Monday, August 1, 2022 | Kaiser Health News

To Beat Alzheimer’s, Scientists Try New Ideas, Including Brain Mapping

Media outlets report on research into Alzheimer’s disease, including expanding fields of study and the potential for a diabetes drug to help protect against the illness. USA Today and The Atlantic cover developments in a scandal over key Alzheimer’s research into amyloid proteins.

NPR: Scientists Map Changes In The Brain To Better Treat Alzheimer’s Disease

After decades of focusing on the sticky amyloid plaques and tangled tau fibers associated with the disease, brain researchers are searching for other potential causes of impaired memory and thinking. That search is on full display this week at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in San Diego, where sessions are exploring factors including genes, brain injury, clogged damage and inflammation. (Hamilton, 8/1)

ScienceDaily: A Diabetes Drug Could Protect Against Alzheimer’s

According to a study from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden that was published in the journal Neurology, mechanisms connected to a specific diabetic medication may also help protect against Alzheimer’s disease. The findings suggest that the target protein of the drug may be a promising candidate for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. (1/8)

CNN: The Fight Against Alzheimer’s: Where Are We Now?

With so many genes contributing to the development of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, scientists are convinced that each person’s journey may be different. “There is a saying: Once you have seen one person with Alzheimer’s, you’ve seen one person with Alzheimer’s,” said Dr. Richard Isaacson, director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic in the Center for Brain Health at Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine. (LaMotte, 7/31)

And a scandal over Alzheimer’s research continues to simmer —

USA Today: Alzheimer’s Theory Under Scrutiny After Accusation Of Research Fraud

The article centered on a Vanderbilt University neurologist’s investigation of images used in the 2006 research paper on the discovery of a type of protein called amyloid beta star 56. Matthew Schrag concluded published images used to support the research were likely altered, though he stopped short of calling the research fraud, noting he did not have access to the original unpublished images or underlying data. His research was performed outside his duties at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. (Alltucker and Weintraub, 7/29)

The Atlantic: What An Alzheimer’s Controversy Reveals About Academia

For scientists, publication in Nature is a career high-water mark. To make its pages, work must be deemed exceptionally important, with potentially transformative impact on scientific understanding. In 2006, a study of Alzheimer’s disease by the lead author Sylvain Lesné met those criteria: It suggested a new culprit for the illness, a molecule called Aβ*56, which seemingly caused dementia symptoms in rats. The study has since accrued more than 2,300 citations in the scientific literature and inspired years of follow-up work. But an investigation of the original paper and many others by Lesné, described last week in Science, identified numerous red flags indicating the possibility of data fraud. (Nature has added a note to the paper, saying that the work is under investigation and that its results should be treated with caution.) (Grimes, 7/29)

In other scientific developments —

NBC News: World’s First HIV-Positive To HIV-Positive Heart Transplant Performed At NYC Hospital

The patient, a woman in her 60s, suffered from advanced heart failure and received the donation, along with a simultaneous kidney transplant, in early Spring at Montefiore Health System in the Bronx, according to a news release. (Burke, 7/30)

Stat: With The Help Of A Sticky, Stretchy Material, Scientists Design A Continuous Ultrasound System

It took hundreds of failed experiments, sticking gummy gels to all sorts of surfaces, for scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology to get what they were looking for: a material so adhesive, it could cement a device to the skin for two full days while still letting sound waves pass through. (Chen, 8/1)

The Washington Post: At Last, An Easier Way To Prepare For A Colonoscopy

Last year — in what experts believe could end the dread that keeps many people from this important screening — the Food and Drug Administration approved a regimen of pills, Sutab, that studies show works just as well as the liquid solutions — without the vile flavor. It’s a 24-tablet regimen: 12 pills the day before and 12 the next day, several hours before the procedure. (Cimons, 7/31)

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