Category Archives: Alzheimer’s Disease and related disorders

“Time for a Manhattan Project on Alzheimer’s” – The Conversation

by Marc Diamond

“Imagine if Alzheimer’s was treated like other common diseases. Instead of worrying about the prospect of slowly losing your memory, you might get a series of shots during middle age to prevent the onset of this neurological nightmare, just as we do to reduce the risk of flu. Or you could take a daily pill as many do to control their cholesterol or blood pressure.

alz reportIn Alzheimer’s, toxic clumps of protein kill brain cells which shrinks the size of the brain as the disease progresses. BlueRingMedia/Shutterstock.com

“That may sound improbable, given the long string of Alzheimer’s drugs that have failed to work in clinical trials, but I remain optimistic. As a physician-scientist leading research into the causes of neurodegenerative diseases, I believe that we are making significant progress on uncovering the roots of Alzheimer’s.

“Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease that has stymied researchers for years. The disease develops when two proteins – A-beta and tau – accumulate in the brain. A-beta builds up outside of nerve cells, and tau inside them. Decades of study suggests that A-beta somehow leads to the accumulation of tau, which is what causes nerve cells to die. This may explain why early treatments focusing exclusively on A-beta failed. These ideas have led to new diagnostic criteria that take into account these two proteins to make the definitive diagnosis.”

Continue reading this article, click here.

“Assisted Living’s Breakneck Growth Leaves Safety Of Dementia Patients Behind” – Kaiser Health News

alzheimers death“Stephanie Weaver holds a photo of her grandmother, Bonnie Walker. Weaver is suing Brookdale Charleston for emotional distress following Walker’s death in a pond behind the assisted living facility in 2016.” – (LEIGH WEBBER FOR KHN)

by Jordan Rau

“They found Bonnie Walker’s body floating in a pond behind her assisted living facility in South Carolina. There were puncture wounds on her ear, her temple, her jaw and her cheeks.

“Her right forearm and her pacemaker were inside one of the alligators that lived in the pond.

“Like 4 in 10 residents in assisted living facilities, Walker, 90, had dementia. Shortly after midnight one day in July 2016, she slipped out of her facility, Brookdale Charleston, as she had done a few days before. This time, no one noticed her missing for seven hours.

“‘No one should have to pass away that way.’”

Read this Kaiser Health News article in its entirety, click here.

Alzheimers’ Community Forum | November 29

alz community forum

Click here to register.

“I Would Have Driven Her Anywhere | Caring for a mother who suffers from dementia was really hard. I wish I could do it again.” – The New York Times

Modern LoveBrian Rea

by Melanie Bishop

“When my mother was booted from an assisted living facility in North Carolina for being ‘too high maintenance,’ my husband, Ted, and I agreed to have her live near us in Prescott, Ariz.

“She had spent seven years of dementia in assisted-living facilities, first near my brother in Austin, Tex., and then near my two sisters in Asheville, N.C. It was our turn. My mother never liked any of these facilities, but she disliked the one here most of all. Sometimes, she disliked me.

“One of the few things she did like about Prescott was being reunited with her old car, a 1992 Honda Accord she had sold to me years before, shortly after my father had died.”

“The Honda connected her to her life before dementia … “

Read this piece in its entirety at The New York Times.

“The Comforting Fictions of Dementia Care” – The New Yorker

“Many facilities are using nostalgic environments as a means of soothing the misery, panic, and rage their residents experience.”

fictions of dementia care“The memory-care unit in Ohio’s Chagrin Valley is designed to look like an American town from its residents’ childhoods.” – Photograph by Philip Montgomery for The New Yorker

by Larissa MacFarquhar

“The large central room of the memory-care unit was designed to look like an old-fashioned American town square. There was a small fountain, surrounded by plants and a low stone wall; there were a couple of lampposts, and benches, tables, and chairs set about. The carpet was mottled with darker and lighter shades of green, to resemble grass growing and bending in different directions. Along the walls were the façades of what looked like clapboard houses, with wooden shutters and shingled pitched roofs and porches that extended into the room. Two long hallways, which led off from opposite sides of the central room, looked like streets in the same town, with more clapboard façades and porches on either side. These façades were not altogether fake: each front door opened onto a suite of small rooms—living room, bedroom, bathroom—that was a resident’s home.

