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Senior Health Week: Alzheimer's Disease
Health News You Can Use •

Latest Alzheimer News:

Symptoms of Depression Linked to Higher Alzheimer Risk: Researchers report that in a study, the risk of developing Alzheimer's rose by 19 percent with each new depressive symptom.

Recent Alzheimer News:

Charlton Heston Said He Has Signs of Alzheimer's: The 78-year-old Oscar-winning actor said his doctors have told him he has a neurological disorder consistent with Alzheimer's disease.

Innovative Program Helps Alzheimer Patients Relive Memories: The program at an assisted living facility in Geneva, Illinois, helps people with Alzheimer's rekindle recollections of favorite activities from their past.

Seniors Believe Memory Problems Inevitable With Age: Researchers report that many simply ignore their memory problems, believing that nothing can be done about them.

Diet High in Vitamin E May Slow Decline in Mental Functioning: Researchers report that vitamin E intake, from foods or supplements, is associated with less cognitive decline, as well as a reduced risk of Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer Drug Also Helps Memory of Healthy Adults: Researchers report that the drug donepezil, also appears to have beneficial effects on retention in nondemented older adults

Test for Isoprostane May Identify Those at High Risk of Alzheimer's: Researchers report levels of isoprostane, a molecule formed from fat and lipids when they are attacked by free radicals, averaged about three times normal in patients with Alzheimer's.

High Intake of Vitamin E Foods May Cut Alzheimer's Risk: In a study of men and women at least 65 years old and dementia-free, participants with the highest intake of foods containing vitamin E were 67 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's.

Safe Return Program Offers Tips for Wandering Alzheimer Patients: This common, potentially life-threatening behavior affects nearly six in every 10 Alzheimer's patients who may wander at some point. Many will do so repeatedly.

Health Effects Linger for Alzheimer Caregivers: A new study suggests that the health effects of caring for a patient with Alzheimer's disease linger six to 12 months after the spouse has died or been placed in a healthcare facility.

Ability to Identify Smells May Help in Diagnosis of Alzheimer's: Researchers report that Alzheimer's patients scored significantly lower on ability to identify smells than patients with other forms of dementia.

Women With Alzheimer's Perform Worse on Tests of Intellectual Abilities: Researchers report that compared to men, women also seem to have slight weaknesses in spatial thinking ability.

Sustained Activity Seems to Lower Risk of Alzheimer's: Researchers find that an active and challenging life, even if only begun in middle age, can reduce the effects of aging on the brain.

African Americans Less Interested in Screening for Alzheimer's: Researchers find that blacks are less likely than whites to seek predictive testing for Alzheimer's disease.

Art is Used as Educational Tool on Challenges Posed by Alzheimer's: Early stage Alzheimer's patients and family members in Houston are learning to draw their experiences in a unique effort to express the emotional challenges of the life-altering disease.

No Evidence High Blood Pressure After 65 Is Factor in Alzheimer's: Columbia University researchers found that the risk of Alzheimer's disease did not increase in patients with hypertension or heart disease alone.

Some Alzheimer Patients More Likely to Suffer From Delusions: Results of a new study suggest that Alzheimer's patients who carry the APOE-4 gene, including those who have no history of psychiatric symptons, are more likely to suffer from delusions.

Cholesterol-Lowering Statins May Greatly Cut Risk of Alzheimer's: Researchers found that drugs known as statins may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by as much as 79 percent.

Subtle Signs of Alzheimer's Present Before Clinical Symptoms Appear: Researchers found that pre-Alzheimer patients "had much greater performance gaps between their ability to name objects and their ability to reconstruct the block images."

Progression of Alzheimer's Can Be Tracked Through MRI Scans: A new study has found that the path of Alzheimer's can be tracked, providing new insights into the progression of this disease.

Mild Memory Loss Could Mean High Alzheimer Risk: Mild memory loss could mean an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease, according to researchers at the University of Kentucky's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging.

Family Members Can Help in Diagnosis of Alzheimer's: Results of a new study suggest that comparing questionnaires from those suffering mild mental impairment to those filled out by close family members can help predict a future diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease.

Alzheimer Patients Have Difficulty Recognizing Facial Emotions: Researchers at the University of California, Davis say patients with Alzheimer's disease have difficulty recognizing facial emotions. Moreover, Alzheimer patients also have problems matching facial identities.

Alzheimer Primer:

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease characterized by memory loss, language deterioration, impaired visuospatial skills, poor judgment, indifferent attitude, but preserved motor function.

AD usually begins after age 65, however, its onset may occur as early as age 40, appearing first as memory decline and, over several years, destroying cognition, personality, and ability to function. Confusion and restlessness may also occur.

The type, severity, sequence, and progression of mental changes vary widely. The early symptoms of AD, which include forgetfulness and loss of concentration, can be missed easily because they resemble natural signs of aging. Similar symptoms can also result from fatigue, grief, depression, illness, vision or hearing loss, the use of alcohol or certain medications, or simply the burden of too many details to remember at once.

There is no cure for AD and no way to slow the progression of the disease. For some people in the early or middle stages of the disease, medication such as tacrine may alleviate some cognitive symptoms. Aricept (donepezil) and Exelon (rivastigmine) are reversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitors that are indicated for the treatment of mild to moderate dementia of the Alzheimer's type. Also, some medications may help control behavioral symptoms such as sleeplessness, agitation, wandering, anxiety, and depression. These treatments are aimed at making the patient more comfortable.

AD is a progressive disease. The course of the disease varies from person to person. Some people have the disease only for the last 5 years of life, while others may have it for as many as 20 years. The most common cause of death in AD patients is infection.

Background information provided by: The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892





























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