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A Subset Of Alzheimer’s Cases May Be Caused By Two Copies Of A Single Gene, New Research Shows

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Alzheimer's

Washington — For the first time, researchers have uncovered a genetic variant of Alzheimer’s disease among people who inherit two copies of a concerning gene.

Scientists have long known that a gene known as APOE4 is one of numerous factors that can increase people’s chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease, including just growing older. The great majority of Alzheimer’s cases develop after age 65. However, new research published on Monday reveals that for people who carry two copies of the gene, it is more than a risk factor; it is an underlying cause of the mind-robbing disease.

The findings have “profound implications,” according to Dr. Juan Fortea, who led the study at the Sant Pau Research Institute in Barcelona, Spain.

Symptoms can appear seven to ten years earlier than in other elderly people who get Alzheimer’s.

An estimated 15% of Alzheimer’s patients have two copies of APOE4, which means that those instances “can be tracked back to a cause, and the cause is in the genes,” according to Fortea. Until recently, hereditary variants of Alzheimer’s were thought to be the only types that struck at considerably younger ages, accounting for less than 1% of all cases.

According to scientists, the findings highlight the need of developing medicines targeting the APOE4 gene. Some doctors will not provide Leqembi, the only treatment found to modestly reduce the disease, to people with the gene pair because they are more likely to experience a dangerous side effect, according to Dr. Reisa Sperling, a study coauthor at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Sperling is looking for ways to prevent or at least delay Alzheimer’s, and “this data for me says wow, what an important group to be able to go after before they become symptomatic.”

However, the revelation does not imply that people should race to get a DNA test. “It’s important not to scare everyone who has a family history” of Alzheimer’s because this gene combination isn’t responsible for the majority of instances, she told The Associated Press.

Alzheimer’s

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How Does Genetics Affect Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 6 million Americans and millions more throughout the world. A few genes are known to create rare “early-onset forms, which are mutations passed down through generations that cause symptoms to appear unusually early, before the age of fifty. Some occurrences have also been connected to Down syndrome.

However, Alzheimer’s disease most typically strikes after the age of 65, particularly in the late 1970s and 1980s, and the APOE gene, which also affects how the body manages lipids, has long been thought to have a role. There are three major variations. Most people have the APOE3 variation, which does not appear to raise or decrease Alzheimer’s risk. Some people carry APOE2, which offers some protection against Alzheimer’s.

APOE4 has long been identified as the most significant genetic risk factor for late-life Alzheimer’s, with two copies being more risky than one. Approximately 2% of the world’s population is predicted to inherit one copy from each parent.

Alzheimer’s

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Research suggests a cause for a subset of Alzheimer’s.

To better comprehend the gene’s function, Fortea’s team analyzed data from 3,297 brains given for research and over 10,000 patients in Alzheimer’s studies in the United States and Europe. They investigated Alzheimer’s symptoms and early warning signs, such as sticky amyloid in the brain.

According to a study published in the journal Nature Medicine, people with two APOE4 copies accumulated more amyloid at age 55 than those with one copy or the “neutral APOE3 gene type. By age 65, brain scans revealed considerable plaque buildup in nearly three-quarters of those double carriers, who were also more likely to develop Alzheimer’s symptoms at that age rather than in their 70s or 80s.

Fortea stated that the disease’s basic biology was comparable to young inherited kinds.

It appears to be “a familial form of Alzheimer’s, according to Dr. Eliezer Masliah of the National Institute on Aging. “It is not just a risk factor.”

Importantly, not everyone with two APOE4 genes develops Alzheimer’s symptoms, and researchers need to figure out why, Sperling said.

“It’s not quite destiny, she explained.

Alzheimer's

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How the new findings may affect Alzheimer’s research and treatment

The medicine Leqembi works by removing some sticky amyloid, but Sperling said it’s unclear whether carriers of two APOE4 genes benefit because they are at a higher risk of the drug’s side effects, which include hazardous brain swelling and hemorrhage. One research topic is whether they might benefit from starting such medications sooner than others.

