CDC: Alzheimer’s, Dementia Rate Expected to Double by 2060

THE SHARE OF AMERICANS with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias is expected to more than double by 2060 as people increasingly survive into older adulthood, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An estimated 5 million older adults had Alzheimer’s or a related dementia in 2014, and by 2060 that figure is expected to rise to 13.9 million, or about 3.3 percent of the U.S. population, according to the report, which evaluated health claims data for more than 28 million Medicare beneficiaries.

Alzheimer’s – the fifth-leading cause of death for adults 65 and older and the sixth-leading cause of death for Americans overall – destroys memory and cognitive functioning and poses a greater risk as people age.

Full story at US News

Better heart health may mean lower dementia risk in older people

Older adults with more ideal measures of cardiovascular health were less likely to develop dementia and experience cognitive decline.

This was the main finding of a recent study now published in JAMA that followed 6,626 people aged 65 and over in France for an average of 8.5 years.

It based the cardiovascular health measures on the American Heart Association (AHA) “Simple 7” guide.

The guide recommends: giving up smoking; being physically active; having a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and fish; having a healthy weight; and managing blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.

Full story at Medical News Today

Improving Healthcare for People Living with Dementia

People living with dementia are frequently under-recognized and under-diagnosed by healthcare providers. Consequently, they do not receive the medical care they need, nor are they connected to essential home- and community-based supports. The federal duals demonstration offers opportunities to better blend funding and oversight for Medicare-funded medical care with Medicaid-funded long-term services and supports, so that people with dementia and their families can get better integrated care. This webinar offers tools and strategies to improve dementia healthcare based on approaches that have been developed within this demonstration model but that also have relevance to other healthcare systems.

California’s presentation focuses on how the state and regional Alzheimer’s organizations partnered with participating health plans serving dual eligible participants to improve detection, care planning and community supports for individuals and family caregivers dealing with diagnosed and-or undiagnosed dementia. The presentation also shares resources developed and lessons learned in implementing this initiative. Texas’ presentation focuses on the Texas Takes on Dementia initiative, and how it builds on the California initiative’s principles and adapts these for the State of Texas. Also included is a discussion of key adaptations, challenges and lessons learned.

Full story at acl.gov

Men take care of their spouses just as well as women (new research suggests)

Men respond to their spouse’s illness just as much as women do and as a result are better caregivers in later life than previous research suggests, according to a new Oxford University collaboration.

The study, published in Journals of Gerontology, Series B, is good news for our increasingly stretched adult care services, which have become more reliant on patients’ family and spouses for support. Conducted with peers from the University of Pennsylvania, the research sits in contrast to previous studies on spousal caregiving, which found that female caregivers tend to be more responsive. However, the new results reveal that men are just as responsive to a partner’s illness, as women.

Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study, the research carried out by Dr Langner of Oxford University and Professor Frank Furstenberg of the University of Pennsylvania, focused on 538 couples in Germany with an average age of 69, where one of them had developed the need for spousal care, between 2001-2015, and looked at how caregivers adjusted their hours in response to the new care need: whether directly responding to their physical needs or performing errands and housework.

Full story at Science Daily

Agitation in dementia: Are drugs the best treatment?

A common symptom among people with dementia is agitation, which can affect their and their carers’ well-being. Dementia experts conducted a new study and found the most effective means of addressing agitation.

In a paper that is now published in the journal International Psychogeriatrics, experts from several research institutions — including the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD — express their consensus on the best approaches to manage dementia-related behavioral and psychological symptoms.

More specifically, they speak of how to address states of agitation and psychosis in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Full story at Science Daily

Nine out of 10 people caring for a family member with dementia don’t get enough sleep

More than 90 percent of people caring for a family member with dementia experience poor sleep, according to new research by the University at Buffalo School of Nursing.

The study found that most participants got less than six hours of sleep each night, accompanied by frequent awakenings as often as four times per hour.

These disruptions can lead to chronic sleep deprivation and place caregivers at risk for depression, weight gain, heart disease and premature death, says lead author Yu-Ping Chang, PhD, Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Endowed Professor in the UB School of Nursing.

Full story at Science Daily

Feel lightheaded when standing up? You may have a greater risk of dementia

People who feel faint, dizzy or lightheaded when standing up may be experiencing a sudden drop in blood pressure called orthostatic hypotension. Now a new study says middle-aged people who experience such a drop may have a greater risk of developing dementia or stroke decades later. The study is published in the July 25, 2018, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“Orthostatic hypotension has been linked to heart disease, fainting and falls, so we wanted to conduct a large study to determine if this form of low blood pressure was also linked to problems in the brain, specifically dementia,” said study author Andreea Rawlings, PhD, MS, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Md.

For this study, low blood pressure upon standing was defined as a drop of at least 20 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) in systolic blood pressure, which is the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart beats, or at least 10 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure, the pressure when the heart is at rest. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg.

Full story at Science Daily

How much should seniors exercise to improve brain function?

To boost their reasoning skills and the brain’s processing speed, seniors may need to exercise for 52 hours over a period of 6 months, concludes a new study. The good news is that low-intensity exercise such as walking has the same benefits — as long as it’s carried out for this length of time.

As more and more research keeps pointing out, exercise does wonders for our brain.

For instance, a recent study that Medical News Today reported on shows that running protects our memory from the harmful effects of stress.

Full story at Medical News Today

Breakdown of brain’s visual networks linked to mental illness

Individual regions of the brain have to team up to get things done. And like in any team, the key to working together is communication.

Duke researchers used brain imaging to identify how patterns of brain connectivity — the ability of different brain regions to talk to each other — can affect a person’s likelihood of developing common forms of mental illness.

Surprisingly, they found that brain regions that help process what we see may play a key role in mental health. The results show that a person’s risk of mental illness broadly increases when the visual cortex has trouble communicating with brain networks responsible for focus and introspection.

Full story at Science Daily

An Advance Directive for Patients With Dementia

I had hoped that by now most adults in this country would have completed an advance directive for medical care and assigned someone they trusted to represent their wishes if and when they are unable to speak for themselves. Alas, at last count, barely more than one-third have done so, with the rest of Americans leaving it up to the medical profession and ill-prepared family members to decide when and how to provide life-prolonging treatments.

But even the many who, like me, have done due diligence — completed the appropriate forms, selected a health care agent and expressed their wishes to whoever may have to make medical decisions for them — may not realize that the documents typically do not cover a likely scenario for one of the leading causes of death in this country: dementia. Missing in standard documents, for example, are specific instructions about providing food and drink by hand as opposed to through a tube.

Advanced dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is the sixth leading cause of death overall in the United States. It is the fifth leading cause for people over 65, and the third for those over 85. Yet once the disease approaches its terminal stages, patients are unable to communicate their desires for or against life-prolonging therapies, some of which can actually make their last days more painful and hasten their demise.

Full story at the New York Times