before i forget B. Smith — restaurateur, magazine publisher, celebrity chef and nationally known lifestyle maven — and her husband, Dan Gasby, will visit the Barnes & Noble store at The Summit in Birmingham for a special event to discuss and sign copies of their book, “Before I Forget,” written with Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Shnayerson. Smith has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and “Before I Forget” describes her and Gasby’s journey with the disease and offers practical advice about dealing with Alzheimer’s day-to-day challenges, the family realities and tensions, ways of coping, and lessons learned along the way. 

Erik Roberson, M.D., Ph.D., Virginia B. Spencer Professor of Neuroscience and director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, will participate in the discussion to share research on the disease and answer questions from the audience.

The event is at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 23, at the Barnes & Noble at The Summit, 201 Summit Blvd., Suite 100.

By Bob Shepard
UAB Media Relations
peter king Peter King, M.D., professor in the Department of Neurology in the School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, will receive the 2016 Spirit of Lou Gehrig Award from the ALS Association’s Alabama Chapter. King has spent 20 years treating patients with the disease and is a leading researcher working to find a cure for ALS. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The disease robs victims of the ability to walk, talk and eventually even blink an eye.

King will receive the award at the second annual “Changing the Game” awards dinner, 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, at The Club on Robert Smith Drive in Birmingham. Guest speakers at the event will be former Auburn great Bo Jackson and former University of Alabama star Tony Nathan.

The award is named for baseball player Lou Gehrig, nicknamed “the Iron Horse.” Gehrig showed extraordinary courage and commitment to the game of baseball in the face of a devastating ALS diagnosis.

For more information about The ALS Association Alabama Chapter and the “Changing the Game” event, visit or

A kinase inhibitor that is an approved medication for people and improves memory in rats also promotes degradation of toxic tau in lab models, according to a paper in the January 27 Journal of Neuroscience. Inhibiting the Rho-associated protein kinases ROCK1 and ROCK2 with the drug fasudil got rid of tau in cultured human neurons and the eyes of fruit flies, report senior author Jeremy Herskowitz and colleagues from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Fasudil is a vasodilator approved in Japan and China to prevent tightening of arteries and ischemia following surgery in the subarachnoid space surrounding the brain. It has undergone preclinical investigation in several neurodegenerative conditions thanks to its effects on autophagy and inflammation. The drug, or related compounds, might be more broadly applicable to prevent a variety of tauopathies, Herskowitz suggested. Alas, efforts to study fasudil in those diseases have been limited thus far.

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