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Yearly Archives

2021

Navneet Hakhu reflects on CTAD 2021

By Commentary, Community Events, In the News

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) clinical trials require the enrollment of two people: a participant and a study partner. Study partners play critical roles for trial success. Yet, little is known about the impact of study partners, especially in trials that enroll individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). At this year’s Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease (CTAD) conference in Boston, Navneet Hakhu from the Grill/Gillen lab presented data about who study partners are in these important clinical trials. He showed that the prevalence of adult child and other dyads was much lower than that of spousal dyads. But importantly, these adult child and other dyads were much more likely…

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Michelle Nuño, PhD reflects on CTAD 2021

By Commentary, Community Events, In the News

Cognitive assessments are a crucial part of Alzheimer’s disease studies as these help track cognitive decline; however, these assessments may be subject to a practice effect, an improvement in scores due to familiarity with the assessment. Practice effects can mask cognitive decline, so it is important to understand whether these exist in commonly used assessments. At this year’s Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease (CTAD) conference in Boston, Michelle Nuño in the labs of Drs. Joshua Grill and Daniel Gillen, presented the group’s work investigating whether the letter fluency test, a commonly used assessment, is subject to a practice effect. Through…

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Today is #GivingTuesday!

By Commentary, Community Events, In the News

TODAY is #GivingTuesday – a day that celebrates generosity in all its forms!  In honor of this global generosity movement, make a gift today to UCI MIND. We hope you will expand our capacity to conduct promising research and advance progress toward ending Alzheimer’s disease by supporting the UCI MIND Alzheimer’s Disease Excellence Fund. GIVE NOW

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Support UCI MIND on #GivingTuesday!

By Commentary, Community Events, In the News

Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday – a day that celebrates generosity in all its forms! In honor of this global generosity movement, consider making a gift today to UCI MIND. We rely on the support of people like you in our community to advance life-changing research and accelerate the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, a devastating illness that impacts more than 6 million Americans and their families. GIVE NOW We hope you will support us by Giving Tuesday, November 30th, 2021 #GivingTuesday

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#NationalCaregiversMonth

By Commentary, Community Events, In the News

This month is #NationalCaregiversMonth – a time to recognize and honor family caregivers across California and raise awareness to increase support for caregivers. Many caregivers work and provide care which can make it challenging to maintain their own well-being. . As a caregiver, it’s essential to take care of yourself, too. The California Department of Aging has compiled a list of resources to assist you in this role. https://bit.ly/ALZDcare

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Often people do not realize that they are considered a caregiver

By Commentary

Often people do not realize that they are considered a caregiver, but if you are providing care or assistance to a family member or a friend, YOU are a caregiver. The California Department of Aging has compiled a list of resources to assist you in this role. Whether you are a new or seasoned caregiver, protecting the health and safety of you and your loved ones is always a top priority. https://bit.ly/ALZDcare

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November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

By Commentary, Community Events, In the News

November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may show signs of: Memory loss that disrupts daily life, such as getting lost in a familiar place or repeating questions. Difficulty completing familiar tasks. Confusion with time or place. Change in mood, personality, or behavior. If you or a loved one shows signs listed above, consult your health care provider. For more information on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, see https://bit.ly/ALZD10

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Annual conference attracts record audience

By Commentary, In the News

On Friday September 10th, 2021, UCI MIND and Alzheimer’s Orange County held their annual Southern California Alzheimer’s Disease Research Conference. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event, which was titled “Alzheimer’s From All Angles,” was held virtually on Facebook and YouTube. This year’s conference was moderated by Dr. Joshua Grill and included talks from esteemed experts in the field of Alzheimer’s research.  The day kicked off with a presentation from Dr. Sid O’Bryant, Professor of Pharmacology and Neuroscience from the University of North Texas, on the current state of diagnostic blood biomarkers.  He explained the process needed to get a blood-based biomarker accepted for use…

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UCI MIND is home to the next generation of dementia researchers

By Commentary, In the News

New training grant to attract nation’s brightest scientists UCI MIND’s Drs. Elizabeth Head and Joshua Grill and a core group of faculty members were recently awarded a prestigious National Institute on Aging T32 training grant to help recruit and prepare the next generation of predoctoral and postdoctoral scientists to study Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.  The training grant will support several promising early-stage scientists for a renewable one-year appointment, as they learn from UCI MIND’s renowned faculty.  This collaborative opportunity for UC Irvine bridges scientists from the Schools of Medicine, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Information and Computer Sciences, and Social Ecology…

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A message from Virginia Naeve, UCI MIND Gala Committee Chair: We need your help!

