News

Alzheimer’s and Traumatic Brain Injury?

Posted: Aug. 17, 2009

Giuseppina Tesco

Yes, there is a connection. Researchers have demonstrated that when Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or stroke occurs, there is a sudden surge in the production of the A-Beta 42 peptide (“peptide” = “small protein”) which is consistently acknowledged as a key player in Alzheimer’s disease pathology. Exactly how TBI/stroke lead to increased susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease is unclear at this point, but well worth immediate and intense research. The implications are obvious and ominous for combat soldiers, athletes and all of us who may suffer from TBI or stroke in the future. We need this research not only to break the link between TBI/stroke and Alzheimer’s, but also to understand better the origins of Alzheimer’s itself.

Dr. Giuseppina Tesco, now with the Department of Neuroscience at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, has done pioneering work in this area at Massachusetts General Hospital, where her laboratory was part of the Genetics and Aging Unit. After her initial paper on the topic in the journal Neuron in 2007, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund supported her continued pilot studies leading to her recent award of 2(!) RO1 grants from the National Institutes of Health for major studies in this field.

We congratulate Giuseppina on this important work and wish her and her colleagues success in helping to break this insidious link and learn more about how to stop Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s and Traumatic Brain Injury?

Posted: Aug. 13, 2009

Dr. Giuseppina Tesco Conducts Research on Traumatic Brain Injury and Alzheimer's Yes, there is a connection. Researchers have demonstrated that when Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or stroke occurs, there is a sudden surge in the production of the A-Beta 42 peptide (“peptide” = “small protein”) which is consistently acknowledged as a key player in Alzheimer’s disease pathology. Exactly how TBI/stroke lead to increased susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease is unclear at this point, but well worth immediate and intense research. The implications are obvious and ominous for combat soldiers, athletes and all of us who may suffer from TBI or stroke in the future. We need this research not only to break the link between TBI/stroke and Alzheimer’s, but also to understand better the origins of Alzheimer’s itself.

Dr. Giuseppina Tesco, now with the Department of Neuroscience at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, has done pioneering work in this area at Massachusetts General Hospital, where her laboratory was part of the Genetics and Aging Unit. After her initial paper on the topic in the journal Neuron in 2007, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund supported her continued pilot studies leading to her recent award of 2(!) RO1 grants from the National Institutes of Health for major studies in this field.

We congratulate Giuseppina on this important work and wish her and her colleagues success in helping to break this insidious link and learn more about how to stop Alzheimer’s disease.

Message from the Intern: Even with just a few minutes, you can help

Posted: Aug. 10, 2009

As I grow older, it has become increasingly obvious that the infamous New York City pace of life no longer applies exclusively to New York City – it is everywhere. Kids, parents, and grandparents alike are swamped with time commitments; be it work, time with family and friends, or other activities. This non-stop pace often makes it hard to find time for the things we find important, so we are forced to either complete time-consuming tasks in shorter periods of time, or not at all. For example, many people who are not involved with charity work cite lack of time as an inhibiting factor. The problem is not that there are no quick ways to help out a non-profit like Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, but that people either don’t know or can’t think of them. We know that you are extremely busy, so here are some ideas of how you can help out: If you only have a few minutes…

  • Tell a friend about Alzheimer’s disease research, and recommend a good resource where he/she can find more information about it
  • Sign up for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund email list to stay up-to-date on breakthrough research. You can sign up by visiting our homepage
  • Write about Alzheimer’s disease on your Facebook or Twitter accounts, or record a quick video about it on YouTube. Check out our accounts on these sites as well.
  • Make a donation to the cause

If you have some spare time…

  • Write a letter to the editor of your local paper, talking about Alzheimer’s disease and why you’re passionate about curing it
  • Write about Alzheimer’s disease on your blog or website and let us know so we can link to it!
  • Next time you throw a party, invite people to donate to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund in lieu of traditional gifts
  • Call or email us and share your story. You can reach us at (781) 237-3800

