For the first time in 25 years, medical experts are proposing a major change in the criteria for Alzheimer's disease, part of a new movement to diagnose and, eventually, treat the disease earlier.
The new diagnostic guidelines, presented Tuesday at an international Alzheimer’s meeting in Hawaii, would mean that new technology like brain scans would be used to detect the disease even before there are evident memory problems or other symptoms.
Racial and cultural differences may impact how early people with dementia are diagnosed, the type of care they receive and how long they live - and they even impact the way families of Alzheimer's patients deal with grief when their loved ones dies, according to several new studies.
Research presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Monday suggests more culturally-tailored resources could benefit African Americans, Latinos and other minority groups.
The link between depression and dementia has always been unclear, but a new study supports the theory that depression increases dementia risk.
The findings, published in the journal Neurology, are based on nearly 1,000 people who were studied for up to 17 years. Researchers evaluated them for depression and dementia using standard clinical tests. Those who were depressed when first examined almost doubled their risk for dementia and also increased their risk for Alzheimer's disease.
Five months shy of his 100th birthday, Louis Charpentier still rises every day at 9 a.m. to spend hours in his basement shop in suburban Leominster, carving delicate wooden figurines. Years after most people’s bodies and minds have failed, Charpentier climbs stairs with ease and recalls everything from the latest episode of “Dr. Phil’’ to the first train he ever saw, carrying soldiers who fought in World War I.
For years, scientists have been fascinated by biological outliers such as Charpentier as they seek to unlock the secrets of longevity.
With a nudge from the new health care law and pressure from Medicare, hospitals, doctors and nurses are struggling to prepare for explosive growth in the numbers of high-risk elderly patients.
More than 40 percent of adult patients in acute care hospital beds are 65 or older. Severly million Americans will have turned 65 by 2030. They include the 85-and-older cohort, the nation's fastest-growing age group.
The health needs of tens of millions of aging baby boomers threaten to overwhelm the nation's hospitals and caregivers within a decade or two, but the geriatric tidal wave does not appear to have been fully recognized at the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Daniel Skovronsky sat a small round table in his corner office, laptop open, waiting for an email meesage. His right leg jiggled nervously.
A few minutes later, the message arrived - results that showed his tiny start-up company might have overcome one of the biggest obstacles in diagnosing Alzheimer's disease. It had found a dye and a brain scan that, he said, can show the hallmark plaque building up in the brains of people with the disease.
No one who knows Justin Kaplan would ever have expected this. A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian with a razor intellect, Mr. Kaplan, 84, became profoundly delirious while hospitalized for pneumonia last year. For hours in the hospital, he said, he imagine despotic aliens, and he struck a nurse and threatened to kill his wife and daughter.
In 1999, Tom DeBaggio was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease. He was 57. Soon after the diagnosis, he began talking with NPR about his illness. He wanted to document his decline, to break through what he called the "shame and silence" of Alzheimer's.
NPR's Noah Adams started the visits with Tom, his wife Joyce and his son Francesco at DeBaggio's Herb Farm and Nursery in Chantilly, Va.