Alzheimer's Disease Research Center News

Stanford Alzheimer's Disease Research Center News

Can major surgery increase risk for Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center renamed for Asad Jamal, Iqbal Farrukh

Stanford researchers find signs of inflammation in brains of people who died of COVID-19

VJ Periyakoil Wins ABIM Foundation’s John A Benson Jr, MD Professionalism Article Prize

VJ Periyakoil, MD, professor of primary care and population health and associate dean of research for geriatrics and palliative care, just received the American Board in Internal Medicine or ABIM Foundation’s John A Benson Jr, MD Professionalism Article Prize for her article “Common Types of Gender-Based Microaggressions in Medicine.”

The award “recognizes outstanding contributions to the growing body of peer-reviewed journal articles that document the impact of medical professionalism on improving health care.”  It was named for American Board of Internal Medicine and ABIM Foundation President Emeritus John A. Benson Jr., MD, who taught medical students at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and at Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine, where he also served at the Center for Ethics in Health Care.

Failure to demonstrate efficacy of aducanumab

Researchers from Stanford University and the Mayo Clinic recently published a Perspective on the investigational drug aducanumab, which is under review by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease:  The authors state, “Aducanumab recently underwent two large phase III clinical trials that were stopped prematurely by the sponsor Biogen. One trial was trending positive while the other showed no benefits from aducanumab. Post hoc analyses led the sponsor to assert that there was a sufficient efficacy signal to justify a new drug application as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. The sponsor claimed that subsets of participants receiving sufficiently high doses of aducanumab demonstrated benefits in both trials. In contrast, we identified alternative accounts for the apparent drug benefits in post hoc subgroups that are unrelated to dose effects. Biomarker data were consistent with target engagement, but no evidence was presented to correlate biomarker changes to cognitive benefits. Our analysis supports the conduct of a third, phase III trial with high-dose aducanumab. Aducanumab’s efficacy as a treatment for the cognitive dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease cannot be proven by clinical trials with divergent outcomes.”

Young Blood/Old Brains

What if you could extend your healthy life by 10 or 20 years – with a blood transfusion? Research by Stanford professor Tony Wyss-Coray shows a potential to treat Alzheimer’s and prevent age-related cognitive decline. He’s discovered that proteins found in the blood of young mice can dramatically reverse the effects of aging when transfused into older mice. Doing the same thing in humans could increase our quality of life as we age, and our life expectancy as well. We’re years away from seeing any clinical applications of this research, which gives us time to ask about its implications. Who will have access to this treatment? Who are the donors providing young blood? We could add years to our lives – but is that what we really want?

National Institute on Aging awards $15 million to Stanford’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center

The National Institute on Aging has awarded a $15 million grant to the Stanford Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, which investigates Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and related disorders. The center is led by director Victor Henderson, professor of health research and policy and of neurology and neurological sciences, and associate director Katrin Andreasson, professor of neurology and neurological sciences.

Negative Thinking Can Harm Your Brain and Increase Your Dementia Risk

A new study shows that repetitive negative thinking, a mechanism proposed to underlie several known psychological Alzheimer's disease risk factors, is itself associated with cognitive decline as well as amyloid and tau deposition on PET scans. Jacob Hall, MD, Clinical Assistant Processor of Neurology, comments on the study's findings. 

Brain Health Registry featured on Asian Pacific America

Sharon Sha, MD, clinical associate professor of neurology and neurological sciences and medical director of the Stanford neurosciences clinical trials group discusses the Stanford Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and clinical trials recruitment specifically for the Asian American community.

Longevity Gene May Protect against a Notorious Alzheimer’s Risk Gene

Stanford Medicine researchers have found that a common variant in one gene reduces risk of Alzheimer's disease in those at high genetic risk from a second gene.

Gene variant staves off Alzheimer’s in some people

Stanford Medicine researchers have found a gene variant that protects carriers of another gene variant, ApoE4, from developing Alzheimer’s disease — the first demonstration of that beneficial effect.


Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness Task Force

Sharon Sha, MD, clinical associate professor of neurology and neurological sciences, was appointed as a member of the Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness Task Force for the State of California by Governor Gavin Newsom and Task Force Chair Maria Shriver. The purpose of task force is to present recommendations to the Governor on how local communities, private organizations, businesses, government and families can prevent and prepare for the rise in the number of cases of Alzheimer’s disease and all its consequences. The work and recommendations of the Task Force will be in parallel and incorporated in the Governor’s Master Plan for Aging.

Suspicion: Why are virus-targeting immune cells sniffing around Alzheimer’s patients’ brains?

In a new study published in Nature, Stanford neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray, PhD, and his colleagues report the startling discovery of virus-obsessed immune cells in autopsied brains of deceased Alzheimer's patients, and in cerebrospinal fluid (which bathes our brains) of living individuals diagnosed with the disease.

Thwarting A Protein Reverses Brain Decline in Aged Mice

Impeding VCAM1, a protein that tethers circulating immune cells to blood vessel walls, enabled old mice to perform as well on memory and learning tests as young mice, a Stanford study found. Senior author Tony Wyss-Coray, professor of neurology and neurological sciences, co-director of the Stanford Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, is quoted in this piece.

