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In the News

Commentary on new FDA warning for insomnia medications

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

Contributed by Bryce Mander, PhD The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently required some sleep medications which are commonly used to treat insomnia to add black box warning labels. The reason for this decision is because there have been reported incidents of individuals engaging in activities that commonly occur during wakefulness during sleep while on these medications, including sleep walking, sleep driving, sleep eating, and sleep cooking. On rare occasions, these symptoms have resulted in serious injuries or life-threatening incidents, which has led to the inclusion of the black box label. The FDA has also issued a contraindication for…

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Using video games to detect (and protect) those at risk for Alzheimer’s disease

By Commentary, Community Events, In the News

Contributed by Craig Stark, PhD Researchers from the UK have just released a report showing how we can extract valuable cognitive data out of video game performance. Using the mobile game Sea Hero Quest, which relies heavily on spatial memory and navigation, the researchers were able to discriminate healthy aging from those at-risk for Alzheimer’s. By using games that are fun and engaging, but are designed to tap into specific brain processes, we can usher in a new era of diagnosis. Research in my lab here at UCI is further looking at whether playing certain kinds of video games can actually…

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Commentary on anti-inflammatories for Alzheimer’s prevention

By Commentary, In the News

Contributed by Andrea J. Tenner, PhD Researchers at McGill University recently published results from a clinical trial of the common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), naproxen, showing that it was ineffective at preventing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in cognitively unimpaired people with a family history. I am not surprised by this result, as naproxen is a nonselective inhibitor of inflammatory mediators.  Dr. Breitner, the lead investigator on the manuscript, is an excellent physician scientist.  The study authors indicated that the results do not rule out a benefit from mid-life anti-inflammatory drugs, and that the study turned out to have too few participants…

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Dr. Kim Green Comments on ‘Missing Microglia’ for The Atlantic

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

The Atlantic – April 11, 2019.  Kim Green, a neurobiologist at UC Irvine, notes mutant mice lacking microglia have broadly similar patterns of disorganization in their brains. These mice models essentially predicted what would happen in the human. He had just never expected to see a person without microglia. “It’s absolutely remarkable,” he says.

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Big IDEAS May Improve Clinical Management of Dementia

By Commentary, In the News

Contributed by S. Ahmad Sajjadi, MD, PhD, Neurologist Last week, the results of a very important and highly anticipated study, the IDEAS (Imaging Dementia – Evidence For Amyloid Scanning) study, were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). This national multi-center study, including UC Irvine, enrolled more than 11,000 Medicare beneficiaries with cognitive impairment to undergo a special type of scan called amyloid positron emission tomography (PET). Amyloid PET scan provides the opportunity to visualize the accumulation of abnormal amyloid plaques on the brain. Amyloid and tau proteins are the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The study…

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Dr. Joshua Grill Discusses ‘Pseudomedicine’ with AARP

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

AARP – April 10, 2019. “A common situation is an older adult becoming concerned about their memory and taking a supplement to try to ward off dementia,” says Joshua Grill, director of the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders at the University of California, Irvine. “But in reality, if they saw their doctor, they might find out that another medical condition such as hypothyroidism, or a certain prescription medication, is causing symptoms and can be easily treated. They’re just making things worse.” And if you do have dementia, he adds, you could start a drug treatment to relieve symptoms,…

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Phase 3 Trials of Aducanumab Halted

By Commentary, In the News

Contributed by Joshua Grill, PhD, Director of UCI MIND The global research effort to find effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease has suffered another disappointing setback. Biogen announced today that the company will halt the parallel large Phase 3 trials of the monoclonal antibody against the amyloid beta protein, aducanumab. This treatment was viewed by many to hold tremendous promise. Early results were unprecedented. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease who were treated with aducanumab showed significant reduction in amyloid burden in the brain, which appeared to slow disease progression. The results were based on a small number of participants, however, and were not…

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Forgetful Yet Unforgettable: The Legacy of an Alzheimer’s Patient

By Commentary, In the News

In an interview with UCI undergraduate students, Chelsea Cox, Associate Director of Eduction for UCI MIND, shares her personal journey with Alzheimer’s disease, her perspective on care and research, and how people – young and old – can get involved in the cause. “…No one should have to spend their final days that way. This experience is what motivated me to get involved in Alzheimer’s research and education. So that hopefully, one day, other people don’t have to go through what my family went through.” Read the full interview on Medium >

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FDA issues warning to dietary supplements making unproven claims

By Commentary, In the News

On February 11, the FDA issued a statement and 12 warning letters related to an aggressive change in the agency’s regulation of dietary supplements. The statement was outlined in the New York Times. The main objective of the new approach is enhanced protection of consumers from mislabeled and unproven claims about treatment of disease. At the core of the problem are a number of companies that specifically target people with Alzheimer’s disease and people who are concerned about developing Alzheimer’s disease. A list of the companies receiving warning letters, as well as links to the letters, can be found here.

