Dementia in the News

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.

A study of brain scans has confirmed the role of several genes linked with Alzheimer's disease, and turned up two others that are worth exploring, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

A team at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston used magnetic resonance imaging or MRI scans to study changes in brain structures -- such as the size of the hippocampus and amygdala -- in 700 healthy volunteers and Alzheimer's patients.

They used computer programs to sort through the genetic sequences of the 700 volunteers to see which gene mutations are most linked with these changes.

There is not enough evidence to say that improving your lifestyle can protect you against Alzheimer's disease, a new review finds.

A group put together by the U.S. National Institutes of Health looked at 165 studies to see if lifestyle, diet, medical factors or medications, socioeconomic status, behavioral factors, environmental factors and genetics might help prevent the mind-robbing condition.

Older veterans who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are almost twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease and other age-related dementias as veterans without PTSD, a study shows.

The study is among the first to link combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder to dementia later in life, but it is not clear if having PTSD increases the risk for late-life dementias or if recurring PTSD is an early symptom of dementia in older veterans, Deborah Barnes, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, tells WebMD.

The anguish of Alzheimer's in a sprawling extended family in Columbia may be hardest on those still lucid enough to know they have it, or those who know they could.

Blanca Nelly Betancur's family is rife with people dangerously close to the age when dementia begins, including Ms. Betancur, 41, and her 11 siblings.

Two sisters already have symptoms of the disease inherited from their mother. They deny it. But her oldest brother, William, 48, knows he is unraveling.

In 1982, Dr. Francisco Lopera, a Medellin neurologist, was puzzled. A 47-year-old patient was losing his memory, and so had his father, grandfather and seven other relatives.

Other cases appeared. Dr. Lopera asked one, a 45-year-old lottery-ticket seller, to redraw portraits he had sketched years earlier, the deformed results showed already significant neurological damage.

Patients' families said this "madness" or "idiocy," called La Bobera, came from witchcraft, a tree, a Spaniard's statue, a priest angry about being burglarized.

Tucked away on a steep street in this rough-hewn mountain town, an old woman found herself diapering her middle-age children.

At frighteningly young ages, in their 50s, four of Laura Cuartas's began forgetting and falling apart, assaulted by what people here have long called La Bobera, the foolishness. It is a condition attributed, in hushed rumors, to everything from touching a mysterious tree to the revenge of a wronged priest.

It is Alzheimer's disease, and at 82, Mrs. Cuartas, her gray raisin of a face grave, takes care of three of her afflicted children.

When David Harrison began studying aging, he had yet to experience its effects. In his late twenties, he was fit, healthy and impervious to harsh New England winters; on all but the coldest days, he'd strap on cross-country skis and head for the Maine hills. Now, though, at age 67, he sees in himself the progressive decline he has observed in the mice and other animals of his research. A decade ago, doctors removed a prostate tumor before the cancer spread to his bones, but other problems have accumulated.

Although caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug worldwide, its potential benefit for maintenance of proper brain functioning has only recently begun to be adequately appreciated. Substantial evidence from epidemiological studies and fundamental research in animal models suggests that caffeine may be protective against the cognitive decline seen in dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD).

New findings by researchers from the Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, reveals treatment of the most common heart rhythm disorder that affects more than two million Americans significantly reduces the risk of stroke, mortality, Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

Syndicate content