Masliah stated that other study tries to produce gene therapies or medications that precisely target APOE4. He believes it is especially critical to study APOE4’s impact across varied communities, as it has been investigated primarily in white people of European heritage.

Gene tests are now solely used to determine whether someone is a candidate for Leqembi or to enroll in Alzheimer’s research, particularly investigations of potential disease prevention methods. According to Sperling, the persons who are most likely to carry two APOE4 genes have parents who both developed Alzheimer’s disease in their 60s rather than 80s.

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Eli Lilly Invests $5.3 Billion to Address Mounjaro and Zepbound Shortages

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Mounjaro and Zepbound
Demand for the weight loss and diabetes drugs has outpaced its supply: Getty Images

Eli Lilly, the American pharmaceutical company, has announced that it will invest an additional $5.3 billion in a new manufacturing site to increase production of its weight loss and diabetic drugs Mounjaro and Zepbound.

Over the last year, demand for Mounjaro and Zepbound has significantly surpassed supply, resulting in shortages in the United States and requiring the pharmaceutical giant to invest extensively to scale up its manufacturing.

This latest commitment raises Eli Lilly’s total investment in the site to $9 billion. Eli Lilly’s CEO, David Ricks, stated that this is the company’s largest production investment in nearly 150 years.

Eli Lilly intends the Lebanon location to begin producing medications by the end of 2026 and expand operations through 2028. The corporation first revealed plans to establish new Indiana locations in 2022.

The investment will create 200 full-time jobs at the site, including roles for engineers, scientists, operating workers, and lab technicians, increasing the total workforce to 900 full-time employees, according to Eli Lilly.

Mounjaro and Zepbound have “limited availability”

Eli Lilly expects production at the site to begin at the end of 2026, with operations ramping up through 2028.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, most injections of Mounjaro and Zepbound have “limited availability” in the United States due to growing demand for both medications.

Eli Lilly’s shares, which are up 39% this year, increased marginally to $808.69 on the announcement, according to Forbes.

In recent years, Eli Lilly has concentrated on increasing manufacturing following good research results for tirzepatide. In November, the FDA approved the drug—previously licensed for treating diabetes as Mounjaro—for weight reduction treatment under the brand name Zepbound, joining other weight loss drugs such as Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy.

The popularity of injectable weight-loss treatments has resulted in shortages of all four medications, forcing Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly to increase manufacturing efforts.

Earlier this year, Eli Lilly raised its full-year revenue estimates by $2 billion, citing “production expansion.”

Source: Forbes

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Tick Season Has Arrived. Protect Yourself With These Tips

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Black-legged tick: Image AP

FORT COLLINS, CO – Tick season has begun across the United States, and experts warn that bloodsuckers may be as prevalent as ever. According to some analysts, another warm winter and other favorable variables will most certainly result in the 2024 tick population being equal to or higher than the previous year.

“It’s very bad and has only been getting worse,” said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Susanna Visser.

Rising ticks are spreading into new locations, bringing unique diseases. Exotic southern species, such as the Gulf Coast and lone star ticks, are being found in New York and other northern states, for example.

However, the tick that experts warn about the most is the common black-legged tick, which lives primarily in forests and transmits Lyme disease. Infection rates peak in May, with US health officials estimating that roughly half a million Lyme infections occur yearly.

Here is a peek at what to expect this year and how to protect yourself.

ticks

Black-legged tick: Image AP

TICK FACTS.

Ticks are little, eight-legged, bloodsucking parasites (arachnids, not insects) that prey on animals and occasionally humans. Some ticks carry illness-causing bacteria, which they spread when they bite.

There is no widely recognized estimate of the number of ticks that exist each year, but scientists agree that ticks are becoming an increasingly widespread health threat in significant parts of the United States.

Blacklegged ticks, commonly known as deer ticks because they feed on deer, are some of the most common in the eastern portion of the United States. They were abundant centuries ago, then declined when woods were cut down, and deer were hunted before rebounding alongside deer in wooded suburbs. Ticks have expanded from New England and the Midwest to the South and Great Plains.

