Posted by WBHI on Sep 28, 2012 in Helpful Thinking
by Dementia Today:
A study led by Johns Hopkins and Utah State University researchers suggests that a particularly close relationship with caregivers may give people with Alzheimer’s disease a marked edge over those without one in retaining mind and brain function over time. The beneficial effect of emotional intimacy that the researchers saw among participants was on par with some drugs used to treat the disease.
A report on the study, believed to be the first to show that the patient-caregiver relationship may directly influence progression of Alzheimer’s disease, is published in the September 2009 The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences and currently available online.
“We’ve shown that the benefits of having a close caregiver, especially a spouse, may mean the difference between someone with AD staying at home or going to a nursing facility,” says Constantine Lyketsos, M.D., M.H.S., the Elizabeth Plank Althouse Professor in Alzheimer’s Disease Research and director of the Johns Hopkins Memory and Alzheimer’s Treatment Center.
Posted by WBHI on Sep 27, 2012 in Think About It
by John Gever for MedPage today:
Older patients who used benzodiazepine anti-anxiety drugs were at substantially higher risk of developing dementia than nonusers, a French study found.
Among 1,063 randomly selected individuals 65 and older in southwest France who agreed to participate in a long-term observational study, the risk of new-onset dementia during follow-up was 60% greater (adjusted odds ratio 1.60, 95% CO 1.08 to 2.38) for those who had used benzodiazepines relative to never-users.
“The results remained robust after control for potential confounders, in pooled analysis across the follow-up time, and in a nested case-control study,” reported PhD student Sophie Billioti de Gage, of the University of Bordeaux Segalen in Bordeaux, France, and colleagues online in BMJ. “Considering the extent to which benzodiazepines are now prescribed, physicians and regulatory agencies should consider the increasing evidence of the potential adverse effects of this drug class for the general population,” they wrote.
Posted by WBHI on Sep 27, 2012 in Think Outside The Box
by Nick Collins for The Telegraph:
American researchers found for the first time that as brain cells age and the quality of their DNA deteriorates, they stop dividing and begin releasing harmful proteins.
Scientists believe the process, which also happens elsewhere in the body, may have evolved to protect our organs against cancer because it prompts the immune system to attack faulty cells which are at risk of becoming tumours.
But now that people are living longer lives the cell transition, known as “senescence,” could be responsible for one of the world’s most costly diseases. As our brains age larger numbers of cells begin to senesce, meaning there is no longer enough healthy matter to clear away the plaque which collects in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
Posted by WBHI on Sep 26, 2012 in Think Outside The Box
The combination of two neuroprotective therapies, voluntary physical exercise, and the daily intake of melatonin has been shown to have a synergistic effect against brain deterioration in rodents with three different mutations of Alzheimer’s disease.
A study carried out by a group of researchers from the Barcelona Biomedical Research Institute (IIBB), in collaboration with the University of Granada and the Autonomous University of Barcelona, shows the combined effect of neuroprotective therapies against Alzheimer’s in mice.
Daily voluntary exercise and daily intake of melatonin, both of which are known for the effects they have in regulating circadian rhythm, show a synergistic effect against brain deterioration in the 3xTg-AD mouse, which has three mutations of Alzheimer’s disease.
“For years we have known that the combination of different anti-aging therapies such as physical exercise, a Mediterranean diet, and not smoking adds years to one’s life,” Coral Sanfeliu, from the IIBB, explains to SINC. “Now it seems that melatonin, the sleep hormone, also has important anti-aging effects”.
Posted by WBHI on Sep 26, 2012 in Think Twice
by The Telegraph:
Women with sons may be less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease because they have male DNA in their brains, a study suggests.
Researchers found that up to two thirds of women carry male DNA in their brain, which was most likely passed on to them while pregnant with sons.
The exact medical consequences of the transfer from fetus to mother remains unclear but a study showed it was less common in women who suffered from Alzheimer’s, suggesting that it could offer protection against the condition.
