Read articles from the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease (MIND) annual Research Reviews, plus articles from the MGH Hotline, Mass General Magazine, and Mass General Public Affairs.

09/17/2015: Anne B. Young, MD, PhD, Fellowship in Therapeutic Development 2015 – 2016

Applications are being sought for a joint MGH/Biogen Idec two-year training program in translational neuroscience.

09/01/2015: Mass. General study identifies another way urate may protect against Parkinson’s disease, supports new clinical trial of urate-boosting treatment

The MGH-led research team investigating whether raising blood levels of urate can slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease has found that urate’s neuroprotective effects extend beyond its own antioxidant properties. An NIH-funded phase 3 trial of a urate-elevating drug will begin enrolling patients next year.

06/09/2015: 'Alzheimer's protein' plays role in maintaining eye health and muscle strength

Amyloid precursor protein (APP), a key protein implicated in the development Alzheimer's disease, may play an important role in eye and muscle health. In a new report, scientists have discovered that when proteins that bind to the APP, called FE65 and FE65L1, are deleted, they cause cataracts and muscle weakness in mice.

10/29/2014: Study identifies potential treatment target for cocaine addiction

Investigators from MGH and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have identified a potential target for therapies to treat cocaine addiction. Their study finds evidence that a small change in an important protein alters whether cocaine-experienced animals will resume drug seeking after a period of drug abstinence.

10/12/2014: Novel culture system replicates course of Alzheimer’s disease, confirms amyloid hypothesis

An innovative laboratory culture system has succeeded, for the first time, in reproducing the full course of events underlying the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Using the system they developed, MGH investigators provide the first clear evidence supporting the hypothesis that deposition of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain is the first step in a cascade leading to the devastating neurodegenerative disease.

02/07/2014: First Huntington disease prevention trial shows treatment safety, suggests slowing of presymptomatic progression

The first clinical trial of a drug intended to delay the onset of symptoms of Huntington disease reveals that high-dose treatment with the nutritional supplement creatine was safe and well tolerated by most study participants. In addition, neuroimaging provided evidence that creatine might slow the progression of presymptomatic disease.

01/31/2014: Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS) Website Offers Resources for Patients and Researchers

The Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS) website is devoted to supporting clinical research of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and other motor neuron disease (MND).

01/30/2014: Statement on Future U.S. BrainStorm Clinical Trial

Formal statement on the forthcoming US Brainstorm trial

12/11/2013: Alzheimer’s Disease Gene Discovery & Drug Discovery

“This is the largest collection of familial Alzheimer’s whole-genome sequences in the world,” Dr. Tanzi says, comprising half a petabyte of data, equivalent to the entire contents of the Library of Congress. “This is as big as big data gets.” 

12/10/2013: Tau Pathology Spreading out from the Entorhinal Cortex Can be Reversed

Neurofibrillary tangles - largely composed of tau protein- are one of the two pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.

12/10/2013: Alzheimer's Early Treatment

Can anti-amyloid antibody treatment reverse Alzheimer’s disease pathology before memory loss sets in?

12/10/2013: Alzheimer’s Preclinical Disease Biomarker

Mark Albers, MD, PhD, is developing a set of simple but powerful tools to screen for the very earliest stages of preclinical Alzheimer’s Disease.

11/20/2013: Study reveals how variant forms of APOE protein impact risk of Alzheimer's disease

A study led by MGH investigators shows that even low levels of the Alzheimer's-associated APOE4 protein can increase toxic amyloid beta brain plaques and the characteristic neuronal damage in mouse models of the disease. Introducing APOE2, a rare, potentially protective variant, reduced amyloid deposits and associated damage.

09/24/2013: Study confirms that rare mutations increase risk of late-onset Alzheimer's disease

MGH researchers have identified and validated two rare gene mutations that appear to cause the common form of Alzheimer's disease (AD) that strikes after the age of 60. The two mutations occur in a gene called ADAM10, which now becomes the second pathologically-confirmed gene for late-onset AD and the fifth AD gene overall.

09/10/2013: Ihn Sik Seong: The Long Search for the Full Story of Huntington’s Disease

Understanding the molecular pathogenesis of Huntington’s disease.

