Health and Aging

Alzheimer's Disease

NIH funds next step of cutting-edge research into Alzheimer’s disease genome

Teams of scientists will use support from the National Institutes of Health to conduct research into the genetic underpinnings of Alzheimer’s disease, analyzing how genome sequences—the order of chemical letters in a cell’s DNA—may contribute to increased risk or protect against the disease.

Landmark A4 Alzheimer's prevention trial now enrolling

A4 study logo -- 'The A4 Study' Healthy older adults age 65 to 85 with normal memory but who may be at risk of Alzheimer’s are invited to participate in a major clinical trial to prevent or delay the disease.

Gene risk factors for age-related brain disorders may affect immune system function

Scientists have discovered gene variants that affect the function of immune cells in young, healthy people. Interestingly, many of these same gene variants are known risk factors for diseases that occur later in life, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This linking of known gene risk factors for age-related neurological disorders to immune system functions, such as inflammation, offers new insights into Alzheimer’s and other disorders and may one day lead to promising therapies.

Alzheimer’s research news featured in spring 2014 Connections

The Spring 2014 issue of Connections, the e-newsletter from NIA’s Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center, is now available!

In the latest issue:

Number of Alzheimer’s deaths found to be underreported

Official mortality figures may have substantially underreported deaths due to Alzheimer’s disease in 2010 show two recent studies supported in part by NIA. Underreporting of Alzheimer’s as a cause of death on death certificates is a well-known phenomenon. Some people with the disease never receive a diagnosis. Many others have dementia-related conditions, such as aspiration pneumonia, listed as the primary cause of death while the underlying cause, Alzheimer’s, is never reported.

Blog post - encouraging older adults to participate in research

Cartoon of four people in conversation.

Researchers tell us that recruiting older adults for research studies—especially older adults from underrepresented groups—is one of their greatest challenges.

Researchers find association between abnormal tau and damaged brain cell DNA

Scientists have identified a possible cellular mechanism triggered by oxidative stress and DNA damage that is linked to tau, a protein commonly seen in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease and certain other neurodegenerative diseases called “tauopathies.” The effect was observed in fruit fly and mouse tauopathy models and in human Alzheimer’s brains.

Cognitive training shows staying power

Training to improve cognitive abilities in older people lasted to some degree 10 years after the training program was completed, according to results of a randomized clinical trial supported by the National Institutes of Health.

The findings showed training gains for aspects of cognition involved in the ability to think and learn, but researchers said memory training did not have an effect after 10 years.

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