Articles About Memory and Alzheimer's Research

Nobel Research Could Bring Breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s Research

Nobel Prize for Medicine

Nobel Prize for Medicine

Intriguing new research may open the doors to understanding Alzheimer’s progression, hopefully leading the way to a cure. This according to an exciting article published on reuters.com entitled Nobel discovery opens window onto Alzheimer’s disease by Ben Hirschler.

The article begins:

The discovery of cells in the brain that act as the body’s internal global positioning system, which won three scientists the Nobel Prize for medicine on Monday, opens an intriguing new window onto dementia…

That is the belief of British-American researcher John O’Keefe, winner of the 2014 prize alongside Norwegians May-Britt and Edvard Moser, who plans to take his research to the next level as director of a new brain institute in London.

“We’re now setting up to do much more high-tech studies where we hope to follow the progression of disease over time,” he told reporters…

Read the full article.

Could memory lapses be a sign of dementia?

A recently published article on CNN.com entitled Early memory lapses may be sign of dementia, by Jen Christensen, contains information about the latest research into dementia and some of its early risk factors. Highlights of the article include:

  • Research: People who feel they are forgetting more things may be more prone to dementia
  • Smokers who have memory complaints slide into more serious conditions earlier
  • Women who took hormone replacement therapy staved off dementia longer, study says

The article begins:

At least once a week a patient will come into Dr. Thomas Loepfe’s busy geriatric clinic in Lacrosse, Wisconsin, with a worry. She will tell him she’s been misplacing her glasses lately, or he’ll say he’s concerned about losing the car keys.

“Age is the biggest risk factor for forgetfulness, so this can be perfectly normal,” Loepfe said. As a geriatrician in the Mayo Clinic Health System, his patient population…

Read full article on CNN.com

Latest Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures

2014 Alzheimer’s Disease  Facts and FiguresCheck out the latest facts and figures published by the Alzheimer’s Association, in the new report: 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. The report includes a special report on women and Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s Association Central and North Florida Chapter Presents BrainFest 2014

BrainFest2014-smBrain Up Central Florida! BrainFest, presented by the Alzheimer’s Association Central and North Florida Chapter is happening Saturday, March 15th in Winter Park.

Saturday, March 15
10am-4pm (rain or shine)
Rachel D. Murrah Civic Center
Winter Park, FL

FREE ADMISSION. FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!

Get ready to rev your mental engines, fire up your neurons and learn tips and tricks for keeping your brain strong all life long. BrainFest 2014 will be a fun filled day of education, entertainment and activities focused on building and maintaining healthy brains. You will engage in mind-bending and brain-boosting activities focused on all the aspects of good brain health: nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, social engagement, mental stimulation and finding your purpose!

For more information about this fun, useful and informative event visit:

http://www.brainupfl.org/eat-smart/brainfest-2014/

Brain “Pacemaker” May Offer Alzheimer’s Sufferers Hope

The same pacemaker used to help alleviate Parkinson’s disease has shown promise in treating Alzheimer’s patients. Johns Hopkins has begun the study predicated on a successful smaller Canadian study of 6 patients.  Patients in the Canadian study did “somewhat better with their memory and did great with their brain metabolism” according to Dr. Paul Rosenberg of Johns Hopkins in an interview on “CBS This Morning”.

The procedure installs the same device, the size of a small battery, used for Parkinson’s under the shoulder blade and run wires to the part of the brain that is involved in memory and give a charge that stimulates the brain.

While the initial results are promising Dr. Rosenberg cautioned that they are still in clinical trials and that the treatment will not be available on a wider scale for a few years.

With the Failure of Several Beta Amyloid Drug Trials For Alzheimer’s, Attention is Turning to Other Possible Cures

Several Alzheimer drug tests released this summer had disappointing results in clinical trials. The drugs were developed with the assumption that beta amyloid proteins were the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. The scientific community has embraced that theory for years. That theory has been disputed by a minority of researchers including Dr. Claude Wischik. The 63 year old researcher has long claimed that the disease is caused by another protein called tau. That theory is now gaining traction and funding for two large drug trials. If he is correct he will turn the scientific community on its head.

History has several examples of medical breakthroughs that came from researchers who went against conventional wisdom; linking the cause of cholera to contaminated water and the cause of ulcers caused by bacteria. That said it is difficult to be heard when you are going against the grain.

