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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

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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

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

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

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

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

“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

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

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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The problem with post-approval required studies

By Commentary, In the News, Participants

Contributed by Daniel Gillen, PhD Earlier today, the FDA granted approval of Biogen Inc’s aducanumab, to be sold under the brand name Aduhelm, to treat the underlying cause of AD.  As I wrote back in November of 2020, multiple issues in the clinical program for aducanumab make objective assessment of the clinical efficacy of the drug difficult. I was not alone as the FDA advisory committee also noted them. The first obvious issue is that the two parallel Phase 3 trials, called studies 301 and 302, that this approval is based on were discrepant in their results. Generally speaking, FDA…

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The FDA has approved aducanumab (Aduhelm™). Now what?

By Commentary, In the News, Participants

Contributed by Joshua Grill, PhD Today, June 7, the US Food and Drug Administration approved aducanumab, a monoclonal antibody against beta amyloid, the protein that builds up in the brain of a person with Alzheimer’s disease. It has been more than 15 years since the last approval of an Alzheimer’s drug. Unlike the previously approved therapies, aducanumab directly targets the biological changes in the brain caused by Alzheimer’s disease. The data that the FDA used to decide to approve aducanumab were controversial, resulting from three clinical trials – one Phase 1B trial and two large Phase 3 trials. The controversy…

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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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Protecting the aging beagle brain

By Commentary, In the News

Contributed by Hamsi Radhakrishnan Organ transplant recipients are significantly less likely to develop dementia compared to the general population; perhaps because the drugs they take to suppress their immune system to prevent donor organ rejection could also be curbing neuroinflammation. To assess whether these drugs could be repurposed as dementia-preventing medication in middle-aged adults, we studied the effects one year treatment with the FDA-approved immunosuppressant Tacrolimus had on the beagle brain. Using advanced diffusion MRI, we found that tacrolimus protected against aging-related microstructural changes that are often associated with cognitive decline, specifically in the hippocampus, parahippocampal cortex, prefrontal cortex and…

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MIND Matters | Quarterly Newsletter | Spring 2021

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

Message from the Director Dear Friends of UCI MIND, Spring has sprung and there is much to look forward to. COVID-19 infections remain low in Orange County. We are grateful to our colleagues from UCI Health who have done an incredible job of caring for people during the pandemic and navigating us toward an end through well-organized vaccination programs. We are planning resumption of our pre-pandemic research activities. The campus has reduced restrictions on in-person research while maintaining essential safety parameters. There is a collective sense of eagerness to “catch-up” on work delayed by the pandemic. This will include UCI…

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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

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

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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Announcing the 32nd Annual SoCal Alzheimer’s Research Conference

By Commentary, Community Events, In the News

JOIN US FOR A FREE VIRTUAL CONFERENCE: “Alzheimer’s from all angles” About the Conference Join Alzheimer’s Orange County and UCI MIND for the 32nd Annual Southern California Alzheimer’s Disease Research Conference. This free, half-day, virtual conference will cover a wide range of topics concerning Alzheimer’s disease, from updates on research, to treatments, diagnostics, risk factors, and genetic resilience. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on brain health will also be discussed. Friday, September 10, 2021, 8AM-12PM PT Free and open to the public Livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube Who Should Attend? Healthcare Providers Senior and Social Service Providers Researchers Students…

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They Have Alzheimer’s. This Clinical Trial May Be a Last Hope.

By Commentary, In the News

The single most consistent barrier to progress in Alzheimer’s disease treatment development is low rates of participation in research. To learn about clinical trials at UCI MIND, visit https://www.mind.uci.edu/research-studies/participate/. To enroll in the C2C Registry and give researchers permission to let you know about new studies for which you might be eligible, visit c2c.uci.edu.