By Commentary, In the News

It has been my privilege to volunteer for UCI MIND’s annual gala planning committee since 2015. The A December to Remember Galas have offered an opportunity for friends of UCI MIND to come together for a festive evening to raise vital support for Alzheimer’s research. This year, facing uncertainty about what the winter months would bring amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and after giving thoughtful consideration for the health and wellbeing of our community and our supporters, UCI MIND has cancelled the 2021 Gala. As you think about your end-of-year giving, please consider making a gift to UCI MIND. It is important to…

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Spatial navigation, sex, and Alzheimer’s

By Commentary, In the News

Dr. Elizabeth Chrastil is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at UC Irvine.Dr. Chrastil’s lab studies the learning and memory processes related to spatial cognition and navigation.In 2019, she was awarded a UCI MIND / Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement grant to better understand how sex, spatial navigation and Alzheimer’s disease interact. What is spatial navigation? Spatial navigation is the ability to understand where you are on the planet and then how to get to other places.  How do you measure a person’s ability to navigate? We use several methods in the lab. For our virtual reality tests,…

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A new resource for families affected by rare form of Alzheimer’s disease

By Commentary, In the News

In 2020, Dr. Lindsay Hohsfield, a UC MIND scientist in Dr. Kim Green’s lab studying the role that microglial cells play in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), started a non-profit organization to provide support to patients and families affected by the early onset inherited form of Alzheimer’s Disease, Autosomal Dominant Alzheimer’s Disease (ADAD), also known as Early Onset Familial Alzheimer’s Disease (EOFAD).  Although rare, ADAD is devasting. Dementia-related symptoms begin when people are in their 30s and 40s. Those affected face a unique set of challenges including difficult decisions about genetic screening, family planning, and financial considerations. The genetic nature of the…

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Family planning and research participation

By Commentary, In the News

Autosomal Dominant Neurodegenerative Diseases (ADND), like Huntington’s disease and the rare form of inherited early onset Alzheimer’s disease, are particularly challenging brain disorders, in part because they begin to show symptoms when people are mid-career and parenting younger children. ADND are caused by inherited genetic mutations and researchers can test for these mutations at any age, creating an opportunity to test interventions as possible preventative therapies before even the earliest signs of brain changes. Yet, many people who are at risk to inherit these mutations choose not to undergo testing and, while there is critical need for these at-risk individuals to participate in prevention trials, significant scientific and ethical complications are brought to bear…

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Regional Cortical Thickness Predicts Top Cognitive Performance in the Elderly

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

While aging is typically associated with cognitive decline, some individuals are able to diverge from the characteristic downward slope and maintain very high levels of cognitive performance. Prior studies have found that cortical thickness in the cingulate cortex, a region involved in information processing, memory, and attention, distinguish those with exceptional cognitive abilities when compared to their cognitively more typical elderly peers. Others major areas outside of the cingulate, such as the prefrontal cortex and insula, are also key in successful aging well into late age, suggesting that structural properties across a wide range of areas may better explain differences…

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Blood test shows promise for identifying risk for Alzheimer’s symptoms

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

A blood test may be able to identify individuals at increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease symptoms, according to research presented at the Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease conference. The results came as part of the AHEAD study. Joshua D. Grill “The goal of this study is to stop Alzheimer’s disease before it begins — delaying or preventing symptoms in people at increased biological risk,” Joshua D. Grill, PhD, recruitment unit co-chair for the Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials Consortium, which helps oversee the AHEAD Study Recruitment and Retention Working Group, told Healio Psychiatry. “The latest advance is to use a blood test to improve the…

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Could Restoring Deep Sleep by Jolting the Brain Ward Off Alzheimer’s?

