March 12, 2019

Today's Top Alzheimer's News

A roundup of key Alzheimer's and related developments powered by UsAgainstAlzheimer's.




A March 12, 2019 CBS This Morning broadcast segment looked at evolving ideas about love and relationships relating to Alzheimer’s disease. It referenced the latest A-LIST survey (an UsAgainstAlzheimer’s initiative) about this very issue. Correspondent Barry Petersen, relying on his own personal experience, sat down with UsA2 advocate Greg O’Brien, who has AD, and his wife Mary Catherine, and AD advocate Dan Gasby and his girlfriend, Alex Lerner. Gasby and Lerner made news recently for their relationship, as Gasby is still married to lifestyle maven B. Smith, who has Alzheimer’s. Petersen asked O’Brien, “What do you want for Mary Catherine in the future?” O’Brien replied, “I want her to be happy. I want her to marry a better person than me. And I want her to be at peace.” “What you said, Greg, is what my wife said to me. ‘I want you to go on.’ Because if you truly love someone, you don’t own them. And what you said is the true, to me, expression of love,” said Gasby.


A March 11, 2019 ABC 11 Eyewitness News article referenced a new study which finds that loss of blood vessels in the retina could signal Alzheimer's disease. Microscopic blood vessels in the back of the eye appear less dense in people who have AD. “It's possible that these changes in blood vessel density in the retina could mirror what's going on in the tiny blood vessels in the brain, perhaps before we are able to detect any changes in cognition,” said Dr. Sharon Fekrat of Duke Eye Center. Also covered by Science DailyCBS News, and others.


According to a March 11, 2019 Fierce Biotech article, researchers at IBM in Australia developed a blood test to try and predict future development of Alzheimer’s disease in non-symptomatic people. Utilizing machine learning and data from ADNI (Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative), they developed a test that could predict the buildup of amyloid-beta in spinal fluid, a major hallmark of AD, with up to 77% accuracy. According to the researchers, “While all models making use of blood analytes outperformed the base model of age and APOEε4, models that made use of the protein level measurements consistently achieved the strongest predictive performance.” Also covered by ZD NET.


A March 11, 2019 Healio article looked at a new study which finds that older Korean adults with ‘metabolically healthy obesity’ are less likely to develop dementia compared to other metabolic phenotypes. The risk for overall dementia and Alzheimer’s disease was decreased by 13% to 15%, but not for vascular dementia. According to the researchers, “By exerting neurotrophic activities in the hippocampus, it is associated with better cognitive performance, and decreased serum IGF-I level turned out to be an independent risk factor for [Alzheimer’s disease] and [vascular dementia].”


A March 11, 2019 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article spotlighted the Agreeing to Remember workshops, bringing together knowledge from improv and elder care, to teach new conversational skills to people caring for loved ones with dementia. “You can use the same communication techniques [as in improv] with a person living with dementia, to embrace their reality, to live in their world instead of arguing and telling them they’re wrong. Everything we teach a new improviser is stuff we can teach caregivers,” said co-founder Rachael Wonderlin.


A March 11, 2019 RFI Spotlight on Africa podcast looked at the reaction to people with dementia in Nigeria. They are sometimes accused of witchcraft instead of acknowledging the dementia. Chief Kikelomo Laniyonu Edwards is one advocate working to try and change this by campaigning and educating the public. According to the article, ““When I first got here, there was quite a lot of noise about oh, ‘they're witches, they're mad people’ and people don't marry into [a] family that has madness or witchcraft in their families. So everybody is hiding the person with dementia.” …A search online locates videos of elderly people being harassed (or worse) for being thought of as a witch, or possessed by a spirit."