Alzheimer’s research in the heartland
Researchers in flyover country are working hard to come up with treatments and a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s a devastating problem, with over 5.8 million Americans suffering from AD and another 1.4 million with a similar condition called Lewy Body Dementia. Here’s a look at some of the research:
- Doctors at the University of Michigan’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center are hopeful that a new blood test could advance treatment for Alzheimer’s. Typically, patients are diagnosed using a cognitive assessment, a neurological examination and an MRI but a promising blood test may be able to detect Alzheimer’s before symptoms appear, which could lead to better outcomes for patients.
- Researchers at the University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging are studying the molecular mechanisms in TDP-43 biology. It could be the key to potential therapeutic targets for proteinopathies in Alzheimer’s and a newly characterized form of dementia known as LATE.
- At the University of Pittsburgh, researchers are working to better understand an individual’s cognitive functioning in everyday life. Researchers will use an app to capture cognitive assessments in “bursts” three times a day for several days as their subjects go about their daily lives. The goal is to eliminate inaccurate or misleading data caused by fluctuations in sleep, stress and daily activities, as well as to take patients out of the clinical setting, where they may be nervous or stressed.
- At Washington University in St. Louis, the Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center, researchers are working on numerous research projects: PET imaging with Alzheimer’s biomarkers, circadian rhythms in regulation of Alzheimer’s pathology, brain oxidative stress, the transition to symptomatic AD, identification of genetic variants associated with rate of disease progression, and antecedent imaging biomarkers. The Center’s renowned Memory & Aging Project, which began in 1979, studies the intellectual functioning in persons as they age with the goal of developing treatments and, eventually, a cure.
- The Indiana University School of Medicine has won a $1.3 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services to strengthen support of people with Alzheimer’s. The goal is to help people with Alzheimer’s remain independent.
- The Cleveland Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, thanks to funding from the National Institute on Aging, is leveraging the resources of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, the MetroHealth System and University hospitals. The center is sharing research findings, enrolling individuals into observational studies, and working to determine if animal model work translates to human studies. The center is also working on Lewy Body Dementia.
- The Ohio State University is researching genetics, pre-clinical diagnostic measures, imaging, health disparities and drug trials.