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NIH Consortium Takes Aim at Vascular Disease-linked Cognitive Impairment and Dementia

To better predict, study, and diagnose small vessel disease in the brain and its role in vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia (VCID), the National Institutes of Health has launched MarkVCID, a consortium designed to accelerate the development of new and existing biomarkers for small vessel VCID.

The five-year program, developed by the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), in collaboration with the National Institute on Aging (NIA), consists of seven research groups across the United States working together via a coordinating center based at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. A kick-off meeting for the consortium was held immediately prior to the International Stroke Conference 2017 in Houston, Feb. 20-21.

Tau Shalt Not Return to Play

This January, former New York Jets defensive end Mark Gastineau told a radio show host that he had been diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Parkinson’s Disease. The Jets all-time leader in sacks said he believes his ailments were caused by playing football. The revelations came just a few weeks before the Super Bowl, the most widely viewed event in sports.

Piramal Imaging is Proud to Support Major New Research Study Assessing the Value of PET Scans in Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Diagnosis

Piramal Imaging is proud to announce it will provide funding and support, along with other industry partners, for a major clinical study titled, “Imaging Dementia – Evidence for Amyloid Scanning” (IDEAS). The trial is designed to evaluate the impact of positron emission tomography (PET) scanning of beta-amyloid deposits in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in a defined patient population. Piramal Imaging’s FDA-approved diagnostic radiotracer for brain beta-amyloid detection, Neuraceq(TM) (florbetaben F18 injection), will be one of three radiotracers used in the study.

DiaGenic Provides Study Results and Update on Key Clinical Programs

DiaGenic (OSE:DIAG) recently announced results from the calibration study for MCItect®, a blood based diagnostic test for Alzheimer’s disease in the pre-dementia stage. In a patient population of 157 patients diagnosed with amnestic mild cognitive impairment, MCItect® demonstrated a total prediction accuracy of 75% in detecting patients converting to Alzheimer’s disease dementia within two years.

Mayo Clinic Study: Blood Biomarker Could Mark Severe Cognitive Decline, Quicker Progression Among Parkinson’s Patients

A genetic mutation, known as GBA, that leads to early onset of Parkinson’s disease and severe cognitive impairment (in about 4 to 7 percent of all patients with the disease) also alters how specific lipids, ceramides and glucosylceramides are metabolized. Mayo Clinic researchers have found that Parkinson’s patients who do not carry the genetic mutation also have higher levels of these lipids in the blood. Further, those who had Parkinson’s and high blood levels were also more likely to have cognitive impairment and dementia. The research was recently published online in the journal PLOS ONE.

The discovery could be an important warning for those with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. There is no biomarker to tell who is going to develop the disease — and who is going to develop cognitive impairment after developing Parkinson’s, says Michelle Mielke, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic researcher and first author of the study.

Cognitive impairment is a frequent symptom in Parkinson’s disease and can be even more debilitating for patients and their caregivers than the characteristic motor symptoms. The early identification of Parkinson’s patients at greatest risk of developing dementia is important for preventing or delaying the onset and progression of cognitive symptoms. Changing these blood lipids could be a way to stop the progression of the disease, says Dr. Mielke.

There is a suggestion this blood lipid marker also could help to predict who will develop Parkinson’s disease and this research is ongoing.

“There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, but the earlier we catch it — the better chance we have to fight it,” says Dr. Mielke. “It’s particularly important we find a biomarker and identify it in the preclinical phase of the disease, before the onset even begins.”

Dr. Mielke’s lab is researching blood-based biomarkers for Parkinson’s disease because blood tests are less invasive and cheaper than a brain scan or spinal tap — other tools used to research the disease.

This work was supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging (U01 AG37526) and from George P. Mitchell and the late Cynthia W. Mitchell. The DEMPARK study was being funded by an unrestricted grant from Novartis and a grant from the International Parkinson Fonds (Deutschland) gGmbH (IPD). The continuation of the study (LANDSCAPE) is part of the Competence Network Degenerative Dementias (KNDD), which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (project number 01GI1008C)).

Study: Plasma Ceramide and Glucosylceramide Metabolism Is Altered in Sporadic Parkinson’s Disease and Associated with Cognitive Impairment: A Pilot Study [PLOS ONE]

Source: Mayo Clinic