Tick populations fluctuate throughout the year for various reasons. They prefer warm, humid weather and can be seen after a mild winter. The number of deer and mice available to feed is also important.

Researchers estimate that the black-legged tick population has been growing for at least four decades.

“This is an epidemic in slow motion,” stated Rebecca Eisen, a CDC research scientist and tick expert.

ticks

Black-legged tick: Image AP

2024 TICK SEASON FORECAST

Weather can influence the severity of a tick season.

Very cold, dry winters can reduce tick numbers, but recent winters have been mild, which some ascribe to climate change.

Scott Williams, a tick researcher at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, stated, “Winters are no longer limiting the tick population.”

Ticks can endure high temperatures but tend to hibernate during a dry summer. That happened in Maine from 2020 to 2022, according to Chuck Lubelczyk, a vector ecologist at the MaineHealth Institute for Research.

However, last year was exceptionally wet, and tick activity increased in Maine, the state with the highest prevalence of Lyme disease in the nation. The weather service predicts increased temperatures and precipitation, so “on paper, at least, it could be a very good year for the ticks,” Lubelczyk added.

Because of the warm winter in Wisconsin, adult ticks remained active longer than usual. The tick nymphs are emerging, and a wet spring is paving the way for a large population, according to Xia Lee, an entomologist with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

The same holds for New York.

“It will be as bad as last year, if not worse,” said Saravanan Thangamani, a tick and tickborne illness researcher at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse.

What is Lyme Disease?

Not all ticks contain disease-causing germs; researchers anticipate that 20% to 30% of black-legged tick nymphs emerging in the Northeast and Midwest during spring and summer will carry the Lyme disease bacteria

Lyme disease symptoms often appear three to thirty days following a bite, including fever, headache, lethargy, and a bull’s-eye-like rash. If you are bitten and develop symptoms, visit a doctor to be treated with antibiotics.

ticks

Black-legged tick: Image AP

HOW TO KEEP TICKS AWAY FROM YOU

According to experts, the best course of action is to prevent getting bitten by a tick in the first place.

When you go outside, take note of woody regions and where grassy lands begin to blend into wooded ones. Ticks typically perch on ankle-level plants with extended upper legs, waiting to latch on to an unwary dog or human.

Try to walk in the middle of the walkway, wear light-colored, permethrin-treated clothing, and apply EPA-registered insect repellents.

How to Check for Ticks

When you get inside, check for ticks. They can be found anywhere on the human body, but the most common locations are around the waist, below the knees, between the fingers and toes, underarms, around the belly button, and the neck or hairline

They are more difficult to see while young, so inspect them closely and promptly remove them with tweezers.

The CDC does not advocate submitting individual ticks to testing services for analysis since a person may receive more than one tick bite, and the results of the tested tick may not provide enough information.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Bike Shops Boomed Early In The Pandemic. It’s Been A Bumpy Ride For Most Ever Since

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Bike Shop: Image Pixa Bay

For the nation’s bicycle stores, the last several years have certainly felt like the business version of the Tour de France, with innumerable twists and turns testing their stamina.

Early in the pandemic, a surge in interest in cycling drove sales up 64% to $5.4 billion in 2020, according to Circana, the retail tracking firm. It wasn’t uncommon for some stores to sell 100 or more bikes in a few days.

The boom did not last. Due to pandemic-related supply chain challenges, the retailers sold out of bikes and struggled to replenish. Inventory has caught up, but fewer people require new bicycles. Bicycle manufacturers have started lowering prices to clear off excess inventory. It all adds up to a challenging climate for retailers, with a few bright areas such as dirt and e-bikes.

“The industry had a hard time keeping up with demand for a couple of years, but then demand slowed as the lockdowns ended, and a lot of inventory started showing up,” said Stephen Frothingham, editor-in-chief of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News. “So now for the last, a year and a half, the industry has struggled with having too much inventory, at the supplier level, at the factory level, at the distributor level, at the retail level.”