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Anti-Asian American Hate Crimes Bill

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

Contributed by Hye-Won (Grace) Shin, PhD UCI MIND stands against racism, hate and violence. We laud the US Senate overwhelmingly passing the anti-Asian American hate crime bill Thursday, April 22, 2021. We stand with our Asian American researchers, physician scientists, research participants, patients and their caregivers and our broader Asian community members. As we painfully witnessed, hate crimes, physical attacks and deplorable rhetoric against Asians across the United States have escalated. According to the research report by the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, hate crimes targeting Asians in the first quarter…

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UCI MIND investigators develop new “platform model” to study late-onset Alzheimer’s disease

By Commentary, In the News

Contributed by Stefania Forner, PhD Most cases of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are late-onset and occur sporadically; however, the majority of AD animal models are based on rare genetic mutations, making them good models of the less common familial AD, which accounts for 1% of all cases. As treatments effective in these mouse models have proven ineffective in humans, there is a clear need to develop new models that better represent the more common, late-onset sporadic form of AD. With this in mind, my colleagues and I at UCI MIND used a different approach in a recent study published in Nature…

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UCI MIND Annual Report 2020: Excellence through Adversity

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

UCI MIND Annual Report 2020: Excellence through Adversity Dear Friend of UCI MIND, The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every facet of life, especially for families enduring Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. In 2020 alone, deaths due to Alzheimer’s increased 16% in the United States. Caregivers were forced to adapt how they manage care and cope with burden, while many endured painful separation from loved ones. Researchers faced delays and challenges in continuing our work. Yet, the past year has further ignited in us an urgency to discover solutions for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and improve the lives of those…

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Minorities Receive Less Timely Dementia Diagnoses Than Whites

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

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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Sex differences in hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease: new study finds faster tau accumulation in female brains

By Commentary, Community Events, In the News

Contributed by Ashley A. Keiser, PhD A new study from researchers in Sweden published in Brain finds faster accumulation of a major hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, neurofibrillary protein aggregates containing tau in female, compared with male brains. Researchers also found greater memory impairments in women with Alzheimer’s disease. Sex differences in Alzheimer’s disease risk have been extensively reported. Particularly, women exhibit greater cognitive impairment and the rate of acceleration of impairment is observed to exceed men. Women are also twice as likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Although previous cross-sectional studies that capture a single data point in time…

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

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

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

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

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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Additional Vaccination Information

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

Contributed by Orange County Aging Services Collaborative It is important that our most vulnerable community members have access to COVID-19 vaccination appointments.  The Abrazar team can assist clients with scheduling an appointment.  If needed, transportation can also be scheduled.  Please note that the age eligibility is now 50+ (see below for other eligible community members).   VACCINATION APPOINTMENTS & ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Call Abrazar’s COVID-19 Vaccination Call Center at (714) 278-4670. All questions can be sent to covidinfo@abrazarinc.com Call Center Team Members are bilingual and speak English, Spanish and Vietnamese. Referrals for other languages can be made. Case managers and family members can call…

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Carol Choi Named District 74 Woman of Distinction

By Commentary, In the News

UC Irvine’s very own Carol Choi has been named among the 74th Assembly District 2021 Women of Distinction by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris. The annual recognition occurs each March in honor of Women’s History Month to recognize women “who have shown extraordinary work, mentorship and leadership.” For those who are privileged to know and work with Carol Choi, this honor comes as no surprise. Carol embodies leadership through service on several committees at UC Irvine, including as a University Trustee. Additionally, Carol serves as Board Chair of the Korean American Alumni Chapter of the Alumni Association whose Founding President, Alexander Kim,…

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12th Annual Emerging Scientists Symposium

By In the News

Last week, UCI MIND’s trainee-led organization REMIND hosted their 12th Annual Emerging Scientists Symposium. The event was hosted virtually on Zoom for the first time and featured six trainee presentations: Sepideh Kiani Shabestari in Dr. Blurton-Jones' lab, Emily Miyoshi in Dr. Swarup's lab, Michael Neel in Dr. Monuki's lab, Dr. Christian Crouzet in Dr. Choi's lab, Dr. Angela Gomez in Dr. Tenner's lab, and Dr. Atena Zahedi in Dr. Anderson's lab. Presentations were followed by a trainee poster competition with innovative research projects on Alzheimer's disease and other neurological disorders and a keynote lecture from Dr. Tony Wyss-Coray from Stanford...

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

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

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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We Need an Operation Warp Speed for Alzheimer’s and Dementia

By Commentary, In the News

Contributed by the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement At a campaign stop last fall, then VP, now President Joe Biden said, “If we do not find an answer to Alzheimer’s, then in the next 19 years, every single solitary bed that exists in the United States of America now will be occupied by an Alzheimer’s patient.” The time to act is now, and we are ready!

