Today’s Top Alzheimer’s News
An August 22, 2017 STAT article focused on an APOE4 meet-up in San Diego of engineers, physicians, financiers and farmers, who all carry a copy or two of the allele of the APOE gene that substantially increases their risk of developing Alzheimer’s. They are sharing information and experimenting on themselves to see what works to stave off AD. Many have changed their diets but it’s difficult to test that theory, according Dr. Rudolph Tanzi of Massachusetts General Hospital. “These trials are expensive. If no money’s to be made with a little white pill, who’s going to fund them?”
An August 21, 2017 Kaiser Health News article spotlighted the story of Nora Harris, diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2009, who signed an advance directive to prevent her life from being prolonged when her disease got worse. Despite this document and her family’s wishes, she’s being kept alive through a court order that mandates assisted eating and drinking. People with dementia are typically encouraged to put their end-of-life wishes into writing, yet this is no guarantee that those requests will be honored.
RESEARCH, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
According to an August 21, 2017 Healio article, use of antidepressants among adults newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease increased their risk of injurious falls leading to head and brain injuries. Risk was highest during the first 30 days of antidepressant use and remained increased over two years of use.
An August 21, 2017 Science Daily article reported that many health apps designed to assist dementia patients and their caregivers do not have adequate security policies to protect private information, according to a McLean Hospital paper, "Data Security and Privacy in Apps for Dementia: An Analysis of Existing Privacy Policies.” The research "also points to a role for professional organizations and advocacy groups in helping educate mobile health consumers on how to best make decisions about using this technology,” said John B. Torous, MD of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
An August 19, 2017 CBS News article interviewed Dr. Gayatri Devi of New York Memory and Healthy Aging Services about tips for communicating and interacting with people with Alzheimer’s. According to Devi, “I always think of Alzheimer's as an illness of the family and of the community. So it's very much an illness that impacts everyone around the patient, including the patient themselves. The common thinking that, 'Well, treat the person like you treat a child,' totally doesn't apply. They're adults."