If you have the time to make a longer term commitment…

  • Participate in a walk, marathon, or triathlon and ask your friends and family to sponsor you. Donate the money to Alzheimer’s research
  • Organize a car wash, bake sale, raffle, or read-a-thon to raise money for the cause
  • Check to see if your employer has a workplace giving program, whereby they deduct a certain amount of money from your paycheck each month for Cure Alzheimer’s Fund

Senate Appropriations Committee’s Commitment To Alzheimer’s Research Wins Plaudits

Posted: Aug. 6, 2009

Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Urges Congress to Pass Bill This Fall

Boston—Praising lawmakers for recognizing the importance of finding a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund commended the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee for passing promising legislation with strong funding and language backing Alzheimer’s research. 

 

“We applaud the Committee for their support and call for more research and discovery in the field of Alzheimer’s,” said Tim Armour, President and CEO of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. “With 5.2 million Americans currently battling this devastating disease and many Baby Boomers reaching the at-risk age, research is critical to better understand Alzheimer’s in hopes of finding more effective treatments and preventing this disease.”

The appropriations are part of the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and other related agencies, for the 2010 Fiscal Year.

Advancements in the research could lessen the growing burden— both financial and emotional— that Alzheimer’s puts on society. In 2004, 25 percent of the combined Medicare and Medicaid expenses (about $122 billion) went to Alzheimer’s care.  Alzheimer’s alone could single-handedly bankrupt Medicare and Medicaid within the next decade if left unchecked.

Dedicated to Alzheimer’s research, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has set forth an ambitious and aggressive national research strategy setting a 10-year goal for the development of effective therapies and discovery of an eventual cure for this devastating disease.

“When President Kennedy challenged our nation to land on the moon by the end of the 1960s, we met that challenge with fervor. Finding a cure for Alzheimer’s is no less daunting, but with the advances in research and technology it is in our reach,” said Armour. “This renewed dedication and commitment to research from Senate appropriators is a encouraging step toward reaching that goal.

“We urge the full Senate and House to remain supportive of this bill as it moves through the legislative process this fall,” Armour continued.  “It could help change the lives of the millions of Americans and their families struggling with this devastating disease today.”

 

Major show of support for Alzheimer's research funding - but it's not a done deal yet

Posted: Aug. 6, 2009

U.S. Capitol

Amid all the rancor surrounding health care, there was some very good news this week: the Senate made a big step toward providing much-needed funding for Alzheimer's research.

As part of their appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and other related agencies for the 2010 Fiscal Year, the Senate Appropriations Committee included strong funding and language backing Alzheimer’s research.

We issued a statement today praising the legislation and urging the full Congress to pass the bill this fall. Here's an excerpt:

“We applaud the Committee for their support and call for more research and discovery in the field of Alzheimer’s,” said Tim Armour, President and CEO of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. “With 5.2 million Americans currently battling this devastating disease and many Baby Boomers reaching the at-risk age, research is critical to better understand Alzheimer’s in hopes of finding more effective treatments and preventing this disease.” ...

Advancements in the research could lessen the growing burden— both financial and emotional— that Alzheimer’s puts on society. In 2004, 25 percent of the combined Medicare and Medicaid expenses (about $122 billion) went to Alzheimer’s care. Alzheimer’s alone could single-handedly bankrupt Medicare and Medicaid within the next decade if left unchecked.

You can read our full statement here.

Message from the Intern: Even with just a few minutes, you can help

Posted: Aug. 6, 2009

As I grow older, it has become increasingly obvious that the infamous New York City pace of life no longer applies exclusively to New York City – it is everywhere. Kids, parents, and grandparents alike are swamped with time commitments; be it work, time with family and friends, or other activities. This non-stop pace often makes it hard to find time for the things we find important, so we are forced to either complete time-consuming tasks in shorter periods of time, or not at all.

