Category

In the News

Biogen and Eisai submit aducanumab for FDA approval

By Commentary, In the News

Contributed by Joshua Grill, PhD, Director of UCI MIND This morning (July 8, 2020), Biogen and Eisai announced that the two companies had together completed submission to the FDA for regulatory and marketing approval of aducanumab, the monoclonal antibody against the beta amyloid protein that accumulates in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s disease. We’ve previously written about the unique set of circumstances under which Biogen is submitting their application. Two large Phase 3 clinical trials were halted for futility in 2019, only for later assessments of the study data to lead to the sponsors to conclude that the drug…

Read More

Alzheimer’s biomarkers in Down syndrome parallel late-onset disease

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

  In an accompanying editorial, [UCI MIND Professor] Elizabeth Head, PhD, of University of California Irvine, and Beau Ances, MD, PhD, of Washington University St Louis, wrote, “Fortea and colleagues noted similarities between biomarkers reflecting Alzheimer disease pathogenesis in individuals with Down syndrome and individuals with late onset and autosomal dominant Alzheimer disease. These results provide strong evidence that studies of people with Down syndrome can inform research on late-onset and autosomal dominant Alzheimer disease.” Read more here >

Read More

Breaking News from CA Governor Newsom, and UCI In The News about COVID-19

By COVID-19, In the News

Breaking News from CA Governor Newsom:     COVID-19 cases are spreading at alarming rates in some CA counties. Effective immediately, California Department of Public Health is requiring counties that have been on the County Monitoring List for at least 3 days to move certain sectors outdoors or close. In addition, all brewpubs, breweries, bars, and pubs in these counties must close immediately, both indoor and outdoor. Visit covid19.ca.gov for more information.   UCI In The News: State puts Orange County on coronavirus watch list: Orange County Register: Bernadette Boden-Albala, dean of University of California, Irvine’s public health program and…

Read More

Updated OC Health Officer Orders & Recommendations as of Jul 1

By COVID-19, In the News

AMENDED ORDERS AND STRONG RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE COUNTY OF ORANGE HEALTH OFFICER REVISED July 1, 2020 In light of the recent increased COVID-19 hospitalization rate in Orange County, the placement of Orange County on the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) County Monitoring List, and further CDPH guidance, these AMENDED ORDERS AND STRONG RECOMMENDATIONS revise the prior AMENDED ORDERS AND STRONG RECOMMENDATIONS, issued by the Orange County Acting Health Officer on June 19, 2020.  The June 19, 2020 Amended Orders and Strong Recommendations are no longer in effect as of the effective date and time of these AMENDED ORDERS AND…

Read More

Two sisters wanted to lift lonely seniors’ spirits. Here’s what happened next

By COVID-19, In the News

Shreya and Saffron Patel usually FaceTime their grandparents in England every weekend, but during the novel coronavirus pandemic, they have typically reached out each day. Their grandmother on their mom’s side hasn’t left her apartment in nearly four months. She lives alone and can no longer socialize at the gym. Some of her younger friends have stopped by, and she leans out her kitchen window to chat. One friend sends handwritten letters. When the Patel sisters, who live in Boston, spoke to their grandmother, they noticed her mood improve. She texted them about the cards and showed them to her…

Read More

How can we ensure Alzheimer’s is a national priority?

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. While COVID-19 and systemic racism continue to profoundly affect our nation, it is important to reflect on the role of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in these unprecedented times. COVID-19 disproportionately impacts people with dementia and their caregivers, and both conditions disproportionately impact people of color. According to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently highlighted in a Wall Street Journal article, approximately 100,000 people died from Alzheimer’s dementia from February through May alone – 18% higher than average. Moreover, the article discusses the pandemic’s abrupt halt to family visits in care facilities and…

Read More

Advocate for Alzheimer’s Research & Care Today!

