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Hypertension Medications Which Help Ward off Memory Loss

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

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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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Neuroscientists Find How Associative Memories Are Made

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

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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

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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

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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

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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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Aducanumab update

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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

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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

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

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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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UCI-led meta-analysis identifies hypertension medications that help ward off memory loss

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People taking drugs that cross the blood-brain barrier experienced less cognitive decline June 21, 2021 The research conducted by Daniel Nation, UCI associate professor of psychological science, and Jean Ho, a postdoctoral scholar at the UCI Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, included more than 12,800 people over the age of 50 in 14 separate studies carried out across six countries. Steve Zylius / UCI Irvine, Calif., June  21, 2021 — A large-scale meta-analysis led by University of California, Irvine researchers provides the strongest evidence yet of which blood pressure medications help slow memory loss in older adults: those that can…

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Furor rages over FDA approval of controversial Alzheimer’s drug

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“My greatest concern is around people with families with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Joshua D. Grill, an Alzheimer’s researcher at the University of California at Irvine. “Few can afford the financial burden in the first place, let alone the additional costs of Aduhelm.” He said the cost of an amyloid PET scan was at least $5,000. “Doctors, families, even we researchers need more guidance,” Grill said. Spinal taps offer a more affordable way of determining amyloid levels, but some patients shy away from them.

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Alzheimer’s treatment study seeks volunteers, including two sites in Portland

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KATU News: “We all have to do more because this is about the most important medical problem we face as a society today,” said Dr. Josh Grill, a member of the AHEAD Study leadership team and director of the UC Irvine Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders. Grill said his AHEAD Study team is testing a new investigational treatment, examining whether they can slow slow or stop the earliest brain changes due to Alzheimer’s disease in people with a higher risk of developing the disease later in life. The team is seeking volunteers on its website: https://www.aheadstudy.org/ “All research…

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How to fight off boredom in retirement

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MarketWatch As we age, our already limited attention span shrinks even more. So it takes extra discipline for seniors to stay curious. … Craig Stark, [professor of neurobiology and behavior], a memory researcher at University of California, Irvine, urges people who want to stay mentally sharp to “feed your brain novel information.” Curiosity can provide the impetus to gather that new information.

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Curiosity Is Key for Keeping Your Memory in Top Shape as You Age—Here Are 4 Exercises That Are Better Than Brain Games

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UCI MIND Faculty Member Christine Gall, PhD, a neuroscientist and professor of anatomy and neurobiology at UC Irvine’s School of Medicine, explains that our brains contain specialized cells, or neurons, that are responsible for sending and receiving information. Much like a circuit board in a computer, our brains create networks of neurons that transmit electrical activity when we engage in just about anything. These charges, AKA synapses, are critical for learning and memory.

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Minorities Receive Less Timely Dementia Diagnoses Than Whites

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An accompanying editorial in JAMA Neurology noted that the study apparently is the first to focus on disparities related to “time to diagnosis and comprehensiveness of evaluation” of dementia. Claudia Kawas, M.D., a [professor], geriatric neurologist and researcher at the University of California, Irvine, and other authors of the editorial … point to the need for more diversity in dementia research — particularly as the aging U.S. population grows more diverse.

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UCI MIND faculty member Dr. Tahseen Mozaffar awarded $4.2M grant to study rare muscle disorder affecting aging Americans

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UCI School of Medicine Tahseen Mozaffar, MD, a professor of neurology and director of the Division of Neuromuscular Disorders and the UCI-MDA ALS and Neuromuscular Center at UCI’s School of Medicine will lead a study on sporadic inclusion body myositis (sIBM), which affects aging adults causing asymmetric muscle weakness and severe disability. Currently untreatable, sporadic inclusion body myositis (sIBM) causes muscle weakness and severe disability Irvine, CA – April 6, 2021 – The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has awarded UCI a 5-year, $4.2 million grant to study sporadic inclusion body myositis (sIBM), which affects aging adults…

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Tracking the Alzheimer’s-Down syndrome connection

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By the time they’re 40, most people with Down syndrome develop beta amyloid plaques in the brain — a key characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists believe this is because they have an extra copy of chromosome 21, which carries an amyloid-producing gene. Many people with Down syndrome do develop Alzheimer’s disease, but some manage to avoid the devastating neurodegenerative consequences despite having these plaques in their brains. To learn more about the connection between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease, UCI School of Medicine researchers are spearheading a major international research effort that will follow hundreds of adults with the syndrome…