Blocking protein curbs memory loss in old mice

Impeding VCAM1, a protein that tethers circulating immune cells to blood vessel walls, enabled old mice to perform as well on memory and learning tests as young mice, a Stanford study found. 

Stanford team develops brain-rejuvenating antibodies that let old mice think like youngsters

In a stunning piece of research, Stanford neuroscientists have hunted down a single gene that encodes a protein responsible for age-related cognitive losses, targeted it with special blocking antibodies, and shown in mice that these antibodies can rejuvenate old brains to work as well as young ones.

Blocking protein’s activity restores cognition in old mice

Brain cells called microglia serve as the brain’s garbage crew, scarfing up bits of cellular debris. But their underperformance in aging brains contributes to neurodegeneration. Now, a possible workaround?

Stanford announces new Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) Research Center of Excellence

In December 2017 researchers from across the country joined in the first-ever comprehensive network of research centers to conduct LBD clinical trials, provide community outreach, and expand professional continuing medical education. Representing 24 of medicine’s most prestigious academic medical research centers, these Research Centers of Excellence will help to streamline and standardize LBD science while connecting patients and families with the latest opportunities to participate in LBD clinical trials. 

Clearing clumps of protein in aging neural stem cells boosts their activity

Young, resting neural stem cells have large protein clumps often associated with neurodegeneration. As stem cells age, the aggregates inhibit their ability to make new neurons, Stanford researchers say.

Blood, the Secret Sauce? Focus on Plasma Promises AD Treatment

In mice, infusing young blood rejuvenates the old, and even staves off some of the changes linked to Alzheimer’s. It’s too early to say if the same is true in people, but first results look encouraging. At the 2017 Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease meeting, held November 1–4 in Boston, Sharon Sha of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, presented results of a small Phase 1 trial in which patients with mild to moderate AD received infusions of plasma donated by young men.

Scientists aim to wipe out dementia and other diseases of aging

Scientist are developing therapies that can slow, reverse or prevent dementia and other diseases by targeting their greatest risk factor – aging itself. (article may require SF Chronicle Subscription)

Clinical trial finds blood-plasma infusions for Alzheimer’s safe, promising

In a small safety trial based on preclinical work by a Stanford researcher, participants receiving blood plasma infusions from young donors showed some evidence of improvement.

Eight things you can do now that might reduce your odds of dementia later

Scientists generally agree that you can get pretty far in warding off dementia by adopting a healthful lifestyle. What’s good for your body seems to be good for your brain, too.

Aging Research: Plasma Protein Revitalizes the Brain

For centuries, people have yearned for an elixir capable of restoring youth to their aging bodies and minds. It sounds like pure fantasy, but, in recent years, researchers have shown that the blood of young mice can exert a regenerative effect when transfused into older animals. Now, one of the NIH-funded teams that brought us those exciting findings has taken an early step toward extending them to humans.

Young human blood makes old mice smarter

Mice treated with a protein from umbilical cord plasma improved their performance on memory tests.

Study shows protein in human umbilical cord blood rejuvenates old mice’s impaired learning, memory

A single protein contained in human cord plasma boosted old mice’s brain function and cognitive performance, new research from Stanford shows.

Hack your brain to remember almost anything

According to a study published today, anyone can train their brain using the same tricks as the world's top competitors, reshaping their brain's networks in the process.

Memorization tool bulks up brain's internal connections, scientists say

Stanford researchers have found that teaching ordinary people a technique used by memory athletes boosted their memory abilities and made lasting changes in the organization of their brains.

Stanford Brain Rejuvenation Project

We have assembled a highly collaborative and multi-disciplinary team focused on harnessing a powerful new approach to discover, characterize, and utilize brain rejuvenation factors harbored in the blood to improve human health and to combat neurodegenerative diseases. Our team consists of a mix of junior and senior investigators from the schools of Medicine and Humanities and Sciences. Our team brings together a neurologist, geneticists, a chemist, stem cell biologists and neuroscientists all with distinct and complementary expertise and technologies.

Pilot study suggests therapy horses may aid people with dementia and their caregivers

The research team, led by Dolores Gallagher Thompson, PhD, and Nusha Askari, PhD, and Jacqueline Hartman at the Stanford Red Barn Leadership Program, found that supervised activities, such as observing herd behavior, grooming horses and leading horses with a lead and halter, helped participants recognize and use non-verbal forms of communication.

When It's Not Alzheimer's: The Differential Diagnosis of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration

The article is part of an ongoing series exploring the multiple differential diagnoses of Alzheimer's disease. Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is estimated to cause up to 10% of dementia cases, and is often mistaken for Alzheimer’s. Dr. Sharon Sha, clinical assistant professor of neurology and neurological sciences, is interviewed about the differences.

Creative Minds: A New Chemistry for Aging Research?

NIH director Francis Collins profiles Tony Wyss-Coray, professor of neurology and neurological sciences, who is studying the collection of proteins known as the communicome to track the aging process in mice.

