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CUMC NEWSROOMJanuary 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 Alzheimerâ€™s Disease and the Aging Brain) at Columbia..." [read more]
Also covered by: ScienceDaily, Medical News Today, Daily Mail, Mirror, and Cosmos.
BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINEBy 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 Alzheimerâ€™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]
ABC NEW YORKNovember 22, 2016
Live Web Chat: Understanding Alzheimer's Disease
"There is a lot of fear and confusion concerning Alzheimer's Disease. What is it exactly and how does it compare with other types of dementia? Can it be prevented or managed - and if there is no cure, why are research and early detection critical?" [watch video]
CUMC NEWSROOMJuly 26, 2016
Smell Test May Predict Early Stages of Alzheimer's Disease
"Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), New York State Psychiatric Institute, and NewYork-Presbyterian reported that an odor identification test may prove useful in predicting cognitive decline and detecting early-stage Alzheimerâ€™s disease." [read more] [watch CBS New York video]
Also covered by NPR: "'The whole idea is to create tests that a general clinician can use in an office setting,' says Dr. William Kreisl, a neurologist at Columbia University."
And by: CNN, Healio, Medscape, Immortal News, Science Daily, Medical Daily, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Nature World News, MedPage Today, PsychCentral.com, CTV News, and Business Standard.
SCIENTIFIC AMERICANBy Esther Landhuis
July 26, 2016
Could Trashing Junk Proteins Quash Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ALS and Huntington's?
"Rather than going after proteins such as amyloid beta for Alzheimerâ€™s or alpha-synuclein for Parkinsonâ€™s, one researcher has set on a different approach: 'I settled on the idea that perhaps we should just get rid of as many abnormally folded, nasty-looking proteins as possible,' says Karen Duff, a neuroscientist at Columbia University." [read more]
Enhancing Dentate Gyrus Function with Dietary Flavanols Improves Cognition in Older Adults
Earlier this month, CBS News aired a feature on a joint, ongoing study by the Taub Institute (Drs. Scott Small and Adam Brickman) and the Division of Behavioral Medicine (Drs. Richard Sloan and Paula McKinley) on how dietary cocoa flavanols â€” naturally occurring bioactives found in cocoa â€”reversed age-related memory decline in healthy older adults. Previous results from a first study, published in Nature Neuroscience, provided the first direct evidence that one component of age-related memory decline in humans is caused by changes in a specific region of the brain and that this form of memory decline can be improved by a dietary intervention. These investigators are currently recruiting for another, larger study on the effects of cocoa flavanols.
NEWSWEEKJanuary 1, 2016
Building a Better Brain
"The rule that 'neurons that fire together, wire together' suggests that cognitive training should boost mental prowess. Studies are finding just that, but with a crucial caveat. Training your memory, reasoning or speed of processing improves that skill, found a large government-sponsored study called Active. Unfortunately, there is no transfer: Improving processing speed does not improve memory, and improving memory does not improve reasoning. Similarly, doing crossword puzzles will only improve your ability to do crosswords. 'The research so far suggests that cognitive training benefits only the task used in training and does not generalize to other tasks,' says neuroscientist Yaakov Stern of Columbia University." [read more]