Alzheimer's disease

The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), currently afflicts 5.5 million adults in the United States and is estimated by 2050 to impact 13.8 million (age 65 or older). 

Why is this happening? 

Given that age is the most significant risk factor for disease development, fewer are dying from other illnesses due to treatment advances, hence, more and more people are surviving into later adulthood. As a consequence, death rates for AD have risen 55% between 1999 and 2014 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). 

The analysis is “the first to provide county-level rates for deaths caused by AD” obtained through review of state- and county-level death certificate data provided...

Iceland is a small island in the North Atlantic Ocean with a total population of about 330,000. Its relatively small size belies what may turn out to be its great importance to the world's aging population. Because the country was essentially isolated for centuries, its people became more inbred. This means that genetically speaking, native Icelanders are more similar to each other than are members of more diverse populations, and genetic researchers can use this similarity to more easily identify rare mutations in various genes. They've done so with genes that affect the onset of Alzheimer's Disease (AD).

For example, in 2012 Icelandic researchers found a variant of a gene (APP) that protects against AD. It's rare — even in...

Because of their high cholesterol content, eggs were seen as dietary villains by many, in spite of their being sources of high quality protein, low levels of total and saturated fats, and a number of other nutritional benefits (for more on eggs, read here ). More recently, however, research has demonstrated that dietary cholesterol is not an important precursor to levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol in the human body for most people. Thus nutritionists have been less likely to demonize egg consumption and admit that they do have substantial nutritional value.

According to a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, animal...

Now that winter has hit the northern hemisphere, our thoughts often focus on ways to keep warm. Well, not only can a nice, sweaty sauna do the trick, but according to a recent study repeated saunas may just help fend off dementia — at least for middle-aged men.

Dr. Tanjaniina Laukkanen from the University of Eastern Finland and colleagues followed the health of over 2300 middle-aged men (42-60 years old at baseline) for over 20 years. They analyzed possible associations between the frequency with which the men used saunas and the risk of their developing Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia.

Sauna is a Finnish word that...

The prevalence of dementia in the United States significantly declined from 11.6% in 2000 to 8.8% in 2012.  A new study by JAMA Internal Medicine attributes this, in part, to an increase in educational attainment. 

Dementia has multiple causes and types.  It reflects damage to the nerve cells of the brain which can appear in varying locales.  Symptoms of memory loss and cognitive changes manifest differently depending on the individual, medical history and etiology.  

Alzheimer’s is the most common culprit in those 65 and older.  Right behind is vascular damage of the vessels that...

World Death Rates

Death rates in the U.S. took a surprising turn last year. They rose, as compared to 2013-14, which is not supposed to be happening, and hasn't happened in ... a long time.

Heart disease topped the list of causes, according to new data just released by the CDC. Death rates from stroke, Alzheimer s disease, liver disease and Parkinson s disease also increased. On the positive side, mortality rates for cancer, diabetes, and HIV...

Courtesy medicalnewstoday.com Courtesy medicalnewstoday.com

A new study in the respected Journal of Clinical Oncology reports a significantly elevated risk among men treated with androgen deprivation therapy, or ADT, for advanced prostate cancer, and the subsequent development of Alzheimer's disease.

The goal of the ADT-type of hormone therapy is to lower the level of male sex hormones, or androgens, that would stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells. The researchers were...

PET scans for beta-AmyloidA recent study in JAMA Neurology shows a significant link between the amount of amyloid-beta in the brain and the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a harbinger of Alzheimer's disease (AD).

The authors of the study, entitled "Association of Elevated Amyloid Levels With Cognition and Biomarkers in Cognitively Normal People From the Community," noted that this was the...

MRI-strokeThe current JAMA has two articles on Alzheimer's disease that evaluate simple interventions, in hopes of maintaining age-appropriate cognitive functioning among two groups of older Americans. One study evaluated the efficacy of increasing seniors' physical activity to inhibit mental decline; the other evaluated omega-3 fatty acid plus vitamin supplementation for that same goal. Unfortunately, neither intervention showed any significant benefit.

In the first study,...

MRI-strokeMore than 4,000 scientists from around the world have assembled in Washington DC this week to share their latest findings on Alzheimer s disease (AD). While the odds of finding effective treatments remain bleak, at least for the near term, some early studies are now giving us some hope. These studies are the essential framework for finally making some real progress in stymying, or at least impeding the onslaught of this dreadful disease. As populations around the globe age, the urgency of finding a treatment that either prevents, slows the progression, or even...