An article in the Wall Street Journal on November 9, 2012 titled “An Outcast Among His Peers Gains Traction on Alzheimer’s Cure” outlines the differences and the history of the two approaches and interviews Dr. Wischik.

Antipsychotics Beneficial For Some Individuals With Alzheimer’s

A new study suggests that people with Alzheimer’s on the drug risperidone, an antipsychotic drug often prescribed as the brand name Risperdal, may be better off continuing to take the drug if they have not experienced negative side effects.

Because of the potential side effects, risperidone is only recommended to be prescribed for three to six months. After that point, a written explanation is required to continue the drug. A study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine and funded by the National Institutes of Health, investigated the effects of discontinuing the medication among individuals who had seen improvements as a result of the drug. Researchers prescribed risperidone to individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease who showed signs of agitation and aggression. After 16 weeks, researchers put half of the individuals who did well on the drug on a placebo. The other half continued the treatment. The study found that those on the placebo were twice as likely to have their symptoms return. The rate of side effects and death were equal among the two groups.

Researchers warned that antipsychotics can carry the risk of serious side effects and should not be used on all individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, but discontinuing medication that has achieved benefits is not always the right choice. “One must be cautious about discontinuing the medication,” said study author Dr. D.P. Devanand, director of the division of geriatric psychiatry at Columbia Psychiatry and the New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York City. “If a person does well on it and there are not too many side effects, maybe they should stay on it for a while and be monitored closely.”

For more information, read the article: Some With Alzheimer’s Better Off Staying on Antipsychotics: Study Or, read the full study: Relapse Risk after Discontinuation of Risperidone in Alzheimer’s Disease.

New Studies Conclude Exercise Helps with Cognitive Declines

The results of four clinical trials presented at the Alzheimer’s Disease International Conference (AAIC) in Vancouver, Canada provide proof that exercise helps the memory of the elderly. The four studies all concluded that targeted exercise will promote improved mental functioning, reduce the risk for cognitive impairment in healthy elderly adults as well as those with varying degrees of cognitive impairment.
The studies tested various types of exercise; Aerobic, resistance training and balance- stretching training. While other studies have concluded that aerobic exercise and in particular walking is beneficial for cognitive health, the new studies show that resistance training is emerging as particularly valuable for older adults.
The research suggests that exercise is essential to healthy aging and could be a strategy for delaying the onslaught or preventing cognitive impairment and dementia.
The trials were presented at the Alzheimer’s e Disease International Conference in July, 2012.

Hospitalization Greatly Increases the Risk of Adverse Results for People with Alzheimer’s

The Annals of Internal Medicine released the results of a study on June 19 that concluded the hospitalization for people with Alzheimer’s disease created a greater risk for;

  • Cognitive decline
  • Institutionalization
  • Death
  • Any adverse reactions

The risks substantially increase for those Alzheimer’s patients with delirium. The obvious conclusion is to keep Alzheimer’s patients out of the hospital; however people suffering with Alzheimer’s are 3 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who are not. There are many triggers that lead to delirium including:

1.    Medications
2.    Immobilization
3.     Medical procedures
4.    The reason for hospitalization

The study recommends that the medical facilities, doctors and other care givers be proactive when dealing with Alzheimer’s patients to help prevent delirium. Some of the specifics include;

  • Clear communication without using medical jargon
  • If patients require reading glasses or hearing aids make sure they have them
  • Provide familiar objects like clocks and calendars
  • Minimize medications that might contribute to confusion (i.e. sedatives and anti- anxiety medications)

Read more about the affects of hospitalization for people with Alzheimer’s in the American Medical News.

 

New Study to Determine the Risk of Chronic Stress to Alzheimer’s

While there are several studies linking stress to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and MS showing how stress can exacerbate the progression of the diseases, there have not been any similar studies done to establish if there is a link between stress and Alzheimer’s disease.

The Alzheimer’s Society is funding the study which will investigate the role chronic stress plays in the progression of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) to Alzheimer’s disease. MCI is a term that is used to describe the condition of people who begin to experience thinking and memory problems. MCI is often a precursor to dementia and Alzheimer’s. Approximately 60% of people with MCI will eventually develop Alzheimer’s.

Read the full article about the study in the Medical News Today.

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