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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 | By David Schubert
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.
May 9, 2013 | By Andrew Blankstein and Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times
Over the objections of Los Angeles County mental health officials, a judge Thursday ordered an 86-year-old murder defendant to remain in the government's care and not be released to a family member. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Norman Shapiro said that Nattie Kennebrew, who in 2009 allegedly shot and killed a handyman and tried to kill the manager at the Hollywood apartment building where he lived, must remain at Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino and that the county must pay for his care.
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.
April 3, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan
The financial toll of caring for Americans with dementia adds up to at least $159 billion a year, making it more expensive than treatments for patients with heart disease or cancer, according to a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dementia is characterized by a group of symptoms that prevent people from carrying out the tasks of daily living. Reduced mental function makes it impossible for them to do things like keep track of their medications or their finances.
March 15, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
Experimental drug treatments promising to slow or reverse the progression of Alzheimer's disease will need to be assessed with a new and more subtle set of rules, a pair of FDA officials wrote this week. The resulting new guidelines, predict some researchers, should allow Alzheimer's drugs under development to travel a faster path to the U.S. market -- and to the more than 5 million Americans who need them. The new guidelines, issued to drug developers last month and outlined this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, reflect a growing shift among both physicians and researchers toward earlier detection and treatment of the memory-robbing disease.
January 7, 2013 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times
Beta blockers, a venerable class of blood pressure drugs that has fallen from favor in recent years, may help protect the aging brain against changes linked to Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia that rob memory and mental function, new research indicates. In autopsies on the brains of 774 men after their deaths, scientists found that those who took beta blockers to help control hypertension had fewer of the brain lesions and less of the brain shrinkage seen in Alzheimer's than men who took other types of blood pressure medications and those who left the condition untreated.
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.
October 9, 2012 | By Houston Mitchell
  Former Detroit Lions All-Pro and actor Alex Karras has been given only a few days to live because of kidney failure. “The entire Detroit Lions family is deeply saddened to learn of the news regarding the condition of one of our all-time greats, Alex Karras,” Lions President Tom Lewand said. “Perhaps no player in Lions history attained as much success and notoriety for what he did after his playing days as did Alex. The 77-year-old Karras has been suffering from dementia . He is among the many former NFL players suing the league regarding the treatment of head injuries . Detroit drafted him 10th overall out of Iowa in 1958 and he was a standout for 12 seasons.
September 27, 2012 | By Chuck Schilken
Jim McMahon calls baseball his first love and says he probably would have chosen a career in that sport if he had been given the opportunity.  Had he done so, however, McMahon never would have become that "punky QB" who shuffled all the way to a Super Bowl victory with the Chicago Bears in 1986, a gig that the former quarterback says still helps pay the bills today. “That was my first love, was baseball, and had I had a scholarship to play baseball. I probably would have played just baseball,” McMahon said in an interview that aired Wednesday on Fox affiliate WFLD-TV.
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