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More Information and Recent Research on Neurodegenerative Disease

(Reuters) Leading countries set a goal of finding a cure or effective treatment for dementia by 2025 on Wednesday and ministers said the world needed to fight the spread of the memory-robbing condition just as it fought AIDS. The move by the Group of Eight (G8) nations matches the date set by the United States last year for beating Alzheimer's - but the target is ambitious, considering there is no obvious cure on the horizon.
Community: They’d do well to spend a lot of that money on prevention efforts, since there are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the severity of cognitive decline.
(Mayo Clinic) A recent Mayo Clinic study found that people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are about twice as likely to develop mild cognitive impairment (MCI) — and chances are that it will include memory loss. 
(Science Daily) Much of the debate in Alzheimer's disease (AD) has focused on whether the protein amyloid-beta or the tau protein is the symptom or the cause of the disease. But George Bloom, Ph.D., and colleagues … have pursued another hypothesis: much earlier interactions between the two proteins them drive adult neurons into the forbidden pathway of "cell cycle re-entry" (CCR)… Dr. Bloom … said that he believes that the proteins identified in this signaling axis are potential biomarkers, and therapeutic targets for very early stages of AD, leaving the door open for an even more exciting sequel down the road.
(Science Daily)  Using high-resolution functional MRI (fMRI) imaging in patients with Alzheimer's disease and in mouse models of the disease, Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers have clarified three fundamental issues about Alzheimer's: where it starts, why it starts there, and how it spreads. In addition to advancing understanding of Alzheimer's, the findings could improve early detection of the disease, when drugs may be most effective.
(Penn State News) Researchers at Penn State have developed an innovative technology to regenerate functional neurons after brain injury and also in model systems used for research on Alzheimer's disease. The scientists have used supporting cells of the central nervous system, glial cells, to regenerate healthy, functional neurons, which are critical for transmitting signals in the brain.
(Science Daily) Scientists have identified the biological pathway that explains Gaucher disease (GD) patients' higher risk for developing Parkinson's disease (PD)… GD is a hereditary disease in which the genes that encode the enzyme glucocerebrosidase are mutated, resulting in a life-threatening build-up of lipids, fatty substances, in cells.
More . . .
Exercise Improves Depression in People with Parkinson's
(Dr. Ariane Park, LiveScience) Not only can exercise help with the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease, but a new pilot study that I recently completed showed that patient participation in exercise — in earlier stages of the disease — can improve depression in patients. The study … also found that long-term group exercise programs are feasible for people with Parkinson's disease.
(Science Daily) Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a devastating illness that gradually robs sufferers of muscle strength and eventually causes a lethal, full-body paralysis… In a new study, … researchers … have made inroads into the mechanism by which ALS acts. Working with a powerful fruit fly model of the disease, they found a way of reducing disease toxicity that slows the dysfunction of neurons and showing that a parallel mechanism can reduce toxicity in mammalian cells. Their discoveries offer the possibility of a new strategy for treating ALS.
(Science Daily) Measuring changes in certain proteins -- called biomarkers -- in people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis may better predict the progression of the disease, according to scientists… [C]linical variation in patients presents challenges in terms of managing the disease and developing new treatments. Finding relevant biomarkers, which are objective measures that reflect changes in biological processes or reactions to treatments, may help address these challenges.

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