Dementia in the News

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.

When Diane Thornton first realized she was having trouble keeping track of appointments, she would write herself reminder notes. When she got lost on her way to the office, she'd call her secretary and ask for directions. On days she had trouble speaking or remembering words, she would avoid answering her phone.

Alzheimer's sufferers who catch a cold or a stomach bug need to be treated as soon as possible to prevent it worsening their dementia, new research has suggested.

A study by scientists at the University of Southampton found a link between the infections and an increase in inflammation-like reactions in the brain, which led to an increased rate of cognitive decline.

New research suggests that a cancer drug might be able to restore day-to-day memory in patients with Alzheimer's disease.

The disease, the most common form of dementia among the elderly, is expected to afflict 120 million people worldwide by 2050. Often the first sign is loss of short-term memory.

Two European research teams have identified three genes that affect a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, the most common cause of dementia in the elderly.

The new genes appear to have at least as big a role as four others discovered in the last 15 years that are known to play a role in Alzheimer's.

"The message here is that genes are important in Alzheimer's disease...and there may be multiple ways of reducing the risk that the genes produce," said Julie Williams, a neuroscientist at Cardiff University in Wales who helped lead one of the teams.

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