By Commentary, In the News

Local Supportive Service Families impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in California need your help! Advocate to conserve Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS)/Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) programs statewide. You can voice your support by using the elected official contact list and talking points provided by our community partner, Alzheimer’s Orange County. DOWNLOAD ELECTED OFFICIALS LIST DOWNLOAD TALKING POINTS TIMELINE OF CBAS/ADHC CUTS National Research Funding As the current COVID-19 pandemic has shown, continued research is absolutely critical to understanding and responding to diseases, and Alzheimer’s is no different. Please take a stand today. Send a message to your members of Congress urging them…

Read More

Reflecting on Juneteenth in 2020

By Commentary, Community Events, In the News

Today is Juneteenth, the commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. On this day in 1865, two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas. They brought news that the war had ended and the enslaved were now free. Today, the fight for Black equality continues. Systemic racism continues to affect healthcare, nutritional access, education, and socioeconomic status in Black communities, all of which increase risk for Alzheimer’s disease. This Juneteenth occurs amid the historic Black Lives Matter movement. It reminds us that oppression did not end in…

Read More

California orders statewide use of face coverings

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

Face coverings must now be worn statewide in indoor public spaces, workplaces, outdoor lines, public transportation and other high-risk settings under guidance issued today by Gov. Newsom and the California Department of Public Health. “We are seeing too many people with faces uncovered – putting at risk the real progress we have made in fighting the disease,” Newsom said. “California’s strategy to restart the economy and get people back to work will only be successful if people act safely and follow health recommendations.” The new rules and exceptions can be read here.

Read More

Could I have immunity to the COVID-19 virus?

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

As COVID-19 cases spread across the state and nation, demand is growing for blood tests to identify people who may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus and developed antibodies to it. Such antibodies may mean these individuals have at least some immunity to the virus, formally named SARS-CoV2, and therefore may be able to return to work and school — and help jump-start the flagging U.S. economy. Results may also help identify COVID-19 antibody-positive people whose blood donations could be used to make convalescent plasma, an investigational treatment for seriously ill COVID-19 patients, according to the U.S. Food & Drug…

Read More

What’s next: The future of summer vacation

By Carousel Slider, COVID-19, In the News

UCI epidemiologist offers advice on healthy travel, recreation during the pandemic Despite the all-encompassing disruption of the coronavirus pandemic, time marches on, with summer just around the corner. For many, June signals the beginning of vacation season. But as COVID-19 continues to spread, where does summer travel stand? States are reopening and inviting tourists – and their dollars – to return. But is it safe to take a trip? What do we need to know about hotel or Airbnb lodgings? About eating in restaurants? About large public gatherings? Karen Edwards, professor and chair of epidemiology at UCI and an enthusiastic…

Read More

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

By Commentary, Community Events, In the News

Resources and information from the UCI School of Medicine Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse and Neglect, the USC Center for Elder Mistreatment, and the National Center on Elder Abuse. Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEEAD). The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations launched the first WEAAD on June 15, 2006 in an effort to unite communities around the world in raising awareness about elder abuse.  Elder abuse is widespread, and older adults living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are especially vulnerable. According to the National…

Read More

A Call to Advocate: Help Protect Critical Services for CA Seniors

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

A recent article from the OC Register highlights the critical need for advocacy to save Orange County’s senior services. State budget cuts could end adult day care that helps thousands of local families. What can you do to help? Read the message from Justice in Aging below: Now is the time for advocates to take action to ensure that California’s low-income older adults, especially older adults of color, are not left without the health, economic security, and home and community-based services they rely on during the COVID-19 public health emergency. California must pass its budget by June 15 and decisions…

Read More

Phone pals? For UC Irvine med and nursing students, and older people dodging the virus, a call can be a lifeline

By COVID-19, In the News

ASSIST Program pairs future health workers with homebound to address needs and loneliness. Once she starts talking, Geraldine Buchanan admits, she can keep right on going. About to turn 91 on Friday, Buchanan, for now, is a prisoner of the pandemic, stuck inside her Westminster home in an effort to stay safe from the spread of coronavirus. Talking on the phone is an escape. Buchanan’s loquaciousness is OK with Ryan Batten, a 22-year old UC Irvine nursing student who calls her at least once a week. Batten, set to graduate in June, is a good listener, something that figures to…

