Posts Tagged ‘Alzheimer’s’
Older individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) who drink up to three cups of coffee a day may help ward off progression to full-blown Alzheimer’s disease by up to two to four years compared to those who consume less caffeine, according to a new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Researchers from the University of South Florida and the University of Miami collaborated on the study to investigate how caffeine/coffee intake is associated with a reduced risk of dementia or delayed onset. The study involved 124 people, ages 65 to 88, in Tampa and Miami who had mild cognitive impairment. About 15% of people with MCI develop full-blown Alzheimer’s disease each year.
Blood caffeine levels at the study’s onset were substantially lower (51% lower) in participants diagnosed with MCI who progressed to dementia during the 2- to 4-year follow-up than in those whose mild cognitive impairment remained stable over the same period. No one with MCI who later developed Alzheimer’s had initial blood caffeine levels above a critical level…equivalent to drinking several cups of coffee a few hours before the blood sample was drawn. In contrast, many with stable MCI had blood caffeine levels higher than this critical level.
“We found that 100% of the MCI patients with plasma caffeine levels above the critical level experienced no conversion to Alzheimer’s disease during the 2- to 4-year follow-up period,” said study co-author Dr. Gary Arendash.
Like most of my grayhead peers, another excuse to continue to drink coffee is always welcome. Though no one in my family ever developed Alzheimer’s. Yes, a few were mad as a hatter – but, that’s a different question altogether.
His was a love story, Charles D. Snelling wrote — a tale of a shiftless dreamer and the woman who saved him, of the life they built over six decades and the disease that stood no chance of erasing it. By the end, he said, their time together had become a case study in reciprocity.
“She took care of me in every possible way she could for 55 years,” Mr. Snelling wrote of his wife, Adrienne, months before the two were to celebrate their 61st wedding anniversary. “The last six years have been my turn, and certainly I have had the best of the bargain.”
On Thursday, months after contributing a poignant essay to The New York Times about navigating a six-decade marriage upended by his spouse’s Alzheimer’s disease, Mr. Snelling killed his wife and himself, the Snelling family said in a statement released to The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa.. They were found Thursday in their home in Lehigh County in eastern Pennsylvania, the police said. Mr. Snelling shot himself, the coroner said. The ruling on Ms. Snelling’s death was pending. Both were 81.
In the statement, the Snelling family said Mr. Snelling had acted “out of deep devotion and profound love.”
Last December, in response to an Op-Ed column by David Brooks, Mr. Snelling contributed a 5,000-word “Life Report” essay to Nytimes.com, devoting the final section to his wife’s disease and his role in managing it.
“It’s not noble, it’s not sacrificial and it’s not painful,” he wrote of his caretaking duties. “It’s just right in the scheme of things…
Read the article for the story of their love, their lives together.
They grew in love, they died in love. In a nation that truly doesn’t believe in love. We let politicians, pundits and priests order the trappings of our lives with rules that in the end are irrelevant to love. Sufficient to be ignored.
Secel Montgomery Sr. stabbed a woman in the stomach, chest and throat so fiercely that he lost count of the wounds he inflicted. In the nearly 25 years he has been serving a life sentence, he has gotten into fights, threatened a prison official and been caught with marijuana.
Despite that, he has recently been entrusted with an extraordinary responsibility. He and other convicted killers at the California Men’s Colony help care for prisoners with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, assisting ailing inmates with the most intimate tasks: showering, shaving, applying deodorant, even changing adult diapers.
Their growing roster of patients includes Joaquin Cruz, a convicted killer who is now so addled that he thinks he sees his brother in the water of a toilet, and Walter Gregory, whose short-term memory is ebbing even as he vividly recalls his crime: stabbing and mutilating his girlfriend with a switchblade…
Dementia in prison is an underreported but fast-growing phenomenon, one that many prisons are desperately unprepared to handle. It is an unforeseen consequence of get-tough-on-crime policies — long sentences that have created a large population of aging prisoners. About 10 percent of the 1.6 million inmates in America’s prisons are serving life sentences; another 11 percent are serving over 20 years.
And more older people are being sent to prison. In 2010, 9,560 people 55 and older were sentenced, more than twice as many as in 1995. In that same period, inmates 55 and older almost quadrupled, to nearly 125,000, a Human Rights Watch report found.
While no one has counted cognitively impaired inmates, experts say that prisoners appear more prone to dementia than the general population because they often have more risk factors: limited education, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, depression, substance abuse, even head injuries from fights and other violence…
Scientists say they “serendipitously” discovered that a drug used to treat a type of cancer quickly reversed Alzheimer’s disease in mice.
“It’s really exciting,” said Maria Carrillo, senior director for medical and scientific relations for the Alzheimer’s Association. “They saw very positive and robust behavior effects in the mice.”
