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In the News

MIND Matters | Quarterly Newsletter | Spring 2020

By Commentary, Community Events, COVID-19, In the News

Message from the Director   Dear Friends of UCI MIND, Since writing my last message for our Winter 2020 issue, we have all had our worlds turned upside down by COVID-19. At UCI MIND, we have faced challenges and have had to temporarily adapt our research programs. But, I know these challenges pale in comparison to those faced by members of our community. I’m especially concerned about the additional challenges faced by caregivers of people living with dementia, as well as the social isolation physical distancing can bring to older people who are living alone. We are eager to help…

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The Alzheimer’s-Air Pollution Link

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

UCI MIND faculty member Masashi Kitazawa, PhD comments for Scientific American: “In a field where scientists have spent decades focused on genetics and the buildup of damaged protein fragments called beta-amyloid as causes of the disease…now many experts agree that air pollution plays a major role. This assessment is echoed by Masashi Kitazawa, a toxicologist at the University of California, Irvine, and an expert on environmental toxins. “Genetics is huge in Alzheimer’s research, and for years almost no one wanted to look beyond genes,” he says. “But in the past three or four years the number of papers linking air pollution and cognitive decline…

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UCI to take part in clinical trial of drug for critically ill COVID-19 patients

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

  UCI Health will initiate a clinical study of a drug to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients who face a high mortality rate because of acute inflammation that fills their lungs with fluid, a grave condition that even mechanical ventilation cannot improve. Aviptadil, which has a 20-year history of use in human clinical trials for lung ailments, will be employed in a phase 2b/3 clinical study of COVID-19 patients suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome, a primary cause of coronavirus-induced death. Read more here >

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Research team awarded $3.8 million to study molecular changes in the brain caused by Alzheimer’s disease

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

Irvine, CA – May 12, 2020 – A team of researchers from the University of California, Irvine and San Diego have been awarded $3.8 million by the National Institute on Aging to conduct an epigenomic analysis of neural circuits in the brain. By revealing molecular changes that occur during the course of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the team hopes to identify new therapeutic targets and molecular biomarkers for early detection and better treatment. The interdisciplinary research team is led by multiple principal investigators, including Xiangmin Xu, PhD, a professor of anatomy and neurobiology and director of the Center for Neural Circuit…

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Racing to deliver COVID-19 testing

By Commentary, Community Events, In the News

  Read how through the efforts of the UC Irvine Health team, under the leadership of UCI MIND Faculty Member, Dr. Edwin Monuki, the medical center became the first hospital in Orange County to provide in-house COVID-19 testing on March 19 – more than two weeks ahead of schedule. http://www.ucihealth.org/…/racing-to-deliver-covid19-testing Dr. Monuki recently commented on antibody testing for the UCI MIND Blog and will participate in a virtual panel discussion tonight, May 14 at 7 PM PST. Click HERE to register.

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New partnership will give nursing home staff extra training to prevent coronavirus spread

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

CalOptima, which provides health insurance to Orange County’s low-income residents, announced on Friday, May 8, it is working with UC Irvine and the county Health Care Agency to provide intensive training on infection control to staff at 12 nursing homes. … Dr. Susan Huang, who teaches about infectious diseases at UC Irvine, is working with researchers and clinicians to develop the tools and training, and will measure their effectiveness with diagnostic and antibody testing.

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APOE4 carriers show early breakdown to blood-brain barrier, before cognitive impairment

By Commentary, In the News

Contributed by Daniel Nation, PhD, UCI MIND Faculty Member, Associate Professor of Psychological Science at UCI   APOE4 is the strongest known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia characterized by the accumulation of amyloid plaques and tau tangles. Although the predominant view has been that APOE4 conveys risk for Alzheimer’s dementia primarily through its effects on amyloid levels, prior work has also shown that APOE4 has adverse effects on the blood vessels of the brain.   In a recent study published in Nature, colleagues at University of Southern California and I demonstrated that APOE4…

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Stuck at home? Help UCI Researchers Cure Diseases

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

During this time of uncertainty, communities, businesses and families are being impacted like never before. People are also coming together to help others in unprecedented ways. And while we all are spending more and more time at home, many of us are looking for ways to strengthen our communities while maintaining the current health and safety recommendations from the CDC. I’d like to invite you and your families to make a real difference without leaving your home or opening your wallet. I’m an OC Mom and researcher at UCI MIND. We are seeking volunteers to sign up for our “Consent-to-Contact”…

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Coronavirus Antibody Tests: Can You Trust the Results?