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Leslie Thompson gets $6 million CIRM grant to advance Huntington’s disease treatments

By In the News

  UCI News, January 30, 2019 – “Leslie Thompson of the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center and UCI MIND has been awarded $6 million by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to continue her CIRM-supported efforts to create stem cell treatments for Huntington’s disease. The funding will allow the Thompson lab to conduct the late-stage testing needed to apply to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for permission to start a clinical trial in people. The therapy involves transplanting stem cells that have been turned into neural stem cells and shown to improve the function of brain cells in…

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New play aims to educate community on Down syndrome

By Community Events, In the News

Eric Doran, Manager of UCI MIND’s Down Syndrome Program, has partnered with his longtime friend and playwright, Steven Oberman, to tell the true story of Dr. John Langdon Down, the man who first described Down syndrome. We interviewed Mr. Doran to learn more about the vision behind this new play, Blurred at the Edges, set to run in March of 2019 at the Diversionary Theatre in San Diego. What is the vision behind Blurred at the Edges? Down syndrome is named after Dr. John Langdon Down, a British physician who first described the condition in 1866. Most parents of a…

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The Rise of Pseudomedicine for Dementia and Brain Health

By Commentary, In the News

Contributed by Joshua Grill, PhD, Director of UCI MIND Colleagues at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center published a timely critique in JAMA on a concerning and increasing practice in the United States. “Pseudomedicine” is a practice whereby qualified healthcare professionals prescribe supplements or other therapies that are not covered by insurance, and therefore require cash payments, for personal financial gain. Pseudomedicine is especially problematic among older patients and family members concerned about memory loss and desperate for effective therapies to slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Other examples of pseudomedicine include recommendations for brain healthy diet plans…

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NPR asks founding director to comment on exercise study

By Carousel Slider, In the News

A study was recently published in the journal Neurology about physical activity’s relation to Alzheimer’s disease and cognition in older adults. NPR asked UCI MIND founding director Dr. Carl Cotman to comment on this impressive study, noting that exercise might “‘offset the ill effects of brain degeneration.’ He adds that lifestyle interventions such as an increase in physical activity and movement can be powerful even in the presence of disease.” Click here to read the article > Dr. Cotman is leading a national clinical trial of exercise at UCI MIND. The trial aims to evaluate whether 18 months of moderate to…

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Sleep is associated with tau pathology in early Alzheimer’s disease

By Community Events, In the News

Colleagues at Washington University School of Medicine published novel findings on the correlation between tau tangles, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease pathology, and sleep quality in people who were cognitively normal or who had mild cognitive impairment. On ALZFORUM, UCI MIND faculty member, Dr. Bryce Mander commented, “This is an important paper because it shows for the first time how tau is related to sleep deficits. That’s going to be important in advancing our understanding of how Alzheimer’s disease pathology affects sleep.” Dr. Mander, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Human Behavior at UCI, has published several important findings on the link between…

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Dr. Ira Lott, Director of UCI MIND Down Syndrome Program, featured in OC Business Journal

By Carousel Slider, In the News

Dr. Ira Lott, Director of the UCI MIND Down Syndrome Program, discussed the connection between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease with the Orange County Business Journal this week.  Dr. Lott and his team conduct critical research studies with volunteer participants to improve understanding of brain aging and dementia in Down syndrome. Click here to read the article > To learn more about studies in Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease, click here >

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Critical need for diversity in Alzheimer’s disease research

By Commentary, In the News

Contributed by Joshua Grill, PhD, Director of UCI MIND In a new study, colleagues at the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Washington University have found that levels of the cerebrospinal fluid protein tau, one of the hallmark pathologies in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), is lower in African Americans compared to Whites. This was true both for older participants who did and did not have memory problems. The study is not the first to find such differences between African Americans and Caucasians and it has important implications to a number of important areas of AD research. First, there is a growing movement…

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Novel genetics research opens door to potential new therapies for dementia

By Carousel Slider, In the News

UCI MIND faculty member, Dr. Vivek Swarup, and colleagues at UCLA, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. in Japan, Emory University School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, published novel findings yesterday in Nature Medicine on two major groups of genes associated  with Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia and unraveled a novel microRNA, miR-203, as a master regulator of neuronal death. In human cell cultures containing AD-associated mutations, the researchers showed that certain experimental drugs altered the loss of brain cells associated with neurodegenerative disease. Dr. Swarup says, “I’m hopeful these important findings will bring us one step closer to effective new treatments…

