News

160 genes linked to brain shrinkage in study of 45,000 adults

September 25, 2020

A new study implicates 160 genes in brain shrinkage seen on MRIs of 45,000 healthy adults. The shrinkage is in the cortex, the dimply outer layer of the brain that gives rise to thinking, awareness and action, and largely consists of gray matter. The study, published Sept. 22 in the journal Nature Communications, examined 34 regions […]



Oral pill slows rate of decline in ALS patients

September 8, 2020

Although it’s not a cure for ALS, an oral drug slowed patients’ rate of functional decline in a clinical trial that included five patients at UT Health San Antonio. If the finding is repeated in larger trials, the drug could give families more time with their loved ones who have ALS. The New England Journal […]




Biggs Institute gains $2M to study rapamycin for Alzheimer’s

August 25, 2020

In the war on cancer and other diseases including COVID-19, old drugs approved for other conditions are being studied for new purposes. It’s a strategy that will now be tested in Alzheimer’s disease with a drug called rapamycin. A $2 million grant will enable a clinical trial in which 40 individuals with mild cognitive impairment […]




Genes, cardiovascular health each factor into dementia risk

July 20, 2020

Genes and cardiovascular health each contribute in an additive way to a person’s risk of dementia, researchers including Sudha Seshadri, MD, and Claudia Satizabal, PhD, of UT Health San Antonio reported July 20 in the journal Neurology. The study was conducted in 1,211 participants in the Framingham Heart Study and involved collaborators from Boston University. Participants […]




Synapse-saving class of proteins discovered, opening intriguing possibilities in Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia

July 17, 2020

UT Health San Antonio researchers have discovered a new class of proteins that protect synapses from being destroyed. Synapses are the structures where electrical impulses pass from one neuron to another. In Alzheimer’s disease, loss of synapses leads to memory problems and other clinical symptoms. In schizophrenia, synapse losses during development predispose an individual to […]




Data, lots of it, may detect who will have dementia and what type

July 6, 2020

What if, by inputting information about dementia and a patient into a supercomputer and crunching the data, a treatment team could quantify the individual’s risk of developing the disease? And what if, based on the results, the team could diagnose which type and subtype of dementia that the patient might develop? And what if the […]




Stroke bleeds in the brain not decreasing, study finds

June 9, 2020

Brain bleeds called intracerebral hemorrhages remained stable in incidence among all age groups over the past 30 years, but they increased in people 75 and older, according to a new analysis of the Framingham Heart Study. The findings are in JAMA Neurology. Use of anticoagulants also increased in senior adults threefold over the period, but authors cautioned against […]




The region’s first brain bank and what it brings to dementia research

May 29, 2020

As part of National Brain Awareness Month, Kevin Bieniek, Ph.D., director of the Brain Bank at the Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases, answers questions about what the region’s first brain bank means for dementia research. Q: You are the director of the Brain Bank at the Biggs Institute. What inspired you to study the human brain?   Dr. […]



Medical Xpress: Cognition and gait speed often decline together, study shows

May 7, 2020

Do thinking and walking go hand in hand in determining the health course of senior adults? A study published by UT Health San Antonio researchers found that, indeed, the two functions often parallel each other in determining a person’s health trajectory. The researchers analyzed data from 370 participants in the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of […]


A counselor’s note: Caregivers and grief during COVID-19

April 29, 2020

Across the world, people are feeling impacted by COVID-19. While it is important to know and discuss the physical symptoms of this virus, an equally important conversation is on the emotional impact. Specifically, how grief is present during this time and its unique impact on those caring for a loved one with dementia. While grief […]