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

Overall, this nice series of experiments identifies yet another component of the sleep/wake regulatory system—the TRN—that is disrupted by Aβ and degenerated in AD. It is interesting that stimulating the TRN can impact Aβ. It is unlikely, however, that the TRN is the only stimulation target necessary, and that stimulating it would address all the sleep disruptions caused by Aβ and also tau pathology. AD pathophysiology impacts multiple different systems regulating sleep, including brainstem and hypothalamic nuclei, cortical nodes regulating slow wave expression, and even the hippocampus that regulates ripples, and coupling of slow waves, sleep spindles, and ripples. This…

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MIND Matters | Quarterly Newsletter | Fall 2021

By Commentary, Community Events, COVID-19, In the News, Participants

Message from the Director Dear Friends of UCI MIND, Fall is here and the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us. Though we are seeing signs of improvement, life is not yet back to normal. This fall, the pandemic once again forced us to move several of our major annual activities to a virtual format (page 7) or to cancel them entirely (page 5). But it has not slowed the important work happening at UCI MIND. In this issue, you will learn about funded work from Dr. Liz Chrastil (page 4). She studies the hippocampus, a part of the brain affected…

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Hypertension Medications Which Help Ward off Memory Loss

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, Community Events, In the News

Continuing all this week, National Public Radio’s “Academic Minute” series features a UCI expert. This Friday, tune in to hear Jean K. Ho, postdoctoral scholar at the UCI Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, who studies how hypertension medications help ward off memory loss. Learn More At NPR’s Academic Minute: https://www.npr.org/podcasts/564572329/the-academic-minute You Can Also Listen On Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/1060078714

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Two UCI researchers examine the ethical implications involved in enrollment into clinical trials

By Commentary, In the News

Autosomal Dominant Neurodegenerative Diseases (ADND) like Huntington’s disease and the rare form of inherited early onset Alzheimer’s disease are particularly challenging brain disorders, in part because they often begin at an early age. UCI MIND researchers, Drs. Sarah Hernandez (Thompson Lab) and Lindsay Hohsfield (Green Lab) recently published a perspective article in the Journal of Translational Medicine on the added scientific and ethical issues that should be considered when enrolling participants of child-bearing potential into ADND prevention clinical trials. To better understand their unique perspective on this topic read their paper > To learn more about this rare inherited form…

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A Q&A With Dr. Elizabeth Head On Her Latest Research

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement – WAM spoke to University of California, Irvine’s Dr. Elizabeth Head about her latest research into the link between #Alzheimers and #DownSyndrome. Learn more about her study funded through the UCI MIND WAM Initiative. WAM: Why are we studying Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down syndrome? Is there a link? Dr. Head: Within the Down syndrome population, 95% of people have a full extra copy of chromosome 21. This chromosome contains a gene that is responsible for making the beta-amyloid protein that clumps together to form amyloid plaques in the brain, which is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s…

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UCI MIND graduate student Marina Ritchie Awarded Best Virtual Student Poster at AAIC 2021

By Commentary, Community Events, In the News

Congratulations to UC Irvine Neurobiology and Behavior graduate student, Marina Ritchie for receiving the award for Best Virtual Student Poster in the theme of Drug Development at this year’s Alzheimer’s Association International Conference #AAIC2021! Her poster, on “Estimating attrition in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment clinical trials,” excellently conveyed her research to the judges and attendees at the esteemed conference earlier this year. As a 3rd year graduate student in the labs of Drs. Josh Grill and Daniel Gillen, Marina’s research focuses on identifying means to improve recruitment, retention and overall study design in Alzheimer’s disease and related…

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Neuroscientists Find How Associative Memories Are Made

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

Neuroscientists have reportedly found how associative memories are made. The ability to be able to remember relationships that are made between unrelated items like odor and location, songs and events, is known as associative memory. The University of California, Irvine’s neuroscientists, have reportedly discovered some specific types of neurons within the brain’s memory center that are responsible for acquiring brand new associative memories. The findings of the study were reportedly published in the journal Nature, as also seen in news-medical.net. Psychologists reportedly started studying associative memory as early as the 1800s. Scientists now agree that the structures that are responsible…

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UCI MIND researchers awarded a prestigious training grant

By Commentary, In the News

UCI MIND’s Drs. Elizabeth Head and Joshua Grill and a core group of faculty members were recently awarded a prestigious National Institute on Aging T32 training grant to help recruit and prepare the next generation of predoctoral and postdoctoral scientists to study Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The training grant will support several promising early stage scientists for a renewable one-year appointment, as they learn from UCI MIND’s renowned faculty.

