March 2019

Menopause and Increased Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

The results of a 3-year study are in.

When women undergo the transition to menopause there is a shift in the brain’s use of glucose that accompanies this change to reproductive senescence. Fifty-nine individuals between the ages of 49 – 60, and with no apparent cognitive deficiencies, participated in a study to identify how the changes during menopause influence shifts in biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease.

This study was funded by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund and highlighted by The Wall Street Journal and sheds crucial light on the changes in the brain that are specific to women as well as the optimal window of opportunity for therapeutic intervention to prevent or delay progression of brain changes associated with the endocrine aging process.


Lisa Mosconi, PH.D., Weill Cornell Medicine

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Do Lifestyle Factors such as Stress Affect the Onset and Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease

You wouldn’t think twice if someone told you that eating healthy, getting enough sleep and reducing your stress levels could significantly reduce your risk of a heart attack. But could implementing these healthy lifestyle factors help to decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as well?

That’s the compelling question Massachusetts General Hospital researchers Filip Swirski, PhD, and Matthias Nahrendorf, MD, PhD, are beginning to explore with support from the CURE Alzheimer’s Fund. (Reprinted with permission from the Massachusetts General Research Institute Blog, January 29, 2019)


Filip Swirski, PH.D., Massachusetts General Hospital &
Matthias Nahrendorf, M.D., PH.D., Massachusetts General Hospital

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Landmark Study Evaluates Racial Disparities in Alzheimer’s Disease Biomarkers

A biomarker is a substance that is measurable and may indicate a condition or biological state. For example, the level of antibodies in the blood is an example of a biomarker. There are many types and new biomarkers are being introduced as we learn more about various diseases.

To date, few studies have been conducted that examine racial differences in Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers despite the fact that African Americans may have more than a 2-fold increased risk than their Caucasian counterparts. A study published in JAMA Neurology provides one of the first studies to examine racial differences in molecular biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease.


John Morris, M.D., Washington University School of Medicine,
Krista Moulder, PH.D., Washington University School of Medicine, &
David Holtzman, M.D., Washington University School of Medicine

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“Germs in Your Gut are Talking to Your Brain. Scientists Want to Know What They are Saying.”

This is the headline in a recent article in the science section of The New York TimesScience. The author, Carl Zimmer, writes that microbiologists and Alzheimer’s experts are teaming up to examine how the trillions of microbes inside the human body could influence the brain and play a role in dementia.

“For someone with a background in molecular biology and neuroscience, this is like going into outer space,” said Sangram Sisodia, PH.D. and member of the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Research Leadership Group.


Sam Sisodia, PH.D. University of Chicago

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A Drug in Clinical Trials for Strokes may have Application with Alzheimer’s Disease

A research collaboration between, Dr. Berislav Zlokovic and Dr. Robert Vassar, two Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Research Leadership Group members, and Divna Lazic, provides new data suggesting that a drug currently in clinical trials to help the brain recover from stroke also has the potential to play a preventative role in early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. This drug significantly reduced the accumulation of amyloid plaque in the brains of mice and had the added benefit of maintaining normal cerebral blood flow.


Berislav Zlokovic, M.D., PH.D., University of Southern California &
Robert Vassar, PH.D., Northwestern University

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Does Gum Disease Lead to Alzheimer’s Disease

A recent opinion piece published in Nature argues for transparency and open discussion when evaluating the reasons behind drug failures in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease. The piece includes a link for recommended guidelines for clinical trial design as well as potential data-sharing initiatives.


>Robert Moir, PH.D., Massachusetts General Hospital

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The TREM2 Gene may Limit Amaloid Plaque Buildup Early in Alzheimer’s Disease

A new study adds another piece to the TREM2 puzzle by uncovering what happens when TREM2 levels are reduced in both a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease and in post-mortem human brains. The findings published in Nature Neuroscienceare from the laboratory of Dr. Christian Haass and his collaborators including Dr. David Holtzman and Dr. Oleg Butovsky. All three scientists receive funding from Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. This recent paper in Nature Neuroscience describes how TREM2 might regulate the innate immune system’s response to amyloid plaques.


Christian Haass, PH.D., DZNE Munich,
David Holtzman, M.D., Washington University School of Medicine, &
Oleg Butovsky, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

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