Previous studies insicate that similar processes of DNA transfer could raise the risk of some cancers, such as breast cancer, and lower the risk of others including cancer of the colon.
Posted by WBHI on Sep 26, 2012 in Sooner Than You Think
by The Press Association:
Scientists are to launch a major study of little-known proteins they believe are a contributing factor to diseases such as dementia and multiple sclerosis.
The team of biologists at the University of Portsmouth have been awarded £600,000 to research the impact on the ageing of the brain and cognitive decline.
The study will focus on a protein known as Kir4.1 which is a key element in controlling special cells in the brain and spinal cord which form myelin, a substance which insulates the brain’s wiring. They discovered that the protein is critical in ensuring these cells, known as oligodendrocytes, function well.
The researchers already know that myelin acts as the insulating layer around nerve cells and is essential for rapid conduction of information and when it is damaged this interferes with messages between the brain and other parts of the body.
Posted by WBHI on Sep 25, 2012 in Sooner Than You Think
by Julie Steenhuysen for Reuters:
In a new lead on Alzheimer’s research, Johnson & Johnson is bankrolling a three-year pilot study of people with Down syndrome to identify the early changes that herald dementia, which afflicts up to 75 percent of adults with the condition.
The aim is to generate support for a much bigger, public-private partnership funded by drugmakers, advocates and government agencies that will study at least 1,000 people with Down syndrome, tracking them from an early age and eventually testing treatments to keep dementia from developing.
“The study we’re proposing would provide insight into treating Alzheimer’s, but it might help individuals with Down syndrome as well,” said Dr. Husseini Manji, J&J’s global head of neuroscience drug development.
Posted by WBHI on Sep 25, 2012 in Helpful Thinking
by Mary Ball, Shelita Weinfield & Lori Delagrammatikas for UT San Diego:
Taking steps early in the disease can ease a difficult transition.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include more than memory loss. People with Alzheimer’s have trouble communicating, learning, thinking and reasoning — problems severe enough to have an impact on their work, social activities and family life. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive illness. While the disease affects each person differently, symptoms will gradually worsen and there will be good and bad days.
If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, it helps to plan ahead. Making simple adjustments, taking safety precautions, putting plans for the future in place and having the support of others can make things easier.
To help someone better cope with memory loss:
•Create a book that has important phone numbers and addresses, including the patient’s, a map to their home, and space to keep thoughts they want to remember. They should keep the book with them.
Posted by WBHI on Sep 24, 2012 in Helpful Thinking
by NBC Bay Area:
Laura Lucas of Campbell is a young professional starting her career. She has also been forced to take on an unexpected job: Caring for her mother who has Alzheimer’s disease.
“She recognizes me but she doesn’t know I’m her daughter,” Lucas said.
Doctors diagnosed her mother two years ago at the age of 56. “I thought at this age my mom would be there for my landmark events like getting married and some day having babies and unfortunately she is not going to be there for that,” Lucas said.
Lucas is not alone. The number of children in their 20s who are now caring for parents with Alzheimer’s is growing. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, four percent of the 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer’s were diagnosed before the age of 65.
Posted by WBHI on Sep 24, 2012 in Sooner Than You Think
by Science Daily:
A team of neuroscientists and chemists from the U.S. and China September 24 publish research suggesting that a class of currently used anti-cancer drugs as well as several previously untested synthetic compounds show effectiveness in reversing memory loss in two animal models of Alzheimer’s’ disease.
CSHL Professor Yi Zhong, Ph.D., who led the research conducted in fruit flies and mice, says he and his colleagues were surprised with their results, which, he stressed, used two independent experimental approaches “the results of which clearly converged.”
Specifically, the research converged on what Zhong’s team suggests is a “preferred target” for treating memory loss associated with the amyloid-beta (Aβ) plaques seen in advanced Alzheimer’s patients. That target is the epidermal growth factor receptor, often called by its acronym, EGFR.