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Leslie Thompson Tackles Huntington’s Disease One Gene at a Time

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The UCI professor has dedicated her career to finding answers to a rare genetic disease’s most crucial questions. An estimated 30,000 genes make up the human genome, with an individual’s entire uniqueness created by genetic mutations. From tissues and blood as well as distinctive physical features, like eye and hair color to temperament and so much more, genes are the coded instructions for building an entire person. But sometimes those instructions contain errors and genes can mutate to form many different things, including diseases. One such disease, Huntington’s disease, is a rare, inherited disease triggered by a single genetic mutation…

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UCI MIND’s First-Ever Virtual Gala Warms Hearts, Opens Minds, Drives Donations Both On and Offline

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UC Irvine’s Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders raised some $300,000 at its A December to Remember Gala on Dec. 5, 2020. The event took place virtually for the very first time, reaching over 850 viewers on multiple online channels including Facebook, Youtube and the UCI MIND website. A recording of the event is available to view on UCI MIND’s YouTube page. The online broadcast, co-hosted by UCI MIND Director Joshua Grill and auctioneer Zack Krone, included performances from Justin Willman, the star and creator of the hit Netflix series “Magic for Humans,” and Ashley Campbell, singer-songwriter and daughter of…

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18 UCI MIND faculty members among top 2% of scientists worldwide

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A recent report from Stanford identified the top 2% of the world’s scientists based on their publications and citations. Out of millions of published scientists, including those who have passed away, a total of 445 from UCI, including Vice Chancellor for Research Pramod Khargonekar, and 18 UCI MIND faculty made the cut. We congratulate our faculty members, listed below, on this significant achievement: Neurology & Neurosurgery: Tallie Z. Baram, MD, PhD Ruth Benca, MD, PhD Emiliana Borrelli, PhD Gregory J. Brewer, PhD Carl W. Cotman, PhD David Cribbs, PhD Mark J. Fisher, MD Christine Gall, PhD Charles Glabe, PhD Alan…

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Charles Glabe Named 2020 National Academy of Inventors Fellow

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Contributed by Hal S. Stern, PhD and Frank M. LaFerla, PhD It is our pleasure to congratulate Charles Glabe, Distinguished Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, on being named a 2020 fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Among his achievements, Professor Glabe is being recognized for the creation of antibodies that bind to the four kinds of proteins forming the amyloid associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The process enables scientists to detect individual forms of the disease more precisely. The antibodies can be used as a screening tool and could help develop immunotherapies that slow or even prevent Alzheimer’s. Professor…

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4 questions to ask yourself about living to 100 — because there’s a chance you will

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MarketWatch – Nov. 30, 2020 The University of California, Irvine’s Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND) has studied elderly individuals as part of its “90+ Study” since 2003, analyzing the ways in which nearly 2,000 participants go about their lives in their 90s and 100s, as well as what may have contributed to that longevity and underlying cognitive disabilities they may or may not know they have. … Half of children born this decade can expect to see their 103rd or 104th birthday, Claudia Kawas, co-principal investigator of The 90+ Study, told CBS. Read more >

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UCI Spearheads $109M Down Syndrome, Alzheimer’s Study

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The University of California, Irvine is undertaking a five-year, multi-million dollar project to expand research on Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down syndrome. The National Institute of Health awarded a $109 million grant to the Alzheimer’s Biomarkers Consortium-Down Syndrome in late October. The international team, led by UCI principal investigators Elizabeth Head and Mark Mapstone, aims to identify biomarkers that indicate the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in adults with Down syndrome. Subscribers to the Orange County Business Journal can read more here >          

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New insights from study of people age 90 and above

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CBS: Six years after our initial report, Lesley Stahl visits surviving members of the 90+ Study and finds out what scientists have learned from following the study's participants. We're a nation living longer and longer. Over the next 30 years, the number of Americans age 90 and above is expected to triple, and an NIH-funded research study called 90+ at the University of California Irvine is trying to learn all it can right now from a group of men and women who've already managed to get there. Six years ago, we first reported on their first set of findings. Factors...

