FAU aims to prevent dementia with new program

Post-mortem studies confirm that 30 percent of Alzheimer’s disease case can be prevented.

Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton is aiming to find how – and will give patients a plan to follow.

FAU will launch the Dementia Prevention Initiative at the Comprehensive Center for Brain Health. It will take a genetics, biology and the molecular approach to the disease, as well as a personalized approach and precision medicine to reduce risk.

The belief is that the innovative approach developed at Florida Atlantic University turns the “one-size-fits-all” approach on its head when it comes to battling Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy Body Dementia, Parkinson’s disease and other related disorders.

This center is one of only a handful of centers around the world that focuses on dementia prevention.

Dr. James E. Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., a world-renowned neuroscientist,  designed the program to deliver a personalized prevention plan, tailored to each individual’s risk profile based on their genetic traits, biomarkers, socio-demographics, lifestyle choices, and co-existent medical conditions.

Galvin’s work supports the idea that there may be multiple pathways to develop neurological disorders –and therefore multiple ways to treat and prevent these diseases.

The photo above shows  Catherine Robson, a nurse practitioner observing as Dr. James Galvin administers a test using to measure eye movement. is used as an early biomarker sign of Parkinson’s disease.

Algae blooms may be more dangerous than ever believed

Last week, the  American Civil Liberties of Florida issued a report that the state failed to adequately warn the public of the health dangers related to toxic algae blooms on the Treasure Coast communities last year.

The algae bloom in the St. Lucie River and its estuaries caused an overpowering, noxious smell, burning eyes, headaches, flu-like symptoms, respiratory problems, and rashes.

The local hospital weathered a spike in emergency room patients. People were forced to evacuate waterside properties and escape to more distant lodgings.

The bloom came after the Palm Beach Post’s story on how scientists have linked blue-green algae to neurological disorders like Parkinson’s Disease and ALS.

In the past decade, a consortium of 50 scientists around the world led by ethnobotanist Paul Alan Cox found cyanobacteria in blue-green algae produce a toxin called BMAA.

BMAA leaves sticky plaque buildup around nerve cells and causing protein tangles within those neurons. It is the same calling card found in patients with these neurological illnesses.

Even more intriguing is a related discovery by Cox and his team that ingesting the organic compound L-serine reduces the effect of BMAA in Old World monkeys called vervets.

And all this research has strong ties to Palm Beach County, where philanthropists have bankrolled Cox’s research at the Institute for EthnoMedicine in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Douglas and Liz Kinney of North Palm Beach learned of Cox’s research more than a decade ago and have helped raise millions for research.

“It’s a game-changer,” said Liz Kinney, describing how she witnessed L-serine countering a neurological illness in a friend who was paralyzed with Lewy body disease, which has signatures of both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. “Within 10 days, he was speaking. He had much more life.”

Algae formed around the Herbert Hoover Dam on Lake Okeechobee on Friday, July 8, 2016. The algae bloom from Lake Okeechobee has grown since it was first measured in May. Environmentalists believe it stretched more than 200 square miles. (Joseph

The ACLU’s full report is available here: www.aclufl.org/taintedwaters.

The Post’s full report tying cyanobacteria to neurological disorders can be read by clicking here.

ACLU: State failed to warn public of health dangers of toxic algae bloom

The American Civil Liberties of Florida is taking aim at the state, saying it failed to adequately warn the public of the health dangers related to toxic algae blooms on the Treasure Coast communities last year.

The ACLU on Wednesday issued the report, “Tainted Waters: Threats to Public Health and the People’s Right to Know,” concluding blue-green algae have not been sufficiently researched by the state.

The Palm Beach Post last year published a story on a group of prominent researchers have tied blue-green algae to neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s Disease and ALS. To read that story click here.

Algae formed around the Herbert Hoover Dam on Lake Okeechobee on Friday, July 8, 2016. The algae bloom from Lake Okeechobee has grown since it was first measured in May. Environmentalists believe it stretched more than 200 square miles. (Joseph Forzano / The Palm Beach Post)

The ACLU report was written by former Palm Beach Post investigative reporter John Lantigua.

“Open government means people have a right to be informed about what public officials and employees are doing, and that information is particularly crucial when it comes to public health issues,” Lantigua said. “What we found was a lack of urgency and transparency on the part of the state in reporting information about the crisis, caused by the release of tainted waters from Lake Okeechobee.”

The algae bloom in the St. Lucie River and its estuary certainly appeared and smelled toxic. It caused an overpowering, noxious smell, burning eyes, headaches, flu-like symptoms, respiratory problems, and rashes. The local hospital weathered a spike in emergency room patients. People were forced to evacuate waterside properties and escape to more distant lodgings.

