About Alzheimer's & Dementia

Cause & cure Prevention and risk reduction

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Video: Risk Reduction FAQ with Dr. Eric Smith

Video: Improving Brain Health

Video: Risk Reduction FAQ with Dr. Eric Smith

Prevention and Risk Reduction

Cognition restored in mice who have increased activity in certain types of neurons

A new mouse study shows how enhancing the activity of inhibitory interneurons — nerve cells that work like orchestra conductors — can help rescue out-of-sync brain rhythms and restore cognitive function in Alzheimer’s.

The study, “Nav1.1-Overexpressing Interneuron Transplants Restore Brain Rhythms and Cognition in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease,” was published in the journal Neuron.

Inhibitory interneurons are special types of nerve cells that control brain rhythms. These cells instruct other nerve cells — called excitatory neurons — on when to be active and when to stop. Scientists have discovered alterations in interneurons and their orchestrated rhythms in Alzheimer’s and in conditions like epilepsy, schizophrenia, and autism.


Phase 2 Trial Of Oryzon’s Alzheimer’s Therapy Approved

Spanish regulators have signed off on Oryzon Genomics’ plan to conduct a Phase 2 clinical trial of its Alzheimer’s therapy ORY-2001.

The ETHERAL trial, which will cover patients with mild to moderate forms of the disease, will be the first to assess the effectiveness of an epigenetic therapy for Alzheimer’s. This approach involves regulating genes’ function without altering their makeup. The trial will also assess the treatment’s safety.

Ninety patients are expected to take part in the study, whose objectives will include seeing if ORY-2001 can improve patients’ memory and behaviour. Researchers also want to know if it can improve cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers of the disease.

Oryzon is expected to begin enrolling participants in the second quarter of 2018.

Regulators approved the Phase 2 trial after a Phase 1 study showed that ORY-2001 could penetrate the central nervous system and cross the blood-brain barrier to reach the brain. The oral therapy also proved safe, and the 106 healthy volunteers tolerated it well, researchers said.

ORY-2001 inhibits two enzymes in the brain — Lysine Specific Demethylase 1 (LSD1) and Monoamine oxidase B (MAOB).

In pre-clinical-trial studies, it restored the memory and reduced the aggressiveness of mice with Alzheimer’s. It also led to rat models that had been isolated becoming more sociable than untreated rats.


A sedentary lifestyle is the greatest modifiable risk factor

As a result of the ageing population, dementia rates are expected to soar within the next 30 years; with no cure for the disease, developing prevention methods is imperative.
The single biggest risk factor for dementia is age, but genetics and lifestyle factors also play a role. Presence of the mutation for apolipoprotein E (APOE) E4  is the strongest genetic predictor of developing dementia, and sedentary lifestyle is the greatest modifiable risk factor. 

A study from McMaster University in Hamilton recently examined the association between physical activity and dementia.They found that exercise does not mitigate dementia risk for adults with a genetic predisposition to the disease. Physical activity does, however, lower dementia risk in adults that do not possess the APOE E4 gene. This is notable because the vast majority of the adult population is not genetically predisposed.

The important message here is that being inactive may completely negate the protective effects of a healthy set of genes. The most common form of exercise reported in the study was walking, suggesting that taking a walk three times per week may be beneficial to brain health.
SOURCE: Medical News Today

Exercise may prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and delay its progression

While the idea that exercise can prevent, delay, and manage Alzheimer’s disease is widely accepted and researched, many public health messages do not use epidemiological evidence to back this claim up.

University of British Columbia researchers from the Okanagan campus conducted a study that reviewed the current research in the field and explored how to incorporate this evidence into health promotion messages. They reviewed over 150 research papers, including seven articles about the role of exercise in preventing Alzheimer’s disease and 20 concerning symptom management through physical activity, coming to the conclusion that “regular participation in physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Among older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, a regular physical activity can improve the performance of activities of daily living and mobility, and may improve general cognition and balance.”

The team urges public health and health promotion organizations to use this statement, which is backed up by extensive research, in their promotional materials and educational resources. Recognizing the need for more than just a statement to motivate at-risk individuals, the researchers also collaborated with the Ontario Brain Institute to create Boost Your Brain and Body Power – Physical Activity and Alzheimer’s Disease, a resource that pairs the cognitive and physical challenges of people living with dementia with examples of appropriate exercise, safety considerations, and tips to stay motivated under the guidelines of the evidence-based statement.

Source: Global News, May 18 2017; Original article: BMC Public Health

Volunteering reduces the risk of dementia in older adults

Researchers from the University of Calgary conducted a study exploring the cognitive benefits of volunteering for seniors; volunteering, in this case, is a voluntary activity for which the individual is not paid.

The team hypothesized that volunteering would provide social, physical, and cognitive benefits to seniors. They monitored over 1000 retirees’ general and cognitive health over 5 years, performing assessments regularly. They split participants into three groups according to their level of involvement in volunteering: the first group volunteered at least one hour per week; the second group volunteered intermittently; the third group did not volunteer.

They found that people who did not volunteer were 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia than those who volunteered regularly. In addition, volunteering intermittently provided no cognitive benefits; for this group, there are no differences than with the group that never volunteered. The lead researcher Dr Yannik Griep also explained that these advantages are likely due to the fact that “volunteering brings a structure to the day… It offers social contact with people outside of the family. It provides the social status we get with a job title. It makes us feel like we’re making a meaningful contribution to society.”

The team strongly recommends volunteering in retirement as an effective, inexpensive way to reduce dementia risk that benefits the seniors as well as the wider community.

Source: University of Calgary: May 11 2017

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