Dementia in the News

Researchers have pinpointed a gene variant that nearly doubles the risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer's disease, a new study says.

A U.S. research team examined gene variations across the human genome, or full DNA sequence, of 2,269 people with late-onset Alzheimer's and 3,107 people without the disease. This research - known as a genome-wide association study - looks throughout the entire genome for small differences, or variants, in long stretches of DNA that are more prevalent in those with a particular disease or condition.

The American Academy of Neurology has issued a new guideline to help determine when people with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia should stop driving. The guideline is published in the April 12, 2010, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology and will be presented April 12, 2010, at the American Academy of Neurology’s Annual Meeting in Toronto.

More than 2,000 Manhattan residents age 65 and older have given researchers one more reason to tell us to eat more greens.

Those who adhered most to diets in dark, leafy vegetables, poultry, fish and nuts and low in red meat, butter and fatty dairy products had a 38 percent lower risk of getting Alzheimer's disease than those who followed that plan the least, according to a report today in the Archives of Neurology.

I've invited the clinical psychologist Cynthia Green, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and the author of several books on memory (including "Through the Seasons:  An Activities Book for Memory Challenged Adults and Caregivers"), to join the conversation today. I've been hearing laments about the difficulties of visiting relatives with dementia; people yearn to make that time together enjoyable and meaningful, but they can't always figure out how to connect. Dr. Green has some thoughtful suggestions. - Paula Span

 

New findings confirm atrial fibrillation (AF) is independently associated with the risk of all forms of dementia, including Alzheimer's and other senile and vacular dementia types. According to a study published in the April edition of the HeartRhythm Journal, the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society, the presence of atrial fibrillation indicated highter mortality rates in all dementia subtypes; however, mortality risk was most prominent in the youngest population studied.

Of the millions of animals on Earth, including the relative handful that are considered the most intelligent - including apes, whales, crows, and owls - only humans experience the severe age-related decline in mental abilities marked by Alzheimer's disease.

To Bruce Yankner, professor of pathology and neurology at Harvard Medical School (HMS), it's pretty clear that evolution is to blame.

The use of repetitive anesthesia with isoflurace (one of the most common anesthetics by inhalation) increases the risk of developing changes similar to those observed in AD brains in mice with mutations of the amyloid precursor protein (APP).

In 1950, when Marybeth Solinski was born, a diagnosis of Down syndrome was practically a death sentence.

Children with the condition often died before their 10th birthday.

Yet Solinski, at 59, has outlived her parents. She has even joined AARP.

Her longevity illustrates the dramatic progress for people with Down syndrome. Thanks to better medical care, the average life expectancy for a child with Down syndrome is now 60 years, according to the National Down Syndrome Society, which estimates that about 400,000 people are living with the condition in the USA.

The decision is one of the hardest you will ever make. Your spouse, parent or loved one needs care that assisted living or home health care simply cannot provide. You need to choose a nursing home.

It's a difficult and emotional task. The horror stories are well documented, and even in the best nursing homes, the transition can be wrenching for the entire family.

Finding a good nursing home takes research and perseverance. You want a safe, engaging and pleasant environment with caring staff and solid medical practices.

18F-FDG PET identified the average increase amyloid-beta plaques among individuals whose mothers had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease compared to others with no family history of dementia, according to research findings published online March 15 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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