Category: Alzheimer’s

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Alzheimer's Has Genetic ComponentResearchers said Tuesday they had seen the earliest-ever warning signs of Alzheimer’s Disease — among a high-risk group of 20-somethings — in the ongoing quest for early detection and prevention.

A major problem in the search for a cure for this debilitating form of dementia is that symptoms appear years after irreversible brain decay has already set in.

For the study, a team of scientists from the United States and Colombia tested 18- to 26-year-old members of an extended Colombian family that share a common ancestor and a genetic predisposition to develop an inherited form of Alzheimer’s.

One in three members of the clan carry a gene mutation that will lead to a rare form of the disease which hits people in their 40s, unlike the common variant which presents much later.

A brain scan comparison found that individuals who carry the errant gene have less grey matter in certain areas of the brain than those who don’t, scientists wrote in The Lancet medical journal.

Full story of Alzheimer’s genetic component at New York Daily News

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Alzheimer's Awareness MonthNovember is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, an event that is designed to create interest on three fronts.

Those afflicted with the disease and their caregivers are at the forefront, but equally important is the message that, at some point in the next 20 to 40 years, the disease could reach epidemic proportions.

Alzheimer’s is already the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, a ranking that is due to spike upward in the coming years as 77 million baby boomers work their way into senior citizenship.

Deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased almost 70 percent since 2000, which is why those who are not aware of what the disease may hold in store for a loved one or friend can use November to a gain a better understanding. Those over 65 are especially susceptible to Alzheimer’s.

“A lot of people don’t even realize we are here, or that there is a place to go,” said Jamie Foster, a chapter assistant for the Quincy Area Branch of the Alzheimer’s Association, located on the second floor of the Quincy Senior and Family resource Center, 639 York.

Full story of Alzheimer’s awareness at Quincy Herald-Whig

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Exercise Can Preserve the BrainOne of the sad realities about Alzheimer’s disease is that there’s no way of preventing it – at least not yet.  We know some people are genetically or biologically at greater risk than others, but researchers want to find out how we can fight it off, or at least delay it.

The strongest evidence for a lifestyle choice associated with Alzheimer’s prevention is exercise.  A new study in the journal Neurology supports that, and also suggests that working out is more effective at protecting the brain than cognitive challenges such as games and puzzles.

Researchers studied a group of nearly 700 participants from Scotland, all born in 1936, who reported their leisure and physical activity levels at age 70.  They rated physical activity on a scale from “moving only in connection with necessary (household) chores” to “keep-fit/heavy exercise or competitive sport several times per week,” the study said.  Participants also rated how often they engaged in various social and intellectual activities.

Then, at age 73, the scientists used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure certain biomarkers in the brain among these participants.

Full story of exercise and Alzheimer’s at CNN Health

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