The Elan Corporation and the University of Cambridge have announced the launch of a new research center of excellence for R&D in new therapies for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. They signed a ten-year agreement, which they say is the start of "a long-term collaboration". The Cambridge-Elan Centre for Research Innovation and Drug Discovery (Cambridge-Elan Centre) will become a uniquely positioned world-leading translational research center. They aim to discover new compounds that can alter how proteins linked to degenerative diseases behave, so that new treatments can become available. The center will become a fusion of Cambridge's pioneering biophysical approaches in studying protein misfolding and aggregation and how they are linked to disease, and Elan's 20-year experience in Alzheimer's research.
Drugs that affect the levels of an important brain protein involved in learning and memory reverse cellular changes in the brain seen during aging, according to an animal study in The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings could one day aid in the development of new drugs that enhance cognitive function in older adults. Aging-related memory loss is associated with the gradual deterioration of the structure and function of synapses (the connections between brain cells) in brain regions critical to learning and memory, such as the hippocampus. Recent studies suggested that histone acetylation, a chemical process that controls whether genes are turned on, affects this process. Specifically, it affects brain cells' ability to alter the strength and structure of their connections for information storage, a process known as synaptic plasticity, which is a cellular signature of memory.
Thousands of video game players have helped significantly advance our understanding of the genetic basis of diseases such as Alzheimer's, diabetes and cancer over the past year. They are the users of a web-based video game developed by Dr. JÃ rÃ me Waldispuhl of the McGill School of Computer Science and collaborator Mathieu Blanchette. Phylo is designed to allow casual game players to contribute to scientific research by arranging multiple sequences of coloured blocks that represent human DNA. By looking at the similarities and differences between these DNA sequences, scientists are able to gain new insight into a variety of genetically-based diseases. The researchers are releasing the results computed from the solutions collected over the last year today, together with an improved version of Phylo for tablets.
When you cut an apple and leave it out, it turns brown. Squeeze the apple with lemon juice, an antioxidant, and the process slows down. Simply put, that same "browning" process-known as oxidative stress - happens in the brain as Alzheimer's disease sets in. The underlying cause is believed to be improper processing of a protein associated with the creation of free radicals that cause oxidative stress. Now, a study by researchers in the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy has shown that an antioxidant can delay the onset of all the indicators of Alzheimer's disease, including cognitive decline. The researchers administered an antioxidant compound called MitoQ to mice genetically engineered to develop Alzheimer's. The results of their study were published in a recent issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.
New research finds a marker used to detect plaque in the brain may help doctors make a more accurate diagnosis between two common types of dementia Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). The study is published in the November 30, 2011, online issue of Neurology® , the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. "These two types of dementia share similar symptoms, so telling the two apart while a person is living is a real challenge, but important so doctors can determine the best form of treatment, " said study author Gil D. Rabinovici, MD, of the University of California San Francisco Memory and Aging Center and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. For the study, 107 people with early onset Alzheimer's disease or FTLD underwent a brain PET scan using a PIB marker, which detects amyloid or plaque in the brain that is the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease but not related to FTLD.