Ep. 39: Alzheimer’s Disease Research Part I with Drs. Diane Bovenkamp, Frank LaFerla, and Bruce Lamb

This week’s episode marks the 1st of a series focused on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research.  All episodes were recorded in San Diego, CA, where Connor Wander attended the BrightFocus Alzheimer’s Disease Fast Track conference, followed by the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting.

Society for Neuroscience (SfN) is a well-known conference, which draws 28 thousand people annually.  In contrast, AD Fast Track is a much smaller conference put on by BrightFocus, a foundation built to support research and awareness for disease of mind and sight, with international grant programs in AD, macular degeneration, and glaucomaMany of the speakers at the event are directly supported by BrightFocus with current research grants (Lamb, Brinton, Head, Grinberg, and Glabe).  Find and apply for Brightfocus grants here.

Alzheimer’s disease research is reinventing itself in the wake of past failures.  New understandings of disease complexity, paired with recent advances in technology and a renewed surge in funding for research fuels new hope for a cure or treatment.  But we aren’t putting all our eggs in one basket.  This series will explore Alzheimer’s disease research and the variety of research strategies with the common goal of curing Alzheimer’s disease.

In This Episode

Listen in to hear an overview of the BrightFocus AD Fast Track conference and current standing of Alzheimer’s disease research.  We also focus on animal models of Alzheimer’s disease.

@6:07 Dr. Diane Bovenkamp introduces BrightFocus and the AD Fast Track Conference.

@21:00 Dr. Frank LaFerla breaks down amyloid beta and tau in Alzheimer’s disease research.

@37:31 Dr. Bruce T. Lamb describes the MODEL-AD project, which seeks to better simulate Alzheimer’s disease in animal models.

Special thanks to all podcasts guests and to Martha and Rachel from BrightFocus!

Dr. Diane Bovenkamp and Connor recording the first segment in the AD Fast Track Conference room

More Information

Firstly listen to a brief summary of Alzheimer’s disease signs and symptoms with Dr. Diane Bovenkamp.

Find more quick chats on the BrightFocus Foundation website, including some tips and support for Alzheimer’s disease caregivers.


The amyloid cascade hypothesis is commonly discussed in Episode 40: Alzheimer’s disease roundtable.

Listen to a discussion of amyloid beta’s putative role as an ancient anti-microbial peptide in the brain in Episode 13: Amyloid Beta: Villain, or Hero in Alzheimer’s Disease?

This possible role for amyloid beta is important in the amyloid cascade hypothesis; the idea that amyloid beta is the first thing to go wrong in AD, and triggers a chain reaction causing tau to aggregate and kill neurons.  This is a commonly discussed hypothesis in Alzheimer’s research, and is often referenced in this series.

Learn more with a detailed infographic on the amyloid cascade hypothesis.  It’s in a perspective piece discussing the recent developments in AD research by Biogen, and Eisai, two companies working on Alzheimer’s disease therapeutics like such as anti-amyloid or anti-tau antibodies, which have shown some promise in AD clinical trials.

For more in-depth analysis of developments in AD and other neurodegenerative diseases, also check out Alzforum.org for Alzheimer’s disease background reading.

Any other questions?  Let us know!  We appreciate your feedback.

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Thanks to Plant Warrior for their support.  Use discount code SFS10 at checkout for 10% off your purchase of plant-based protein.

Check out this episode!

Part I Guests

About Brightfocus

Join the discussion!