Yearly Archives


Leslie Thompson studies point to new targets for Huntington’s disease treatments

By | In the News

Leslie Thompson

UCI MIND’s Leslie Thompson has worked on Huntington’s disease for over two decades, and her group’s research has revealed extensive insights into the biological underpinnings of the disease. During the week of July 15, her laboratory adds to its impressive log of discoveries.

Thompson is the lead author for studies appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Cell Reports that identify new and well-defined molecular targets for drugs that can treat the fatal neurodegenerative disease.

In the journal Cell Reports, published on July 18, Thompson and colleagues identify how two proteins – SUMO-2 and PIAS1 – help control the accumulation of the Huntingtin protein in brain tissue.  This accumulation is central to disease progression. And in the PNAS article, also published this week, Thompson and colleagues explore the genetics of HD, reporting that targeting a histone-modifying enzyme (H3K4 demethylase) can normalize the expression of certain aberrant genes that promote disease progression.

“The molecular activities we identified represent defined therapeutic targets,” says Thompson, a professor of psychiatry & human behavior and neurobiology & behavior. “However, they also both reveal fundamental mechanism of diseases related to the human brain, and underscore the importance of basic science research on neurodegenerative diseases.”

Thompson added that each study was the result of years of research by lab investigators Jacqueline Gire O’Rourke (first author, Cell Reports study) and Malini Vashishtha (first author, PNAS study).

Key UC Irvine study contributors also include Joseph Ochaba, J. Lawrence Marsh and Joan Steffan (Cell Reports); and Alice Lau and Marsh in collaboration with the laboratories of David Housman and Ernest Fraenkel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (PNAS).

Glen Campbell’s Daughter Urges Congress to Increase Funding for Alzheimer’s

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Ashley Campbell, daughter of singer Glen Campbell, who has Alzheimer’s disease became tearful as she testified before Congress, urging increased support for research.

“I think a person’s life is comprised of memories, and that’s exactly what Alzheimer’s disease takes away from you,” noted Ashley.  “Now when I play banjo with my dad, it’s getting harder for him to follow along and it’s getting harder for him to recall my name.  It’s hard to come to the realization that someday my dad might look at me and I will be absolutely nothing to him.”



To read the testimony of others who addressed the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging April 24 on the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, click here.

Registration Open for Countdown to 2025: Progress on Ending Alzheimer’s Disease

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443 Conference Ask the Doc cropped for web

Register Now . . . for the 24th Annual Southern California Alzheimer’s Disease Conference, Countdown to 2025: Progress on Ending Alzheimer’s Disease, to be held on Friday, September 20, 2013 at the Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa.

America’s first National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease sets forth the goal of effectively preventing and treating this progressive neurodegenerative disorder by 2025. In the U.S., over 5.4 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease and a new case is diagnosed every 68 seconds. Unless significant progress is made, at least 13.8 million Americans will have Alzheimer’s disease by 2050, with a new case diagnosed every 33 seconds.

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Hosted by the UCI Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND) and the Alzheimer’s Association, Orange County Chapter, this conference convenes nationally and internationally recognized experts to address the progress our nation is making in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.  (See conference schedule below.)

Physicians, healthcare professionals, and families in attendance will learn new ways scientists and clinicians are approaching the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.  From new nomenclature for cognitive disorders introduced in the recently released DSM-V and the application of amyloid imaging biomarkers to pioneering research investigating stem cell therapy and the first Alzheimer’s prevention trial, this conference presents the advances critical to achieving our national goal.

Therapeutic approaches being highlighted during the conference include (1) reducing production, limiting aggregation and/or increasing removal of amyloid, (2) controlling inflammation, and (3) stem cell therapies.  Scientists believe application of new therapies pre-clinically is essential to effectively preventing Alzheimer’s disease.  Being reported on at this conference, the first Alzheimer’s prevention trial is testing the ability of three drugs to halt emergence of the disease in healthy individuals with genetic mutations that place them at high risk for developing early-onset Alzheimer’s.

While pharmacological approaches to prevention are under

study, lifestyle strategies currently represent the most effective way to reduce risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.  Physicians, allied healthcare professionals and families will be empowered to promote and adopt lifestyle strategies to maintain brain health based on The 90+ Study.   Finally, attendees will have to opportunity to learn about the variety of community resources available to help manage the care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.

Continuing medical education credits will be available for physicians (CME) and a variety of other health care professionals, including social workers (BBS), nurses (BRN), nursing home (NHAP) and residential care facility (RCFE) administrators, and attorneys (MCLE).

Time Activity
7:00 – 8:00 am Registration, Breakfast, Exhibits
8 – 8:15 am Welcome and Opening – Year in Review
Frank LaFerla, Ph.D. – UCI MIND
Jim McAleer – Alzheimer’s Association, Orange County Chapter
8:15 – 9:00 am National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease: What’s Next?
Ron Petersen, M.D., Ph.D. – Mayo Clinic
9 – 9:45 am DIAN: Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease in Persons with
Causative Genetic Mutations
John Morris, M.D. – Washington University
9:45 – 10:15 am Break
10:15 – 11:00 am Inflammation as a Therapeutic Target in Alzheimer’s Disease
Andrea Tenner, Ph.D. – University of California, Irvine
11:00 – 11:45 am Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease: What We’ve Learned from the Oldest Old
Claudia Kawas, M.D. – University of California, Irvine
11:45 am – 1:15 pm Lunch
Clinical Track Research Track
1:15 – 2:00 pm DSM-V: Renaming Dementia
Ron Petersen, M.D., Ph.D. –
Mayo Clinic
New Hope: Stem Cell Therapy in Alzheimer’s Disease
Mathew Blurton-Jones, Ph.D. –
University of California, Irvine
2:00 – 2:45 pm Best Practices in Diagnosis and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease
Bruce Miller, M.D. –
University of California, San Francisco
The Role of Amyloid in the Development and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease
Charles Glabe, Ph.D. –
University of California, Irvine
2:45 – 3:15 pm Break Break
3:15 – 4:00 pm Neuroimaging: An Early Diagnostic Marker
Adam Fleisher, M.D. , M.A.S.
Banner Alzheimer’s Institute
Phoenix, AZ
Progress in Immunotherapy for Treating Alzheimer’s Disease
David Cribbs, Ph.D. –
University of California, Irvine
4:00 – 4:45 pm Ask the Doc Forum – All Speakers
4:45 – 5:00 pm Closing


