American Academy of Neurology: 2015 Annual Meeting

Washington, D.C.

The 67th American Academy of Neurology conference drew more than 12,000 attendees to Washington, D.C., April 18 to 25. Among the sessions for practicing neurologists, some research snippets stood out, including imaging biomarkers for tracking the progression of Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases and the identification of proteins in the skin that are normally associated with brain pathology. 

  1. Davies, Sperling Share 2015 Potamkin Prize
  2. New PET Tracer Tracks Preclinical Movement Disorders
  3. Neurodegenerative Proteins In the Skin Could be Diagnostic

International Conference on Alzheimer's & Parkinson’s Diseases 2015

Nice, France

The 12th AD/PD conference drew some 3,100 people from across the world to the Mediterranean city of Nice. After a long day of talks—sessions ran from 8:30 a.m. to a grueling 7:15 p.m.—hungry scientists could be seen strolling to dinner across the Place Massena, with its illuminated resin statues created by the Catalan contemporary artist Jaume Plensa. The seven characters on their pedestals represent seven continents, and the changing color of their lighting is said to symbolize communication between them. At the conference, talks in four parallel sessions ran the gamut from basic to clinical science on Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, the in-between disease dementia with Lewy bodies, and even a session on the ALS-FTD spectrum. Meeting abstracts are freely downloadable here.

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Alzheimer’s Disease Research Summit 2015

National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.A.

The National Institutes of Health hosted a meeting earlier this month as leaders in Alzheimer’s and other diseases met in Bethesda, Maryland, for the AD Research Summit 2015. The first such meeting since the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease was put into action in 2012, the summit served to spur the field on toward the goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s by 2025. Over the two-day meeting, researchers proposed ways of finding therapeutic targets outside of the familiar Aβ and tau fields. Data sharing was a big theme for this goal. Speakers also weighed in on how to enlarge patient cohorts, capture better phenotypic data, engage minority communities, and harness citizen science to analyze vast quantities of data.


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Keystone Symposium: Neuroinflammation in Diseases of the Central Nervous System

Taos, New Mexico

The fields of neuroscience and immunology melded into one at “Neuroinflammation in Diseases of the Central Nervous System,” a Keystone Symposium held January 25-30 in Taos, New Mexico. The behavior of myeloid cells in the brain drew close scrutiny at the conference, as researchers grappled with fundamental questions such as, what do microglia actually do, and how do they respond to and influence the course of neurodegenerative disease? Novel genomic and proteomic tools emerged that may help answer these questions. Researchers abandoned the old M1/M2 microglial phenotypes calling for more relevant characterizations, and embraced TREM2 and other molecules that play central roles in microglial responses. Read Jessica Shugart’s stories on the meeting’s highlights.

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Human Amyloid Imaging 2015

Miami, Florida

Was this year’s HAI conference a bit of a misnomer? You could say so, if only to tease. The ninth incarnation of this rapidly growing conference, held January 14 to 16 in Miami Beach, Florida, featured as much excitement about tau as about amyloid imaging, for which several PET tracers are FDA-approved.  At HAI, a brand-new tau tracer called THK-5351 debuted and three tracers by Roche were poking out of the preclinical pipeline. The leader of the pack, the Phase 2 tracer T807/AV1451, dominated the agenda as data were pouring in on its performance in Alzheimer’s and non-AD tauopathies—most of it good, some still rough around the edges. Meeting abstracts are freely downloadable here.

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