Today's Top Alzheimer's News
A July 10, 2019 Houston Chronicle article highlighted the growing trend of Hispanic millennials (aged 18 to 34) thrust into the role of family caregiver to a loved one. 38% of Hispanic family caregivers are millennials, compared to 34% African-American, and 17% white. According to the article, “There are many reasons why more young Hispanics are becoming caregivers, says Jason Resendez, executive director of the Latinos Against Alzheimer’s Coalition. Latinos are making up a larger share of the 65 and older age group, and Latino families are more likely to live in intergenerational households, compared to non-Hispanic whites, he says.”
A July 14, 2019 BioSpace article focused on lifestyle interventions and Alzheimer’s disease risk, a hot topic at the annual AAIC (Alzheimer’s Association International Conference) event happening in Los Angeles. Research shows that people with a high genetic risk of AD, combined with an “unfavorable lifestyle” (drinking, smoking, not exercising, unhealthy diet), are almost three times more likely to develop dementia than those with a low genetic risk and “favorable” lifestyle. According to Elzbieta Kuzma of the University of Exeter Medical School, “Genetic risk and lifestyle factors were independently associated with risk of dementia, meaning that living a healthy lifestyle was associated with a reduced dementia risk, regardless of genetic risk.” Also covered by NBC News, STAT News, and others.
A July 14, 2019 MedPage Today article looked at a new study presented at the AAIC conference by researchers from Tianjin Medical University in China, about lifetime cognitive reserve (“compensatory mechanism to explain why some people maintain better cognitive function with age-related brain changes or disease-related pathologies”). People with the highest cognitive reserve had a 39% lower risk of dementia than those with the lowest, even with Alzheimer's or vascular pathology. “Our findings suggest that accumulative educational and mentally-stimulating activities enhancing cognitive reserve might be a feasible strategy to prevent dementia, even in people with high Alzheimer's disease or vascular pathologies,” said study co-author Hui Wu.
A July 14, 2019 Gay Star News article spotlighted new research showing that LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) Americans are more likely to report early signs of dementia than their cisgender and straight counterparts (one in seven vs. one in 10). Jason Flatt, who presented the findings at AAIC, surmises the heightened cognitive decline may be linked to mental health. According to the article, “Separate research presented at the conference highlighted the different type of care LGBTI people with dementia needed. LGBTI people are more likely to live alone, not be partnered, and have no children. Experience of discrimination prevents some LGBTI people from accessing healthcare.”
RESEARCH AND SCIENCE
A July 8, 2019 Web MD article reported that a major new study suggests that hormone therapy drugs used in androgen-deprivation therapy, for the treatment of prostate cancer, may be linked to higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. A team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine found that 22% of patients who received the therapy got a dementia diagnosis, compared to 16% who didn’t. “…To our knowledge, this is one of the largest studies to date examining this association, and it followed patients for an average of eight years after their prostate cancer diagnosis,” said study author Ravishankar Jayadevappa.