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

Contributed by Edwin Monuki, MD, PhD, Warren L. Bostick Professor and Chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UC Irvine A recent article in the The New York Times focuses on an issue of grave concern among US health care providers – the flood of unapproved “lateral flow” tests for detecting COVID-19 antibodies. This flood resulted from an FDA decision to allow antibody testing without their usual approval process in order to accelerate the national response to COVID-19. Unfortunately (and not surprisingly), this also resulted in an antibody testing market that one interviewee in the NYT article called the “Wild West”….

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FDA Gives Emergency Authorization For Some COVID-19 Patients To Use Remdesivir

By COVID-19, In the News

NPR reports May 1, 2020 4:22 PM ET – The Food and Drug Administration has given emergency use authorization to the antiviral drug remdesivir to treat hospitalized patients with the coronavirus, President Trump on Friday told reporters at the White House. Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day said remdesivir maker Gilead Sciences is donating 1.5 million vials of the drug and will work with the federal government to distribute it to patients in need…

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VIDEO: Laboratory Research Update – Nicole Schartz, PhD

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

Nicole Schartz, PhD, a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Andrea Tenner’s lab, shares her experience of what’s happening in her lab and her perspective on the pandemic.  Dr. Schartz is also a member of REMIND. Research and Education in Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, or REMIND, is a campus organization led by UCI MIND predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees. It aims to encourage collaboration among the next generation of scientists and clinicians, and promote community outreach and education on neurodegenerative diseases.

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Don’t Feel Bad If Your Kids Are Gaming More Than Ever. In Fact, Why Not Join Them?

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

While doing a video interview with TIME, Craig Stark, professor at the University of California, Irvine’s Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, said that his eighth grade son was on a headset chatting with his friends while gaming. “I’m great with that,” says Stark. Still, he adds, “if you’re gaming 20 hours a day, let’s get out, let’s do some other stuff, let’s not just talk to each other on a screen. But in terms of the notion that video games are actively rotting the brain? No, I don’t see any evidence for that.”

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UCI and UCI Health launch comprehensive COVID-19 resource site

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

The UCI Health Affairs Vice Chancellor is delighted to announce the launch of OC-COVID19.org, a new website devoted to providing timely, useful, evidence-based information about the novel coronavirus pandemic to our friends and neighbors across Orange County. UCI and UCI Health are at the forefront of Orange County’s response to this national emergency. Every day there are stunning examples of remarkable, cutting-edge clinical care provided by the UCI Health family. Our services are driven by innovation and research taking place across the university. In this way, the UCI community is leading the way to solutions that are local and global….

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Join the CA Dept. of Aging on April 22 for a Caring for Family & Friends Check-In Call

By Commentary, Community Events, COVID-19, In the News

A message from the CA Department of Aging: Join us April 22 for a Caring for Family & Friends Check-In Call: Caregiving from Afar Are You Caring for Family or Friends from Afar During COVID-19? Whether you are providing support to an older person across town, across the country, or in a Nursing Home or Residential Care Facility, COVID-19 guidelines have presented new challenges and concerns. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to connect with caregiving experts! Wednesday, April 22th, at 1pm the California Department of Aging (https://aging.ca.gov) and the Alzheimer’s Association (https://www.alz.org) will host their 2nd of a…

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Coronavirus: First responders, Taco Bell and Anaheim Ducks give back to UCI Medical Center

By Commentary, COVID-19, In the News

Police and fire agencies from across Orange County held a special drive-by parade at UCI Medical Center on Tuesday to show unity and support for the medical staff. Even though the salute was from a distance, they were able to touch hearts and lift spirits for those who are working long hours to get patients healthy. Meanwhile, Taco Bell’s taco truck made a stop at the hospital to provide workers free lunch. … Next week, UCI Medical Center will get another dose of love, when the Anaheim Ducks send 200 meals a day.

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UCI-led study finds modifiable risk factors could play a role in Alzheimer’s disease

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

Amyloid accumulation not the only risk factor in Alzheimer’s risk Irvine, Calif. – April 8, 2020 – Amyloid is a key feature of Alzheimer’s disease, but the accumulation of these sticky proteins may not be the only risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study published this week.  Other, modifiable risk factors, such as the amount of fats in our blood and how efficiently our bodies generate energy could also play important roles. 

