Number of Americans With Dementia Will Double by 2040: Report

Nearly 13 million Americans will have dementia by 2040 — nearly twice as many as today, a new report says.

The number of women with dementia is expected to rise from 4.7 million next year to 8.5 million in 2040. The number of men with dementia is projected to increase from 2.6 million to 4.5 million.

Over the next 20 years, the economic impact of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia will be more than $2 trillion. Women will shoulder more than 80% of those costs, according to a report released Tuesday at the 2019 Milken Institute Future of Health Summit, in Washington, D.C.

“Longer life spans are perhaps one of the greatest success stories of our modern public health system,” said lead author Nora Super, senior director of the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging.

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5 Signs It’s Time for Memory Care

YOUR AGING MOM WHO’S living with dementia has always been conscientious about opening her mail and paying her bills. You and other family members check on her regularly to see she’s OK. Yet over time, relatives notice she’s letting her mail accumulate unopened and forgetting to pay her bills.

These are potential signs that someone who’s living with dementia may need memory care, says Dr. Elaine Healy, a geriatrician and vice president of medical affairs and medical director of United Hebrew of New Rochelle in New York.

About 5.8 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Family members care for some people with dementia, and others live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

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Recognizing When Your Parents Need Help

Sometimes it’s obvious when older parents need outside help — like when they’re having difficulty managing numerous chronic illnesses or losing mobility and unable to maneuver well even at home. But mental problems may not be as easy to spot.

For instance, is Dad’s forgetfulness — his misplacing house keys or missing appointments — normal aging or a sign of something more serious, such as dementia?

It can be hard to judge the severity of problems if you live far away and speak infrequently. But even if you live close by, you might not realize the cumulative effects of gradual changes.

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Dementia care program improves mental health of patients, caregivers

UCLA-led research finds that a comprehensive dementia care program staffed by nurse practitioners working within a health system improves the mental and emotional health of patients and their caregivers.

While the program did not slow the progression of dementia, it did reduce patients’ behavioral problems and depression, and lower the distress of caregivers, the researchers found.

The paper is published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The findings, based on data from the UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program, suggest that such programs are a promising approach toward improving the psychological health of patients and caregivers, said Dr. David Reuben, chief of the UCLA Division of Geriatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and the study’s lead author.

Full story at Science Daily

Normal Brain vs. Brain With Dementia

YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A brain specialist to notice certain differences in images of a healthy older person’s brain compared to that of someone with dementia. Narrowed, depleted folds on the brain’s surface, the presence of blotchy plaques, twisted fibers and significant shrinkage are clearly visible. What you can’t see is how brain changes like these affect how people’s minds work.

In a program from the National Press Foundation and funded by AARP, “Understanding the Latest on Dementia Issues,” journalists heard from a spectrum of dementia experts, including researchers, gerontologists, family caregivers and a brilliant engineer who described her personal journey with early-onset Alzheimer’s. In addition, a leading neuroscientist detailed how normal brain aging is very different than changes arising from dementia and not something to be feared.

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Genes vs. lifestyle: Study ‘undermines fatalistic view of dementia’

A new study investigates the effect of leading a healthful lifestyle on people who have a genetic predisposition to developing dementia.

Elżbieta Kuźma, Ph.D., and David Llewellyn, Ph.D., from the University of Exeter Medical School in the United Kingdom, are the joint lead authors of the new research, which appears in the journal JAMA.

Llewellyn, Kuźma, and colleagues also presented their findings at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2019, which took place in Los Angeles, CA.

In their paper, the authors explain that while scientists know that genes and lifestyle both significantly affect Alzheimer’s risk and the likelihood of other types of dementia, they do not yet know the extent to which making healthful lifestyle choices can offset the genetic risk.

Full story at Medical News Today

Coping strategy therapy for family dementia carers works long-term

A programme of therapy and coping strategies for people who care for family members with dementia successfully improves the carers’ mental health for at least a six-year follow-up, finds a UCL study.

Carers who took part in the programme were five times less likely to have clinically significant depression than carers who were not offered the therapy, according to the findings published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

The intervention has also been shown to be cost-effective in a prior study.

“Taking care of a family member with dementia can be immensely difficult, particularly as their condition deteriorates and they may not appreciate their carer, so close to four in 10 family carers experience depression of anxiety,” said Professor Gill Livingston (UCL Psychiatry), the trial’s principal investigator.

Full story at Science Daily

How having a close relative with Alzheimer’s may affect cognition

New research suggests that having a family history of Alzheimer’s may impair cognition throughout a person’s lifetime, but it also identifies factors that could offset these adverse effects. The findings may enable people at risk to take active measures for delaying or even preventing this form of dementia.

Having a close relative with dementia is a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.

In fact, it is one of the two most significant risk factors, together with age. Having a first-degree relative with Alzheimer’s raises relative risk by 30%, which means that a person’s existing risk goes up by almost a third.

Having a copy of the gene APOE4 that encodes the protein apolipoprotein E raises Alzheimer’s risk by threefold. Having both copies of the gene — which is a rare occurrence — increases the risk by 10 to 15 times.

Full story at Medical News Today

How Aerobic Exercise Benefits the Brain – Especially As You Age

A RECENT COLUMBIA University study builds on previous research linking aerobic exercise to cognitive function and cortical thickness improvement in middle-aged and older adults. Here’s a look at what the findings could mean for you.

Can you imagine living through chronic neurological disease and dysfunction that prevents you from learning, reasoning, behaving appropriately or even remembering basic information? These are examples of cognitive functions, which are the sophisticated mental processes by which we’re able to carry out daily tasks and navigate the world around us. The way we learn things, how we remember them, problem-solving and paying attention to details can deteriorate with mild cognitive impairment and can be destroyed with more aggressive forms of dementia. Our cognitive abilities can also decline with age.

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Cognitive decline: A personalized approach could be key

Researchers have designed a brain aging model to investigate the factors that contribute to cognitive decline, borrowing principles from precision medicine.

Cognitive decline affects a person’s ability to focus, remember, and make decisions.

Its severity can range from mild to severe, and it may lead to dementia, in the most severe cases.

People with dementia may find it difficult to perform everyday tasks and live independently.

Full story at Medical News Today