08/29/2013: Assay shown to be effective in measuring levels of mutant huntingtin protein

An assay designed to measure normal and abnormal forms of the huntingtin protein – the mutated form of which causes Huntington's disease – was successful in detecting levels of the mutant protein in a large multicenter study of individuals at risk for the devastating neurological disorder.

07/22/2013: E Pluribus Unum for Parkinson Disease - Researchers Draw on Sources to Improve Treatment of PD

What do Gaucher’s disease, gout, and amyloid plaques have in common? For researchers at the MGH, each of them may shed light on the causes and treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

07/22/2013: NeuroBlast e-Newsletter

NeuroBlast: the newsletter of translational neuroscience and clinical care advances in neurology, neurosurgery, and neuroscience from Massachusetts General Hospital.

06/17/2013: Rare genomic mutations found in 10 families with early-onset, familial Alzheimer's disease

MGH researchers have discovered a type of mutation known as copy-number variants – deletions, duplications, or rearrangements of human genomic DNA – in affected members of 10 families with early-onset Alzheimer's. These are the first new early-onset familial Alzheimer’s disease gene mutations to be reported since 1995.

04/25/2013: Alzheimer's risk gene presents potential treatment target

MGH investigators have determined that one of the recently identified genes contributing to the risk of late-onset Alzheimer's disease regulates the clearance of the toxic amyloid beta (A-beta) protein that accumulates in the brains of patients with the disease.

04/12/2013: Mass. General Neurological Clinical Research Institute and Prize4Life receive Bio-IT World Award for creation of ALS data platform

The MGH Neurological Clinical Research Institute and Prize4Life, an organization dedicated to accelerating discovery of treatments and a cure for ALS, received a Best Practices Award at the 2013 Bio-IT World Conference & Expo for their creation of PRO-ACT ,the largest database of information from ALS clinical trials and patient care.

04/03/2013: Phase 1 ALS trial is first to test antisense treatment of neurodegenerative disease

The initial clinical trial of a novel approach to treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – blocking production of a mutant protein that causes an inherited form of the progressive neurodegenerative disease – may be a first step towards a new era in the treatment of such disorders.

03/14/2013: Informatics Core at MIND: Building Tools, Creating Connections

The Informatics Core at MIND offers state-of-the-art bioinformatics services, connecting researchers with tools, each other, and expertise to manage their clinical and research databases.

12/17/2012: Genetic manipulation of urate alters neurodegeneration in mouse model of Parkinson's disease

A study by MGH researchers adds further support to the possibility that increasing levels of urate may protect against Parkinson's disease. The investigators report that mice with a genetic mutation increasing urate levels were protected against Parkinson's-like neurodegeneration, while the damage was worse in animals with abnormally low urate.

11/29/2012: Enzyme inhibition protects against Huntington's disease damage in two animal models

Treatment with a novel agent that inhibits the activity of SIRT2, an enzyme that regulates many important cellular functions, reduced neurological damage, slowed the loss of motor function and extended survival in two animal models of Huntington's disease.

10/18/2012: $5.4 Million Awarded for Research to Guide Alzheimer's Drug Development

Understanding who is most susceptible to Alzheimer's disease and developing early detection models, effective therapies and possibly a cure, is the goal of the largest single private scientific grant ever invested in Alzheimer's Whole Genome Sequencing focused on families afflicted with the disease.

05/23/2012: Study supports urate protection against Parkinson's disease, hints at novel mechanism

Use of the antioxidant urate to protect against the neurodegeneration caused by Parkinson's disease appears to rely on more than urate's ability to protect against oxidative damage.

12/18/2011: Increased expression of regulatory enzyme may protect against neurodegeneration in Huntington's disease

Treatment that increases brain levels of an important regulatory enzyme may slow the loss of brain cells that characterizes Huntington's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

11/24/2011: Rebuilding the Brain’s Circuitry

Neuron transplants have repaired brain circuitry and substantially normalized function in mice with a brain disorder, an advance indicating that key areas of the mammalian brain are more reparable than was widely believed.

10/03/2011: Biomarker for Huntington's disease identified

In a new research paper BWH and MGH researchers identify a transcriptional biomarker that may assist in the monitoring of Huntington's disease activity and in the evaluation of new medications.