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Adapting to the “new normal” of COVID-19

By COVID-19, In the News

Contributed by Joshua D. Grill, PhD, Director of UCI MIND Dear friends, I read with interest this morning a blog post from the Director of the National Institute on Aging, Dr. Richard Hodes. Dr. Hodes refers to a “new normal,” in what can only be described the age of COVID-19. At UCI MIND, we are admittedly struggling a bit to adjust to this new normal. Our professional way of life—doing studies with older volunteers and gathering large and small community audiences to share our learnings and recommendations—has been turned upside down, as I know have been your own lives. While we…

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Dr. Mark Mapstone comments for The New York Times

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

Stalked by the Fear That Dementia Is Stalking You The New York Times (Kaiser Health News) – Feb. 20, 2020 I spoke to half a dozen experts, and none was in favor of genetic testing, except in unusual circumstances. “Having the APOE4 allele does not mean you’ll get Alzheimer’s disease. Plenty of people with Alzheimer’s don’t have the allele,” said Mark Mapstone, a professor of neurology at the University of California, Irvine. “And conversely, plenty of people with the allele never develop Alzheimer’s.” [Subscription required: LINK to article]

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Revived UCI Sleep Center Focuses on Mental Issues

By Carousel Slider, Commentary, In the News

Orange County Business Journal – Feb. 17, 2020 Dr. Ruth Benca, who is chair of the Psychiatry and Human Behavior School of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine in 2018 restarted the UCI sleep center. She’s designed a new, 6,000-square foot facility in Newport Beach … and has recruited doctors from a variety of fields, such as Dr. Kevin Im, who won a 2014 national award for a sleep study, Dr. Rami Khayat, the center’s medical director and expert on the effects of sleep apnea on cardiovascular diseases, and Dr. Behrouz Jafari, an expert in pulmonology. “We’ve built this…

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Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer’s Network (DIAN) and Lilly announce disappointing results

By In the News

Contributed by Joshua D. Grill, PhD, Director of UCI MIND Early Monday morning (February 10, 2020), the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer’s Network Trials Unit (DIAN-TU) and Eli Lilly & Company announced disappointing results from a clinical trial of the monoclonal antibody, solanezumab, against the beta amyloid protein that accumulates in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s disease (press release >). The DIAN includes only the rare families who carry genetic mutations that cause an early-onset (3rd, 4th, 5th decade of life) form of Alzheimer’s disease. Solanezumab is also being tested as part of the Anti-Amyloid treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s (A4) Study, which is ongoing…

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From Postdocs to PI’s: Training Scientists For Success

By Commentary, In the News

Faculty members Mathew Blurton-Jones, PhD, Kim Green, PhD, and Masashi Kitazawa, PhD, are principal investigators (PI) of productive, independent laboratories at UCI MIND all aiming to target the underlying cause of and develop effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related disorders. How did they get to where they are now? After graduate school in 2003, they came together from different backgrounds to train with renowned scientist, Frank LaFerla, PhD, who continues to run a successful laboratory of his own at UCI MIND.   Blurton-Jones, Green, and Kitazawa reflect on their training experience and what they believe to be their…

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In Memory of Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan

By In the News

It is with great sadness that UCI MIND shares news about the passing of Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, founder of Frieda’s Specialty Produce and a tremendous supporter of brain research. Frieda was 96 years of age when she passed on Saturday. She was a pioneer in many powerful ways. A leader in the U.S. wholesale produce business since 1962, Frieda was the first woman to own and run her own firm. Her specialty was introducing unusual produce to the U.S. market, bringing more than 200 fruits and vegetables from around the world to America. She marketed each new product with…

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Why I Support UCI MIND

By Commentary, In the News

Contributed by Keith Swayne, UCI MIND Leadership Council It is humbling to be recognized as Philanthropist of the Year, particularly when I think about the many individuals who are working to make a difference in the world. The OC National Philanthropy Day event brought together Orange County philanthropists and non-profit organizations to celebrate our shared vision of improving our community. This is what drives me. I wish to use my voice to connect people and organizations to achieve more and help others. I have strived to do this over the last five years with my involvement with UCI MIND. Alzheimer’s…

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