For example, many people who are not involved with charity work cite lack of time as an inhibiting factor. The problem is not that there are no quick ways to help out a non-profit like Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, but that people either don’t know or can’t think of them. We know that you are extremely busy, so here are some ideas of how you can help out:

If you only have a few minutes…

  • Tell a friend about Alzheimer’s disease research, and recommend a good resource where he/she can find more information about it
  • Sign up for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund email list to stay up-to-date on breakthrough research. You can sign up by visiting our homepage
  • Write about Alzheimer’s disease on your Facebook or Twitter accounts, or record a quick video about it on YouTube. Check out our accounts on these sites as well.
  • Make a donation to the cause

 

If you have some spare time…

  • Write a letter to the editor of your local paper, talking about Alzheimer’s disease and why you’re passionate about curing it
  • Write about Alzheimer’s disease on your blog or website and let us know so we can link to it!
  • Next time you throw a party, invite people to donate to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund in lieu of traditional gifts
  • Call or email us and share your story. You can reach us at (781) 237-3800

 

If you have the time to make a longer term commitment…

  • Participate in a walk, marathon, or triathlon and ask your friends and family to sponsor you. Donate the money to Alzheimer’s research
  • Organize a car wash, bake sale, raffle, or read-a-thon to raise money for the cause
  • Check to see if your employer has a workplace giving program, whereby they deduct a certain amount of money from your paycheck each month for Cure Alzheimer’s Fund

 

Message from the Intern: Why Everyone Should Care about Alzheimer’s (Even Teenagers)

Posted: Jul. 27, 2009

I invite you, dear readers, to think of the species so confusing, so complex, that no one can understand it but the species itself. The species is the ultimate enigma, the eternal mystery, and though person after person seeks to explain its curious tendencies, its secrets remain concealed. For those of you who still haven’t figured out what species I am referring to, I will give you a hint: I, a college student, am a member. Still haven’t thought of it? Think harder. I guarantee that you know at least one, and, as unbelievable as it sounds, you were once a member of this species yourself. Still puzzled? Poor, feeble-minded adult. It is the one, the only: the human teenager.

Now you may think that because I am writing this post, I am about to divulge to you all the secrets of the teenage psyche. Nice try, but unfortunately for you, my loyalties lie to the other members of my generation. I am in fact writing to you to explain what issues young people care about, and why it is your job to ensure Alzheimer’s disease is added to this list.

On college campuses across the country, the issues my fellow students and I tend to care about most include poverty, gay marriage, abortion, etc. – social issues consistently featured on the news that often affect us directly. Diseases, especially those affecting only the elderly, are hardly on our radar. For example, I of course knew that Alzheimer’s disease was a form of dementia and that my great aunt was afflicted with it, but beyond that, I felt little connection to the disease. It took my working at the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund to find out that Alzheimer’s disease does and will affect me more directly than I realized.

To begin with, there is a high likelihood that I could develop Alzheimer’s disease later in life. Alzheimer’s strikes one in eight Americans over the age of 65 and almost half of Americans over 85. Even if I am lucky enough to avoid the disease, it will affect me financially. By 2010, Medicare expenditures for Alzheimer’s and other dementias are projected to increase to $160 billion, and Medicaid spending for nursing home care of those afflicted by Alzheimer’s and other dementias is expected to reach $24 billion. This amounts to a whopping 27% of the combined expenditure for Medicare and Medicaid in 2010. And the cost will only increase unless we find a cure.

Even though Alzheimer’s disease almost entirely affects an older demographic, it is critical that younger generations proactively contribute to the search for a cure. In a troubled economy, and with an aging Baby Boomer population, Alzheimer’s disease will increasingly weigh down my generation both financially and emotionally. As an adult, therefore, it is your job to educate younger generations about Alzheimer’s disease. It may not be the issue nearest and dearest to their hearts, and as a teenager I can vouch for our stubborn and dismissive tendencies, but finding a cure for this taxing (both literally and figuratively) disease is more critical than most of us realize.

