Sunday, January 25, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Healthy seniors tested in bid to block Alzheimer’s

By
From page OSF12 | June 12, 2014 |

WASHINGTON— In one of the most ambitious attempts yet to thwart Alzheimer’s disease, a major study got underway this week to see if an experimental drug can protect healthy seniors whose brains harbor silent signs that they’re at risk.

Scientists plan to eventually scan the brains of thousands of older volunteers in the U.S., Canada and Australia to find those with a sticky build-up believed to play a key role in development of Alzheimer’s – the first time so many people without memory problems get the chance to learn the potentially troubling news.

Having lots of that gunky protein called beta-amyloid doesn’t guarantee someone will get sick. But the big question: Could intervening so early make a difference for those who do?

“We have to get them at the stage when we can save their brains,” said Dr. Reisa Sperling of Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, who is leading the huge effort to find out.

Researchers are just beginning to recruit volunteers, and on Monday, a Rhode Island man was hooked up for an IV infusion at Butler Hospital in Providence, the first treated.

Peter Bristol, 70, of Wakefield, Rhode Island, figured he was at risk because his mother died of Alzheimer’s and his brother has it.

“I felt I needed to be proactive in seeking whatever therapies might be available for myself in the coming years,” said Bristol, who said he was prepared when a PET scan of his brain showed he harbored enough amyloid to qualify for the research.

“Just because I have it doesn’t mean I’m going to get Alzheimer’s,” he stressed. But Bristol and his wife are “going into the situation with our eyes wide open.”

He won’t know until the end of the so-called A4 Study — it stands for Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s — whether he received monthly infusions of the experimental medicine, Eli Lilly & Co.’s solanezumab, or a dummy drug.

Solanezumab is designed to help catch amyloid before it builds into the brain plaques that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s. It failed in earlier studies to treat full-blown Alzheimer’s — but it did appear to help slow mental decline in patients with mild disease, raising interest in testing it even earlier.

Scientists now think Alzheimer’s begins ravaging the brain at least a decade before memory problems appear, much like heart disease is triggered by quiet cholesterol build-up. Many believe the best chance of preventing or at least slowing the disease requires intervening, somehow, when people still appear healthy.

The $140 million study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, Lilly and others, will track if participants’ memory and amyloid levels change over three years.

Whether this particular drug works or not, the Alzheimer’s study is being watched closely as a chance to learn more about how amyloid works and how people handle the uncertainty of knowing it’s there.

“Amyloid we know is a huge risk factor, but someone can have a head full of amyloid and not decline” mentally, Sperling said. “We need to understand more about why some brains are resilient and some are not.”

Before any brain scans, interested 65- to 85-year-olds will undergo cognitive tests to be sure their memory is normal. Volunteers also must be willing to learn their amyloid levels, and researchers can turn away those whose psychological assessments suggest they may not cope well with the news. Sperling expects to screen more than 5,000 healthy seniors to find the needed 1,000 participants, who will be monitored for anxiety or distress.

“It is breaking new ground,” said Dr. Laurie Ryan of the NIH’s National Institute on Aging. “We really do have to understand how that affects people.”

More than 35 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s or similar dementia, including about 5 million in the U.S., numbers expected to rise rapidly as the baby boomers age.

Alzheimer’s affects 1 in 9 people over age 65, and about a third of those 85 and older, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Today’s medications only temporarily ease some symptoms, and scientists don’t even know exactly how the disease forms. A leading theory is that amyloid plaques kick off the disease but tangles of a second protein, named tau, speed up the brain destruction.

As scientists shift their attention to the still healthy, a few studies are under way to try blocking Alzheimer’s in people genetically at risk to get a form of the disease that runs in their families.

The A4 study widens the focus beyond a genetic link.

Like Bristol, the first participant, some people do want to know if they’re at risk, said Dr. Jason Karlawish, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania who helped design the study’s psychological precautions. After all, many already get tested for Alzheimer’s-related genes.

