Risky driving behaviors increase as common sleep disorder worsens

People with sleep apnea wake up tired in the morning, no matter how many hours they actually sleep. The condition causes them to briefly stop and restart breathing dozens or even hundreds of times a night. Even though such breathing interruptions often don’t awaken those with apnea, they prevent them from sinking into deep, refreshing […]

New strategy reduces brain damage in Alzheimer’s and related disorders, in mice

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common and best known of the tauopathies, a set of neurodegenerative brain diseases caused by toxic tangles of the protein tau. A study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has shown that targeting astrocytes — an inflammatory cell in the brain — reduces tau-related brain […]

Does improving sleep reduce signs of early Alzheimer’s disease?

The TV sitcom grandpa character who always seems to fall asleep at unfortunate moments is so common it’s almost a cliché. But daytime napping and disjointed sleep at night aren’t normal parts of aging. Sleep disturbances can be an early sign of a neurodegenerative condition, and they may be treatable. Researchers at Washington University School […]

Blood test for Alzheimer’s highly accurate in large, international study

A blood test developed at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has proven highly accurate in detecting early signs of Alzheimer’s disease in a study involving nearly 500 patients from across three continents, providing further evidence that the test should be considered for routine screening and diagnosis. The study is available in the […]

Hit the sleep ‘sweet spot’ to keep brain sharp

Like so many other good things in life, sleep is best in moderation. A multiyear study of older adults found that both short and long sleepers experienced greater cognitive decline than people who slept a moderate amount, even when the effects of early Alzheimer’s disease were taken into account. The study was led by researchers […]

Protein linked to heart health, disease a potential therapeutic target for dementia

Mice prone to developing Alzheimer’s-like brain damage have potentially damaging activated immune cells in their brains (above). Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that high levels of a normal protein associated with reduced heart disease also protect against Alzheimer’s-like damage in mice, opening up new approaches to slowing or stopping brain damage and cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer’s. (Image: Yang Shi)

By the time people with Alzheimer’s disease start exhibiting difficulty remembering and thinking, the disease has been developing in their brains for two decades or more, and their brain tissue already has sustained damage. As the disease progresses, the damage accumulates, and their symptoms worsen. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis […]

Draining brain’s debris enhances Alzheimer’s therapies in mice

Experimental Alzheimer’s drugs have shown little success in slowing declines in memory and thinking, leaving scientists searching for explanations. But new research in mice has shown that some investigational Alzheimer’s therapies are more effective when paired with a treatment geared toward improving drainage of fluid — and debris — from the brain, according to a […]

Holtzman, Karch honored for research into neurodegenerative diseases

Alzheimer’s researchers David M. Holtzman, MD, and Celeste Karch, PhD, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, have been recognized by the Rainwater Charitable Foundation for scientific achievements that could lead to new, effective treatments for neurodegenerative diseases associated with the accumulation of tau protein in the brain. Alzheimer’s is the best known such disease. […]

Rainwater Charitable Foundation Announces Second-Annual Rainwater Prize Winners for Brain Research

The Rainwater Charitable Foundation, one of the largest independent funders of neurodegenerative disease research, today announced Dr. David M. Holtzman (the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and Chair of Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis) and Dr. Celeste Karch (Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis) as this year’s recipients of the Rainwater Annual Prize for […]

Protein linked to Alzheimer’s, strokes cleared from brain blood vessels

As people age, a normal brain protein known as amyloid beta often starts to collect into harmful amyloid plaques in the brain. Such plaques can be the first step on the path to Alzheimer’s dementia. When they form around blood vessels in the brain, a condition known as cerebral amyloid angiopathy, the plaques also raise […]

Protein involved in removing Alzheimer’s buildup linked to circadian rhythm

Fractured sleep, daytime sleepiness and other signs of disturbance in one’s circadian rhythm are common complaints of people with Alzheimer’s disease, and the problems only get worse as the disease progresses. But the reason for the link between Alzheimer’s and circadian dysfunction is not well understood. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. […]

New center to explore brain, immune system connections

As the brain reigns supreme over the human body, the immune system works 24/7 to defend the body from foreign invaders. For decades, however, the brain and the immune system were thought to operate independently of one another. But a growing body of evidence suggests the two are intimately connected in keeping the body healthy. […]

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

Consumer genetic tests can sometimes result in a terrible surprise appearing in the same report that divulges whether one has a cilantro aversion or wet or dry earwax. Test takers may receive the devastating news that they have a version of a gene—apolipoprotein E epsilon 4 (APOE e4)—that greatly increases their chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease. The […]

Washington University to break ground on major neuroscience research hub

Washington University in St. Louis will begin construction in March on what will be one of the largest neuroscience research buildings in the country. Located on the School of Medicine campus, the 11-story, state-of-the-art research facility will merge, cultivate and advance some of the world’s leading neuroscience research. The 609,000-square-foot facility and interconnected projects initially […]

Gene ID’d as potential therapeutic target for dementia in Parkinson’s

Dementia is one of the most debilitating consequences of Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurological condition characterized by tremors, stiffness, slow movement and impaired balance. Eighty percent of people with Parkinson’s develop dementia within 20 years of the diagnosis, and patients who carry a particular variant of the gene APOE are at especially high risk. In new research, […]

Low Blood Sugar Levels May Keep Alzheimer’s At Bay

Brain scientists are offering a new reason to control blood sugar levels: It might help lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. “There’s many reasons to get [blood sugar] under control,” says David Holtzman, chairman of neurology at Washington University in St. Louis. “But this is certainly one.” Holtzman moderated a panel Sunday at the Society […]

Targeting immune cells may be potential therapy for Alzheimer’s

Messy tangles of a protein called tau can be found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease and some other neurodegenerative diseases. In Alzheimer’s, the tangles coalesce just before tissue damage becomes visible in brain scans and people start to become forgetful and confused. Now, a new study has found that brain immune cells […]

Holtzman awarded Watanabe Prize in Translational Research

David Holtzman, MD, the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and head of the Department of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received the August M. Watanabe Prize in Translational Research from the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. He was recognized for his work uncovering the causes of Alzheimer’s disease […]

Leading the way for personalized medicine

Washington University is working with unparalleled research capabilities to make personalized medicine a reality. The medical school is pioneering individualized treatment approaches in obesity, diabetes, breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Watch the video spotlight.