Circana reports that bike sales will reach $4.1 billion in 2023, up 23% from 2019 but down 24% from 2020. The recovery from the epidemic has been uneven, with large businesses such as REI and Scheels recovering faster than independent bike shops, according to Matt Tucker, director of client development for Circana’s sports equipment business.

bike

Bike Shop: Image Pixa Bay

Bike Shops Boomed Early In The Pandemic. It’s Been A Bumpy Ride For Most Ever Since

John McDonell, owner of Market Street Cycles on San Francisco’s famed Market Street, says the pandemic’s shift to hybrid labor has been especially difficult for business. During the summer, 3,000 bikes would pass by his shop each day. With fewer individuals commuting to work, that number has dropped to less than 1,000.

According to Pacer.ai, which tracks people’s activities based on smartphone usage, San Francisco falls behind all other major cities regarding workers returning to work, with office visits down 49% from April 2019.

“Our downtown is still a wasteland,” McDonell explained.

Independent bike stores now compete not only with national chains but also with bike manufacturers such as Specialized and Trek. These companies have been buying bike shops and selling their bikes directly to customers, thus eliminating the middleman. According to Frothingham, there are now over 1,000 bike shops in the country that are either owned by Trek or Specialized.

“They’ve got the money to absorb the fact that bike stores, you know, are not a super profitable thing, and in the process, they’ve also been able to cut us out of it,” McDonell stated.

McDonell has been obliged to use a skeleton team of himself and another employee, down from five earlier. His desire to sell his shop to a younger bike enthusiast when he retires is diminishing. He might close his store when his lease expires in a few years.

bike

Bike Shop: Image Pixa Bay

Bike Shops Boomed Early In The Pandemic. It’s Been A Bumpy Ride For Most Ever Since

“Now I am just trying to land it with both engines on fire and trying not to lose money on my way out,” he stated

Douglas Emerson’s bike business, University Bicycles, in Boulder, Colorado, is doing better, thanks to its placement in one of the country’s most popular biking destinations. He’s owned the shop for 39 years and employs 30 people.

University Bicycles, like other bike retailers, experienced a surge in bike sales due to the pandemic. Emerson recalls selling 107 bicycles in 48 hours. However, immediately following the boom, sales fell considerably due to a lack of inventory, and rentals declined because no one was traveling.

“It became a struggle right after the boom,” Emerson explained. “Since then, manufacturers have overproduced.” In addition, they have significantly reduced prices, which benefits consumers. However, tiny retailers generally cannot take advantage of those discounts.”

Emerson claims the shop hit a “saturation point” when everyone who wanted a bike purchased one. He now sells these consumer items such as jackets, helmets, and locks. His store has returned to its 2019 sales figures.

University Bicycles has also benefited from some of the changes in purchasing trends. The continued strong demand for e-bikes and the increased need for children’s bikes have contributed. Gravel bikes, which can be ridden on both paved and dirt routes, are displacing road cycles as a top seller.

John Ruger, a 50-year biker and faithful University Bicycles client, hasn’t purchased a bike in ten years but intends to buy a gravel bike at present costs. He says a top gravel bike he’s interested in, which would normally cost $12,000 to $14,000, is presently on sale for $8,000.

bike

Bike Shop: Image Pixa Bay

Bike Shops Boomed Early In The Pandemic. It’s Been A Bumpy Ride For Most Ever Since

“The timing is good,” he remarked. “I can get a bike now because they’re less expensive and my bikes are getting old.”

Shawna Williams, the owner of Free Range Cycles in Seattle, Washington, did not see the same sales boom as others because her 700-square-foot business was so small that she only accepted customers by appointment from March 2020 to May 2021.

However, Williams did have to deal with the coming shortages. She spent a great deal of time “checking in with other shops to see if we could buy something, even at retail, from them, just in order to get a repair done or a build done.”

She expanded her service offerings, such as repairs and maintenance, to compensate for decreasing bike sales. Despite the epidemic, the maneuvering allowed her to maintain consistent overall sales.

“Bike sales, the way that I have kind of framed the shop, are an awesome bonus, but we really need to be sustaining the shop through repair and, like, thoughtful accessory sales,” Williams stated. “A bike sale to me, if we do things well, that means creating a customer for life.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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