Dementia in the News

With the flu continuing to spread nationwide, imagine adding the virus into the mix when someone is already coping with a chronic illness like Alzheimer's disease. In an effort to help families manage this situation, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) today released tips for caregivers of individuals with dementia who believe that they or the people they are caring for have the flu.

When Charles Tang's wife Amy 76, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's several years ago, he started looking for a support group for himself. He was shocked to find none were available in his native Chinese language.

"Every time I was attending the education meetings at the Alzheimer's Association NYC chapter, I found that I was the only one who was Chinese or even Asian," said Tang, 84, of Manhattan.

High blood pressume, evidence of arterial disease and markers of inflammation in the blood in middle age appear more common in inidividuals whose parents have Alzheimer's disease than in individuals without a parental history of the condition, according to a report in the November issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

A group of drugs used to treat epilepsy may also treat Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

New research shows treatment with T-type calcium channel blockers, used to treat epilepsy, protected nerve cells from the brains of mice that can be damaged by neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

There is no scientific proof that patients with moderate or severe Alzheimer's disease benefit from drugs containing the agent Memantine. This is the conclusion in the final report that the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) published in September 2009.

The report is part of a broader commission awarded by the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) to assess both drug and non-drug therapy options for Alzheimer's disease. In addition to Memantine, IQWiG has investigated cholinesterase inhibitors, Ginkgo Biloba and non-drug therapy alternatives.

People who have both Alzheimer's disease and diabetes have slower rates of memory loss than people who just have Alzheimer's, French researchers said on Tuesday.

They studied 600 Alzheimer's patients for four years and found those who had both Alzheimer's and diabetes - about 10 percent of the total - scored far better on twice yearly memory and thinking tests than those with Alzheimer's who did not have diabetes.

Sometimes when a patient tells his opthalmologist that he "can't see," what he really means is "I can see, but I can no longer read or write." In a minority of Alzheimer's patients, the disease shows up first as problems with vision rather than memory or other cognitive functions. But diagnosis can be difficult because standard eye exams are often inconclusive for these patients.

Elderly people exhibiting memory disturbances that do not affect their normal, daily life suffer from a condition called "mild cognitive impairment" (MCI).  Some MCI patients go on to develop Alzheimer's disease within a few years, whereas other cases remain stable,  exhibiting only benign senile forgetfulness. It is crucial to develop simple, blood-based tests enabling early identification of these patients that will progress in order to begin therapy as soon as possible, potentially delaying the onset of dementia.

In a surprising reversal of long-standing scientific belief, researchers at the Mayo Clinic campus in Florida have discovered that inflammation in the brain is not the trigger that leads to buildup of amyloid deposits and developmentof Alzheimer's disease.

In fact, inflammation helps clear the brain of those noxious amyloid plaques early in the disease development, as seen from studies in mice that are predisposed to the disorder, say the researchers in the online issue of the FASEB journal.

As many as 5.3 million persons in the United States are living with Alzheimer's disease, and an additional 10 million US baby boomers are proejcted to be at risk over their lifetime. Worldwide, with the rapid increase in the older population, Alzheimer disease and related dementias will affect an increasing number of families, with major societal and economic implications. Hence, these are conditions likely to be encountered by a wide range of clinicians.

Syndicate content