For the Alzheimer’s community, new drugs cannot come fast enough. In recent years, trials of disease-modifying drugs have been disappointing, yet they’ve brought valuable knowledge about the optimal timing for when Alzheimer’s can be stopped. Today, there’s a sense that a breakthrough is near. There’s a quantum leap of activity aimed at slowing down Alzheimer’s decades before symptoms appear.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and other techniques are improving our ability to look deep inside the eye. Thanks to National Glaucoma Research funding, BrightFocus researchers are among those who have advanced new imaging methods, taking them from experimental stages to their new threshold, where they wait to become standard as clinical tools.
It may seem too good to be true, but your brain works better on chocolate, according to a small study just published online in the journal, Nature Neuroscience. Dark chocolate, that is. Processing for milk chocolate gets rid of the helpful compounds.
BrightFocus grantee Huaxi Xu, PhD and colleagues at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, CA, have published a paper that sheds light on the origins and connections between the characteristic amyloid plaques found in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and the predisposition of individuals with Down syndrome to develop the same plaques, and exhibit Alzheimer’s-type dementia, as they age.
Rudolph E. Tanzi, PhD and Se Hoon Choi, PhD have managed to accomplish what no one has done before. They grew human brain cells in a petri dish using a gel culture, and then infiltrated them with genes that encode for amyloid precursor protein and presenilin1, both of which were earlier discoveries in Tanzi’s lab and are associated with the most robustly inheritable, early-onset familial forms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Is there anyone who hasn’t “put a face” on Alzheimer’s? We only have to picture our grandparents, parents, spouses, friends, neighbors, or even siblings who have struggled with the disease. Yet there’s another face hidden in the picture.
It’s just been announced that Jeffrey Goldberg, MD, PhD, of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) will share a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) for a two-year project to develop whole-eye transplantation techniques in an animal model.