Dementia in the News

Margaret Nance was, to put it mildly, a difficult case. Agitated, combative, often reluctant to eat, she would hit staff members and fellow residents at nursing homes, several of which kicked her out. But when Beatitudes nursing home agreed to an urgent plea to accept her, all that changed.

Disregarding typical nursing-home rules, Beatitudes allowed Ms. Nance, 96 and afflicted with Alzheimer's, to sleep, be bathed and dine whenever she wanted, even at 2 a.m. She could eat anything, too, no matter how unhealthy, including unlimited chocolate.

Faith got Bruce Vincent through his first encounter with Alzheimer's disease.

He was in ninth grade, his parents long divorced, and his mother was acting odd. Theresa Vincent would light a cigarette, put it down and light another. Or she would answer the phone, lay down the receiver, and forget someone had called.

Around this time, a friend invited Bruce Vincent to join the Royal Rangers, an Evangelical Christian boys organization. Amid his confusion, the teen found tranquility in the camping trips, camaraderie, and prayer.

Marjie Popkin thought she had chemo brain, that fuzzy-headed forgetful state that she figured was a result of her treatment for ovarian cancer. She was not thinking clearly - having trouble with numbers, forgetting things she had just heard.

One doctor after another dismissed her complaints. Until recently, since she was, at age 62, functioning well and having no trouble taking care of herself, that might have been the end of her quest for an explanation.

Congress has voted unanimously to create, for the first time, a national plan to combat Alzheimer's disease with the same intensity as the attacks on AIDS and cancer.

The bill, expected to be signed by President Obama, would establish a National Alzheimer’s Project within the Department of Health and Human Services, to coordinate the country’s approach to research, treatment and caregiving.

If you've been worried about forgetting names or misplacing car keys, you're not alone. You also are probably not losing your mind.

Family doctors say their baby boomer patients often worry that such forgetfulness portends a dementia-filled future.

Alzheimer's researchers are obsessed with a small, sticky protein fragment, beta amyloid, that clumps into barnaclelike balls in the brains of patients with this degenerative neurological disease.

It is a normal protein. Everyone’s brain makes it. But the problem in Alzheimer’s is that it starts to accumulate into balls - plaques. The first sign the disease is developing - before there are any symptoms - is a buildup of amyloid. And for years, it seemed, the problem in Alzheimer’s was that brain cells were making too much of it.

Having higher HDL, or "good" cholesterol, may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, new research suggests.

Experts say the new study, which was published Monday in the Archives of Neurology, is further evidence of a link between heart disease and dementia, and if the finding is backed by more research, doctors think it may point to a way that people can reduce their risk of both brain and heart trouble later in life, by boosting HDL.

He did two crossword puzzles a day, sometimes more, working through the list of clues in strict order, as if to remember where he was.

And, perhaps, what he was doing.

Henry Gustav Molaison -  known through most of his life only as H.M., to protect his privacy - became the most studied patient in the history of brain science after 1953, when an experimental brain operation left him, at age 27, unable to form new memories.

Scientists have turned back the clock in mice they engineered to age faster than normal, an advance they suggest is the first time aging in mice has been reversed.

Researchers at Harvard-affiliated medical centers genetically manipulated mice to age faster, and then used gene therapy to lengthen telomeres - compounds found at the ends of strands of DNA - which reversed age-related problems such as decreased brain function and infertility.

Three studies presented Monday at the Radiological Society of North America's annual meeting use imaging techniques to show how exercise can affect our bodies and brains.

Walking may slow cognitive decline in adults diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease, as well as benefiting brains of healthy adults.

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