nacc data in the press

Study using NACC data named
Paper of the Month

The editorial team of International Psychogeriatrics chose a paper by Shanna L. Burke as Paper of the Month for September 2016. The paper is titled Associations Between Depression, Sleep Disturbance, and Apolipoprotein E in the Development of Alzheimer's Disease Dementia. Co-authors are Peter Maramaldi, Tamara Cadet, and Walter Kukull.

Study using NACC data wins
2014 Makinodan Award

A study led by Mariel B. Deutsch has received the 2014 Makinodan Award for Research in Aging from the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. The abstract, titled Medical Risk Factors for Frontotemporal Degeneration: Analysis of the NACC Uniform Dataset (Neurology 2014; 82:S58.002), was presented at the AAN annual meeting in April 2014.

2014 Hirano Award
for paper using NACC data

A study led by Peter Nelson has been recognized by the American Association of Neuropathologists with the 2014 Hirano Award for Best Paper on Neurodegenerative Diseases. The study, titled ABCC9 Gene Polymorphism is Associated with Hippocampal Sclerosis of Aging Pathology, was presented at the AANP annual meeting June 12, 2014 in Portland, OR.

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The study link-out symbol compared 363 people with autopsy-proven HS-Aging to a control group of 2,303 other individuals in an attempt to identify genetic predisposition to HS-Aging in a genome-wide association study (GWAS).

Nelson and his co-investigators found that small changes in the ABCC9 gene — also known as sulfonylurea receptor 2 — strongly paralleled the incidence of HS-Aging. Further statistical analysis indicated a link between the use of sulfonylurea, a medication commonly used to treat diabetes, and an increased risk for HS-Aging.

Asked about the project's signficance, Nelson says, "HS-Aging is a key AD mimic. We did the first GWAS using HS-Aging as an endophenotype, and found what appears to be a key HS-Aging gene that was hitherto unknown. We’re now using NACC to understand gene-environment and gene-gene interactions."

HS-Aging is a condition that affects up to 15 percent of individuals over age 85. Its symptoms are so similar to those of Alzheimer's disease that patients are often misdiagnosed with the latter. Currently, the only way to confirm a diagnosis of HS-Aging is by autopsy.

The Hirano prize is named for famed neuropathologist Asao Hirano, who first described the telltale structures in nerve cells that indicate the presence of certain neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.

Neurology Today highlights two studies
using NACC data

Neurology Today has released a list, chosen by its expert editorial advisory board, of the year's 17 most important advances linkout symbol in a range of subject areas, from health policy to neurogenetics to Parkinson's disease. Of the three advances that related to Alzheimer's disease, two used NACC neuropathology data.

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ONE STUDY linkout symbol, published in Neurology (Neurology 2013;80(23):2121-2129) looked at the autopsies of subjects with and without symptoms of Alzheimer's disease who proved to have varying degrees of AD neuropathologic change. Among the findings, expression of AD symptoms was affected more by neurofibrillary tangle scores than neuritic plaque burden, and symptomatic patients tended to be older, have a history of recent depression, and have higher Hachinski Ischemic Scores, suggestive of vascular dementia (although cerebrovascular pathology was not associated with symptoms). There was also an effect of apolipoprotein E (APOE) allelic status even after the amount of amyloid-beta neuropathology was taken into account.

Why it was noteworthy: In the view of the Neurology Today editorial advisory board, this finding is important because it not only provides an explanation for the pathophysiology of this gene mutation (APOE), but also suggests that there may be a new mechanism of disease at work in patients with the gene mutation.

The study was led by NACC Research Scientist Sarah Monsell, with contributions by NACC Director Walter A. Kukull, NACC faculty member Charles Mock, and researchers at the Knight ADRC at Washington University in St. Louis: John C. Morris, Catherine Roe, Nupur Ghoshal, and Nigel Cairns.

ANOTHER STUDY linout symbol, published in the journal Brain (Brain 2013; 136: 2697–2706), examined the contribution of cerebrovascular disease in confirmed neurodegenerative disease cases in the NACC database. In a series of 6,205 autopsy cases of dementia, all types of dementias were found to have a vascular component, ranging from 60 percent in frontotemporal dementias to 80 percent in AD. In every case, the presence of vascular disease decreased the threshold of the presentation of dementia.

Why it was noteworthy: This study made the publication's list because vascular disease is highly treatable, and identifying the vascular component could prevent, delay, or mitigate dementia. Even a small delay in the onset would make a huge difference. For instance, delaying the onset of AD by one year would cut the prevalence by 20 percent; delaying it by five years would cut the prevalence of dementia in half.

The study was led by Jon B. Toledo of the University of Pennsylvania ADC, with contributions from Steven Arnold, Kevin Raible, Johannes Brettschneider, Sharon X. Xie, Murray Grossman, and John Q. Trojanowski, along with Sarah Monsell and Walter A. Kukull.