So, dear readers, though you may never discover the secrets of the teenage species, do not be discouraged. I assure you that if you assert your influence, educating my mysterious generation about Alzheimer’s disease and the fight for a cure, the results will surely be beneficial to all.

We want your input as we take the next step in the evolution of our website!

Posted: Jul. 22, 2009

We're planning some changes to our website to keep you updated on our progress toward a cure and give you the tools you need to engage your friends and family in this critical work to end Alzheimer's disease.

You have helped build Cure Alzheimer's Fund and have supported groundbreaking research that is bringing us closer to a cure. That's why we want your input as we make revisions to our website that will keep you better informed as we continue this important work together.

PLEASE TAKE 5 MINUTES TO COMPLETE A BRIEF SURVEY

We want to know - Do you want more updates from our researchers as they work toward a cure? Do you want more online tools to help you honor or remember loved ones who have suffered from this disease? Let us know by filling out our survey or feel free to give us your input directly at kcutler@curealz.org or 781-237-3800.

Thank you for your help, together we will end Alzheimer's disease.

Message from the Intern: The A-beta Disaster

Posted: Jul. 15, 2009

My name is Jake, and I am the summer intern here at Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. Like most college kids, I tend to think that I know just about everything. On rare occasions (okay, on an extremely regular basis), my lack of omniscience manifests itself. However, I generally rationalize my ignorance with excuses like, “That piece of information was useless anyway,” or “Only a true nerd would know that.”

Unfortunately, times do arise when rationalization is impossible, and I must admit to myself that my knowledge is not as infinite as I’d like to think. Such was the case during my first day at Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, when President Tim Armour launched into a discussion about the effects of A-beta 42 accumulation in the brain.

Throughout Tim’s statement, I was completely lost. A-beta, nerve cells, oligomers, peptides…and then the dreaded silence, in which he looked at me expectantly, awaiting my response. I considered taking the reliable “head nod and a laugh” route instead of embarrassing myself with a verbal response, but then thought the better of it – after all, this is an Alzheimer’s research non-profit, and I had a sneaking suspicion that a conversation about Alzheimer’s disease might not merit a smile. I desperately racked my brain for other potential escape plans, but was ultimately left with only one option. The horrible, the humbling, the humiliating, “What is A-beta 42?”

Having been here for about a month now, it’s occurred to me that you might not know what A-beta 42 is either. Nearly every piece of informational material we publish talks about the protein, but what is it really?

Most researchers agree that the accumulation in the brain of a peptide (small protein) called A-beta 42 is the main cause of Alzheimer’s disease. “A-beta” stands for amyloid beta peptide, and scientists add the “42” on the end because the protein consists of 42 amino acids. When A-beta 42 begins to accumulate in the brain, it groups into “oligomers” which can then form plaques found in the brain. These oligomers interfere with or are toxic to neural synaptic activity in the brain, interrupting communications between synapses and causing nerve cells to break down and die. As a result, the person afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease begins losing his/her memory and ability to function normally.

This is obviously the abridged version of what really happens in the brain, and there is still a lot we don’t know. Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is raising money for research to find out what genes cause the brain to behave so abnormally, and to eventually halt A-beta 42 build-up altogether. Expect more (and I’m sure, embarrassing) posts from me in the future, and I look forward to learning more about Alzheimer’s disease together!

Cure Alzheimer's Fund Study Finds Surprising Side Effect from New Alzheimer's Treatment

Posted: Jul. 14, 2009

Dimebon looks clinically promising in Russian study,
now revealed to increase substance in brain implicated in disease causation

New findings, announced on July 15 at the Alzheimer's Association 2009 International Convention on Alzheimer's Disease (ICAD 2009) in Vienna, Austria, unexpectedly showed that the former hay fever drug Dimebon increases generation by the brain of the beta amyloid peptide, a substance implicated in causation of Alzheimer’s. A study from Russia, announced last year, suggested that Dimebon might improve and stabilize thinking ability in Alzheimer’s disease.