Today's Top Alzheimer's News
A January 11, 2017 FoxBusiness interview with Merck CEO, Ken Frazier, highlighted the increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease as people live longer. “At 85 you have a one in three chance of getting Alzheimer’s or that form of dementia, so this is an incredible tsunami that’s hitting our society given the fact that people are living longer.”
A January 10, 2017 Michigan Radio interview with Dr. Ken Langa, associate director of the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Michigan, reports that dementia rates are going down, according to his research program tracking 20,000 older adults since the early 1990's. Says Dr. Langa, "higher levels of education and better treatment of diseases that lead to dementia could have a lot to do with it" and that "this correlation may indicate that the more the brain exercises, the healthier it stays."
RESEARCH, SCIENCE, AND TECHNOLOGY
A January 10, 2017 Ventures Africa article reported on the development of a new technology in Japan, a "tagging system," to help identify Alzheimer's patients who may wander away from home and become lost. "A 1cm (0.4in) square waterproof sticker containing personal information [is attached] to their fingers and toes. Personal information like address, telephone number, and unique identity number for each user will be encrypted in this tiny sticker for the police to scan in case they go missing so as to help track down their relatives." The service is free in Japan where incidents of Alzheimer's are particularly high.
A January 6, 2017 Atlantic article reported on current research indicating why humans may still carry the apoliprotein E gene, or ApoE, in particular the E4 form, which greatly increases the likelihood of developing Alzheimer's. Carrying even one copy of this gene increase the risk by three-fold, over those with none. According to the article, "Despite all these drawbacks, the ApoE4 variant is surprisingly common. A quarter of white Americans carry a single copy, as do more than a third of African Americans. In other parts of the world, especially in the tropics and in northern Europe, the variant is even more common." The big question Ben Trumble, from Arizona State University, is asking is why natural selection hasn't weeded out this gene long ago. By studying the Tsimane, indigenous people from the Bolivian Amazon, Tremble has discovered that those with heavy parasite burdens are actually protected against mental decline in old age by ApoE4.