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Dementia

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NEWS
April 8, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
While former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was reported to have died of stroke on Monday, few experts doubt that dementia, the disease she lived with for at least the final 12 years of her life, contributed powerfully to her demise. "Dementia means brain failure, and brain failure ultimately causes death from immobility, malnutrition and infection," among other downstream effects, said Dr. Paul S. Aisen, director of the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study at the University of California San Diego.
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NEWS
March 22, 2014 | By Carla Hall
More good news for women (not): More of them are suffering from Alzheimer's disease than men. The Alzheimer's Assn.'s recently released annual report on the grim facts and figures of this debilitating disease and other related dementias says that an estimated 3.2 million women aged 65 and older in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer's. That's two-thirds of the 5 million seniors in America with the disease. Just looking at this statistically, the association reports that 65-year-old women not afflicted with Alzheimer's still have a 1 in 6 chance of getting it. Men that age have a 1 in 11 chance.
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NEWS
September 20, 2011 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots blog
To the long list of complications that should make you want to avoid diabetes, Japanese researchers have added this: People with diabetes are more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease and also have an increased risk of developing some kind of dementia. Diabetes, of course, is a metabolic disorder in which the body can't use insulin properly, causing a dangerous buildup of blood sugar (glucose). Nearly 11% of American adults have it, according to the National Institutes of Health . The disease can lead to complications including kidney failure, nerve damage, heart disease, stroke, bladder control problems and erectile dysfunction.
SCIENCE
December 30, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
Well before signs of dementia trigger a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, a person's cholesterol levels may be a bellwether of amyloid plaque build-up in the brain, a new study finds. Long considered a reliable predictor of heart attacks and strokes, worrisome cholesterol levels may now raise concerns about dementia risk as well, prompting more aggressive use of drugs, including statins, that alter cholesterol levels. The current study does "not convincingly exclude the possibility" that taking statins might lower amyloid deposition, the researchers said.
SCIENCE
June 10, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
For older patients with Type 2 diabetes, an aggressive focus on keeping high blood sugar down increases the risk of driving blood sugar too low--and with that, boosting the likelihood of developing dementia, says a new study. As if that weren't bad enough, the new research finds that dementia, in turn, increases the risk of hypoglycemic episodes. The potential result, write a pair of experts publishing in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, is "a vicious cycle of adverse events. " The latest research is likely to reignite a long-simmering debate over how tightly to control blood-sugar levels in those with Type 2 diabetes.
OPINION
May 25, 2010 | Martha L. Daviglus
Americans are living longer. That's the good news. The bad news is that the longer people live, the more likely they are to experience cognitive decline. With the number of older Americans increasing, researchers around the country have thrown themselves into searching for ways to stave off mental decline, and the media stand ready to report every seeming breakthrough. Headlines have trumpeted such things as doing crossword puzzles, taking vitamin supplements, exercise and even drinking more red wine as possible ways of averting Alzheimer's disease and other kinds of dementia.
NEWS
October 30, 2012 | By Mary MacVean
Getting an early diagnosis of dementia could lead to finding ways to cope - and it could mean feeling bereft at what the future holds. So do you want to know? The early diagnosis of and intervention for Alzheimer's and other dementia has become an increasing priority, but that means the patients and their informal caregivers are left facing many issues regarding their futures that need to be considered, researchers said Tuesday. The researchers, from several British universities, reviewed 102 studies from 14 countries to consider the ramifications on patients and caregivers of a dementia diagnosis.
NEWS
August 9, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Treating a sleep disorder to improve oxygen flow through the body may also help lower the risk of dementia in older-age people, according to a new study. The research, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. , must be replicated. But it's exciting nonetheless because it suggests a rare, successful measure that may prevent at least some cases of cognitive impairment. Sleep disorders such as frequent waking and hypoxia (a lack of oxygen) have been linked to other diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
BUSINESS
July 15, 2013 | By Ricardo Lopez
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.
