AMSTERDAM, July 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- New research reported at the 2023 Alzheimer's Association International Conference ® (AAIC®) covered the breadth of Alzheimer's disease and dementia research, including advances in treatment, early and accurate diagnosis, and our understanding of risk factors for Alzheimer's and other dementias.


AMSTERDAM, July 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- New research reported at the 2023 Alzheimer's Association International Conference ® (AAIC®) covered the breadth of Alzheimer's disease and dementia research, including advances in treatment, early and accurate diagnosis, and our understanding of risk factors for Alzheimer's and other dementias.

AAIC is the premier annual forum for the presentation and discussion of the latest in Alzheimer's and dementia research. This year's congress was held both virtually and in person in Amsterdam, Netherlands and attracted more than 10,000 attendees and more than 3,000 scientific presentations.

Treatment Advances, Clinical Trial Results The Alzheimer's Association highlighted results from trials of drug and non-drug interventions for Alzheimer's disease at AAIC 2023.

New and more comprehensive data were reported at AAIC 2023 by Eli Lilly from the Phase 3 clinical trial of donanemab TRAILBLAZER-ALZ 2 in early, asymptomatic Alzheimer's disease. With this more comprehensive look at the phase 3 results of donanemab, we see additional compelling scientific evidence that removing beta amyloid completely from the brain is associated with a significant delay in disease progression in people living with early Alzheimer's. The results of this trial also further illustrate that starting treatment as early in the course of the disease as possible allows for the possibility of greater beneficial effect, but also that there is the potential to delay disease progression even when treatment is started later. The progress we have seen in this class of treatment, as well as the diversification of potential new therapies in recent years, provides hope for those impacted by this devastating disease.

Two new therapeutic approaches for Alzheimer's based on CRISPR gene editing have been reported at AAIC. One aims to reduce the impact of the strongest known Alzheimer's risk gene, APOE-e4. The other seeks to reduce the production of a toxic protein in the brain, amyloid beta, which is a hallmark of Alzheimer's and the target of newly approved treatments. CRISPR technology is making drug target identification faster with the goal of accelerating the drug discovery process and building platforms for next-generation treatment development.

Non-drug interventions were also highlighted at AAIC, including results from the Aging and Cognitive Health Evaluation in Elders (ACHIEVE) study, the largest randomized controlled clinical trial to reduce long-term cognitive decline in older people. Although the results were negative in the total study population, the hearing intervention delayed cognitive decline in older people with mild to moderate hearing loss by 48% in a prespecified segment of the study population consisting of 238 people participating in a long-term observational study of heart health. The three-year intervention included the use of hearing aids, a hearing 'tool kit', and ongoing instruction and counseling with an audiologist.

Blood Testing: The Next Frontier in Alzheimer's Diagnosis Advances in technology and practice reported for the first time at AAIC 2023 demonstrate the simplicity, portability, and diagnostic value of blood-based Alzheimer's biomarkers.

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden reported results from a simple fingerstick test that shows promise in the ability to detect Alzheimer's markers using a single drop of dried blood on letters shipped overnight between two countries, without temperature checks or refrigeration. If validated with further research, this test could offer a fast, non-invasive, and inexpensive option that is so simple that it can be administered independently, or by caregivers. It may be particularly valuable for use in rural or other low-resource areas.

A research group with the University of Lund, Sweden conducted the first study to examine the use of blood-based Alzheimer's markers in primary care and compare them with the diagnostic accuracy of primary care physicians. A blood test was 80% more accurate in identifying Alzheimer's-related changes — significantly better than the study doctors who did not have access to the test. Blood tests for Alzheimer's have great potential to improve early diagnosis, diagnostic accuracy, and appropriate treatment of people with Alzheimer's.

New opioid use and mortality among older adults with dementia New opioid use among older adults with dementia is associated with a significantly increased risk of death, including an eleven-fold increase in the first two weeks, according to research presented at AAIC 2023. Researchers from the Danish Dementia Research Center used data from all people aged 65 and older diagnosed with with dementia between 2008 and 2018 in Denmark, including both people living at home and nursing home residents. Of that group, 42% of those diagnosed with dementia redeemed a prescription for an opioid at a pharmacy.

They found that 33.1% of study participants died within 180 days of starting their first opioid prescription, compared with 6.4% of those who were not exposed to opioids. After adjusting for potential differences between groups, the researchers found a four-fold increase in the extra risk of death. The risk was greatest during the first 14 days, when mortality from all opioids increased eleven-fold. These initial findings emphasize the need for discussion among the patient, family, and physicians about pain medication.

Chronic Constipation Associated With Cognitive Impairment New research demonstrating the link between gut and brain health was revealed at AAIC. A researcher at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst found that individuals with chronic constipation (bowel movements every three days or more) had significantly worse cognition, the equivalent of three more chronological years of cognitive aging, than those with healthy bowel patterns.

In addition, researchers at the University of Texas, San Antonio found specific gut bacteria that are associated with an increased risk of dementia, as well as gut bacteria that may be neuroprotective. Previous research has connected the health and composition of the gut microbiome, which is the community of microorganisms that live in our digestive tract, with a variety of other vital bodily functions.

First National Estimates of County-level Prevalence in the U.S. The first national county-level estimates of the prevalence of people with Alzheimer's dementia—3,142 U.S. counties in all—were revealed at AAIC 2023. Researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that the eastern and southeastern parts of the U.S. had the highest prevalence of Alzheimer's dementia. Higher percentages of older people and blacks and Hispanics, all groups at higher risk of the disease, may explain the elevated prevalence in those regions. These findings may help guide the allocation of resources to public health programs for individuals and families affected by Alzheimer's in those regions.

Senior Volunteering May Promote a Healthy Brain First reported at AAIC 2023, researchers at the University of California, Davis examined volunteering habits among an ethnically and racially diverse population of older adults and found that volunteering was associated with better benchmark scores on tests of memory, cognition, and planning. The researchers stated that volunteering may be important for better cognition later in life and could serve as a simple intervention in older adults to protect against Alzheimer's and other dementias.

About the Alzheimer's Association® International Congress (AAIC®) The Alzheimer's Association International Congress (AAIC) is the world's largest gathering of researchers focused on Alzheimer's and other dementias. As part of the Alzheimer's Association research program, AAIC serves as a catalyst for generating new knowledge about dementia and fostering a vibrant, collegial research community.

AAIC 2023 website (only available in English):

AAIC 2023 Pressroom (only available in English): AAIC 2023 Label:

About the Alzheimer's Association® The Alzheimer's Association is a global voluntary health organization dedicated to Alzheimer's care, support and research. Our mission is to lead the way in ending Alzheimer's and all dementias — by accelerating global research, advancing risk reduction and early detection, and optimizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementias. Visit or call 800.272.3900.

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