Solanezumab and the amyloid hypothesis for Alzheimer’s disease

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Solanezumab’s failure is a wake-up call to look elsewhere for an answer to dementia

Is the amyloid cascade hypothesis of Alzheimer’s disease too big to fail? It proposes that brain deposition of β amyloid protein is the critical early event in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease and has been the centrepiece of dementia research for decades. The hypothesis suggests that removing β amyloid will reverse or prevent the clinical expression of dementia. However, in all phase III clinical trials to date, treatments targeting β amyloid have failed to improve cognitive outcomes despite reducing brain β amyloid.

Combination drug shows promise for treating agitation in patients with Alzheimer’s disease

jamaA combination drug treatment can reduce agitation in patients with probable Alzheimer’s disease and is generally well tolerated, preliminary research published in JAMA has shown.

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The phase II double blind randomised clinical trial showed that patients who received the combination dextromethorphan hydrobromide and quinidine sulphate had lower occurrence and severity of agitation than patients who received placebo. This combination is approved in the United States and the European Union for treating pseudobulbar affect, a neurological disorder characterised by uncontrollable episodes of crying.

Is this a new era for dementia?

A blog article  by Professors Alistair Burns and Martin Rossor:

“The current national and international focus on dementia has been widely welcomed as a vehicle to raise the profile of, and attract attention to, what has been a hitherto relatively neglected area of scientific interest and clinical practice…

…The news a few weeks ago of the putative efficacy of a disease modifying treatment for Alzheimer’s disease has ignited widespread public, professional and political interest and enthusiasm…”

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Peptides that form amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s may be transmissible, study finds

Amyloid β, the peptide that forms amyloid plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, may be transmissible through medical treatments such as blood products and surgical instruments, a small UK study published in Nature has shown.

Researchers working on iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (iCJD) unexpectedly found four autopsy cases with moderate to severe deposition of amyloid β in the grey matter of the brain typical of that seen in Alzheimer’s disease. They also found the peptide in the blood vessel walls deposited in a way that was characteristic of cerebral amyloid angiopathy.

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World Alzheimer’s Month 2014

World Alzheimer’s Month 2014

September 2014 sees the third international campaign to raise awareness through World Alzheimer’s Month.  This year the theme is ‘Dementia: Can we reduce the risk?’ and looks at how we can adopt healthier brain lifestyles.

Some useful websites andopendementia elearning resources.

News from NHS Networks: 18 August

The Mental Health Foundation has launched a suite of films aimed at raising awareness about dementia and the use of self directed support in helping people with dementia, their families, carers and social care professionals.
 
Subject to the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill, the Department of Health will allocate funding for Local HealthWatch, NHS complaints advocacy and, potentially, PCT deprivation of liberty safeguards from October 2012.
 
Exercising for just 15 minutes a day could increase life expectancy by three years and cut the risk of death by 14%, latest research suggests.
 
A national challenge that will fund teams to develop new design-led ideas for products and services that make lives simpler, better and more enjoyable for those with dementia and their carers was launched by the Design Council and the Department of Health.
 
NHS Employers’ second monthly health, work and well-being (HWWB) update is now available.
 
Review published by NHS Choices covering Alzheimer’s disease.
 
The dementia engagement and empowerment project (DEEP) aims to identify and map out groups, projects and activities across the UK that are led by people diagnosed with dementia to influence the services and policies that affect them.
 
A new deal is needed for people at the end of their lives to ensure they are treated well and receive high quality care and support, according to a report published today by the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC).