Taub Institute: Genomics Core
AN NIA-FUNDED ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE RESEARCH CENTER

 

Columbia University
Medical Center
Neurological Institute

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Taub Institute news and events

News


2018 - 2017 | 2016 - 2011

  • GRAY AREA PODCAST
    Produced by Sarah Wyman
    Life Outside the Lines
    Creating art with dementia

    In early 2017, Sarah's grandfather passed away from complications of vascular dementia. Her family never truly dealt with his diagnosis, and the end of his life felt totally disconnected from how he lived. So Sarah set out in search of a better way to live with dementia.
    This is what she found. [listen to the podcast]
  • LEWY BODY DEMENTIA ASSOCIATION
    Columbia Named Research Center of Excellence by Lewy Body Dementia Association
    The Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA) has announced the launch of the LBDA Research Centers of Excellence (RCOE), a comprehensive network of 24 academic medical centers—including Columbia—that will work together with a common goal to improve the understanding of the disease in the scientific, medical and general public communities. The LBDA RCOE program aims to establish a clinical trials-ready network of leading institutions that share the common vision of providing the highest level of clinical care over the course of LBD treatment. In addition, the RCOE network seeks to increase access to support for caregivers and people living with LBD, increase the knowledge of LBD among the medical community, and construct administrative infrastructure and generate the resources necessary to further advance LBD research and care.

    The centers were chosen for their clinical expertise in LBD, experience running clinical trials in related conditions (combined, the 33 PIs have run 380 clinical trials in the past 5 years), their facility's capacity and willingness to participate, and their geographic locations. The 24 RCOEs are spread across 17 states and the District of Columbia and are located in 23 American metropolitan areas. Each RCOE is led by recognized primary investigators (PIs) and co-investigators to conduct trials and provide expert care. Columbia Neurology faculty members Drs. Lawrence Honig and Karen Marder will serve as the co-directors/co-principal investigators of Columbia’s LBDA RCOE site.

    More information on the LBDA RCOE program can be found on LBDA's website at https://www.lbda.org/rcoe.
  • CUIMC NEWSROOM
    January 24, 2018
    Alzheimer's Drug Targeting Soluble Amyloid Falls Short in a Large Clinical Trial
    A paper published today in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that solanezumab, a monoclonal antibody-based treatment for Alzheimer's disease developed by Eli Lilly that targets amyloid plaques, did not significantly slow cognitive decline.

    Researchers have proposed that Alzheimer's disease is caused by the buildup of a sticky protein called beta-amyloid. According to this "amyloid hypothesis," the protein forms plaques in the brain that damage and eventually destroy brain cells. Solanezumab was designed to reduce the level of soluble amyloid molecules before they aggregate.

    A total of 2,129 patients with mild dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease participated in the double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 multicenter trial. This study was the first major Alzheimer’s clinical trial to require molecular evidence of amyloid deposition in the brain for enrollment. While the treatment did have some favorable effects, in the main measure of outcome—measured with a cognitive test called the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale—the researchers did not observe any statistically significant benefit compared with placebo.

    The authors suggest that while it is not certain that this particular strategy or drug could be effective, it is possible that either not enough drug was administered or that the drug needs to be administered earlier in the disease course.

    In other studies ongoing at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and other centers, solanezumab is being evaluated in presymptomatic patients at risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Other Alzheimer's drugs are also in development and being tested at higher doses.

    "Although we are disappointed that this particular drug did not prove successful, the field is benefiting from each study," says lead author Lawrence Honig, MD, PhD, professor of neurology at CUIMC. "There is hope that one of the newer ongoing studies may result in an effective treatment for slowing the course of Alzheimer's disease." [read more]

    Also covered by: STATnews and TIME
  • CUIMC NEWSROOM
    November 17, 2017
    Drop-Off in Dementia in Northern Manhattan Echoes National Trend
    Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is on the decline among northern Manhattan seniors, following national and global trends. The findings, by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center, were reported last month in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. The study found a 41 percent drop in dementia risk for seniors from Washington Heights and Inwood who joined a Columbia University-sponsored aging study in 1999 compared with a similar group that enrolled in 1992. Both groups included a multi-ethnic mix of non-Hispanic whites, African-Americans, and Hispanics. "It's important to look at a variety of populations so that we can determine if changes in dementia rates are occurring on a local, national, or global trend and to identify both common and population-specific factors that may be contributing to the overall picture," says James Noble, MD, assistant professor of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and co-lead author of the study. "This is especially true in the U.S., where there are often racial, ethnic, and geographic disparities in health that are attributable to a variety of factors, from access to care to education." [read more]
  • CUIMC NEWSROOM
    New York, NY (November 10, 2017) – Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) may have discovered a way to use a patient's sense of smell to treat Alzheimer's disease before it ever develops. Having an impaired sense of smell is recognized as one of the early signs of cognitive decline, before the clinical onset of Alzheimer's disease. The researchers at CUMC and NYSPI have found a way to use that effect to determine if patients with mild cognitive impairment may respond to cholinesterase inhibitor drugs to treat Alzheimer's disease.

    The findings were published online this week in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

    Cholinesterase inhibitors, such as donepezil, enhance cholinergic function by increasing the transmission of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain. Cholinergic function is impaired in individuals with Alzheimer's disease. Cholinesterase inhibitors, which block an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, have shown some effectiveness in improving the cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. However, they have not been proven effective as a treatment for individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a condition that markedly increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

    "We know that cholinesterase inhibitors can make a difference for Alzheimer’s patients, so we wanted to find out if we could identify patients at risk for Alzheimer's who might also benefit from this treatment," said D.P. Devanand, MBBS, MD, professor of psychiatry, scientist in the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center at CUMC, and co-director of the Memory Disorders Clinic and the Late Life Depression Clinic at NYSPI. "Since odor identification tests have been shown to predict progression to Alzheimer's, we hypothesized that these tests would also allow us to discover which patients with MCI would be more likely to improve with donepezil treatment." [read more] [CUIMC NEWSROOM]

    Also covered by PsychCentral
  • CUIMC NEWSROOM
    October 3, 2017
    Drugs Can't Stop Alzheimer's. A New Model of the Disease Explains Why.
    A new model of Alzheimer’s disease – proposed by scientists at Columbia University Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medicine – may explain why clinical trials of potential Alzheimer's drugs have a high failure rate. CUIMC NEWSROOM spoke with co-author Scott Small, MD, the Boris and Rose Katz Professor of Neurology, about the theory, published in a new article in Trends in Neuroscience. [read more]
  • SELF
    By Emily Rekstis
    August 28, 2017
    I Have a 50/50 Chance of Developing Huntington's Disease
    Featuring Jill Goldman
    It feels so certainly uncertain. I don't remember the exact moment I found out my dad had Huntington's disease, or how I found out it was genetic. What I do remember is showing off, in high school biology, that I knew the Huntington's gene was dominant in males. My reasoning was that my dad, his dad, and his granddad all had Huntington's. I knew my two sisters and I still had a chance at getting it, but it wasn’t as likely. This, of course, is not true...

    People at risk don’t have to live in this in-between world.

    The uncertainty can be put to rest by a not-so-simple genetic test. Jill Goldman, genetic counselor at the Taub Institute at Columbia University Medical Center, tells SELF that there is an international protocol which includes a DNA component that can reveal whether an individual will develop the disease. First, the person at risk will call an HD or movement disorder clinic to get information such as what the protocol entails, what the risks are, and what it costs. [read more]
  • SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN
    By David Noonan
    June 12, 2017
    Smell Test May Sniff Out Oncoming Parkinson's and Alzheimer's
    Featuring Dr. Davangere Devanand
    Sight and hearing get all the glory, but the often overlooked and underappreciated sense of smell—or problems with it—is a subject of rapidly growing interest among scientists and clinicians who battle Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Impaired smell is one of the earliest and most common symptoms of both, and researchers hope a better understanding will improve diagnosis and help unlock some of the secrets of these incurable conditions...

    "It's important, not just because it's novel and interesting and simple but because the evidence is strong," says Davangere Devanand, a professor of psychiatry and neurology at Columbia University. His most recent paper on the subject, a review, was published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry in December.[read more]
  • MEET DR. PHILIP L. DE JAGER
    Neuro-immunology Specialist

    Philip De Jager, PhD, MD, MMSc
    The Department of Neurology is very pleased to announce that Philip De Jager, PhD, MD, MMSc has joined our faculty as Professor of Neurology (in the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's disease and the Aging Brain (link is external) and the Columbia Precision Medicine Initiative). After graduating from Yale University with a degree in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry (as well as Medieval French literature), Dr. De Jager received a PhD in Neurogenetics from Rockefeller University and an MD from Cornell University Medical College before completing his MMSc in Clinical Investigation at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and MIT. He served as a neurology resident in the Partners Neurology Residency Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He then joined the faculty at HMS, rising to the rank of associate professor before joining CUMC. The goal of Dr. De Jager's work as a clinician-scientist is to apply modern methods of neuro-immunology, statistical genetics, and systems biology to the understanding of common neurodegenerative diseases. In Neurology, Dr. De Jager will serve as chief of a new Division of Neuro-immunology, which will include a new Center for Translational & Systems Neuro-immunology that he will direct, as well as the Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Care and Research Center, directed by Dr. Claire Riley. The focus of this new division will be to characterize and target the neuro-immunologic component of neurodegenerative disease. Please join us in welcoming Dr. De Jager to Neurology and CUMC!
  • CNBC
    March 15, 2017
    Brain Aging Linked to Common Genetic Variant
    A group of researchers has discovered a genetic variant that appears to have a significant impact on how quickly the brain ages in older people, and that may influence a person's risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases. The research was reported Wednesday in the journal Cell Systems. "If you look at a group of seniors, some will look older than their peers and some will look younger," said the study's co-author Asa Abeliovich in a news release. "The same differences in aging can be seen in the frontal cortex, the brain region responsible for higher mental processes." [read more]

    Also covered by Bioscience Technology, International Business Times, and Daily Mail.
  • PHILLY.COM - HEALTH
    February 28, 2017
    Concussions More Likely in Female Athletes
    Female athletes appear to be more likely than men to suffer concussions during their careers on the field, a new study suggests.

    The findings add to the existing evidence that female athletes may be more susceptible to concussions, even as attention has tended to focus on the risk to male football players.

    "The more we look at concussion, the more we realize that women are at high risk," said study co-author Dr. James Noble. He's an assistant professor of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City... [read more]
  • CUNY TV
    February 7, 2017
    Science & U!
    Editor's Note: In Segment 3, neurologist Dr. Richard Mayeux illuminates early onset dementia. [watch video]
  • CUIMC NEWSROOM
    January 19, 2017
    In Alzheimer's, Excess Tau Protein Damages Brain's GPS
    Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers have discovered that the spatial disorientation that leads to wandering in many Alzheimer's disease patients is caused by the accumulation of tau protein in navigational nerve cells in the brain. The findings, in mice, could lead to early diagnostic tests for Alzheimer's and highlight novel targets for treating this common and troubling symptom.

    The study was published online today in the journal Neuron.

    An estimated three out of five people with Alzheimer's disease wander and get lost, usually beginning in the early stages of the disease, leaving them vulnerable to injury. Researchers suspect that these problems originate in an area of the brain known as the entorhinal cortex (EC). The EC plays a key role in memory and navigation and is among the first brain structures affected by the buildup of neurofibrillary tangles that are largely composed of tau, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. "Until now, no one has been able to show how tau pathology might lead to navigational difficulties," said co-study leader Karen E. Duff, PhD, professor of pathology & cell biology (in psychiatry and in the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain) at Columbia... [read more]

    Also covered by: Lab Chat (STAT), Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Cosmos Magazine, Medical News, ScienceDaily, Medical News Today, Daily Mail, Mirror, PsyPost, Alzheimer's Reading Room, and Medical Xpress.
  • BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
    By Allison Huseman
    January 5, 2017
    Familial Test Helps Detect Genes that Cause Complex Diseases
    Featuring Dr. Richard Mayeux
    A team of researchers at Baylor College of Medicine has developed a family-based association test that improves the detection in families of rare disease-causing variants of genes involved in complex conditions such as Alzheimer's. The method is called the rare-variant generalized disequilibrium test (RV-GDT), and it incorporates rare, as opposed to common, genetic variants into the analysis... [read more]
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