Dementia in the News

"A major breakthrough in Alzheimer's research holds out hope not only of early detection of the crippling brain disease but also potential new treatments," reports the Daily Express.

George Eberhardt turned 107 last month, and scientists would love to know how he and other older folks like him made it that far. So he's going to hand over some of his DNA. He's one of 100 centenarians taking part in a project announced Wednesday that will examine some of the oldest citizens with one of the newest scientific tools:  Whole-genome sequencing, the deciphering of a person's complete collection of DNA.

Declaring that our nation "has no time to waste," the Alzheimer's Foundation of American (AFA) today released specific, hard-hitting recommendations on both care and cure to tackle Alzheimer's disease - and urged swift implementation of a national strategy on this growing public health crisis that threatens an increasing number of American families, including aging baby boomers, and the nation's budget.

Taking aim at the alarming slowdown in the development of new and lifesaving drugs, Harvard Medical School (HMS) is launching the Initiative in Systems Pharmacology, a comprehensive strategy to transform drug discovery by convening biologists, chemists, pharmacologists, physicists, computer scientists, and clinicians to explore together how drugs work in complex systems.

The search for a cure for Alzheimer's disease has taken researchers to a remote region in the Columbian Highlands. Tom Clarke of Independent Television News reports.

www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/health/july-dec11/alzheimers_10-13.html

Driving demands quick reaction time and fast problem-solving. Due to the progressive nature of the disease, every person with Alzheimer's will eventually become unable to drive. The Alzheimer's Association recommends that families discuss driving before a crisis, ideally while the person with Alzheimer's is still able to participate in the conversation and decision-making process.

With more people living well into their 80s and beyong, the problem of how to stay fit, alert and happy for as long as possible in their golden years has become important for both seniors and their caregivers.

Across the country, some nursing homes have introduced "tango therapy" to their residents and have achieved great success because the Argentine dance has an amazing effect of reinvigorating both body and mind.

For the Betancur family, it was a kind of pilgrimage, an act of faith in science.

In September, four family members traveled from Medellin, Colombia, to the Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix, along with eight distant relatives. There are many more where they came from, about 5,000 - all members of the largest extended family linked to an inherited form of Alzheimer’s disease.

Almost one in every five patients with advanced Alzheimer's or other form of severe dementia will be shuttled from a nursing home to a hospital during their last few months of life, a new U.S. study shows.

The study's authors believe that many of those troublesome "transitions" aren't needed.

Depending on where a patient lives, as many as 37.5 percent may be hospitalized, the study found.

Scientists have made an exciting breakthrough in unraveling the genetic basis of two debilitating neurodegenerative disorders, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Two independent studies, published online this week by Cell Press in the journal Neuron, identify a new human genetic mutation as the most common cause of ALS and FTD identified to date. This mutation explains at least a third of all familial cases of ALS and FTD within the European population.

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