06/23/2011: Rare genetic disorder provides unique insight into Parkinson’s disease

MGH investigators may have found the mechanism behind a previously reported link between the rare genetic condition Gaucher disease and the common neurodegenerative disorder Parkinson's disease.

05/11/2011: Mild obesity appears to improve survival in ALS patients

Patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may be an exception to the rule that being overweight is a health hazard. In a retrospective study of over 400 ALS patients, MGH researchers found that those who were mildly obese survived longer than patients who were normal weight, underweight or even overweight.

04/08/2011: Anne Young, MD, PhD, donates $1M to Department of Neurology

ANNE YOUNG, MD, PHD, chief of Neurology, made history for women in academic medicine by making a $1 million gift to the Department of Neurology through a deferred charitable gift annuity.

05/17/2010: New study characterizes cognitive and anatomic differences in Alzheimer’s disease gene carriers

In the most comprehensive study to date, neurologists have clearly identified significant differences in the ways that Alzheimer’s disease (AD) affects patients with and without the apolipoprotein E ε4 gene, a known genetic risk factor for the neurodegenerative disease.

03/02/2010: Alzheimer's-associated protein may be part of the innate immune system

Amyloid-beta protein – the primary constituent of the plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients – may be part of the body's first-line system to defend against infection. In their report in the March 3 issue of PLoS One, a team led by MGH researchers describe their evidence that amyloid-beta protein is an antimicrobial peptide.

03/02/2010: Mass. General Researchers Seek Participants for Parkinson’s Disease Clinical Trial

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital are seeking recently diagnosed Parkinson's disease (PD) patients to participate in a clinical trial investigating whether inosine taken to raise the body’s level of urate — a naturally occurring antioxidant — can be used to slow the progress of PD.

01/01/2010: Largest-ever drug trial launched in Huntington’s disease

Therapeutic drug trial is a definitive test of whether high-dose creatine can slow the progression of HD.

01/01/2010: Testing new drugs for ALS

Merit Cudkowicz, MD, director of the Mass General Neurological Clinical Research Institute, talks about clinical trials for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.

10/12/2009: Study supports possible role of urate in slowing Parkinson’s disease progression

By examining data from a 20-year-old clinical trial, a research team based at the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases and Harvard School of Public Health, has found evidence supporting the findings of their 2008 study – that elevated levels of the antioxidant urate may slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

05/26/2009: Mass. General’s Rudy Tanzi a “Rock Star of Science”

Alzheimer’s disease researcher Rudolph Tanzi, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital adds another distinction to his scientific career when he joins Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and other rock celebrities in a designer menswear photo shoot as a “Rock Star of Science” in the June issue of GQ Magazine.

04/02/2009: Modification of mutant huntingtin protein increases its clearance from brain cells

A new study has identified a potential strategy for removing the abnormal protein that causes Huntington’s disease from brain cells, which could slow the progression of the devastating neurological disorder.

02/26/2009: Alzheimer’s-associated plaques may have impact throughout the brain

The impact of the amyloid plaques that appear in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease may extend beyond the deposits’ effects on neurons– the cells that transmit electrochemical signals throughout the nervous system.

02/26/2009: International collaboration identifies new gene associated with ALS

A collaborative research effort spanning nearly a decade between researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and King’s College London has identified a novel gene for inherited amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

01/01/2009: Gender differences in Parkinson’s disease

Drs. Anne B. Young, Ippolita Cantuti-Castelvetri and Michael Schwarzschild study gender differences in Parkinson’s disease from three different investigative approaches.

01/01/2009: Genetic treasure hunt finds trove of Alzheimer’s disease genes

Leveraging Alzheimer’s Genome Project™ data, geneticist Rudy Tanzi, PhD, completes research to discover all gene variants that increase a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

09/23/2013: The Lancet: Neurology

Dexpramipexole vs placebo for patients with ALS (EMPOWER): a randomised, double-blind, phase 3 trial
In a phase III trial, dexpramipexole was generally well tolerated but did not differ from placebo on any pre-specified efficacy endpoint measurement. The trial can inform the design of future clinical research strategies in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

12/15/2012: MIND Research Review

MIND Research Review 2012
A review of research at the Massgeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease.
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