Dementia in the News

Whenever her dementia-afflicted husband went to bed, Reiko Ozawa would sigh in relief and sometimes wish he would never wake up.

That was because once he did, a living nightmare would await her, as her husband, Kunio, would tend to wander off, rant at her and even suffer hallucinations.

“My marriage with you was the biggest mistake of my life,” Kunio, who passed away six years ago at age 64, once shouted at Ozawa in one of his worst outbursts. It didn’t take long before he reverted to what appeared to be a childhood mentality, calling Ozawa “mom.”

Life was relaxing and peaceful for Shigeru Suzuki until six years ago, when he realized that Hiroko, his wife of more than 30 years, was having problems doing simple chores.

The 77-year-old former employee of a major civil engineering firm recalls that, at first, he couldn’t understand why Hiroko couldn’t sort clothes as told. One day, he got irritated and snapped at her, pressing her to explain why she couldn’t just remember to put the clothes away. Hiroko then tearfully replied: “It’s not like I want to be forgetful.”

In one of the most ambitious attempts yet to thwart Alzheimer’s disease, a major study got underway Monday to see if an experimental drug can protect healthy seniors whose brains harbor silent signs that they’re at risk.

Scientists plan to eventually scan the brains of thousands of older volunteers in the U.S., Canada and Australia to find those with a sticky build-up believed to play a key role in development of Alzheimer’s — the first time so many people without memory problems get the chance to learn the potentially troubling news.

My late father had a longtime friend, a retired kosher butcher, who lived down the hall in their South Jersey apartment building. Past 90, Manny was older and frailer than my father; he leaned on a cane and could barely see well enough to recognize faces. But every morning, and again in late afternoon, he walked through my dad’s unlocked front door to be sure he was all right and to kibitz a bit.

If you want to stay healthy and mobile well into old age, start walking today - even if you’ve already edged into “old age.”

The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) announced today the launch of Cognitive Vitality, a new online resource developed to provide a comprehensive and credible overview and analysis of the science for specific strategies to prevent Alzheimer's and related dementias.

A new metric to describe the symptoms of delirium may help researchers and clinicians better study aging-related ailments such as Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

What non-amyloid targets should be pursued for Alzheimer's disease therapies? We put the question to three well-known researchers in the field: Bradley Hyman, MD, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston; John Trojanowski, MD, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia; and Richard J. Caselli, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Their answers ranged from tau protein pathologies to apolipoprotein E to general neuroprotection.

Doctors commonly use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose tumors, damage from stroke, and many other medical conditions. Neuroscientists also rely on it as a research tool for identifying parts of the brain that carry out different cognitive functions.

Alzheimer's disease isn't what it used to be. After 30 years of having doctors diagnose the disease by symptoms alone, researchers and advocacy groups are calling for new diagnostic criteria that recognize changes in the brain as well as changes in behavior.

The goal is to eventually allow doctors to diagnose "preclinical" Alzheimer's in patients who do not have problems with memory or thinking, but who do have an abnormal brain scan or some other sign that the disease may be developing.

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