A Blood Test for Alzheimer’s? It’s Coming, Scientists Report

For decades, researchers have sought a blood test for beta amyloid, the protein that is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Several groups and companies have made progress, and on Thursday, scientists at Washington University in St. Louis reported that they had devised the most sensitive blood test yet. The test will not be available for […]

Alzheimer’s missing link ID’d, answering what tips brain’s decline

Years before symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease appear, two kinds of damaging proteins silently collect in the brain: amyloid beta and tau. Clumps of amyloid accumulate first, but tau is particularly noxious. Wherever tangles of the tau protein appear, brain tissue dies, triggering the confusion and memory loss that are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s. Now, researchers at […]

Just One Night Of Sleep Loss Can Affect Body And Mind, Studies Find

From Forbes… Brains do a lot of work while we sleep—far from being a passive behavior, sleep is actually critical to brain health, and as a result, mental and cognitive health. A few new studies in recent weeks underline how important sleep is, and how detrimental lack of sleep can be. And not just chronic […]

Sleep deprivation accelerates Alzheimer’s brain damage

Study in mice, people explains why poor sleep linked to Alzheimer’s From the WashU Newsroom… Poor sleep has long been linked with Alzheimer’s disease, but researchers have understood little about how sleep disruptions drive the disease. Now, studying mice and people, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that sleep […]

Study: Sleep Deprivation Speeds Up Alzheimer’s Disease

From US News & World Report… EXPERTS HAVE LONG warned about the negative effects of sleep deprivation, and new research suggests that people with Alzheimer’s disease may be particularly affected. In a study of mice and humans, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that sleep deprivation increases levels of the […]

New hope for old disease

Doctors may soon be able to predict, prevent Alzheimer’s disease From the WashU Outlook Magazine… Caring for an aging relative with Alzheimer’s disease, watching memories slowly slip away, is an exhausting and heartbreaking ordeal. For those with the condition, modern medicine can offer little in the way of treatment as the disease inexorably strips away […]

Decreased deep sleep linked to early signs of Alzheimer’s disease

Toxic brain protein tau elevated in older people who sleep poorly From the WashU School of Medicine News… Poor sleep is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. People with the disease tend to wake up tired, and their nights become even less refreshing as memory loss and other symptoms worsen. But how and why restless nights […]

Antibody removes Alzheimer’s plaques, in mice

From the WashU Newsroom… Years before people start showing characteristic symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, sticky plaques begin forming in their brains, damaging nearby cells. For decades, doctors have sought ways to clear out these plaques as a way to prevent or treat the disease. The sticky clumps, known as amyloid plaques, are composed primarily of a […]

Lack of sleep boosts levels of Alzheimer’s proteins

Study shows sleepless night taxes brain’s waste-disposal abilities From the WashU Newsroom… Have you resolved to take better care of yourself in the new year? Here’s a relatively painless way to do it: Catch a few more zzz’s every night. A third of American adults don’t get enough sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control […]

Medical School faculty named to National Academy of Inventors

Achilefu, Holtzman, Leuthardt honored for innovation From the WashU Newsroom… Noted innovators Samuel Achilefu, PhD, David Holtzman, MD, and Eric Leuthardt, MD – faculty members at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis – have been named fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). The 2017 class of NAI fellows was announced Tuesday. They are recognized as fellows […]

Alzheimer’s damage in mice reduced with compound that targets APOE gene

APOE is major Alzheimer’s risk gene From the WashU Newsroom… People who carry the APOE4 genetic variant face a substantial risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a compound that targets the APOE protein in the brains of mice and protects against damage induced by […]

Pursuing a precision paradigm

Why move from current standards of patient care to a more personalized approach to treatment? Experts at the School of Medicine describe today’s medical landscape as they plan for the care — and cures — of the future. From the WashU Newsroom… Of the top-grossing domestic movies of 2017 to date, three of the Top 5 […]

Obituary: William Landau, professor emeritus, 93

Former head of neurology specialized in movement disorders From the WashU Newsroom… William M. Landau, MD, a professor emeritus of neurology, died in his sleep Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, at his home in University City. He was 93. Landau wasa professor of neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis from 1954 to 2012 […]

Alzheimer’s gene poses both risk — and benefits

Study suggests role of inflammation in brain disease is complicated From the WashU Newsroom… Scientists drilling down to the molecular roots of Alzheimer’s disease have encountered a good news/bad news scenario. A major player is a gene called TREM2, mutations of which can substantially raise a person’s risk of the disease. The bad news is that […]

Newly ID’d role of major Alzheimer’s gene suggests possible therapeutic target

Blocking ApoE4 in brain may prevent nerve cell death, inflammation From the WashU Newsroom… Nearly a quarter century ago, a genetic variant known as ApoE4 was identified as a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease — one that increases a person’s chances of developing the neurodegenerative disease by up to 12 times. However, it was never […]