Today's Top Alzheimer's News

Dementia and the LGBT community, Alzheimer's funding gets short shrift, MIT researchers reverse Alzheimer's in mice, and the latest research on Alzheimer's impact on women (read more).  

Must reads

  • An April 15, 2014 Philly.com article highlighted the unique challenges the LGBT community faces with dementia. According to the article, "Dementia is terrible for everyone, but elderly people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) face extra problems, says Ed Bomba, communications chair for the LGBT Elder Initiative in Philadelphia.Many have spent much of their lives in the closet and fear discrimination by medical or social service providers or even the people they might live with in nursing homes."
  • An April 14, 2014 Baltimore Sun opinion piece by Susan Peschin outlined how Alzheimer's gets "short shrift" when it comes to research funding. According to Peschin, "Every time our nation has an opportunity to do something positive in the fight against Alzheimer's disease, we come up short…Alzheimer's disease can seem utterly hopeless. So when government agencies give the public a lukewarm response to this massive problem, it is hard to take. While the last few years of increased federal funding for Alzheimer's research have been an improvement, we are still just spitting on a fire. Ultimately, it will take a willingness to make hard choices to effectively counter this growing epidemic.You know what else is getting old? We are. Let's hope we do something meaningful before it's too late." Susan Peschin is president and CEO of the Alliance for Aging Research in Washington, D.C.

Research and science 

  • An April 14, 2014 MIT News article reported that university researchers have found that limiting a certain protein in the brain reverses Alzheimer's symptoms in mice. According to the article, "Researchers found that the overproduction of the protein known as p25 may be the culprit behind the sticky protein-fragment clusters that build up in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. The work, which was published in the April 10 issue of Cell, could provide a new drug target for the treatment of the disease that affects more than five million Americans, says Li-Huei Tsai, director of MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory and senior author of the paper."
  • An April 14, 2014 NPR article and audio segment reported that "A gene associated with Alzheimer's disease appears especially dangerous to women and may be one reason that more women than men are diagnosed with the disease."

Caregiving 

  • An April 14, 2014 Washington Post article profiled the how one geriatric psychiatrist discovered firsthand how the health-care system helped — and failed — his mother-in-law with dementia. According to the article, "Legislation pending in Congress would help make the services we sought, such as care planning, more readily available and focused on the time of initial diagnosis. This is an important first step, and similar services for family caregivers are needed when dementia patients are hospitalized or begin residential long-term care. A major barrier to improvements in dementia care, including help for caregivers, is a limited workforce. It is expected that in 2030 there will be only one geriatric psychiatrist for every 6,000 older adults with a mental health or substance abuse issue."
  • An April 10, 2014 Health Affairs blog post outlined tips for advanced care planning for Alzheimer's. According to the article, "The thoughtful researchers of this piece repeatedly suggest the importance of advance care planning in curtailing the possibility of burdensome treatment. I think we are at a tipping point in recognizing that. I’m not surprised that doctors peg the conversation to the moment of “diagnosis.” It’s the moment they arrive on the scene."

 

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