Dr. Brenda Milner's Interview in The New York Times
The New York Times
20 May 2013
News about our knowledge of the brain and behavior
from Anthony Risser, Ph.D.
Baxter Announces Topline Results of Phase III Study of Immunoglobulin for Alzheimer's Disease
DEERFIELD, Ill., May 7, 2013 - Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX) today announced that its Phase III clinical study of immunoglobulin (IG) did not meet its co-primary endpoints of reducing cognitive decline and preserving functional abilities in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. The Gammaglobulin Alzheimer's Partnership (GAP) study was conducted by Baxter in collaboration with the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS), a clinical trial consortium supported by the United States National Institute on Aging in the National Institutes of Health.
Topline analyses from the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center trial found that after 18 months of treatment, patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease taking Baxter's IG treatment at either the 400 mg/kg or the 200 mg/kg dose did not demonstrate a statistically significant difference in the rate of cognitive decline as compared to placebo (mean 7.4 in the 400 mg/kg group, 8.9 in the 200 mg/kg group, and 8.4 in the placebo group). Results also did not indicate a statistically significant change in functional ability as compared to placebo (mean -11.4 in the 400 mg/kg group, -12.4 in the 200 mg/kg group, and -11.4 in the placebo group).
Read the full press release here.
Additional discussion at the Alzheimer Research Forum website at this page: Gammagard™ Misses Endpoints in Phase 3 Trial
Developed and offered by Dr. Leonard E. White at Duke, it looks like an excellent course.
The Twitter hashtag for the course is #MedNeuro.
NIH launches collaborative effort to find biomarkers for Parkinson's
New online resource will support data sharing
15 January 2013
"A new initiative aims to accelerate the search for biomarkers — changes in the body that can be used to predict, diagnose or monitor a disease — in Parkinson's disease, in part by improving collaboration among researchers and helping patients get involved in clinical studies.
"A lack of biomarkers for Parkinson's has been a major challenge for developing better treatments. The Parkinson’s Disease Biomarkers Program (PDBP) supports efforts to invent new technologies and analysis tools for biomarker discovery, to identify and validate biomarkers in patients, and to share biomarker data and resources across the Parkinson's community. The program is being launched by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health."
Molly Crockett - Beware Neuro-bunk
View Molly Crockett's TED Talk
There are many reasons to develop telemedicine clinics for assessment and management of dementia. Time constraints, location, and poor weather conditions can all impact on the ability of patients and providers to attend rural clinics. The utility of telemedicine in the diagnosis of dementia and subsequent follow-up appears promising in the literature, as it provides a viable means of assessing cognition in patients in remote areas with limited access to medical specialists.
This study explored the feasibility of introducing a telemedicine memory disorder follow-up clinic in a rural community. The evaluation of 32 clinic sessions found high levels of satisfaction, with over 90% of physicians and patients indicating that they'd be willing to use video conferencing again. Physicians overwhelmingly felt the sessions provided enough information to assist in clinical decision-making (96%), and patients and CCAC Case Managers/Geriatric Assessors felt able to present the same information by video conferencing as in person (92% for both groups). The telemedicine clinic provided a number of favourable results such as: timely access to specialist care in the patient's own community; fewer cancelled clinics; enhanced care transitions between the follow-up clinic and primary care with the support of a case manager/geriatric assessor; and enhanced follow-up for a complex patient population. In addition, the telemedicine initiative freed up spaces for "in-person" clinics. This allowed them to focus on new patient assessments.
The high satisfaction rates amongst all key stakeholders affirm that telemedicine is a viable option and worth continued efforts at shaping and developing, particularly in regions where local physician specialists are a scare resource.
PMID: 23259023 [PubMed - in process]
We investigated the earliest neuropsychological changes in Alzheimer's disease (AD) by comparing the baseline performance of 29 individuals who subsequently developed AD within an average of 7.91 ± 2.70 years with 29 pairwise-matched individuals who remained cognitively healthy (NC). We hypothesized that subtle, qualitative changes in cognition precede clinical AD by several years, and therefore examined subjective as well as standard quantitative measures of cognition, in addition to subjective estimates of mood and medical status. Participants were selected from the 825 members of the longitudinal BASEL study (BAsel Study on the ELderly), all of whom had been ApoE-genotyped and received comprehensive bi-annual neuropsychological assessments. Within 13 years, 29 were diagnosed with probable AD. Each individual who progressed to AD (AD-P) was pairwise matched to a NC participant based on age, education, demographic status, observation period, and, importantly, ApoE genotype. A regression analysis using the lasso technique identified which of 115 neuropsychological variables best discriminated baseline NC from baseline AD-P performance. This analysis yielded eleven neuropsychological variables that optimally discriminated the two groups (correct classification rate: 60.4%): 1) Intrusions and 2) response bias in verbal learning and memory tasks; 3) delayed figure recall; 4-6) three Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) Block Design subtest variables; 7-8) number of errors and repetitions on letter fluency; and 9-11) self-report of memory problems, a feeling of sadness, and cardiac problems. These results suggest that the preclinical neuropsychological cascade to AD includes subtle but identifiable qualitative impairments in verbal and visual memory, visuospatial processing, error control, and subjective neuropsychological complaints.
PMID: 23254631 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]