Dementia in the News

In any discussion here about the decision to move an older person into some sort of care facility, we can virtually count on a denunciation in the comments section, often from someone citing immigrant roots. Americans are too self-centered, too careerist, goes the criticism.

“I come originally from Argentina and in my culture we respect and honor the elderly and consider it disgraceful and selfish to put a parent in a nursing home,” Maria Gonzalez from Cleveland wrote last spring.

The brains of our closest relatives, unlike our own, do not shrink with age.

The findings suggest that humans are more vulnerable than chimpanzees to age-related diseases because we live relatively longer.

Our longer lifespan is probably an adaptation to having bigger brains, the team suggests in their Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper.

Old age, the results indicate, has evolved to help meet the demands of raising smarter babies.

Alzheimer's is the second-most feared disease after cancer and many people say they would seek testing for themselves or a loved one even if they did not have symptoms, U.S. and European researchers said on Wednesday.

The findings, presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Paris on Wednesday, reflect concern about the swelling ranks of people with the most common form of dementia. Alzheimer's now affects nearly 36 million people worldwide.

New research reported today in Paris at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference 2011 (AAIC 2011) offers insight on the global incidence and prevalence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) - a condition involving problems with memory or another mental function severe enough to be noticeable to the affected person or to others but not serious enough to interfere with daily life. The research also identifies the conditions that most accurately predict progression from MCI to Alzheimer's disease.

For many years, an autopsy done by a pathologist was considered the best way to confirm the presence of Alzheimer's disease. But new guidelines proposed on Sunday by the U.S. National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association seek to distinguish between memory changes or dementia diagnosed by doctors when people are alive, and the changes pathologists can see in an autopsy.

On one ridge stand scientists clutching discoveries rich with possibility; along another are physicians reaching for therapies to alleviate their patients' suffering. Between them runs an abyss, its floor strewn with abandoned drug candidates and failed clinical trials.

To an Alzheimer's patient, there's nothing funny about forgetting to turn off the oven, losing a telephone number or misplacing books from the library. But turning those mishaps into punch lines might turn out to be therapeutic.

The idea that improvisational comedy might help those in the early to middle stages of Alzheimer's cope with their disease is being tested by the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine and Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre Company.

When is it appropriate to perform genetic testing for Alzheimer disease (AD), and what information do patients need to understand their risk? The June issue of Genetics in Medicine, the official peer-reviewed journal of The American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) presents a new practice guideline on genetic counseling and testing for AD. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.

People in a large area of the American South have long been known to have more strokes and to be more likely to die from them than people living elsewhere in the country.

Now, a large national study suggests the so-called stroke belt may have another troubling health distinction. Researchers have found that Southerners there also are more likely to experience a decline in cognitive ability over several years - specifically, problems with memory and orientation.

Does high blood pressure increase the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease? Although several studies have highlighted hypertension as a potential AD risk factor, getting prominent play in the press, the epidemiologic evidence to date remains surprisingly weak.

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