Research Update

in Uncategorized
March 17th, 2009

Anti-Aging Genes and Potential Alzheimers Disease (AD) Treatments
At the 9th International Alzheimer’s Disease/Parkinson’s Disease (AD/PD) Conference in Prague, Czech Republic, Dr. Carmela Abraham chaired a session on “AD Treatment Targets” and delivered an oral presentation entitled, “Screening for anti-aging and anti-AD drugs.” Dr. Abraham described a high throughput screening for small molecules aimed at enhancing the expression of Klotho, a protective anti-aging gene. Dr. Abraham’s group has demonstrated Klotho to be significantly reduced in the aging brain and in the brains of amyloid-containing mouse models of AD. A second screening was done for inhibitors that would interfere with the formation of the toxic amyloid peptide.

Cellular Mechanisms of AD Pathology
Dr. Ben Wolozin also recently presented his work at the AD/PD Conference in Prague, Czech Republic, describing how the protein, LRRK2, stimulates formation of AD and PD pathology. He presented further developments relating to his observations on the protective effects of angiotensin receptor blocker for individuals with dementia.

Picture Memory in Mild AD
Dr. Brandon Ally’s work attempts to understand how memory breaks down in the earliest stages of AD. In a recent study published in Neuropsychologia using event-related potentials, Dr. Ally’s group showed that patients with very mild AD were able to rely on intact frontally-based cognitive processes, such as conceptual priming and memorial familiarity, to remember pictures but not words. These findings suggest a promising role in the development of interventions to help circumvent memory difficulties among patients with AD.

Recent Publication on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
The Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (BU CSTE) recently completed a study reviewing 47 neuropathologically verified cases of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Drs. Ann McKee and Robert Stern, Co-Directors of the BU CSTE, added 3 new cases, including one professional football player and two professional boxers. The study will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology.

Risk Evaluation and Education for AD
At the recent American College of Medical Genetics Meeting in Tampa, FL, Dr. Robert Green and colleagues presented data from the REVEAL Study showing that those with the risk-increasing apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 gene were significantly more likely to initiate nutritional supplements after learning their genetic results than ε4 negative participants. APOE ε4 positive individuals were also more likely to purchase long-term care insurance than ε4 negative individuals.