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MIND Matters | Quarterly Newsletter | Winter 2021

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

Message from the Director Happy New Year, Friends of UCI MIND! For many of us, a New Year brings the promise of fresh starts and new beginnings. In 2021, it also means a welcomed good-bye to a very long 2020. Despite the challenges that 2020 brought, it also brought progress that must now continue in 2021. This includes progress in social justice, progress in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, and progress in research to rid the world of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. UCI MIND is committed to contributing to further progress in each of these areas. Though the COVID-19 pandemic…

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

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

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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New Study Finds People with Dementia are Twice as Likely to Get COVID-19

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

A new study led by researchers at Case Western Reserve University who analyzed millions of medical records in the U.S. found that people with dementia had significantly greater risk of contracting the coronavirus, and they were much more likely to be hospitalized and die from it, compared to people without dementia. The findings highlight the need to prioritize and protect people with dementia as part of the strategy to control the pandemic.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Community Information Panel

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

Join UCI School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences on Thursday, February 11th for a community information session with their Scientists & Pharmacists to learn the basics about COVID-19 Vaccines and what to expect as they become more widely available. Registration links below! Can’t make it on February 11th? Join them on March 1st for an encore presentation. February 11th Registration: https://bit.ly/2M6YQFc March 1st Registration: https://bit.ly/3pt8sIt

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Tony Bennett shares about his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease

By In the News

For four years, the legendary singer and his family have kept his secret. Now, they’re breaking their silence On an afternoon in early November, I arrived at Tony Bennett’s home on the 15th floor of a high-rise on the southern edge of New York City’s Central Park. The sprawling three-bedroom apartment’s wall of windows opens on a heart-stopping view of the park and floods the rooms with a steady north light — “a painter’s dream,” as Bennett once said — which matters, because as well as being one of the world’s greatest singers, he is also a serious visual artist….

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Advance Directive for Dementia

By Commentary, In the News

How much medical care would you want if you had Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia? A dementia-focused advance directive developed by experts in neurology, geriatrics, and palliative care, allows people to plan ahead and communicate their wishes if they were to develop dementia, stage by stage. Standard advance directives (also known as living wills) do not typically cover dementia, and families are faced with difficult medical decisions for their loved ones. A dementia directive can help people make medical choices for themselves in advance, guiding family members and healthcare providers to take actions that reflect those choices. To learn…

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President Biden Issues Executive Order on Racial Equity: Its impact on AAPI communities

By Commentary, In the News

ENGLISH | VIETNAMESE (Tiếng Việt)   Contributed by Hye-Won Shin, PhD Four executive orders signed by President Biden Tuesday, January 26, 2021 aim at promoting racial equity in the US. One specifically pinpointed fighting xenophobia against Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). Misinformation and stigmatization related to the COVID-19 pandemic provoked a surge in anti-Asian xenophobia. Thousands of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have reported the pandemic-fueled hate crimes and physical attacks throughout the United States. These physical, social, and emotional challenges can cause profound damage to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and may leave lasting scars in AAPI community…

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UCI to build world-class hospital on Irvine campus

By Commentary, In the News

Contributed by UCI Health: Plans to build a world-class, acute care hospital on the northern edge of the University of California, Irvine academic campus advanced significantly last week, as the University of California Board of Regents granted approval of the project’s 144-bed acute care facility, ambulatory care center and cancer center. The hospital will focus on key clinical programs such as oncology, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics and digestive health, and it will include a 24-hour emergency department. The first patients are expected in late 2022 in the UCI Health Center for Advanced Care, pending legal and regulatory approvals, and the hospital…

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UCI researchers developing vaccine designed to prevent future coronavirus outbreaks

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

KABC – Jan. 15, 2021 (Video) Scientists at UC Irvine are developing a vaccine designed to prevent future coronavirus outbreaks. …UCI professor Lbachir BenMohamed, Ph.D. said it’s not a matter of if another coronavirus will emerge, but when. …BenMohamed and his team at the UCI School of Medicine are working on a pre-emptive strike — a universal vaccine that can protect against all forms of the coronavirus. … Early trials have produced promising results. Click here to watch the full video and learn more >

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Reminder: Vaccine now available for anyone age 65 and up

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

State and county health officials have authorized COVID-19 vaccinations for anyone age 65+. Eligible people who live or work in Orange County can register online through www.Othena.com to view appointment times and track vaccine availability. Or consult your healthcare provider. UCI strongly recommends the vaccine as a safe and effective way to protect yourself and others. County vaccinations are by appointment only.

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