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Fall 2018 Newsletter – In this issue of MIND Matters

By In the News

Fall 2018 Newsletter – In this issue of MIND Matters: – Grand Opening of UCI Sleep Center led by Dr. Ruth Benca – Wine for the MIND hosted by Bob & Virginia Naeve – Meet the REMIND Co-Chairs – Study Partners in Alzheimer’s Research: Gwen Ritchie – Philanthropist Highlight: Greg & Cindy Lai – Donations, Sept 2017-2018 —– Click to read the Fall 2018 Newsletter – MIND Matters

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Dr. Blurton-Jones awarded grant to identify potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease

By Carousel Slider, In the News

UCI MIND faculty member Dr. Mathew Blurton-Jones was awarded a $500,000 grant from Orange County Community Foundation to test 1200+ FDA-approved compounds for effectiveness in Alzheimer’s disease treatment. His lab seeks to find the top 20 genes and drugs that safely prevent brain damage caused by microglia, which are critical immune cells in the brain that ‘prune’ unnecessary neuronal connections, or synapses. In the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, damage can be caused by microglia ‘overpruning’ synapses, leading to loss of necessary connections. UCI News reports that Dr. Blurton-Jones and his team are “grateful to be the recipients of this…

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UCI MIND selected as Center of Excellence to conduct clinical trials in Down Syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease

By Carousel Slider, In the News

UCI MIND faculty member, Dr. Ira Lott, is one of the world’s leading experts in unraveling the link between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease (Learn more in the Winter 2016 issue of MIND Matters). His team has been selected as a Center of Excellence for the new Down Syndrome Clinical Trial Network (DS-CTN) launched by LuMIND, a Down syndrome research foundation. As part of this important network, Dr. Lott and his team will receive funding to conduct clinical trials of promising therapies for participants with Down syndrome, at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. To learn more about the initiative and the…

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Sandra Day O’Connor announces dementia diagnosis

By In the News

In a letter released on Tuesday, October 23, retired supreme court justice Sandra Day O’Connor announced a diagnosis of probable Alzheimer’s dementia, and that she will begin stepping down from public life. O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, was a devoted caregiver to her husband John after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2005. NPR reports the reaction of Chief Justice John Roberts: “I was saddened to learn that Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, like many Americans, faces the challenge of dementia. But I was not at all surprised that she used the occasion of sharing that fact to think…

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Dr. Joshua Grill discusses A4 Study results in Alzforum

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

This week Alzforum posted coverage from the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, including UCI MIND Director Dr. Joshua Grill’s presentation of data from The A4 Study (Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s Disease Study). In The A4 Study, a secondary prevention trial of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, people with elevated amyloid had higher levels of memory complaints than those without elevated amyloid. To read the full article, click here > 

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Orange Coast Magazine calls upcoming conference a “Can’t-Miss” health event in OC

By Carousel Slider, Community Events, In the News

Orange Coast Magazine​ just named our upcoming research conference in the “20 Can’t-Miss Health Events in O.C. To Keep You Healthy!” Don’t miss your chance to attend Trials Today, Treatments Tomorrow, Sept. 21 at the Irvine Marriott​. Tickets: http://bit.ly/alzconference or call 949.757.3720 x 3733. “Alzheimer’s affects more than 84,000 people in Orange County. This conference, hosted by the UC Irvine Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND) and Alzheimer’s Orange County, will bring world-renowned experts to Irvine to discuss progress in the battle against Alzheimer’s.” — Orange Coast Magazine  

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UCI MIND needs volunteers for clinical trials on Alzheimer’s disease

By Carousel Slider, In the News

UCI MIND Director Dr. Joshua Grill wrote an article for the Daily Pilot about the need for Alzheimer’s clinical trial research participants in Orange County. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full article > “Here in Orange County, we are home to the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, the UC Irvine Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND). And we are making progress. There will be one essential key to needed advances, however. You. We need more people to participate in research, especially clinical trials of promising treatments. Clinical trial participants in Alzheimer’s research, much like…

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New York Times article breaks down barriers to recruitment and brings hope with a new trial

By Commentary, In the News

The New York Times recently covered a new clinical trial effort Eli Lilly is undertaking, the TRAILBLAZER-ALZ clinical research study. The study, which UCI MIND investigators are participating in, aims to enroll 375 people with early Alzheimer’s disease. To learn more about the TRAILBLAZER-ALZ study, click here, or contact us at research@mind.uci.edu or call 949.824.0008.