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Cartographers of the brain

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Contributed by UCI News: UCI’s Center for Neural Circuit Mapping is redrawing our understanding of mechanisms underlying several common disorders by Ian Anzlowar, UCI | November 18, 2020 Thanks to Xiangmin Xu and his team at the UCI School of Medicine’s Center for Neural Circuit Mapping, lazy eye, Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases could become a thing of the past. Opened earlier this year, the unit focuses on basic neuroscience research, advancing knowledge of the brain by defining mechanisms and pathways that underlie neurodevelopmental, neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. “Our 30 to 40 investigators can join forces to tackle large-scale research…

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UCI MIND adapts annual fundraiser for Alzheimer’s research with virtual venue

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For the first time in the event’s decade-long history, the University of California, Irvine Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND)’s A December to Remember gala will raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s research in a digital setting. While many sectors remain at a standstill due to the pandemic, nonprofits like UCI MIND know that their mission must march forward. The virtual gala event will take place online on Saturday, Dec. 5 from 5:30-7 p.m., and is free to attend. To register to attend, visit https://aesbid.co/ELP/UCIMIND20/. “We saw an incredible opportunity as we reimagined our annual gala to…

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Cognitive decline distorts political choices, UCI-led study says

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“Our findings suggest that older individuals experiencing cognitive decline have relatively stable ideological preferences, but these preferences lose their connection to political policy details. Future studies conducted during an election year may shed additional light on how this group of Americans is casting their ballot,” said UCI MIND faculty member Mark Fisher, MD. Study participants were 190 members of The 90+ Study (LINK), a UCI-led longitudinal investigation of the oldest-old, who are those aged 90 and older.

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FLASH radiation therapy can help treat cancer without neurocognitive side effects, study finds

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FLASH radiation therapy, also called FLASH-RT, can eliminate the debilitating side effects associated with traditional radiation therapy by delivering the same dose in tenths of seconds, and can remove tumors, according to a study published in Clinical Cancer Research. … Charles Limoli, PhD, a researcher and professor of radiation oncology at University of California Irvine [said] It’s not unreasonable to expect that in 10 years, this may become a widespread option for radiotherapy patients worldwide.”

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UCI MIND, UCSF, UC Davis, NAPCA, ICAN Launch Research Registry for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

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UC San Francisco, UC Davis, UC Irvine, National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA), International Children Assistance Network (ICAN) in partnership with over twenty community partners serving diverse Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) communities in California and nationwide, is pleased to announce the launch of the Collaborative Approach for AAPI Research and Education (CARE) research registry. The CARE registry team reflect multiple diverse AAPI cultures and languages. CARE is an opportunity for AAPI to participate in important research that may affect ourselves, our parents, children and grandchildren. Some of the important research may contribute to finding cures for and/or ways to…

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NIH Awards Over $100 Million to Examine Biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease in Adults with Down Syndrome

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Congratulations to UCI MIND investigators, Drs. Elizabeth Head and Mark Mapstone, on earning a 5-year $100 million grant to study biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down syndrome. The  Alzheimer’s Biomarker Consortium – Down Syndrome (ABC-DS) evolved from the longstanding contributions of Dr. Ira Lott and Eric Doran who had the insight to include older people with Down syndrome in Alzheimer’s disease research.  People with Down syndrome are at very high risk for Alzheimer disease as their extra copy of chromosome 21 leads to accelerated amyloid buildup with aging. The new grant will help researchers improve understanding of the unique disease progression…

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Dr. Joshua Grill discusses Alzheimer’s clinical trials during the pandemic with NPR

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(3-minute listen) After cases began emerging worldwide, thousands of clinical trials unrelated to COVID-19 were paused or canceled amid fears that participants would be infected. But now, some researchers are finding ways to carry on in spite of the coronavirus. “It’s been a struggle of course,” says Joshua Grill, who directs the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders at the University of California, Irvine. “But I think there’s an imperative for us to find ways to move forward.”

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The COVID-19 guide to holiday travel – and the case for why you shouldn’t go this year

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“We’ll likely continue to see a surge of cases in the fall and over the holidays,” says Karen Edwards, a professor and epidemiologist at the University of California, Irvine. “If you must travel, be sure to follow all recommendations, including checking with destinations and events you plan to attend to be sure that travel to that destination or event is still possible. Cancel your trip if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 or concerns about risk of infection.”