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World Alzheimer’s Day 2021

By In the News

Today is #WorldAlzheimersDay. Help UCI MIND work towards an end to Alzheimer’s disease by: Advocating – share https://www.mind.uci.edu with your friends to spread the word Donating – give at https://www.mind.uci.edu/donate because every dollar helps us get closer to a cure Participating – join https://c2c.uci.edu to help advance research #KnowDementia #KnowAlzheimers

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MIND Matters | Quarterly Newsletter | Summer 2021

By Commentary, Community Events, COVID-19, In the News, Participants

Message from the Director Dear Friends of UCI MIND, The summer of 2021 brought the Tokyo Olympics of 2020. Our UCI MIND researchers continue to earn gold medals for their work in fighting Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders (page 1). Gold medals also go to Virginia Naeve and Steve O’Leary for establishing a remarkable resource for caregivers, Spotlight on Care (page 4), available through UCI MINDCast. Spotlight on Care is made possible by the generous support of Stephen Hamill and his family (page 5). And our REMIND trainees were also shining stars this summer—launching a new program to inspire local…

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Building Inclusive and Open Alzheimer Disease and Alzheimer Disease–Related Dementias Research Programs

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

The linked editorial from JAMA Neurology cites IMPACT-AD, the course co-led by UCI MIND, and work by The 90+ Study investigators, Maria Corrada, ScM, ScD and Claudia Kawas, MD. The systematic review by Mooldijk et al1 summarizes multiple areas in which the field of dementia research can improve clinical studies. Our Editorial will focus on ethnic and racial diversity (primarily in the US) and on age differences noted in the systematic review between population-based cohorts and clinical cohorts. We also share new and ongoing efforts in this area from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the broader National Institutes of…

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AD Biomarkers & Preclinical Diagnostics Report Now Available

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, Community Events, In the News

On June 28–29, 2021, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a virtual workshop, “Behavioral and Social Research and Clinical Practice Implications of Biomarkers and Other Preclinical Diagnostics of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and AD-Related Dementias” (AD/ADRD). UCI MIND Director Joshua Grill was an invited participant in this meeting, for which a brief report is now available.

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UCI MIND and AlzOC present free online conference on Alzheimer’s disease

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, Community Events, COVID-19, In the News

Panel of experts from around the nation to give updates on what is the third leading cause of death in Orange County. UCI MIND and Alzheimer’s Orange County will host a free, virtual conference featuring experts discussing the latest developments in research around Alzheimer’s disease, which is Orange County’s third leading cause of death and afflicts more than 84,000 residents. The 32nd annual conference, “Alzheimer’s From All Angles,” will stream live on YouTube and Facebook on Sept. 10 from 8 a.m. to noon. One particularly timely topic will be what effect a viral disease like COVID-19 can have on brain…

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New genetically modified mouse model mimics multiple aspects of human Alzheimer’s disease

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

NIA-supported scientists have developed a new mouse model that produces a form of the human beta-amyloid protein, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. An important research tool, mouse models enable the exploration of genetic, environmental, and behavioral aspects of Alzheimer’s, as well as make it possible to test drug candidates before human studies. The new mouse model, which was reported in a recent article in Nature Communications, can be used by other scientists to advance Alzheimer’s research. Model Organism Development and Evaluation for Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease (MODEL-AD) MODEL-AD consortium Many factors, including gene changes, the aging process, and conditions in the…

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María M. Corrada, ScM, ScD at AAIC 2021

By Commentary, Community Events, In the News

UCI MIND at #AAIC María M. Corrada, ScM, ScD contributes: In The Life After 90 Study, a one-of-a-kind multiethnic cohort of individuals 90 and older, memory concerns appear to identify individuals with objective cognitive impairment but do not identify those whose cognition may decline faster. With additional enrollment and longer follow-up, we will continue to explore the utility of memory concerns in predicting future cognitive performance and potential ethnoracial differences in a segment of the population that is often excluded from research.

