dementia

HANDOUT FOTOLIA / TNS

Hispanics who have trouble sleeping may be at a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, according to a new study.

The study found a possible link between insomnia, prolonged sleep duration (more than nine hours of sleep) and a decline in neurocognitive functioning, which could precede Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, said Dr. Alberto R. Ramos, the lead author of the study and an associate professor of neurology at the University of Miami’s Miller School.

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.

Every day, Dr. Walter Koroshetz, 65, takes a pill as part of his effort to help keep his brain healthy and sharp.

The pill is his blood pressure medication. And Koroshetz, who directs the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, says controlling high blood pressure helps him reduce his risk of dementia.

He also keeps his blood pressure down by exercising and paying attention to his weight and diet. "I'm a believer," he says.

Treading into ethically and legally uncertain territory, a New York end-of-life agency has approved a new document that lets people stipulate in advance that they don't want food or water if they develop severe dementia.

The directive, finalized this month by the board for End Of Life Choices New York, aims to provide patients a way to hasten death in late-stage dementia, if they choose.

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."

A neurologist at Florida Atlantic University’s Comprehensive Center for Brain Health said that one-third of all dementia cases are preventable, the Palm Beach Post reported.