Alzheimer's from a New Angle

The February 22, 2016 issue of Time Magazine covers the efforts of Dr. Longo and his team to develop a novel approach for Alzheimer’s therapy.

Stanford neurologist ponders her interest in the human brain

As part of the team at the Stanford Center for Memory Disorders, Sha is dedicated to studying ways to fight memory disorders and cognitive decline. “I think it’s fascinating to help people understand why” the brain isn’t functioning in the right way, she shares.

5 Questions: Frank Longo on Alzheimer's, new neuroscience center

In a recent interview, neurologist Frank Longo discussed Alzheimer’s disease, recent research breakthroughs and the new Stanford Neuroscience Health Center, which he co-leads.

Scientists reverse the cognitive effects of aging in mice

A cure for aging? A scientist behind a breakthrough technique seems to have found a way to reverse cognitive ageing effects on mice. Next, is to find out if it will work on humans.

Can we reverse the ageing process by putting young blood into older people?

A series of experiments has produced incredible results by giving young blood to old mice. Now the findings are being tested on humans. Ian Sample meets the scientists whose research could transform our lives.

Alzheimer’s Disease: What Stands Between Us and a Cure?

Our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease is better than ever before. So why are we still so far from a cure?

What should we know about Alzheimer's disease?

In this Q&A, Michael Greicius discusses the causes, onset, progression and treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Greicius is an associate professor of neurology and neurological sciences and medical director of the Stanford Center for Memory Disorders.

Rejuvenating Old Brains with Young Blood | Tony Wyss-Coray | World Economic Forum

Might young blood be the fountain of youth? asks Tony Wyss-Coray from Stanford University. The Professor of Neurology says blood transports messages between different organs, and young blood may be able to boost health, recharge the old brain and halt cognitive decline.

Stanford to open Alzheimer's research center

A new Stanford ADRC will receive nearly $7.3 million in funding over a five-year period to conduct interdisciplinary research on Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Victor Henderson, professor of health research and policy and of neurology and neurological sciences, will direct the center; Tony Wyss-Coray, professor of neurology and neurological sciences, will serve as co-director; Frank Longo, the George E. and Lucy Becker Professor and professor and chair of neurology and neurological sciences and Jerome Yesavage, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, will serve as associate directors; and Michael Greicius, associate professor of neurology, will lead the center's imaging core.

Stanford-based Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center to be launched

A new Stanford-based center will receive nearly $7.3 million in funding over a five-year period to conduct interdisciplinary research on Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.  

Scientists find genetic underpinnings of functional brain networks seen in imaging studies

Imaging studies have delineated brain networks consisting of discrete brain regions acting in synchrony. This view of the brain’s functional architecture has now been confirmed by a study showing coordination at the genetic level as well. 

Talking about "mouseheimers," and a call for new neuroscience technologies

Michael Greicius, MD, MPH, professor of neurology & neurological sciences at Stanford, researches Alzheimer’s and has a bone to pick with media hype about Alzheimer’s research conducted in mice. What the mice have shouldn’t be considered the same condition, he says, so he’s termed it “mouseheimer’s.” 

Fighting to remember: U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, experts host panel on Alzheimer’s disease

A panel of experts discussed Alzheimer's disease and its effects on women Monday in San Mateo. The panel included Michael Greicius, associate professor of neurology and neurological sciences and medical director of the Stanford Center for Memory Disorders, who is quoted here. 

The gene variant ApoE4 puts women at higher risk of Alzheimer's disease

The number of women with Alzheimer's far exceeds that of men with the condition. Researchers at Stanford University found that carrying a copy of a gene variant called ApoE4 puts women at a substantially higher risk for Alzheimer's disease than men. 

Are Women at Greater Risk for Alzheimer’s?

Neurologists Roberta Diaz Brinton and Michael Greicius discuss why it’s important to study women with Alzheimer’s as a distinct population, and why females might be more likely to develop the disease. 

Brain scientists speak at Davos economic forum

Members of research teams created through the Stanford Neurosciences Institute's Big Ideas in Neuroscience initiative spoke Jan. 23 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. 

Ageing research: Blood to blood

By splicing animals together, scientists have shown that young blood rejuvenates old tissues. Now, they are testing whether it works for humans.

Blocking receptor in brain’s immune cells counters Alzheimer’s in mice, study finds

Brain cells called microglia chew up toxic substances and cell debris, calm inflammation and make nerve-cell-nurturing substances. New research shows that keeping them on the job may prevent neurodegeneration. 

Can Alzheimer's damage to the brain be repaired?

Longo and his colleagues have pioneered the development of small-molecule drugs that might be able to restore nerve cells frayed by conditions such as Alzheimer’s.

Infusion of young blood recharges brains of old mice, study finds

Something in the blood of young mice has the ability to restore mental capabilities in old mice, which could spell a new paradigm for recharging aging brains. 

Gene variant puts women at higher risk of Alzheimer’s than it does men, study finds

Carrying a copy of a gene variant called ApoE4 confers a substantially greater risk for Alzheimer's disease on women than it does on men, researchers have found.