“Some of the porches had rocking chairs that you could sit in and watch people go by. Many of the residents were quite restless, and there was nowhere else to go, so people did walk by fairly often. Daylight came in through high windows just below the ceiling, and the ceiling itself consisted of bright light panels painted to look like a blue sky dotted with clouds. In the evening, as it began to grow dark outside, lights on the porches came on. Sometime later, the street lamps were lit; and finally, around eight o’clock, the ceiling sky was switched off, so that the unit came to look like a small-town street at night.

“The illusion was surprisingly effective.”

This is a long read; click here to continue reading this article at The New Yorker.

“Barcelona lab finds treatment that slows down Alzheimer’s” – WikiTribune

  • Findings open new avenues for the research of neurodegenerative disorders
  • 75-year-old company began its research on Alzheimer’s in 2004
  • Procedure is safe and feasible

brain

A renowned Spanish laboratory presented the results of clinical tests that show a dramatic reduction in the progression of moderate Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) patients, in a new step towards an innovative approach to fight this neurodegenerative disease.

“At the Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease (CTAD) congress last 27 October in Barcelona, Laboratorios Grifols’ CEO Víctor Grifols said the results ‘open a new path in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease’ and remarked that his company ‘will continue to explore the potential of plasma proteins and plasma exchange in subsequent studies.’”

Read this article at WikiTribune in its entirety here.

 

“Blythe Danner and Hilary Swank Soar in Caregiving Movie ‘What They Had'” – AARP

Their new landmark Alzheimer’s film is heartbreaking, inspiring, funny and true

ATM_Cover_OctNov

At first, Blythe Danner and Hilary Swank seem utterly different as you watch them chatting together in a vast white room in Manhattan on a fine summer morning.

“Swank, 44, a buff former high school gymnastics champ who grew up in a trailer park in Washington state, is direct, peppy, coachlike. ‘Make a choice about the optimism you want to bring into your life!’ she exhorts us at one point.

“The imperially slim Danner, 75, a Philadelphia banker’s daughter, is reserved and self-deprecating, even after a half-century of acting triumphs. Though she introduced her daughter, Gwyneth Paltrow, to acting, she says Gwynnie is the genius in the family. ‘She has such self-esteem and self-awareness, all the things I never had,’ Danner notes.”

Continue reading this article at AARP Magazine, click here.

 

SAVE THE DATE | 2018 Alzheimer’s Disease & related diseases forum

alzheimers forum

“Genetic testing: Should I get tested for Alzheimer’s risk?” – The Conversation

memory testingA woman and her doctor discuss healthy aging.” Dennis Sabo/Shutterstock.com”

by Troy Rohn

“Thanks to advances in genetic testing, there is now a way for consumers to test for the greatest genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disorder that primarily affects older adults. It is the most common cause of dementia. It is the third leading cause of death, behind heart disease and cancer. An estimated 700,000 Americans 65 and older will have Alzheimer’s when they die. In a recent study asking Americans age 50 or older the condition they were most afraid of, the number one fear was Alzheimer’s, with 39 percent; followed by cancer, at 30 percent.

“Clinically, patients with Alzheimer’s most commonly present with insidiously progressive memory loss, difficulty thinking and understanding and mental confusion.”

Click here to read this article at The Conversation in its entirety.

 

Dementia Specific Advance Directive: Podcast with Barak Gaster – GeriPal

In this GeriPal podcast, the interview is with Dr. Barak Gaster, Professor of Medicine and General Internist at the University of Washington in Seattle. Dr. Gaster felt like there was hole in the advance directives landscape around future planning for people with dementia. People with dementia experience a fairly common set of complications and decisions around feeding, loss of independence, and loss of ability to make complex decisions. His dementia specific advance directive has specific sections for care preferences for persons who progress through stages of dementia, including descriptions of mild, moderate, or severe dementia.

So many key points he makes in this podcast, you’ll have to read below or listen to the audio to learn more!

Two interesting notes:

  1. The directive is free to use, does not require a notary signature, and works synergistically with the POLST, Prepare, and Video decision aids.  He makes a major point about the need to “de-legalize” advance directives.  Right on.
  2. He describes how he published on the idea in JAMA, and was disappointed with the uptake.  It wasn’t until Paula Span wrote about it in the New York Times for the New Old Age (below) that downloads and uptake of the advance directive exploded.  Attention academics: it’s not enough to publish your work, you have to get the message out to the people!

fading

One Day Your Mind May Fade. At Least You’ll Have a Plan.” The New York Times