Read More

Confronting the pandemic of racism: A call to action

By Commentary, In the News

Contributed by Christian Salazar, PhD, UCI MIND Project Scientist Racism is once again thrust into our national spotlight by the death of yet another unarmed Black American at the hands of police. Lamentably, the structures that create racism are deeply embedded in our society and have a direct impact on creating and maintaining health inequities. Indeed, numerous studies over decades have shown dramatic and persistent differences in health across racial groups. These disparities are in no small measure byproducts of racism. To combat racialized health disparities, we cannot ignore the multifaceted ways in which racism manifests in our society. We…

Read More

Black Lives Matter

By In the News

The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many other people in the Black community are atrocities that both warrant and demand the current national and global response.  Sadly, these recent events also serve as a reminder of historical atrocities done to Black people and other diverse communities in the name of science. Researchers, like political leaders, must use this time to further open our minds, our ears, and our hearts to combat racism. Racial and ethnic health disparities permeate our society and Alzheimer’s is no exception. Risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is higher…

Read More

Congrats to UCI MIND researchers on highly accessed AD vaccine paper

By Commentary, In the News

The journal Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy, in celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the journal included a list of their 10 most accessed papers of the last year. A manuscript by UCI MIND researchers Hayk Davtyan, Morgan Coburn, David Cribbs, and Mathew Blurton-Jones made the list. Their article, “Testing a MultiTEP-based combination vaccine to reduce Aβ and tau pathology in Tau22/5xFAD bigenic mice” had been accessed by researchers more than 14,000 times! Congratulations to their team.   To read more, Dr. Davtyan spoke about the manuscript on page 7 of the Winter 2020 Newsletter.  

Read More

UCI Giving Day Postponed

By Commentary, Community Events, In the News

Dear Friends of UCI MIND, In light of the current events, UCI has decided to postpone its annual UCI Giving Day – scheduled for today, June 3 –  to ensure we are giving space to the important messages that need to be communicated during this uncertain time. On behalf of the faculty and staff at UCI MIND, thank you for your ongoing support in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Sincerely, Joshua D. Grill, PhD Director of UCI MIND

Read More

MIND Matters | Quarterly Newsletter | Spring 2020

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

Message from the Director   Dear Friends of UCI MIND, Since writing my last message for our Winter 2020 issue, we have all had our worlds turned upside down by COVID-19. At UCI MIND, we have faced challenges and have had to temporarily adapt our research programs. But, I know these challenges pale in comparison to those faced by members of our community. I’m especially concerned about the additional challenges faced by caregivers of people living with dementia, as well as the social isolation physical distancing can bring to older people who are living alone. We are eager to help…

Read More

The Alzheimer’s-Air Pollution Link

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

UCI MIND faculty member Masashi Kitazawa, PhD comments for Scientific American: “In a field where scientists have spent decades focused on genetics and the buildup of damaged protein fragments called beta-amyloid as causes of the disease…now many experts agree that air pollution plays a major role. This assessment is echoed by Masashi Kitazawa, a toxicologist at the University of California, Irvine, and an expert on environmental toxins. “Genetics is huge in Alzheimer’s research, and for years almost no one wanted to look beyond genes,” he says. “But in the past three or four years the number of papers linking air pollution and cognitive decline…

Read More

UCI to take part in clinical trial of drug for critically ill COVID-19 patients

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

  UCI Health will initiate a clinical study of a drug to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients who face a high mortality rate because of acute inflammation that fills their lungs with fluid, a grave condition that even mechanical ventilation cannot improve. Aviptadil, which has a 20-year history of use in human clinical trials for lung ailments, will be employed in a phase 2b/3 clinical study of COVID-19 patients suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome, a primary cause of coronavirus-induced death. Read more here >

