Dementia in the News

Oleocanthal, a naturally-occuring compound found in extra-virgin olive oil, alters the structure of neurotoxic proteins believed to contribute to the debilitating effects of Alzheimer's disease. This structural change impedes the protein's ability to damage brain nerve cells.

"The findings may help identify effective preventative measures and lead to improved therapeutics in the fight against Alzheimer's disease," said study co-leader Paul A. S. Breslin, PhD, a sensory psychobiologist at the Monell Center.

A new study published in the medical journal Neurology suggests that impaired kidney function is a risk factor for cognitive decline in old age. The study, conducted by researchers at Rush University Medical Center, found that poor kidney function was linked specifically with cognition related to memory functions. Damage to one of these functions, episodic memory, which retrieves memories of time, place, associated emotions and other contextual knowledge, is often the earliest sign of Alzheimer's disease.

 

Caring for an elderly parent is emotionally and mentally draining. There are diagnoses to decipher, housing issues to consider, health aides to vet and a raft of legal documents to complete. It can seem overwhelming, even when families are in complete agreement on how to care for an elderly relative. And often they are not.

Sleepless nights may lead to the development of Alzheimer's disease over time, a study of mice suggests.

Rodents forced to stay awake showed a buildup in their brains of a protein associated with the development of Alzheimer's in humans, said lead study authoer Jae-Eun Kang. The research was published today in the journal Science.

Resarchers from the Memory and Cognition Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center will begin testing an intriguing new approach to slowing down the progression of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) using Intravenous Immune Globulin (IGIV), also known as gammaglobulin. IGIV is traditionally used to treat primary immunodeficiency disorders, but is not currently approved for treating AD, which is one of the leading causes of dementia in the elderly.

PREFACE

Demographic ageing is a worldwide process that shows the successes of improved healthcare over the last century. Many are now living longer and healthier lives and so, the world population has a greater proportion of older people. We all agree that ageing brings some challenges as well. Many international meetings have touched on this issue and adopted statements, for instance, the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing from 2002.

The world's population is graying, and as a result, nations around the globe are staring down a rising tide of people who will grapple with the ravages of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. According to a new report from Alzheimer's Disease International, some 35.6 million people worldwide will have a form of dementia in 2010. That number is expected to nearly double every 20 years, reaching an estimated 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050.

Denise Egrebrecht needed a break.

It had been three years since her 86-year-old mother, Eleanor Schwartz, moved in with her and her husband in their home in Johnsburg, Ill. Mrs. Schwartz has Alzheimer's disease and has trouble moving around, so Mrs. Egebrecht helps her mother with her shower each day, makes sure she's fed and takes her on small excursions to the mall in a portable wheelchair. The routine includes occasionally reminding her mother of what day it is and where she's living.

A postgraduate researcher at the University of Hertfordshire has found that Alzheimer's disease (AD) results in greater language impairments in more highly-educated than less learned patients.

The research also revealed that women with the disease fare worse on language tasks, which have been traditionally associated with better performance in healthy women.

A smile crosses Bob Blackwell's face as he gently lifts his camera to his eye and zooms in on a black-and-yellow swallowtail butterfly hovering near the same flower as a yellow finch.

A little while later, Blackwell, 66, rests in the shade of a gazebo at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA., where he enjoyed a balmy late summer morning recently, snapping images of nature.

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