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August 2016

Exciting news from an international Alzheimer’s conference

Greetings and happy summer from the Brain Health Registry! We are thrilled to share highlights from our week in Toronto at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® (AAIC), where thousands of the world’s leading scientists and clinicians convened to discuss the latest progress in Alzheimer’s and dementia research.

Researchers presented results on topics ranging from Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment to new theories about the cause of Alzheimer’s, to challenges and successes in dementia care. Dr. Rachel Nosheny, Ph.D., a Brain Health Registry scientist, presented research exploring how self-reported genetic information may help the Brain Health Registry identify people who are a good match for future Alzheimer’s clinical trials.

Approximately 20% of the population carry a certain form, or allele, of the APOE gene and have a higher incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. Usually, a person’s APOE genotype is determined by a blood test or cheek swab. Over 4,000 Brain Health Registry participants already know their APOE genotype and have shared this knowledge with the Brain Health Registry. With this information, Dr. Nosheny found that self-reported APOE genotype can be useful for identifying the right participants for upcoming Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials.

Dr. Nosheny’s findings highlight how powerful the information you provide is in advancing our fight against brain disease. Thanks for lending your unique voice to this cause!

Sniffing around in search of new tools to help detect Alzheimer’s

Girl holding a red and yellow flower

Current modes of testing for Alzheimer’s are often costly and invasive. But, what if scientists were able to devise an inexpensive way – a simple sniff test, for example – to help determine whether a person may be on track to develop Alzheimer’s? That is exactly what two research groups that presented at the conference hope to do. The two teams from Columbia University Medical Center added to a growing body of research indicating that odor identification may assist in predicting a decline in cognitive function.

On a related note, we are thrilled to announce the official launch of the Smell Study with our partners at the Monell Chemical Senses Center. This exciting study is designed to help scientists better understand how our ability to smell relates to changes in thinking and memory. To learn more about the Smell Study, please read here. We will be emailing some Brain Health Registry participants, inviting them to take part in this study.  Stay tuned – you may just receive an email invitation in your inbox soon.

Thank you for your participation and support of the Brain Health Registry!

The recent conference on Alzheimer’s provided an opportunity to learn about the strides scientists are making toward combatting brain disease, as well as the challenges that remain. The Brain Health Registry is working to remove the major obstacles to finding cures: the high cost and time it takes to conduct Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment trials. Our efforts to accelerate clinical trials help researchers test new treatments for Alzheimer’s and other brain disease more efficiently. There is still much more work to be done, but we thank you for helping us advance brain health research – we couldn’t do it without volunteers like you!