He calls the research “an opportunity to study the future of the way we’re going to think about, talk about and live with the risks of Alzheimer’s disease.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Nursing students take next step in higher education

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Friend seeks justice for 1982 Vacaville homicide victim

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
Solano GOP welcomes address from King niece

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Scientists think Earth doomed: I disagree

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
Biggest Little Car Show returns for 31st year

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Solano Safety Net Summit set in Fairfield downtown

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

Wine, chocolate pairing comes to downtown Benicia

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Local gas prices dip below $2 a gallon

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Be heart smart all year long

By Gerald Bourne, MD | From Page: C4

Kindergarten Readiness Roundup enlightens parents

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Weather for Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Crews respond to residential fire

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
CHP seeks witnesses to I-80 crash

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Saudi monarchy transition a real economic concern

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

 
City seeks input on downtown plan

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7, 2 Comments

Suisun City police log: Jan. 23, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: Jan. 22, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Privatized housing tenants to feel BAH pinch

By Tom Philpott | From Page: B10

 
Fairfield police log: Jan. 23, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Airman with Fairfield tie completes training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

Abe ‘speechless’ after video claims IS hostage dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
It’s a hoot hanging out with owls at this Tokyo cafe

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2 | Gallery

School: Sea otter conceived in wild is 1st born in captivity

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Man searching by plane finds body of missing son off Mexico

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Kia recalling nearly 87,000 Fortes because of fire risk

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Elon Musk’s SpaceX drops lawsuit against Air Force

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California’s public-worker payroll increased post-recession

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Avian flu confirmed in commercial turkey flock in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Boy, 13, arrested in fatal stabbing near Los Angeles school

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Abortion opponents express renewed hope at SF rally

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Company seeks rights to names of iconic Grand Canyon lodges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Police: Man shot his family, killing 3, then killed himself

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Tens of thousands protest after president resigns in Yemen

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Thousands march against socialist president in Venezuela

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Expert says King Tut mask can be restored after epoxy used

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Obama to cut short India trip to pay call on Saudi Arabia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

GOP presses state bills limiting gay rights before ruling

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
1st attempt to lift fuselage of crashed AirAsia plane fails

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Rockets kill 30 in Ukrainian city as rebels launch offensive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
.

Opinion

Plea for return of stolen statue

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Not all police are bad

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

Editorial Cartoon: Jan. 25, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sound off for Jan. 25, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
 
.

Living

Today in History: Jan. 25, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Jan. 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

The gift of a new beginning

By Dalia Adams | From Page: C3

 
Mennonite group to build houses in tornado-damaged town

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Yearbooks bring Jewish, Catholic groups together

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Horoscope Jan. 25, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

My dad can’t get over the bad first impression of my boyfriend

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Mariel Hemingway working on memoir and young adult novel

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Jonathan Franzen to appear at BookExpo America

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

2 Williams sisters, 2 Madisons into 4th round at Aussie Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Hall of Famer Ernie Banks mourned in sports world and beyond

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Thompson’s record 3rd quarter leads Warriors past Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Belichick on deflated balls: ‘We try to do everything right’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

25 years of trying to get it right

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Sharapova, Bouchard into quarterfinals at Australian Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Abdullah leads North to 34-13 win over South in Senior Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
As Brady, Gronk know, pre-Super Bowl injury talk always big

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

AP Interview: Selig says MLB could expand internationally

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Could Super Bowl be Lynch’s finale in Seattle?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sherman, Seahawks take the trash-talk lead over Patriots

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki’s surgically repaired hip on mend

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Buckeyes celebrate their title at Ohio Stadium

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Carroll, Belichick excelled after failing the first time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Luck-led Team Carter vs. Romo-lead Team Irvin in Pro Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
AP Explains: The Pro Bowl, unlike any other All-Star game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Matt Kuchar stumbles in, gives away Humana Challenge lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
For streaking Atlanta Hawks, it’s all about the balance

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Upstart wins $400,000 Holy Bull at Gulfstream

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Mischief Clem wins California Cup Derby in photo finish

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

World Cup of Hockey tournament set for 2016

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Hometown report: Bowling

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B3

Ashley Wagner wins 3rd US title with record-setting scores

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Weber’s 108.5-mph blast gives him hardest shot at NHL skills

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Jimenez, Mediate share lead in Champions Tour opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Grace wins Qatar Masters by 1 stroke

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Sports on TV for Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B5

 
This date in sports history for Jan. 25, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Business

Anheuser-Busch to buy craft beer company

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Higher standard deduction, other breaks for older taxpayers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Booking a trip to the ER on your smartphone? It’s a breeze

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Recalls this week: cleaners, fitness machines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Tiny Cokes: Less guilt means more money for makers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
First Look: Apple’s HomeKit could help smarten up your home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

.

Obituaries

Thomas Clark

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Sheila Margery (Smith) Luxenberg

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Don Johnson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics