Posted by WBHI on Feb 13, 2013 in Sooner Than You Think
by Susan Kelly-Cornell for Futurity:
Genetic testing can predict the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment in healthy people, but not the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers say.
Defying the widely held belief that a specific gene is the biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, developmental psychologists report that people with that gene are more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment—but not Alzheimer’s.
The study suggests that older adults with healthy brain function can get genetic tests to predict increased risk of future mild cognitive impairment. However, once they are impaired cognitively, the tests won’t predict their likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s.
“Right now, genetic tests are used in exactly the opposite way. That is, healthy people don’t get the tests to predict their risk of mild cognitive impairment, but impaired people get them to predict their risk of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Charles Brainerd, professor of human development at Cornell University and the study’s lead co-author. “So, impaired people think that tests will tell them if they are at increased risk of Alzheimer’s, which they won’t. And healthy people think that tests won’t tell them whether they are at increased risk of cognitive impairment, which they will.”
Posted by WBHI on Sep 18, 2012 in Think About It
by Dr. Harvey Gilbert for caring.com:
The term dementia is used broadly to describe a condition which is characterized by cognitive decline, but there are many different types of dementia. Although it is usually progressive, properly diagnosing dementia can reverse the effects and be treated and even cured completely by addressing the underlying cause. However, dementia caused by incurable conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, are irreversible.
What are the different types of dementia?
Experts estimate that Alzheimer’s disease is the underlying cause of — of all dementia cases. However, there are many other conditions which can also cause dementia, which makes it vital for the patient to obtain accurate diagnosing of dementia early on in order to get proper treatment. Following are some of the most common types of dementia and their causes.
1. Vascular Dementia
The second most common form of dementia, vascular dementia is caused by poor blood flow to the brain, which deprives brain cells of the nutrients and oxygen they need to function normally. One of the ten dementia types, vascular dementia can result from any number of conditions which narrow the blood vessels, including stroke, diabetes and hypertension.
Posted by WBHI on Sep 12, 2012 in Think About It, Think Ahead
by David Le Couteur for The Conversation:
The pattern of over-diagnosis is the same for many diseases: we screen healthy people and those with minimal symptoms; we use sophisticated technologies that detect early or minor abnormalities that may not progress; and we treat people with these abnormalities on the assumption that this will prevent significant illness and death.
The downside of all this medical intervention is that we’re exposing healthy people to the potential harms of diagnosis, investigation and treatment without any certainty about long-term benefits. Indeed, there’s a growing unease that this trend is being driven by the financial benefits of creating a larger market for drugs rather than genuine health gains.
I work in geriatric medicine and over the last few years, I have seen how the changing definitions of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease has insidiously been leading to over-diagnoses.
by Jeanna Smialek for Businessweek:
People with early signs of dementia are at a higher risk of dying as medical conditions go unattended while their mental health worsens, a study found.
The research, presented today at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Vancouver, Canada, found that older people with early signs of memory loss have twice the risk of death than those without mental impairment. It also found that those already with dementia had three times the risk of dying during the study.
Mild cognitive impairment can be a precursor of more severe dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, according to researchers. Attention to early Alzheimer’s symptoms can help improve all- around health and reduce risks of illness that can lead to a premature death, said Mindy Katz, the study’s lead author and a senior associate of the neurology department at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York.
Posted by WBHI on Jun 21, 2012 in Wishful Thinking
by Medical XPress:
Australian researchers have found biomarkers in the blood that could help develop a test to identify people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
University of New South Wales School of Psychiatry Professor Perminder Sachdev and his team looked at apolipoproteins, which transport cholesterol in the blood, and found they were dysregulated – or abnormal – in patients with mild cognitive impairment. The research findings are published in the journal PLOS ONE.
“Essentially, this is one step towards developing a suite of biomarkers to include a number of different proteins that will identify individuals with mild cognitive impairment who will probably go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia in the future,” Professor Sachdev says.
Evidence suggests these proteins are involved in Alzheimer’s disease and some other brain diseases, Professor Sachdev says.
Posted by WBHI on Jun 11, 2012 in Think It Over
by Tod Neale for MedPage Today:
Passively monitoring how quickly an individual walks in the home may provide clues about the development of mild cognitive impairment, researchers suggested.
Older individuals with mild cognitive impairment were more likely than their cognitively intact counterparts to walk slowly instead of at a moderate or fast speed, according to Hiroko Dodge, PhD, of Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues.
In addition, mild cognitive impairment was associated with variations in walking speed, the researchers reported in the June 12 issue of Neurology.
“Although we found a difference in decline in walking speed between the nonamnestic mild cognitive impairment and cognitively intact groups, further in-home studies will be required to translate this finding to clinically relevant ways of identifying those who may develop mild cognitive impairment prospectively,” the authors wrote.
Posted by WBHI on May 3, 2012 in Great Minds Think Alike
by Todd Neale for MedPage Today
The combination of exercising and using a computer — although presumably not at the same time — may protect older adults against mild cognitive impairment, a case-control study showed.
Older individuals who reported getting any amount of moderate exercise and using a computer at any point in the previous year were 64% less likely to have mild cognitive impairment compared with those who reported neither activity (OR 0.36, 95% CI 0.20 to 0.68), according to Yonas Geda, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., and colleagues.
There was a significant additive interaction between physical activity and computer use (P=0.01), the researchers reported in the May issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Physical activity and various mentally stimulating activities, including computer use, have been associated with a reduced risk of having mild cognitive impairment, but no studies had explored the combined impact.
Posted by WBHI on Feb 13, 2012 in Think Twice
by Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation
More than 40 percent of elderly women ages 85 and over had symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or other serious problems with thinking and memory, according to a new report. The findings are important, since the numbers of these “oldest old,” the fastest growing segment of the United States population, are expected to increase by 40 percent in the next decade alone.
“Screening for cognitive disorders in the oldest old is of the utmost importance, especially in high-risk groups,” the authors, from the University of California at San Francisco conclude.
They looked at nearly 1,300 women ages 85 and up, all part of the Women Cognitive Impairment Study of Exceptional Aging, an ongoing study that has followed thousands of women living in Baltimore, Minneapolis, Portland, Ore., and Pennsylvania for many years. Twenty seven percent were over 90. Six hundred thirty four of the women, or 41 percent, had serious memory and thinking problems, while the remaining 665 tested normal on cognitive exams.
Posted by WBHI on Feb 6, 2012 in Think About It
by Rachael Rettner for MSNBC
Almost everyone currently diagnosed with a mild form of Alzheimer’s disease would be downgraded to not having the condition, if new proposed criteria for the diagnosis of cognitive problems were applied, a new study shows.
Instead, people diagnosed as having “very mild” and “mild” Alzheimer’s disease would be reclassified as having mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is currently recognized as an intermittent stage between the normal loss of mental function that comes with age and the development of dementia.
Posted by WBHI on Feb 3, 2012 in Think About It
by Fiona Macrae for The Daily Mail
A quick test that tells if your loved one is at risk of Alzheimer’s disease has been devised by doctors. The 21-question test distinguishes between normal absent-mindedness and the more sinister memory lapses that may signal the early stages of dementia.
The questions are designed to be answered by a spouse or close friend. The Alzheimer’s Questionnaire, which is almost 90 per cent accurate, measures mild cognitive impairment – the slight memory lapses that can be a precursor of the disease.