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UCI MIND Director speaks on AAIC panel about impact and ethics of Aduhelm approval

By Commentary, In the News

UCI MIND Director, Joshua Grill, PhD spoke today as part of a panel on the impact of drug approval on future clinical trials at the AAIC Annual Conference in Denver, CO. Dr. Grill presented on the ethical considerations needed for designing studies in the presence of an approved drug like Aduhelm.  To learn more about this topic, read the recent paper he co-authored with Dr. Jason Karlawish in Neurology

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Dr. Vivek Swarup featured on ALZFORUM

By Commentary, In the News

UCI MIND researcher, Dr. Vivek Swarup is gaining significant attention for his work on glial cell gene expression in AD. His lab’s research, published in Nature Genetics 2 weeks ago was recently featured on the heavily trafficked Alzheimer’s research website, Alzforum.com – a testament to the impact his research has on the broader AD community. Dr. Swarup used prefrontal cortex brain tissue from UCI ADRC brain donors to examine differences in glial cell gene transcription between healthy and AD brains.   He found that the areas in the DNA above important AD risk genes, responsible for expressing those genes, were different…

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Aducanumab update

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

Contributed by Joshua Grill, PhD and Jason Karlawish, MD UCI MIND Director Joshua Grill, PhD co-authored an article in Nature Reviews Neurology about the FDA’s decision on Aduhelm. Read more on this below: Since the FDA approved Aduhelm (aducanumab) on June 7, there has been considerable conversation, debate, and even backlash about the decision. It may seem difficult to keep up. Here is a recap of some of the most recent important events. The FDA granted Aduhelm what is known as “accelerated approval.” This means that the approval did not indicate that the drug has been adequately shown to benefit…

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New Mouse Model Provides 1st Platform to Study Late-Onset Alzheimer’s

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

UCI School of Biological Sciences Dean Frank LaFerla is co-senior author of a study involving a new genetically engineered mouse model that, unlike its predecessors, is based on the most common form of Alzheimer’s disease. This could help lead to major strides in the fight to end this deadly disease! Dean LaFerla discusses his findings in a new podcast: https://www.bio.uci.edu/frank-laferla-podcast/

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Swarup Lab research published in Nature Genetics

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

Contributed by Vivek Swarup, PhD The brain is made up of billions of cells that are tightly coordinated in complex neural circuitry and are ultimately responsible for manifesting our memories, emotions, and personalities: the very essence of being human. Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is one of the most prevalent neurodegenerative disorders worldwide and results in cognitive decline and memory loss, and we presently do not have effective treatments for AD. There is a pressing need to deepen our understanding of AD, and by studying how individual cells are changing in disease, or identifying those that are resilient to such changes, we…

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UCI student selected for prestigious research program

By Commentary, In the News

Leslie Vazquez-Rangel, a fourth-year undergraduate at UCI was recently selected to participate in the prestigious Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Program, an NIH funded training grant that is awarded to only 640 students across the US each year. The program will allow a select few PhD-bound honors students like Leslie to engage in meaningful research under the guidance of world-renowned professors.  Leslie will spend the next year working with Dr. Elizabeth Head, a professor in the Department of Pathology to study the link between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. To learn more about Leslie and the incredible research being done in Dr. Head’s lab, visit https://sites.mind.uci.edu/headlab

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A crucial, overlooked question on the new Alzheimer’s drug: When should patients stop taking it?

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

A crucial, overlooked question on the new Alzheimer’s drug: When should patients stop taking it? STAT News – June 24, 2021 “When we enroll families in studies of treatments like aducanumab, we try to educate them that they should not expect large improvements in cognition or function,” Joshua Grill, director of the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders at the University of California, Irvine, said in an email to STAT. The drug can’t stop disease progression, only potentially slow it, a change that he warns would likely be imperceptible. “If we can’t expect families to know if the drug…

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