Today's Top Alzheimer's News

Alzheimer's death toll six times higher than thought, the need for a more innovative FDA, and how music transforms the lives of dementia sufferers (read more). 

Must reads

  • A March 5, 2014 Reuters article reported that "Nearly half a million elderly Americans likely died from Alzheimer's disease in 2010, a figure almost six times higher than previous estimates of annual deaths." According to the article, "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that approximately 5 million people are living with Alzheimer's disease in the United States, and that 83,000 die from the condition each year…Current national estimates are based on death certificates, which tend to underestimate deaths from dementia, he and his colleagues write in the journal Neurology." Also covered by BloombergUSA Today, and CNN among others. [USAgainstAlzheimer's statement on the study here
  • A March 5, 2014 Forbes opinion piece by Tomas Philipson and Andrew von Eschenbach called for a more innovative FDA. According to the authors, "As promising as these collaborations are, they will not reach their full potential unless policymakers push the FDA to embrace new tools for drug development—such as smaller, faster adaptive clinical trials, the substitution of post-market surveillance for long and expensive trials, and rapid development of new biomarkers desperately needed for diseases such as Alzheimer’s. These changes of a speedier FDA will ultimately raise the price to academic centers selling their discoveries to developers going through the FDA process." Tomas J. Philipson is the Daniel Levin Chair of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago and Andrew von Eschenbach, president of Samaritan Health Initiatives, was previously commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and Director of the National Cancer Institute.

The arts 

  • A March 5, 2014 ABC News article highlighted a program called Music & Memory that uses iPods to transform the lives of dementia and Alzheimer's sufferers. According to the article, "Dan Cohen, a social worker in New York, came up with the idea in 2006 to take unused iPods and make them available to those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. He started by creating playlists for residents at a local nursing home. In 2010, Music & Memory was created and iPod donations by the thousands poured into Cohen’s organization…The customized playlists somehow link senior citizens with their pasts. Researchers think the music touches so many areas of the brain, making connections, that it may have the power to awaken memories and feelings that would otherwise be lost."
  • A March 5, 2014 The New York Times article reported on a new musical about caregiving called "My Mother Has 4 Noses." According to the article, "But off I went to the Duke Theater on 42nd Street for a performance both funny and wrenching, one I suspect would resonate with caregivers everywhere. I met Ms. Brooke later for a conversation about her mother and the events described on stage. Lanky in the jeans and flannel shirt she wears during performances, her long hair tied loosely back, she could have been any of us with little time for glamour. Among the more than 15 million Americans providing unpaid care for family and friends with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, at least three – Ms. Brooke, 50; her manager/director/husband, Patrick Rains, 64; and his sister, Julie, 60, underemployed and “couch surfing” – managed to find endless humor in a family crisis that unfolded from 2010 to 2012, as Ms. Brooke’s mother descended deeper into Alzheimer’s." 

 

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