August 19, 2013 |
New research finds that copper in amounts readily found in our drinking water, the foods we eat and the vitamin supplements we take likely plays a key role in initiating and fueling the abnormal protein build-up and brain inflammation that are hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease. While the mineral is important to healthy nerve conduction, hormone secretion and the growth of bones and connective tissue, a team of researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center suggested that too much of it may be a bad thing, and they set about to explore copper's dark side.
August 12, 2013 |
Too often when veteran artists revisit career-defining hits late in life it's more of a marketing move than an artistic exploration. Not in this case. Since revealing two years ago that he's been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, the singer-guitarist and former TV show host released his well-received "Ghost on the Canvas" album and went on the road one last time for a farewell tour. Recently his family revealed that his disease has progressed to the point where he can no longer perform.
August 10, 2013
Re "Poor memory? Forget it," Opinion, Aug. 8 I appreciate that a younger person like Max Perry can relate to the fears of us oldsters that any little memory lapse might mean the onset of Alzheimer's disease. But he should also be taking this issue seriously, as it could well impact his future in ways that will be no joke. Without a cure, Alzheimer's will gobble up resources at an alarming rate in the next 30 years. We lack capacity in caregiving, medical and social services to care for all those affected now. What will happen when this disease affects three times as many people?
July 18, 2013 |
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his latest health initiative this week: He's banning elevators! OK, not really. But he did say he was planning to introduce legislation that would inspire New Yorkers to take the stairs by making staircases in buildings more accessible. As with all of Bloomberg's noble health-conscious initiatives, which have included banning trans-fats and trying to curb super-sized, nutrition-less sodas, the announcement was met with a contingent of eye-rolls.
July 17, 2013 |
The “senior moments” of unreliable memory may be a scientifically valid way to predict Alzheimer's disease, after all. Alzheimer's disease experts gathered at an international conference in Boston this week have a fancy name for that sense that your noggin' is just not ticking like the old days - subjective cognitive impairment. Studies in the last few years have been trying to bridge a divide between the anecdotal evidence of memory decline and objective, measureable signs, such as atrophy of certain brain regions evident through imaging devices, genetic anomalies on a cellular level, and other clinical tests.
July 15, 2013 |
Baby boomers take note: For every year you put off retirement, your chances of developing Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia are cut by 3%. The findings are the result of a massive French study, which looked at the records of 429,000 workers. The scientists presented their results Monday at the Alzheimer's Assn. International Conference in Boston. "For each additional year of work, the risk of getting dementia is reduced by 3.2%," Carole Dufoil, a scientist at INSERM, the French government's health research agency, told the Associated Press . The findings underpin the often repeated advice to prevent mental decline: "Use it or lose it. " Doctors have said that keeping the brain mentally challenged is one way to prevent dementia and related diseases.
July 1, 2013 |
If you are conscious and making sense of the world, you have your dorsolateral prefrontal cortex to thank. Same, if you can remember a string of numbers long enough to walk into the next room and punch them into a telephone keypad. To visualize a goal and then accomplish it -- say, fitting a bulky piece of furniture into your car -- you're likewise going to need that part of the frontal lobe to be in good working order. But look under the hood of that marvelous piece of gray matter, as a group of Yale University neuroscientists recently did in "cognitively engaged monkeys," and you will see the workhorses of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.
June 21, 2013 |
Rebecca Solnit's latest book, "The Faraway Nearby" (Viking: 260 pp., $25.95), began with a delivery of 100 pounds of apricots. "It was like a trumpet blew and said, 'You're entering the world of narrative," the 52-year-old author recalls by phone from her home in San Francisco's Mission District, her voice soft as falling petals, her laugh a whisper on the wire. The apricots came from her brother, who had collected them from a tree in their mother's yard. At the time, the older woman was in the throes of Alzheimer's; she had been moved into an assisted care facility, making the fruit a metaphor, an allegory, for everything that she, that the family, had lost.
June 2, 2013
Re "How to defeat Alzheimer's," Opinion, May 28 I can hardly believe how poorly our priorities are set in this country. The first phase of California's bullet train is funded with $985 million, and the whole project will cost untold billions. Alzheimer's and dementia affect practically every family and will cost us trillions in the future to treat, and yet researchers have a hard time coming up with $25 million to conduct Phase I and Phase II drug testing. If we had thrown money at dementia research like we did the AIDS epidemic, many who are mentally incapacitated now could be reading this newspaper - along with the many HIV-positive Americans living today with low virus loads.
May 28, 2013 |
Those of us fortunate enough to make it to 80 will have a 50% chance of suffering from Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia before we die. And there is currently no known way to reduce the odds or slow the mental deterioration. These grim facts are already a reality to the 5 million Americans living with the disease. It is projected that by 2050, unless breakthroughs are made, 14 million Americans will have dementia, at an annual cost of $1.2 trillion. Finding effective treatment or prevention of Alzheimer's would help avert a huge and costly healthcare disaster.