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Alzheimer’s Disease

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pericytes Alzheimer's APOE4 gene
Damage to pericytes, the layer of cells that wrap around blood vessels in the brain, leads to decline in cognition and is accelerated in people who carry the APOE4 gene. (Image/Courtesy of Jim Stanis and Arthur W. Toga, USC Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute)

Alzheimer’s gene triggers early breakdowns in blood-brain barrier, predicting cognitive decline

Although scientists have long known APOE4 is a leading risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, they were unsure how exactly it drives a decline in memory. USC researchers now believe they have an answer.

Health
cardiovascular drugs reduce dementia risk
Though there are no drugs that can treat Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, even small delays in onset that have been linked to statins and other blood pressure medicines can dramatically reduce the burden dementia on patients, caregivers and the health system as a whole. (Photo/iStock)

Certain combinations of cardiovascular drugs may reduce dementia risk

In a first, a USC study has shown that drugs already being used for blood pressure and cholesterol control could provide benefits for Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Health
Alzheimer's drug USC
In this image taken from tissue of an Alzheimer’s patient, the large pink-and-blue plaque on the lower right contains the abnormal protein amyloid. Also seen are several neurofibrillary tangles (smaller blue areas). Both of these abnormalities disrupt the normal working of the brain. (Image/Simon Fraser, Science Source)

Alzheimer’s study aims to see if drug can block brain plaques linked to disease

Keck School of Medicine of USC is launching a large clinical trial that targets amyloid plaques in the brain. The goal: to see whether a drug can clear or slow this plaque in people who have early Alzheimer’s or who appear clinically normal.

HealthScience/Technology
Alzheimer‘s environmental risk factors
USC researchers are looking at the importance of environmental factors in developing Alzheimer's, in particular how they relate to with people who carry genes that increase the risk of Alzheimer‘s disease. (Illustration/iStock)

Scientists propose new approach to Alzheimer’s research to address environmental risks

USC and Duke researchers propose the Alzheimer’s Disease Exposome to address gaps in understanding how environmental factors interact with genetics to increase or reduce risk for the disease.

HealthScience/Technology
AAEA Wisdom project panel
Michael Harrington, Karen Lincoln and Rose Monteiro use a talk-show format for Alzheimer’s disease outreach in the African-American community. (USC Photo/Gus Ruelas)

Culturally tailored text messages improve Alzheimer’s education among African-Americans

The work is critical: Older African-Americans are far more likely to have the disease or other dementias than their white counterparts; they’re also diagnosed later, after the disease has progressed.