In the study, researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine gave mice mega-doses of bexarotene, a drug used to treat a type of skin cancer called cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Within 72 hours, the mice showed dramatic improvements in memory and more than 50% of amyloid plaque — a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease — had been removed from the brain.
Gary Landreth, the lead researcher at Case Western, cautioned that even though his results were impressive in mice, it may turn out not to work in people. “I want to say as loudly and clearly as possible that this was a study in mice, not in humans,” he said. “We’ve fixed Alzheimer’s in mice lots of times, so we need to move forward expeditiously but cautiously.”
Mice — and humans — with Alzheimer’s have high levels of a substance called amyloid beta in their brain. Pathology tests on the mice showed bexarotene lowered the levels of amyloid beta and raised the levels of apolipoprotein E, which helps keep amyloid beta levels low.
Landreth said he hopes to try the drug out in healthy humans within two months, to see if it has the same effect.
Those participating in the trial would be given the standard dose that cancer patients are usually given.
I get to note this sort of occurrence more often than you’d think. One of the benefits of consistent, detailed scientific methodology in research is that tests sometimes appear with beneficial side effects. Part of the overwhelming conservatism of proper science. You note everything. You don’t throw anything away.
It’s only the nutballs and their magic saviors and solutions who pop up into the news stream with a magic cure they cooked up in the garage and tested on a neighborhood cat – if at all.
It’s hard for physicians to determine with much precision how long anyone with a terminal disease can expect to live, but it’s particularly challenging when the disease is advanced dementia.
“People with dementia get sicker inch by inch,” said Lin Simon, director of quality at Gilchrist Hospice in Baltimore, the largest hospice organization in Maryland. “Trying to say, ‘Now, she’s ready for hospice’ is much harder.”
Yet doctors serve as the gateway to hospice, which provides palliative care for the dying and support for their families. Medicare regulations require a physician to certify that a patient entering hospice is likely to die of his or her disease within six months. Doctors are more likely to do so when the disease is cancer or heart failure, which have more predictable trajectories.
That’s the major reason that dementia patients — who can benefit from the better pain control, fewer hospitalizations (so often associated with aggressive treatments that confer no measurable benefit) and greater family satisfaction that hospice has been shown to provide — are under-enrolled in hospice programs…
A 2004 study in The Journal of General Internal Medicine estimated that fewer than one in 10 people dying of dementia receives hospice services. A study of Michigan patients with advanced dementia, conducted about a decade ago, found that just 5.7 percent of nursing home residents and 10.7 percent of those receiving home care died with hospice care.
Nationally, by way of comparison, more than 40 percent of Americans who die each year are in hospice care.
When people with advanced dementia do get a hospice referral, “they’re enrolled quite late, within a few weeks or even days of death,” said Dr. Susan Mitchell, a senior scientist at the Hebrew Senior Life Institute for Aging Research in Boston.
Less bureaucratic fiddling with paperwork instead of solutions – might mean less suffering, as well. Less regulation designed by beancounters instead of physicians might help, too.
It may soon be possible to obtain a highly accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease by analyzing a sample of spinal fluid. A study released Monday found that a constellation of three substances in the cerebrospinal fluid was present in 90% of people who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
The test also showed the same markers were found in 72% of people with mild cognitive impairment, considered an early stage of the disease, and in one-third of adults who had no cognitive problems.
Many experts believe that biomarkers in spinal fluid may emerge as the most accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. At present, the disease is diagnosed using pencil-and-paper cognitive tests, which are subjective and may be inaccurate. The diagnosis can only be confirmed by examining brain tissue at an autopsy…
In an editorial accompanying the paper, two U.S. experts in the disease said that cerebrospinal fluid analysis should be put into wider practice. “There is now ample evidence that these measurements have value; physicians need to formulate when and how to incorporate cerebrospinal fluid measurements into practice,” they wrote.
Hopefully, the indicators will provide a pathway to a cure – at least symptomatic relief.
Cell phone exposure may be helpful in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, a new study shows.
The study, involving mice, provides evidence that long-term exposure to electromagnetic waves associated with cell phone use may protect against, and even reverse, Alzheimer’s disease.
The study is published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
“It surprised us to find that cell phone exposure, begun in early adulthood, protects the memory of mice otherwise destined to develop Alzheimer’s symptoms,” study researcher Gary Arendash, PhD, of the University of South Florida, says in a news release. “It was even more astonishing that the electromagnetic waves generated by cell phones actually reversed memory impairment in old Alzheimer’s mice.”
The researchers say they found that exposing old mice with Alzheimer’s disease to electromagnetic waves generated by cell phones reduced brain deposits of beta-amyloid. Brain plaques formed by the abnormal accumulation of beta-amyloid are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, which is why most treatments try to target the protein….