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UCI Researchers awarded grant to explore gender differences in Alzheimer’s

By Commentary, In the News

Currently, 2 out of every 3 people with Alzheimer’s disease are women. Last year, UCI MIND began a partnership with Maria Shriver’s Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement. This partnership launched a grant competition focused on understanding the role of sex in Alzheimer’s disease. UCI researchers Sunil Gandhi and Mathew Blurton-Jones have been awarded this year’s $100,000 grant. Their research will focus on the role of microglia in the brains of men and women using induced pluripotent stem cells generated from skin cells donated by UCI ADRC participants, modern mouse models of the disease, and cutting edge microscopy techniques. To learn more >

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We’re happy to hear good news, but we still need to see the data

By Commentary, In the News

This week, BioArctic Neuroscience, Esai, and Biogen made headlines when they announced via press release the topline and positive results of their Phase 2a study of the anti-amyloid antibody BAN2401. The press release indicated that the drug “demonstrated statistically significant slowing in clinical decline and reduction of amyloid beta accumulated in the brain” in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease. To be sure, this is welcomed news. Too often headlines for Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials are about “flops” and “failures.” So we should take this good news and embrace it. Unfortunately, there remain many questions to which we need answers before we…

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Remembering the contributions of Nobel laureate Dr. Arvid Carlsson in the field of Parkinson’s disease

By In the News

Dr. Arvid Carlsson passed away this past Friday at the age of 95. His research into dopamine led to the development of treatments for Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disease that involves tremors and rigidity. Dr. Carlsson showed that dopamine was a neurotransmitter and that it is critical to movement. Dopamine is depleted in Parkinson’s disease and the drug L-dopa can be used to treat patients with this neurological disease. Dr. Carlsson’s findings earned him the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, along with noted American researchers Dr. Eric Kandel and Paul Greengard. UCI MIND is grateful for the work…

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Dean Frank LaFerla Reappointed to Second 5-Year Term

By In the News

UCI MIND sends a hearty congratulations to Dr. Frank LaFerla, who has been appointed to a second five-year term as dean of the UCI School of Biological Sciences. As Dean, Dr. LaFerla has taken the school to new heights, launching successful public lecture series, increasing philanthropy, and of course supporting cutting edge research. During his tenure, research funding in the school has grown by 35 percent and 15 new outstanding faculty members have been hired. Please join us in congratulating Dean LaFerla on this reappointment. Learn more >

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Congratulations to Burton Young and the 2018 Orange County Men of Character Honorees

By In the News

By Danny Harper, Senior Director of Development The faculty and staff of UCI MIND, congratulate Burton Young and his fellow honorees on receiving the Men of Character recognition by the Orange County Boy Scouts of America. I had the pleasure of attending this year’s event, and I was inspired by the stories of the six men who were honored. While each shared his unique journey, there were consistent themes in each of their stories. Each, in his turn, spoke about the importance of hard work, giving back and family. These themes resonate deeply with my own personal and professional life….

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Dr. Joshua Grill on Mild Cognitive Impairment

By Carousel Slider, In the News

UCI MIND Director, Dr. Joshua Grill, recently discussed Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) with Being Patient, a news site building single-subject platforms around complex health topics. Click here to read the article and learn: Is MCI reversible? Is MCI a precursor to Alzheimer’s? How soon will MCI progress to Alzheimer’s? What are the warning signs of MCI? Will I recognize my own MCI? What can I do to delay MCI? UCI MIND has a number of research studies currently enrolling people with MCI or memory concerns.  To learn about studies for which you may be eligible, enroll in the UCI C2C Registry…

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Remembering Carl Kasell

By In the News

By Danny Harper, Senior Director of Development, UCI MIND Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans lose friends and loved ones to Alzheimer’s disease. When a celebrity passes from Alzheimer’s, it brings a higher level of attention to the disease that affects millions of Americans and more than 84,000 people right here in Orange County. Whether or not you personally know someone who has lived with Alzheimer’s, we can all get a glimpse into the disease through the lives of public figures who have been afflicted. From Rosa Parks to Ronald Reagan to Glen Campbell, and now including NPR’s legendary Carl Kasell,…

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Brain health is on the minds of seniors who attended UCI MIND “Ask the Doc” open Q&A session at Susi Q

By Community Events, In the News

Story by Dianne Russell in Stu News Laguna featuring UCI MIND’s most recent Ask the Doc panel on March 22, 2018: “Although the day is wet and dreary, it doesn’t stop 85 audience members from attending UC Irvine Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND) “Ask the Doc” event at Susi Q. The roomful of mostly seniors is serious and here for one thing, to get answers to their questions regarding the widespread problem of Alzheimer’s, memory loss and brain health. It’s not an entirely comfortable situation, as I am well into that age bracket, and so the Q…

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