As therapeutic Alzheimer’s research begins to focus earlier in the disease process, some scientists are wondering if they might one day prevent the disease altogether. From this concept comes a new journal. Published by SERDI Publisher, based in Toulouse, France, the Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease will unveil its first issue next month. Accessible for free to members of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG), and attendees at the Clinical Trials in Alzheimer’s Disease (CTAD) conference, the journal will appear both online and in print. Editors-in-chief include Jacques Touchon, University of Montpellier, France; Bruno Vellas, University Hospital Center, Toulouse, France; and Paul Aisen, University of California, San Diego.

There is still time to meet the April 20 submission deadline for the inaugural issue. The second issue will be published in September. Editors are planning quarterly issues from 2015. Vellas spoke with Gwyneth Dickey Zakaib to lend some insight on the journal’s origins, scope, and future.

Q&A with Bruno Vellas

What is the Journal for the Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease?

JPAD will be a new scientific journal that focuses on the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. All of its papers—from basic science to public health—will have a particular focus on prevention of the disease.

Do we really need another AD-specific journal?

Some might say we have enough journals. We can understand this point of view. But another way to think of it is, if we are going to move faster in this field, we need innovation. And this timely journal with its particular focus can be seen as one way to innovate.

How did JPAD come about?

My group has long worked in the field of prevention of AD. We did GuidAge, the first large prevention trial in Europe (see Sep 2012 news story on Vellas et al., 2012). Now we are working on MAPT (see Sep 2012 news story), a multi-domain Alzheimer’s preventive trial. We are collaborating with teams both in Europe and the U.S., looking at the prevention of AD from several angles. Toward the end of 2013, a number of scientists and I decided it would be useful to have a journal dedicated specifically to prevention. 

What was the main challenge in creating it?

To put together scientists from neuroscience and geriatrics. Geriatric medicine is growing quickly and Alzheimer’s is a burgeoning threat. In neuroscience, scientists are making progress on biomarkers and new therapeutic approaches, while those in geriatrics are looking into nutrition, multi-domain interventions, and comorbidities. JPAD aims to bring both fields together to work on preventing AD.

What else do you hope to achieve?

We hope to distribute advances in the field of AD widely. We also plan to hold focused discussions on methods of prevention. In the field of AD, some approaches focus on biomarkers and drugs, while others take a more public health-related view. I think we will see some interesting debates about which will be best in the long run. A big question now is whether we already know enough to start some kind of public intervention or if we need to wait for results from a long-term randomized trial.

What kinds of articles will appear in JPAD?

We will run original research articles, review articles, commentaries, and editorials that cover all aspects of prevention, from basic science to epidemiology, public health, and clinical trials. We will have a special focus on clinical trials once a year, this year in November, when we publish proceedings of the Clinical Trials in Alzheimer’s Disease (CTAD) meeting. They will be distributed to all CTAD members.

What can readers expect to find in the inaugural issue?

For example, baseline data from the MAPT trial. We have some interesting data about compliance with this multi-domain intervention, and some data from amyloid PET scans. We will also have an article from Peter Whitehouse [Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland] discussing the concept of AD prevention. In addition, a paper on rethinking clinical trials in AD will examine how we can make drug trials more effective than they are now.

Going forward, what are the main questions the journal may help answer?

What is the most effective target for prevention, what is the best intervention, and how long will it have to be administered? To prevent AD, we will need long-term treatment. It may be a drug, a non-pharmacological treatment, or maybe a multi-domain approach. Will the solution lie solely with a new drug, or will we need to combine a drug and a non-pharmacological approach, such as nutritional intervention, or prevention of vascular and metabolic risk factors? We will also be interested in preventative approaches for mutation carriers and people with early onset disease. Of course, the ultimate goal is to publish a positive trial on preventing AD, whether it appears in JPAD or another journal.

Why now?

A lot is going on in AD prevention now. When we first started GuidAge, 15 years ago, very few people were speaking about preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Some thought it was crazy. Now many are working in this area. Many drugs are coming down the pipeline, and most will probably be developed for AD prevention. For that reason, it is important to have more scientific data published on this topic.

What will the review process be like?

After initial screening by the editors, potentially acceptable papers will be sent to reviewers. We aim to respond within a month.—Gwyneth Dickey Zakaib


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News Citations

  1. Paper Alert—GuidAge Trial Data on Ginkgo Biloba Published
  2. Europe Asks If Reforming Health Habits Can Prevent Dementia

Paper Citations

  1. . Long-term use of standardised Ginkgo biloba extract for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease (GuidAge): a randomised placebo-controlled trial. Lancet Neurol. 2012 Oct;11(10):851-9. PubMed.

External Citations

  1. Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease

Further Reading