The study involved 96 mice, including mice genetically engineered to develop Alzheimer’s disease and normal mice. Both the Alzheimer’s mice and the normal rodents were exposed to the electromagnetic field generated by standard cell use for two one-hour periods daily for seven to nine months….
The researchers conclude that the findings could mean electromagnetic field exposure might be an effective, noninvasive, and drug-free way to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease in humans.
So, if it turns out that you get a brain tumor, at least maybe you’ll realize what is happening to you.
Three U.S. scientists are concern about the potential of people contracting Creutzfeldt Jakob disease — the human form of “mad cow disease” — from eating farmed fish who are fed byproducts rendered from cows.
Mad cow disease, also called bovine spongiform encephalopathy is a fatal brain disease in cattle, which scientists believe can cause Creutzfeldt Jakob disease in humans who eat infected cow parts.
In the latest issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Dr. Robert P. Friedland, a neurologist at University of Louisville in Kentucky and colleagues suggest that farmed fish fed contaminated cow parts could transmit Creutzfeldt Jakob disease.
The scientists want government regulators to ban feeding cow meat or bone meal to fish until the safety of this common practice can be confirmed…
“We are concerned,” Friedland and colleagues write, that eating farmed fish may provide a means of transmission of infectious proteins from cows to humans, causing variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease.
“We have not proven that it’s possible for fish to transmit the disease to humans. Still, we believe that out of reasonable caution for public health, the practice of feeding rendered cows to fish should be prohibited,” Friedland said in a prepared statement. “Fish do very well in the seas without eating cows,” he added.
You know, that’s a pretty reasonable point he just made.
Think about it!
Midlife coffee drinking can decrease the risk of dementia/Alzheimer’s disease (AD) later in life.
The study included participants previously surveyed…from 1972, 1977, 1982 or 1987 (midlife visit)…and re-examination in 1998.
“We aimed to study the association between coffee and tea consumption at midlife and dementia/AD risk in late-life, because the long-term impact of caffeine on the central nervous system was still unknown, and as the pathologic processes leading to Alzheimer’s disease may start decades before the clinical manifestation of the disease,” says lead researcher, associate professor Miia Kivipelto.
The study found that coffee drinkers at midlife had lower risk for dementia and AD later in life compared to those drinking no or only little coffee. The lowest risk (65% decreased) was found among moderate coffee drinkers (drinking 3-5 cups of coffee/day)…Tea drinking was relatively uncommon and was not associated with dementia/AD.
Kivipelto also notes that, “Given the large amount of coffee consumption globally, the results might have important implications for the prevention of or delaying the onset of dementia/AD. The finding needs to be confirmed by other studies, but it opens the possibility that dietary interventions could modify the risk of dementia/AD. Also, identification of mechanisms of how coffee exerts its protection against dementia/AD might help in the development of new therapies for these diseases.”
A lot of science-speak there; but, I don’t think anyone will have a problem understanding what was learned.
Coffee has played an on-again, off-again, role in my casual life. I stopped altogether for a spell – when early studies at Harvard indicated a connection with pancreatic cancer. Very scary stuff. Final analysis said, Nope – no problem.
So, I returned to a cup or two – though I still tend to drink one more cuppa tea than coffee.
Do they mean like this?
Mice that were fed a diet rich in fat, sugar and cholesterol for nine months developed a preliminary stage of the morbid irregularities that form in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. The study results, published in a doctoral thesis from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet (KI), give some indications of how this difficult to treat disease might one day be preventable….
The underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease are still something of a mystery, but there are a number of known risk factors. The most common is a variant of a certain gene that governs the production of apolipoprotein E, one of the functions of which is to transport cholesterol. The gene variant is called apoE4 and is found in 15-20 per cent of the population.
For her doctoral thesis, Susanne Akterin studied mice that had been genetically modified to mimic the effects of apoE4 in humans. The mice were then fed for nine months on a diet rich in fat, sugar and cholesterol, representing the nutritional content of most fast food.
“On examining the brains of these mice, we found a chemical change not unlike that found in the Alzheimer brain,” says Ms Akterin, postgraduate at KI Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.
Interesting study. But why must such findings be presented as a “fast food” story? Folks, I eat a lot of fast food. While doing so, I rarely eat a meal “rich in fat, sugar and cholesterol.” On the contrary, I eat mostly grilled chicken, plenty of salads, rarely any french fries, and the chili and baked potato at Wendy’s are delicious, thankyevedimuch. I enjoy grabbing a sandwich at Subway, and know a nice lady from India who knows how to load it down with lots of veggies. (I usually get no meat!)
Order what you will. But please don’t blame the brick and mortar. It’s called “personal responsibility.”