Dementia in the News

A team of scientists from Cambridge and Sweden have discovered a molecule that can prevent a toxic protein involved in Alzheimer's disease from building up in the brain. Dr. Leila Luheshi, of the Department of Genetics at University of Cambridge, et al. found that in test tube studies, the molecule not only prevents the protein from forming clumps but can also reverse the potentially toxic process. Then, using fruit flies engineered to develop a fly equivalent of Alzheimer's disease, they showed that the same molecule effectively "cures" the insects of the disease.

Busloads of students from Washington, D.C., area schools will visit the National Museum of Health and Medicine at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on March 17 and 18 for a special experience. These students, grades five through eight, will participated in the museum's 11th annual Brain Awarenesss Week. During these two days, scientists from five Institutes at the National Institutes of Health will host interactive sessions focusing on brain health and neuroscience.

Two years ago my father, then 83, became very ill. Until then, he had been living alone in a pleasant one-bedroom apartment on the Hudson River, an hour's drive from my home in Brooklyn.

After a couple of months in the hospital, it became clear that my dad, Harvey Alderman, could not return to solo living. He was fragile and forgetful, and there was no way he could keep track of the 14 or so pills he had to take each day.

Early detection is key to more effective treatment for Alzheimer's disease and other forms of cognitive impairment, and new research shows that a test developed at the University of Tennessee is more than 95 percent effective in detecting cognitive abnormalities associated with these diseases.

The test, called CST - for computerized self-test - was designed to be both effective and relatively simple for medical professionals to administer and for patients to take.

About This Report:

2010 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures provides a statistical resource for United States data related to Alzheimer's disease, the most common type of dementia, as well as other dementias.

Background and context for interpretation of the data are contained in the Overview. This includes definitions of the types of dementia and a summary of current knowledge about Alzheimer's disease.

Additional sections address prevalence, mortality, caregiving and use and costs of care and services.

Francisca Terrazas could not be left alone.

She burned her foot pouring boiling water over an ant hill in her driveway. She would wander for hours searching for aluminum cans. The effects of Alzheimer's disease had taken hold.

Minorities such as Terrazas are at greater risk for the degenerative disease, according to an Alzheimer's Association report released Tuesday. It found that African-Americans are about two times more likely and Hispanics are about 1.5 times more likely to develop Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.

On a cold, wet afternoon not long ago, Aron Reznick sat in the lounge of a home for the elderly here, his silver hair neatly combed, his memory a fog. He could not remember Thanksgiving dinner with his family, though when he was given a hint - "turkey" - it came back to him, vaguely, like a shadow in the moonlight.

For years, a prevailing theory has been that one of the chief villains in Alzheimer's disease has no real function other than as a waste product that the brain never properly disposed of.

The material, a protein called beta amyloid, or A-beta, piles up into tough plaques that destroy signals between nerves. When that happens, people lose their memory, their personality changes and they stop recognizing friends and family.

People who say their lives have a purpose are less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease or its precursor, mild cognitive impairment, a new study suggests.

As the population ages and dementia becomes a more frequent diagnosis, there's increasing impetus to determine the causes of the disease, associated risk factors and how to prevent it, explained study co-author Dr. Aron S. Buchman, an associate professor in the department of neurological sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Untreated vision problems in older age are associated with an increased risk of decline in cognitive function and Alzheimer's disease, data from a cohort study showed.

Uncorrected poor vistion was associated with a five- to ten-fold greater risk of Alzheimer's disease and a five-fold greater risk of cognitive decline without dementia, compared wth older people who had very good or excellent vision.

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