Today’s Top Alzheimer’s News
A March 6, 2017 El Nuevo Día article (in Spanish) highlighted the Amaranth study focused on early onset Alzheimer’s. According to the article, the study will enroll participants in Puerto Rico, given the high impact of Alzheimer’s on Latinos. It cites the UsAgainstAlzheimer’s report, “Latinos & Alzheimer’s: New Numbers Behind the Crisis,” which finds the number of Latinos living with dementia could increase 832% by 2060.
A March 5, 2017 U.S. News article reported on how to cope with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Gene Yates, a caregiver for her husband with AD, advises other caregivers to carve out "me time." The Alzheimer's Association emphasizes that early detection can mean better access to medical care and more time to plan. Community educator, Devin Cash, holds free workshops on detecting AD symptoms — differentiating them from typical aging — in parents, grandparents and spouses. He said it's typically families who recognize the symptoms.
A March 3, 2017 Washington Post opinion piece by Jennifer Palmieri tells the story of the writer’s sister, Dana Drago, who passed away last month from early-onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 58. Jennifer said the purpose the article is not to give Alzheimer’s families hope, but rather to offer some peace. Jennifer writes of the hidden benefit in her sister’s diagnosis, “It strips away your notions of how life is supposed to be and forces you to reassess what it means for a moment, a day, a life to have value.” And further, that Dana's illness, “…Brought our family together in ways we never would have enjoyed had she not been ill, and in ways we could not have enjoyed if she was in endless treatments. That was a blessing.” She writes of the hidden grace in Dana’s time in hospice, “Of all the moments in my life I had with my big sister, the ones with the most value, the most intimacy, the most joy, were the ones I spent simply holding her hand in her hospice room.”
A February 28, 2017 People segment told the story of the Andrews family, whose two young daughters both have a rare genetic disorder, Niemann-Pick disease type C1, sometimes referred to as “childhood Alzheimer’s.” Both children enrolled in a clinical trial which treats symptoms of the disease, including losing the ability to think, hear, walk, talk and eat on their own. They also started the Firefly Fund, to find a cure for this and other rare, neurodegenerative diseases affecting children. Watch the full episode.
A March 6, 2017 Telegraph article reported on the state of Alzheimer’s research in the wake of the recent late-stage trial defeats, asking the tough questions, ‘do these public failures mean that scientists have been looking in the wrong place all along?’ ‘Are we at crisis point for research into Alzheimer’s?’ “Researchers have had too simplistic an approach to dementia. What is emerging is that these brain diseases are highly complex, with many processes, not just one. We need to make our research more nuanced,” according to Bart De Strooper, Director, Dementia Research Institute, University College London. The new thought is that drug intervention has to begin much earlier, long before symptoms start to show. According to Dr. Emer McSweeney (CEO & Medical Director, Re:Cognition Health), “There is no reason to believe we are at a crisis. More time, energy and funding is being directed into new drug development for Alzheimer’s than ever before.”
A March 6, 2017 Southeast Missourian article reported on the profound effects of pet and music therapy at the Missouri Veteran’s Home in Cape Girardeau. Although not everyone loves or responds to pets, even the patients who have advanced Alzheimer's disease respond to music, according to Lynn Fitzsimmons, the home’s Assistant Director of Activities. "They may not be able to remember what they had for breakfast or their daughter's name, but they remember the words to a gospel song they sang years ago," she says. "I don't care how far advanced they are, they can recognize music." Music is a big part of the residents’ daily lives, including live bands and karaoke.