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Investigating How Stress and Aging Can Lead to Alzheimer's Disease

Dr. Stephen Ginsberg of the Center for Dementia Research was a key contributor to a paper recently published in Nature Communications (Inda et al., 2020). This research provides novel evidence of a pathological process underlying Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders, and suggests a new potential therapeutic target.

The research team, led by Dr. Gabriela Chiosis from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, shows how stressors can alter protein connectivity in the brain, which in turn can lead to brain circuitry failure in disorders including Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers coined a new term to describe this phenomenon: “protein connectivity-based dysfunction” or PCBD. According to Dr. Ginsberg, “Many people who study Alzheimer’s are thinking about circuits in the brain. But there’s no clear understanding of how stressors due to aging and the environment change the way proteins interact. Our research demonstrates that epichaperome formation rewires brain circuitry in Alzheimer’s by enabling proteins to misconnect, leading to downstream PCBD and cognitive decline.” The team further demonstrated a drug that corrected signaling problems between neurons, providing a promising new avenue for treatment.

Read more about this exciting advance in Alzheimer’s research in this Memorial Sloan Kettering blog: Study Reveals a New Way That Stress and Aging Lead to Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Helen Scharfman Receives Basic Science Research Award

Helen Scharfman, PhD, has received the annual Basic Science Research Award from the American Epilepsy Society (AES), in recognition of her distinguished research career which holds promise for the improved understanding and treatment of epilepsy. The award was presented on December 7 at the 2019 AES Annual Meeting in Baltimore, where Dr. Scharfman presented on "Contributing to Basic Research About Epilepsy". Dr. Scharfman is a senior research scientist in the Center for Dementia Research at NKI, where her laboratory focuses on mechanisms that regulate excitability and plasticity in the brain. She has published over 150 articles and edited or co-edited five books. In addition, Dr. Scharfman has been an active contributor to the AES, the Epilepsy Foundation, and the International League Against Epilepsy. She has also served on the editorial boards of several journals including Journal of Neuroscience and Science Translational Medicine, and has been a contributing editor for Epilepsy Currents.