To register, click here.  For more information or questions, contact Marcelo Soares, Education Coordinator, at (949) 824-9896 or

Join us for the Time of Your Life 2013!

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To register for this event, CLICK HERE

It’s time to join us for the Time of Your Life!

Saturday, June 22, 2013, 5:30-11:00 pm at The Hangar at the Orange County Fairgrounds! Tickets $250 per person. Learn what we have in store for you! Go to

Toast your favorite holidays. Once you enter The Hangar, you will experience “virtual” celebrations of:

  • Valentine’s Day
  • Fall’s Halloween and Thanksgiving
  • Winter Holidays at the Lodge
  • And a Happy New Year’s Eve Countdown in the Big Apple.

Guests will be surrounded by each holiday experience created by our generous partner, Elite OC Productions.  Last year, they took us back to the 1960s.  This year, we will toast holiday memories—then and now!

  • Food and drinks throughout the evening reminiscent of your favorite holiday tastes
  • Live entertainment, dancing and lots of holiday surprises

Raise funds for Alzheimer’s research.  All proceeds from this event will support research to move us closer to a world without Alzheimer’s disease.   Reserve your table for ten or become a sponsor.

Contact Linda Scheck at for more information.

UCI MIND is committed to researching ways to make memories last a lifetime.  All proceeds of this event will support Alzheimer’s Research at UCI MIND.

Policy Makers Address Senior Transportation Needs at Town Hall

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Assemblyman Donald Wagner (L) and Mayor Al Murray (R) of Tustin listen to participants at a Town Hall hosted by the Orange County Aging Services Collaborative on Friday, April 12. Participants engaged in a lively discussion about various transportation options and challenges for seniors. Attendees learned how to better utilize local transportation options and voiced their concerns to transportation leaders in Orange County. Join the dialogue at the OCASC’s next town hall forum, Living Through Your Silver Tsunami: Hot Topics in Senior Nutrition on May 10 at the Rodgers Senior Center in Huntington Beach. For more information visit:

Take a “Cruise to Remember” in Support of UCI MIND

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Sunday, April 28, 9:30 AM

You are invited to join us aboard the private 88′ yacht, “The Last Hurrah,” for the CRUISE TO REMEMBER Alzheimer’s benefit event hosted by Betty’s Foundation.

This four-hour harbor cruise includes a continental breakfast, lunch, and beverages (coffee, water, soda, beer, and wine). Enjoy the sun and sights aboard this luxury yacht.  Passengers will also have an opportunity to participate in a silent auction.  For more information and photos of the yacht go to

View from the upper deck of The Last  Harrah

View from the upper deck of The Last Harrah


A donation of $75 per passenger is suggested and appreciated.  All proceeds go to Alzheimer’s Disease Research.

Don’t delay, make your reservation today while there is still space on the yacht!  Help us make this event a success!  If you haven’t joined us before, you can bet this will be a memorable day!

Betty's Foundation

For more information about Betty’s Foundation, visit


Join the Dialogue! Town Hall Series Addresses Critical Issues Facing OC Seniors

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A series of Town Halls hosted by the Orange County Aging Services Collaborative (OCASC) will address three major issues facing seniors: Transportation, Housing, and Nutrition.  Make a difference in the lives of Orange County seniors by joining the dialogue at these Town Halls and providing the input we need to improve availability of and access to senior friendly transportation, affordable housing options, and basic nutrition.

Each of these Town Halls will feature expert speakers on the topic and allow for audience feedback during an interactive panel.  Input received via this public forum and a survey will be shared with local and state legislators to ensure that all seniors in Orange County enjoy a high quality of life.  To download a Town Hall flyer, click here.

Navigating Your Silver Tsunami:
Hot Topics in Senior Transportation

April 12, 2013
9:00 am – 11:30 am
Clifton Miller Community Center
300 Centennial Way, Tustin, CA 92780

To learn more about this Town Hall, offered by the OCASC in collaboration with the City of Tustin and the Office of Assemblyman Donald Wagner, see the. OCASC April 2013 Town Hall flyer.

Sustaining Your Silver Tsunami:
Hot Topics in Senior Nutrition

May 10, 2013
9:00 am – 11:30am
Rodgers Senior Center
1706 Orange Ave., Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Living Through Your Silver Tsunami:
Hot Topics in Senior Housing

June 21, 2013
9:00 am – 11:30 am
Walter D. Elhers Community Center, Heritage Hall
8150 Knott Avenue, Buena Park, CA 90620

The Orange County Aging Services Collaborative (OCASC) is a partnership of non-profit agencies that provide an integrated network of services to more than 340,000 Orange County seniors each year. Together we are working to transform the system of care so all seniors can age with dignity, choice and independence. The UCI Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND) is proud to be a member of the OCASC.


For more information about the Orange County Aging Services Collaborative, visit
contact Christine Chow at 949-757-3775