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Drs. Xu and Cotman receive $3M from NIH to map aging-associated brain changes

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Irvine, Calif. – October 15, 2020 – The National Institutes of Health has awarded a team of researchers, led by the University of California, Irvine’s Xiangmin Xu, PhD, a five-year, $3 million grant for a project titled, “Single-Cell Analysis of Aging-Associated 4D Nucleome in the Human Hippocampus.” Now, as part of the 4D Nucleome consortium, Xu, a professor of anatomy and neurobiology and director of the Center for Neural Circuit Mapping at the UCI School of Medicine, together with MPIs, Carl Wayne Cotman, PhD, a professor of neurology and founding director of the UCI Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia,…

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UC Irvine partners with O.C. businesses to develop safe reopening protocols

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UC Irvine is providing consulting services to private businesses to develop rules and procedures to keep employees and customers safe from COVID-19 as the economy starts to open up. “As the only program in public health in Orange County, we have an obligation to assist our community,” UCI professor Karen Edwards said in a press release. “I think there’s a gap in this area for us to step up and offer these types of services. This has the potential to have a major positive impact.” Orange County was on track to move into the state’s less restrictive orange tier until…

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How to Cover a Sick Old Man

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The president is hospitalized and reporters are fighting for basic facts. What should elderly leaders — many of America’s top politicians are over 80 — reveal about their health? “It will help if reporters are medically knowledgeable, and ask the right questions, e.g. blood pressure, heart rhythm, sleep disorders,” Dr. Mark Fisher, a professor of neurology and political science at the University of California, Irvine, told me on Sunday. “The more specific and precise questions reporters ask, the better. A robust fund of knowledge by the reporter is a great advantage.”

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8 Top Tips for Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease

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More than 5 million people of all ages are living with Alzheimer’s in America and that number is expected to rise to nearly 14 million by the 2050. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Disease is the sixth leading cause of death in this country — killing more Americans than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. However, research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) shows clear data that improving lifestyle factors can influence the development and the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Here are eight ways to reduce your risk of this devastating disease: Add more fruits and vegetables…

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Inaugural IMPACT-AD program launches this week

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Co-directed by Dr. Joshua Grill, director of UCI MIND, and Dr. Rema Raman, director of biostatistics at USC Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute, the inaugural class of IMPACT-AD launches this week. The novel program will educate 35 professionals and researchers at various career stages on conducting rigorous, cutting-edge Alzheimer’s clinical trials.

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Supporting Research to End Alzheimer’s

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In 1964, Keith Swayne, then a graduate student at UC Berkeley, went on a blind date with local school teacher Judy Kjellberg. He was head over heels, and just two weeks later, he proposed to her. Over the next 50 years, they raised a son and daughter, pursued their careers and engaged with the Orange County community through nonprofit work. Judy created the Orange County Community Foundation in 1989, laying the groundwork for it to grow into a change-maker with assets today in excess of $400 million, supporting various causes across the region. But during the final decade of their…

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This brain protein may put the brakes on Alzheimer’s

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Considerable: “Scientists have known for a long time that inflammation is a driver of Alzheimer’s disease, but inflammation is complex and involves many factors,” said UCI MIND faculty member Dr. Frank LaFerla, dean of UCI School of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine, where the research was conducted. “That’s why we decided to look at TOM-1.” … “You can think of TOM-1 as being like the brakes of a car, and the brakes aren’t working for people with Alzheimer’s,” LaFerla said. “This research shows that fixing the brakes at the molecular level could provide an entirely new therapeutic…

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Study: People don’t freak out over Alzheimer’s biomarker data

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MedPage Today: Is it safe to share Alzheimer’s disease biomarker results with older adults who don’t have cognitive impairment? In the short-term at least, the answer appears to be “yes,” according to a study of Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s Disease (A4) clinical trial candidates. Older Adults who learned they had elevated amyloid levels didn’t experience more short-term depression, anxiety, or suicidality than those who learned they didn’t have elevated amyloid, reported Joshua Grill, PhD, of University of California, Irvine, and colleagues in JAMA Neurology. … This may be the largest study to date about delivering Alzheimer’s biomarker information to cognitively unimpaired…

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