Fighting Alzheimer’s With New Drug Compound

Background

  • The tau protein allows the nervous system to operate normally.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is rooted in degeneration of neurons to the brain.
  • For some, toxic ‘tangles’ accumulate in the tau protein, and the brain loses synapses. This causes memory disorders to occur.

Via Washington University School Of Medicine

An encouraging article published by Tamara Bhandari details a synthetic molecule tested on mice and monkeys that fights against toxic tau proteins.

The findings suggest that the molecule – known as an antisense oligonucleotide – potentially could treat neurodegenerative diseases characterized by abnormal tau, including Alzheimer’s.

“We’ve shown that this molecule lowers levels of the tau protein, preventing and, in some cases, reversing the neurological damage,” said Timothy Miller, MD, PhD, the David Clayson Professor of Neurology and the study’s senior author. “This compound is the first that has been shown to reverse tau-related damage to the brain that also has the potential to be used as a therapeutic in people.”

Via St. Louis Business Journal

We first learned of this story through Diana Barr’s article in the St. Louis Business Journal’s Health Care section. Brooking Park anxiously awaits more details. Barr concludes,  “Human trials of oligonucleotides are underway for several other neurological diseases.”

Thank You, Washington University

On behalf of all the loved ones suffering from a devasting neurological disease worldwide, in the St. Andrew’s Network, or here at home at Brooking Park, we send our full support and gratitude for your research.

Brooking Park has been linked to Wash U in the past. Recently, the newly-developed Come Sing With Us program sang for the Brooking Park Memory Care unit. We’ve also been involved directly with School Of Medicine research through their KARE program.

Alzheimer’s In The News

This month, exclusive footage from a forthcoming PBS documentary Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts debuted on NextAvenue.org.

The clip focuses on tips offered by Dr. Rudolph Tanzi (Harvard Medical School) to reduce the spread of memory loss. His advice includes the usual suspects: maintaining a healthy diet, getting exercise, and (our favorite) getting 7-8 hours of deep sleep per night.

The Brooking Park team felt especially compelled to share this video in relation to our October post about the (in)effectiveness of popular brain games. Dr. Tanzi touches on this topic:

So I tell people, ‘when you’re getting ready for retirement, you have to equally think of a financial reserve, and a synaptic reserve’….And that really means learning new things. It doesn’t mean playing brain games, which could just help focus, but not really make new synapses

His analogy contrasts New York Times crossword puzzles from Monday through Thursday – which only helps focus, versus the weekend crosswords that require the solver to apply what they’ve learned during the week from the weekday puzzles.
Check out the four-minute video below:

The 60-minute documentary premiers January 25, 2017, at 9pm CST on PBS.
As a New Year’s resolution, challenge yourself: replace red meat with fish, find ways to reduce stress, and stay socially and intellectually active!

Washington University Performs For Brooking Park’s Memory Care Household

08On behalf of our seniors, thank you to Washington University and their inspiring Arts & Sciences program for singing for Brooking Park’s Memory Care Household! Our residents formed the first ever live audience for many of the passionate student performers — we’re so honored!

Organizers Lynn Hamilton, Christine Armistead, and Jennifer Gartley developed the Come Sign With Us program to keep seniors diagnosed with dementia socially engaged. The last time Brooking Park collaborated with Washington University’s president of Maturity and Its Muse, Lynn Hamilton, was 2013, when Brooking Park residents participated in the KARE study (read more).

We often emphasize the therapeutic powers of music (see ‘Brooking Park’s Music Therapy Program Enriches Lives Of Older Adults‘). We look forward to the Spring performance and our community also hopes this “will be a continuing series of events that bring together seniors and music students.”

Pick up the latest copy of Wash U’s campus newspaper The Source, or enjoy Liam Otten’s lovely write up online here.