Read More

Research team awarded $3.8 million to study molecular changes in the brain caused by Alzheimer’s disease

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

Irvine, CA – May 12, 2020 – A team of researchers from the University of California, Irvine and San Diego have been awarded $3.8 million by the National Institute on Aging to conduct an epigenomic analysis of neural circuits in the brain. By revealing molecular changes that occur during the course of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the team hopes to identify new therapeutic targets and molecular biomarkers for early detection and better treatment. The interdisciplinary research team is led by multiple principal investigators, including Xiangmin Xu, PhD, a professor of anatomy and neurobiology and director of the Center for Neural Circuit…

Read More

Racing to deliver COVID-19 testing

By Commentary, Community Events, In the News

  Read how through the efforts of the UC Irvine Health team, under the leadership of UCI MIND Faculty Member, Dr. Edwin Monuki, the medical center became the first hospital in Orange County to provide in-house COVID-19 testing on March 19 – more than two weeks ahead of schedule. http://www.ucihealth.org/…/racing-to-deliver-covid19-testing Dr. Monuki recently commented on antibody testing for the UCI MIND Blog and will participate in a virtual panel discussion tonight, May 14 at 7 PM PST. Click HERE to register.

Read More

New partnership will give nursing home staff extra training to prevent coronavirus spread

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

CalOptima, which provides health insurance to Orange County’s low-income residents, announced on Friday, May 8, it is working with UC Irvine and the county Health Care Agency to provide intensive training on infection control to staff at 12 nursing homes. … Dr. Susan Huang, who teaches about infectious diseases at UC Irvine, is working with researchers and clinicians to develop the tools and training, and will measure their effectiveness with diagnostic and antibody testing.

Read More

APOE4 carriers show early breakdown to blood-brain barrier, before cognitive impairment

By Commentary, In the News

Contributed by Daniel Nation, PhD, UCI MIND Faculty Member, Associate Professor of Psychological Science at UCI   APOE4 is the strongest known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia characterized by the accumulation of amyloid plaques and tau tangles. Although the predominant view has been that APOE4 conveys risk for Alzheimer’s dementia primarily through its effects on amyloid levels, prior work has also shown that APOE4 has adverse effects on the blood vessels of the brain.   In a recent study published in Nature, colleagues at University of Southern California and I demonstrated that APOE4…

Read More

Stuck at home? Help UCI Researchers Cure Diseases

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

During this time of uncertainty, communities, businesses and families are being impacted like never before. People are also coming together to help others in unprecedented ways. And while we all are spending more and more time at home, many of us are looking for ways to strengthen our communities while maintaining the current health and safety recommendations from the CDC. I’d like to invite you and your families to make a real difference without leaving your home or opening your wallet. I’m an OC Mom and researcher at UCI MIND. We are seeking volunteers to sign up for our “Consent-to-Contact”…

Read More

Coronavirus Antibody Tests: Can You Trust the Results?

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

Contributed by Edwin Monuki, MD, PhD, Warren L. Bostick Professor and Chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UC Irvine A recent article in the The New York Times focuses on an issue of grave concern among US health care providers – the flood of unapproved “lateral flow” tests for detecting COVID-19 antibodies. This flood resulted from an FDA decision to allow antibody testing without their usual approval process in order to accelerate the national response to COVID-19. Unfortunately (and not surprisingly), this also resulted in an antibody testing market that one interviewee in the NYT article called the “Wild West”….

