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Research &
Breakthroughs

Reviewed by Benedict Albensi, PhD, BCMAS, CRQM

New discoveries in diabetes are happening everyday. From bettering our understanding of the basic mechanisms behind diabetes to proving that a new drug lowers blood glucose levels for longer than before, every study contributes to reducing the burden of diabetes.

What is clinical research?

Clinical trials are one of the cornerstones of medical innovation in Alzheimer's Disease. Almost all of the treatments we rely on today were tested in trials, and there are tens of thousands of clinical trials--testing the treatments of tomorrow--going on right now. Keep scrolling to learn more about this process or find trials near you.

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Tau Protein

The tau protein normally exists in neurons (brain cells) and serves to stabilize microtubules, a structure in the brain that transports important nutrients along neurons. In people with Alzheimer's, tau proteins become chemically altered, preventing them from functioning properly and accumulating into neurofibrillary tangles. This causes the neuron to function improperly.

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Beta-Amyloid Plaques

Amyloid precursor protein (APP) is a small protein in the brain that typically gets cut into fragments. However, in people with Alzheimer's Disease, the cutting of APP results in the appearance of beta-amyloid, a toxic protein fragment which starts to stick together to form microscopic amyloid plaques. When these plaques start accumulating in the brain, they prevent neurons (brain cells) from communicating with each other, disrupting a person's cognition. A popular focus of Alzheimer's research has been towards altering APP or removing beta-amyloid plaques.

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Aducanumab (Biogen Trial)

Aducanumab was a compound that was being tested by Biogen as a possible therapy for Alzheimer's. This drug works by binding to beta-amyloid to reduce the amount of beta-amyloid in the brain. In March of 2019, an analysis suggested there was no benefit, so trials were stopped. However, in October, at the annual Clinical Trials for Alzheimer's Disease (CTAD) conference, results from another analysis was presented where patients received a higher dosage. Given this analysis, Biogen reversed its stance and reported statistically significant improvement in some participants. The drug will continue clinical trials in 2020.

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Women and Alzheimer's

Two-thirds of people with Alzheimer's Disease are women, and if you are a woman over the age of 65, you have a 1 in 5 chance of developing Alzheimer's Disease. However, most unpaid caregivers are also women. So, why is Alzheimer's more likely to occur in women? Along with the fact that women are more likely to live longer than men, research shows that there are biological differences in women, especially after menopause, that may underlie the difference. Learn more about the latest research into the link between women and Alzheimer's Disease.

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Early Onset Alzheimer's

Early-onset Alzheimer's, which is Alzheimer's Disease that occurs in people under the age of 65, has unique impacts. From finances, to relationships, to children, early-onset Alzheimer's takes a huge toll on younger populations. Latest research includes understanding the unique genes in some cases behind early-onset Alzheimer's, diagnosing it, and understanding why some people have early-onset Alzheimer's.

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Alzheimer's Diagnosis

Many individuals who are in the early stages of Alzheimer's are often not told about their diagnosis, until the disease has progressed significantly. In fact, fewer than half of Medicare beneficiaries who have Alzheimer's were told by their physician, according to the Alzheimer's Association. This can be because of uncertainty about the diagnosis, the emotional distress it may cause, physicians' viewpoints, and sometimes, diagnostic tools. Research focuses on new tools to help doctors diagnose Alzheimer's, as well as diagnose it earlier.

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