It caused an overpowering, noxious smell, burning eyes, headaches, flu-like symptoms, respiratory problems, and rashes. The local hospital weathered a spike in emergency room patients. People were forced to evacuate waterside properties and escape to more distant lodgings.

His report quotes scientists concerned that the state provided no public warning about the threat to downriver communities. The state tested waters where toxins where the algae were least concentrated, as well, the report states.

It also notes a task force created by state law in 1999 to monitor and mitigate the effects of algae blooms has not been funded since 1999.

The ACLU’s full report is available here: www.aclufl.org/taintedwaters

Fertilizer ban takes aim at algae blooms

In an effort to address algal blooms in Indian River Lagoon, fertilizer was banned in a five-county region, Health News Florida reports.

The Indian River Lagoon is a grouping of: Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River, and the Indian River, on the Atlantic Coast of Florida up along the Treasure Coast.

0010216A 071505 tc met river el 1 A view from the North Fork of the St. Lucie River shows fresh algae blooms off the shoreline Friday afternoon, July 15, 2005. The South Florida Water Management District held a media briefing and aerial tour of the conditions in Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie River today, July 15, at 1 p.m. at the Witham Field Airport, 2555 SE Dixie Highway, Stuart.  (Erik Lunsford/The Palm Beach Post) NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION OUTSIDE COX PAPERS. OUT PALM BEACH, BROWARD, MARTIN, ST. LUCIE, INDIAN RIVER AND OKEECHOBEE COUNTIES IN FLORIDA. OUT ORLANDO. OUT TV. OUT MAGAZINES. OUT TABLOIDS. OUT WIDE WORLD. OUT INTERNET USE. NO SALES. ORG XMIT: MER0507151724509064 ORG XMIT: MER0706181400405571
A view from the North Fork of the St. Lucie River shows algae blooms.

Algal blooms have been tied to fish kills and now even diseases like ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Read the Palm Beach Post’s report on the finding by clicking here.

The fertilizer ban will apply to all of the region’s municipalities and run through September.

The ban comes in the wake of the first worst fish kill in the lagoon’s modern history. Experts said frequent rains wash fertilizers into the lagoon, feeding the blooms.

Duane De Freese of the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program told Health News Florida that the bans are aimed at nitrogen and phosphorus, nutrients at the heart of the lagoon’s problems.

“It’s a bad time to be fertilizing because it wastes fertilizer. But more importantly it transports those nutrients to the Indian River Lagoon, and we know those nutrients can fuel algal blooms.”

 

Scientists fear Okeechobee algae bloom with spread

Scientists worry that a large toxic algal bloom in Lake Okeechobee could spread through man-made canals to coastal estuaries like the Indian River Lagoon, according to a story published by Health News Florida.

Paul Gray of Audubon of Florida said he bloom likely will spread as water managers send large amounts of water from the rain-swollen lake to the estuaries. Lake O is a last ditch backup water supply for the city of West Palm Beach.

0010216A 071505 tc met river el 1 A view from the North Fork of the St. Lucie River shows fresh algae blooms off the shoreline Friday afternoon, July 15, 2005. The South Florida Water Management District held a media briefing and aerial tour of the conditions in Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie River today, July 15, at 1 p.m. at the Witham Field Airport, 2555 SE Dixie Highway, Stuart.  (Erik Lunsford/The Palm Beach Post) NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION OUTSIDE COX PAPERS. OUT PALM BEACH, BROWARD, MARTIN, ST. LUCIE, INDIAN RIVER AND OKEECHOBEE COUNTIES IN FLORIDA. OUT ORLANDO. OUT TV. OUT MAGAZINES. OUT TABLOIDS. OUT WIDE WORLD. OUT INTERNET USE. NO SALES. ORG XMIT: MER0507151724509064 ORG XMIT: MER0706181400405571
A view from the North Fork of the St. Lucie River shows fresh algae blooms off the shoreline in 2005.

 

“When you open the gate to flow water out of the lake they just flow right along with it,” Gray said. “And they tend to stay at the surface so they can stay viable all the way down the canal and into the estuary.”

Gray said it’s too soon to know how heavy rain this week impacted the bloom.

A toxic bloom of the same algal species three years ago gripped the southern Indian River Lagoon, prompting advisories that people stay away from the water.

And there is more evidence these algal blooms could be affecting humans in ways we are only now beginning to understand.

The Palm Beach Post in March published how algal blooms have been tied to ALS, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. Blue-green algae produce a toxin called BMAA that has been linked to the neurological tangles in the brain that are the hallmark of these neurological devastating disorders.