Alzheimer’s disease"
By Roy et al | Nature, 2016 Mar 24

More DNA in Alzheimer’s Brain Cells

The Surprise Discovery Offers a New Understanding of the Disease

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found diverse genomic changes in single neurons from the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, pointing to an unexpected factor that may underpin the most common form of the disease.

A new study shows Alzheimer’s brains commonly have many neurons with significantly more DNA and genomic copies of the Alzheimer’s-linked gene, APP, than normal brains.

Amyloid Clumps in Young Brains

Scientists believe this is the first time amyloid accumulation has been shown in such young human brains.

“Discovering that amyloid begins to accumulate so early in life is unprecedented,” said lead investigator Changiz Geula, PhD, research professor in the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center. “This is very significant. We know that amyloid, when present for long periods of time, is bad for you.”
Brain 3/2/15

Ultrasound Technology for Alzheimer’s

University of Queensland scientists have found that non-invasive ultrasound technology can be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and restore memory.

The drug-free approach breaks apart the neurotoxic amyloid plaques that result in memory loss and cognitive decline. The approach is able to temporarily open the blood-brain barrier, activating mechanisms that clear toxic protein clumps and restoring memory functions.

Science Translational Medicine 3/11/15

‘MIND’ Diet May Protect Against Alzheimer’s

A new diet, known by the acronym MIND, could significantly lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Rush nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris with her colleagues developed the “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay” (MIND) diet. The study shows that the MIND diet lowered the risk of AD by as much as 53 percent in participants who adhered to the diet rigorously, and by about 35 percent in those who followed it moderately well.
Alzheimer’s & Dementia 2/11/15

Can Video Games Fend Off Mental Decline?

“Brain training” games like Project: Evo have become big business, with Americans spending an estimated $1.3 billion a year on them. They are also a source of controversy.

Adam Gazzaley found that it does indeed appear to prompt older brains to perform like ones decades younger. (“Game changer,” the cover of Nature magazine declared when it published his findings last year.) Now Project: Evo is on its own twisty path — the Boston company that is developing it, Akili, which Gazzaley advises, is seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration for the game.

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