Alzheimer's

Alzheimer’s disease affects an estimated 50 million people worldwide, yet there are only a handful of drugs to treat the symptoms. None of them address the underlying disease processes, and it’s been years since a major new drug got approved. But there are 126 drugs in clinical trials. A leading researcher breaks down the prospects and obstacles to treating Alzheimer’s disease. We talk with Rudy Tanzi of Harvard & Massachusetts General Hospital. 

Every 66 seconds someone in America develops Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association 5.5 million Americans are living with this disease, which steals memories and changes personalities. By 2050 that number could be as high as 16 million. On The Point, we talk about the hopes raised by promising new research, and about some innovative programs being offered on Cape Cod.

About 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, and that number is rising in line with the aging population. An estimated one to four family members act as caregivers for each individual with Alzheimer’s. Joining us on The Point is Dr. Molly Perdue, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Family Support Center, designed to get caregivers the help and support they need.

regblog.org

Journalist Greg O’Brien was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease four years ago. He's the subject of a documentary film A Place Called Pluto (which WCAI will screen later this month).

Photo by Sean Corcoran

Part 5 of our 5-part series "Desperate for a Cure: The Search for New Alzheimer's Treatments."

BOSTON -- One of the longest and most anticipated Alzheimer drug studies in history is about to begin, and Dr. Reisa Sperling is wondering if people will come. It's called the A4 study, and Sperling is the project leader.

"I sometimes get very worried," she said, "who will we find that wants to come into a 3-year trial on the chance that they might develop Alzheimer's disease dementia?

Photo by Sean Corcoran

Part 4 of our 5-part series "Desperate for a Cure: The Search for New Alzheimer's Treatments."    

Dr. Bill Klunk is a clinician and researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, and he spent much his career finding ways to see Alzheimer's in people's brains.  

Sometimes, he said, he likes to tell people about his dream last day on the job -- that final day before he retires. And in the dream, he meets with Mrs. Smith in the clinic and he says:

Photo by Sean Corcoran

Part 3 of our 5-part series "Desperate for a Cure: The Search for New Alzheimer's Treatments."    

As researchers work to find Alzheimer's treatments, they have a small, furry ally at their disposal -- the mouse.  And at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, they live in a lower level of the school, well below the series of labs upstairs where dozens of researchers are looking for ways to stop Alzheimer's disease.

J.J.

In a new five-part series, WCAI senior reporter and editor Sean Corcoran looks at some of the most recent innovations related to finding a cure or preventative for Alzheimer's disease. Sean traveled to labs in San Diego, Boston, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and New York City.  On The Point he talks with Mindy Todd about reporting the series "Desperate for a Cure: The Search for New Alzheimer's Treatments." Dr.

Alzheimer's Researchers Learning from Past Mistakes

Oct 1, 2013
Photo by Sean Corcoran

Part 2 of our 5-part series "Desperate for a Cure: The Search for New Alzheimer's Treatments."    

At his lab at UC San Diego, Dr. Steve Wagner takes from the lower shelf a clear, plexiglass box filled with small bottles. He needs two hands to carefully lift it.

Sean Corcoran

Part One of our 5-part series "Desperate for a Cure: The Search for New Alzheimer's Treatments."  

Harvard-Mass General researcher Dr. Rob Moir has a hypothesis about a small protein, or peptide, that the body makes called amyloid-beta, or Abeta. This is the stuff that's known to clog the brains of Alzheimer's patients with the disease's telltale plaques. But Moir's hypothesis is that Abeta may actually be part of our immune system.

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