Read More

FDA Gives Emergency Authorization For Some COVID-19 Patients To Use Remdesivir

By COVID-19, In the News

NPR reports May 1, 2020 4:22 PM ET – The Food and Drug Administration has given emergency use authorization to the antiviral drug remdesivir to treat hospitalized patients with the coronavirus, President Trump on Friday told reporters at the White House. Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day said remdesivir maker Gilead Sciences is donating 1.5 million vials of the drug and will work with the federal government to distribute it to patients in need…

Read More

VIDEO: Laboratory Research Update – Nicole Schartz, PhD

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

Nicole Schartz, PhD, a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Andrea Tenner’s lab, shares her experience of what’s happening in her lab and her perspective on the pandemic.  Dr. Schartz is also a member of REMIND. Research and Education in Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, or REMIND, is a campus organization led by UCI MIND predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees. It aims to encourage collaboration among the next generation of scientists and clinicians, and promote community outreach and education on neurodegenerative diseases.

Read More

Don’t Feel Bad If Your Kids Are Gaming More Than Ever. In Fact, Why Not Join Them?

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

While doing a video interview with TIME, Craig Stark, professor at the University of California, Irvine’s Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, said that his eighth grade son was on a headset chatting with his friends while gaming. “I’m great with that,” says Stark. Still, he adds, “if you’re gaming 20 hours a day, let’s get out, let’s do some other stuff, let’s not just talk to each other on a screen. But in terms of the notion that video games are actively rotting the brain? No, I don’t see any evidence for that.”

Read More

UCI and UCI Health launch comprehensive COVID-19 resource site

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

The UCI Health Affairs Vice Chancellor is delighted to announce the launch of OC-COVID19.org, a new website devoted to providing timely, useful, evidence-based information about the novel coronavirus pandemic to our friends and neighbors across Orange County. UCI and UCI Health are at the forefront of Orange County’s response to this national emergency. Every day there are stunning examples of remarkable, cutting-edge clinical care provided by the UCI Health family. Our services are driven by innovation and research taking place across the university. In this way, the UCI community is leading the way to solutions that are local and global….

Read More

Join the CA Dept. of Aging on April 22 for a Caring for Family & Friends Check-In Call

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

A message from the CA Department of Aging: Join us April 22 for a Caring for Family & Friends Check-In Call: Caregiving from Afar Are You Caring for Family or Friends from Afar During COVID-19? Whether you are providing support to an older person across town, across the country, or in a Nursing Home or Residential Care Facility, COVID-19 guidelines have presented new challenges and concerns. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to connect with caregiving experts! Wednesday, April 22th, at 1pm the California Department of Aging (https://aging.ca.gov) and the Alzheimer’s Association (https://www.alz.org) will host their 2nd of a…

Read More

Coronavirus: First responders, Taco Bell and Anaheim Ducks give back to UCI Medical Center

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

Police and fire agencies from across Orange County held a special drive-by parade at UCI Medical Center on Tuesday to show unity and support for the medical staff. Even though the salute was from a distance, they were able to touch hearts and lift spirits for those who are working long hours to get patients healthy. Meanwhile, Taco Bell’s taco truck made a stop at the hospital to provide workers free lunch. … Next week, UCI Medical Center will get another dose of love, when the Anaheim Ducks send 200 meals a day.

Read More

UCI-led study finds modifiable risk factors could play a role in Alzheimer’s disease

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

Amyloid accumulation not the only risk factor in Alzheimer’s risk Irvine, Calif. – April 8, 2020 – Amyloid is a key feature of Alzheimer’s disease, but the accumulation of these sticky proteins may not be the only risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study published this week.  Other, modifiable risk factors, such as the amount of fats in our blood and how efficiently our bodies generate energy could also play important roles. 

Read More

Adapting to the “new normal” of COVID-19

By COVID-19, In the News

Contributed by Joshua D. Grill, PhD, Director of UCI MIND Dear friends, I read with interest this morning a blog post from the Director of the National Institute on Aging, Dr. Richard Hodes. Dr. Hodes refers to a “new normal,” in what can only be described the age of COVID-19. At UCI MIND, we are admittedly struggling a bit to adjust to this new normal. Our professional way of life—doing studies with older volunteers and gathering large and small community audiences to share our learnings and recommendations—has been turned upside down, as I know have been your own lives. While we…

Read More