NEWS
August 19, 2011 | By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
About to uncork that bottle of merlot? A study finds that moderate drinking may decrease the risk of dementia and cognitive decline in older people. Researchers analyzed 143 studies that looked at the association between moderate alcohol consumption and mental abilities. The meta-analysis, published this month in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment , looked at research dating back to 1977. Studies done between 1977 and 1997 mostly focused on younger people ages 18 to 54 and for the most part sought to determine whether moderate drinking had any damaging effects; Overall it didn't, said Michael Collins, the study's co-author and professor in the department of molecular pharmacology and therapeutics at Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine . Later studies from 1998 to the present focused more on mental status tests examining memory and cognitive function among mostly older people, he added, and most showed that drinking moderate levels of alcohol showed no effect or a decreased risk of dementia and cognitive impairment compared to control groups.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 11, 2013 | By Richard Winton
A woman who authorities say was shot and killed by her brother Wednesday as she lay in a vegetative state in a North Hills convalescent home was identified as Lisa Nave, 58. Before the 60-year-old man killed his sister with a small-caliber handgun, he had killed his wife, who suffered from dementia, at their Canyon Country home, authorities said. Police described the fatal shooting of Lisa Nave as a "mercy killing. " “I use the term 'mercy killing' in terms of describing a killing here because I want people to understand that this man did not randomly walk into a hospital to commit this crime," said Lt. Paul Vernon of the Los Angeles Police Department.
NEWS
November 6, 2013 | By Mary MacVean
People who spoke two languages developed dementia 4 1/2 years later than those who spoke just one -- even in people who were illiterate, said scientists who reviewed the records of hundreds of dementia patients. The study is the largest to date to document the delay of dementia in bilingual people and the first to suggest that education level alone can't explain the difference, the researchers said. The researchers also controlled their results for age, sex, occupation and rural versus urban living.
SCIENCE
September 20, 2013 | By Eryn Brown
The mounting problem of caring for an aging population isn't unique to the U.S., according to a new report from the coalition Alzheimer's Disease International. Around the world, about 101 million people ages 60 and older need special care today. By 2050, that number will increase to 277 million, report author and King's College London psychiatrist Dr. Martin Prince and collaborators wrote, noting that most long-term care for the elderly is targeted at patients who suffer from dementia -- and that those patients present a particularly difficult challenge for the care system.
SCIENCE
August 12, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
With no cure in hand for Alzheimer's disease, many ask why someone would necessarily want an early diagnosis. But research continues to focus on detecting the earliest signs of dementia, and on the factors that give rise to some dementias or fuel their relentless progression. Those findings may point the way to prevention strategies. And they may allow physicians to recognize Alzheimer's disease and other dementias before they have taken a measurable toll. Stopping or slowing it there might be easier than reversing it, and could, for all practical purposes, be as good as a cure.
NEWS
July 31, 2013 | By Mary MacVean
Low levels of red blood cells can increase the risk of dementia for older people, scientists found in a study published Wednesday. Anemia occurs in up to 23% of people 65 and older, and has been linked in other studies to an increased risk of early death, the latest study's author, Dr. Kristine Yaffe of UC San Francisco, said. Her study on its effects on dementia was published in the journal Neurology. For the study, 2,552 people ages 70 to 79 were tested for anemia and dementia over 11 years; the participants were part of a study called the Health, Aging and Body Composition study and lived in Memphis, Tenn., or Pittsburgh.
NEWS
July 18, 2013 | By Alexandra Le Tellier
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.
NEWS
July 16, 2012 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez is unable to write, his brother said recently, because of dementia cancer treatments. But a colleague has told the N.Y. Times that the author is no more impaired than the average 85-year-old. “I saw him in April,”  Jaime Abellos, the director of the Gabriel García Márquez New Journalism Foundation in Cartagena, Colombia, told the N.Y. Times . “He is a man of 85 with the normal signs of his age.”  That runs counter to the assessment of Marquez's decline put forward by his brother Jaime Garcia Marquez.
NEWS
July 18, 2013 | By Alexandra Le Tellier
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.
BUSINESS
July 15, 2013 | By Ricardo Lopez
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.
SCIENCE
June 10, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
For older patients with Type 2 diabetes, an aggressive focus on keeping high blood sugar down increases the risk of driving blood sugar too low--and with that, boosting the likelihood of developing dementia, says a new study. As if that weren't bad enough, the new research finds that dementia, in turn, increases the risk of hypoglycemic episodes. The potential result, write a pair of experts publishing in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, is "a vicious cycle of adverse events. " The latest research is likely to reignite a long-simmering debate over how tightly to control blood-sugar levels in those with Type 2 diabetes.
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