HBO's Alzheimer's Project- Momentum in Science

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HBO’s Alzheimer’s Project features a series of films each highlighting issues related to this subject matter such as the personal accounts of patients, their family members, and caregivers. Another film, Momentum in Science, discusses groundbreaking scientific discoveries being examined by top researchers in this subject area. I viewed the latter film because I found it interesting to learn more about the complexities of this disease trajectory, research aims, and innovations. A few things I learned . . .

• Investigators are formulating new drugs aimed at halting the progression of beta amyloid plaques and tau tangles, hallmark features of Alzheimer’s Dementia (AD).
• Through MRI, researchers can predict impending decline. In fact, hyperactivated parts of the brain, thought to be compensatory, if seen early in the disease, is often indicative of a decline within two years.
• Genetics is a non-modifiable risk factor for AD. However, there are certain lifestyle habits which offer a protective defense against AD. Some of these include physical exercise, diets low in saturated fat and sugar, and maintaining “cognitive reserve” through continued lifelong engagement in activities and learning.
• Most individuals are diagnosed when memory has already failed. One of the goals is to capture brain changes that are occurring much earlier in the disease process in order to better understand AD.

Submitted by Amy Priftakis