alzheimer's

Scientists are beginning to understand why Alzheimer's disease affects more women than men and why the disease seems to progress more quickly in women's brains.

The explanation appears to involve social, biological and genetic differences, researchers reported Tuesday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Los Angeles.

Alzheimer's disease begins altering the brain long before it affects memory and thinking.

So scientists are developing a range of tests to detect these changes in the brain, which include an increase in toxic proteins, inflammation and damage to the connections between brain cells.

Florida Atlantic University

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., impacting an estimated 5.8 million Americans who currently live with the disease. Many of them are 65 and older and live in places with limited access to health care and education, which heightens the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. 

In the U.S., older people with dementia are usually told they have Alzheimer's disease.

But a range of other brain diseases can also impair thinking and memory and judgment, according to scientists attending a summit on dementias held Thursday and Friday at the National Institutes of Health.

These include strokes, a form of Parkinson's disease and a disease that damages brain areas that regulate emotion and behavior.

At first, Stephen DiRado thought his dad was dealing with depression. Gene DiRado, then in his late 50s, had become more withdrawn, more forgetful. So Stephen processed his growing concern by doing what he'd done since the age of 12: taking photographs. It was the 1980s, and Stephen schlepped his 8x10 camera and tripod over to his parents' home in Marlborough, Mass., to check in on Gene and make portraits of him.

"I was running toward him with the sense of fear that something was wrong," Stephen says now about those years.

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As a specialist in Alzheimer's prevention, Jessica Langbaum knows that exercising her mental muscles can help keep her brain sharp.

But Langbaum, who holds a doctorate in psychiatric epidemiology, has no formal mental fitness program. She doesn't do crossword puzzles or play computer brain games.

"Just sitting down and doing Sudoku isn't probably going to be the one key thing that's going to prevent you from developing Alzheimer's disease," she says.

Jose Belardo of Lansing, Kansas, spent most of his career in the U.S. Public Health Service. He worked on the frontlines of disasters in places like Haiti, Colombia, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. At home with his three kids and wife, Elaine, he'd always been unfailingly reliable, so when he forgot their wedding anniversary two years in a row, they both started to worry.

"We recognized something wasn't right and pretty much attributed it to being overworked and tired," Elaine says.

Effort Launched To Boost Alzheimer’s Treatment

Jun 27, 2018

Pharmaceutical companies have for the past 20 years barraged the public with commercials about pills that help people lose weight, control cholesterol or soothe irritable bowels.

For today, there are no doctor's visits. No long afternoons with nothing to do. No struggles over bathing.

At the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., a group of older adults — some in wheelchairs, some with Alzheimer's — sit with their caregivers in a semicircle around a haunting portrait of a woman in white.

British neuroscientist Joseph Jebelli first set out to study Alzheimer's because of his grandfather, who developed the disease when Jebelli was 12.

In the years that followed, Jebelli watched as his grandfather's memory started to disappear. But Jebelli points out that although a certain amount of memory loss is a natural part of aging, what happened to his grandfather and to other Alzheimer's patients is different.

Miami Jewish Health/C. C. Hodgson Architectural Group

The Miami Jewish Health Systems has broken ground on a new type of senior care center with an emphasis on providing care for residents with Alzheimer's and dementia. 

"A nursing home is more than a facility that just takes care of people. What Miami Jewish Health is doing is building a small community that's more like real life," said Judy Lusskin, an executive committee member for Miami Jewish Health and also the vice mayor of Golden Beach. "It's not just feeding, bathing, putting [the patients] in a chair, playing some music."

One of the fundamental ways scientists measure the well-being of a nation is tracking the rate at which its citizens die and how long they can be expected to live.

So the news out of the federal government Thursday is disturbing: The overall U.S. death rate has increased for the first time in a decade, according to an analysis of the latest data. And that led to a drop in overall life expectancy for the first time since 1993, particularly among people younger than 65.

Mount Sinai Gets $1.5M For Alzheimer's Research

Aug 27, 2015
Creative Commons

With a large aging population, Florida is an epicenter of Alzheimer’s cases in the United States. Roughly half a million people in the state live with the disease and by 2025, that number is projected to increase by 44 percent.

Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach and University of Florida Health just got 1.5 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health to run the only full-time Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in the state to try and combat these numbers.

Flickr / John Hritz

   For some families caring for family members with Alzheimer's disease, a cafe can be a place of refuge. 

The Memory Café is a place for those in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

They meet on the fourth Tuesday of every month at the Hoke Library in Jensen Beach. It’s run by the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) in Martin County.

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