March 6, 2019

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


A March 5, 2019 PBS News Hour article referenced a new report from the Alzheimer’s Association released this week which projects that the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s will more than double by 2050, barring treatment breakthroughs. There are several reasons for this spike including growing numbers of older people and the fact that doctors are better at diagnosing and recording AD on death certificates. According to the article, “While older Americans said they trust their doctors will raise the need for a cognitive assessment, doctors said they rely on patients to alert them to changes, according to the survey. [Report contributor Joanne] Pike said that’s a critical juncture where patients and physicians are “missing each other.”"


A March 6, 2019 Alzheimer’s News Today article looked at the “Hispanic mortality paradox,” comparing Hispanics' mortality with other race/ethnicities and finding that Hispanics with Alzheimer’s disease live longer than African-Americans and non-Hispanic whites. A new study, “Ethnoracial differences in Alzheimer’s disease from the FLorida Autopsied Multi-Ethnic (FLAME) cohort,” also found that Hispanic-Americans with AD experience milder cognitive decline than their counterparts. According to lead study author Melissa Murray, PhD of Mayo Clinic, “This study utilized one of the largest series of donated brain tissue to date, looking at demographic and clinicopathologic features of Alzheimer’s disease across an ethnoracially diverse group of cases.”


A March 6, 2019 Today broadcast segment featured Maria Shriver talking about why women have double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as compared to men. She encourages everyone to start thinking about brain health in their 30’s and 40’s. “I try to always stress, women, if we spend as much time thinking about our brain as we did our lips and our thighs, we could work this out, I believe,” said Shriver.


A February 28, 2019 WTRF broadcast segment featured students at Wheeling Catholic Central High School who experienced a virtual dementia tour from Right At Home to understand what it feels like to have Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. Students shared that it was harder than they thought it would be to complete simple, everyday tasks wearing gloves, myopic glasses, sound-distorting headphone and painful shoe inserts to mimic AD or dementia symptoms. According to Right At Home Owner and Operator April Wintermoyer, “The reaction has been very mixed… There are some people who have just been blown away and just cried. Other people that are just kind of, the light bulb has gone on… ‘Oh, that’s what that’s like.’”


A March 4, 2019 People article spotlighted Oscar winner and AD activist Marcia Gay Harden, whose mom passed away from Alzheimer’s disease last year. She spoke about their last Thanksgiving together, “On the first day of our visit, I didn’t even recognize my 81-year-old mother, and it was hard to connect because she wasn’t really present, and didn’t smile or speak in complete sentences. But we all treated her like the beautiful person she was although we had no indication that she would pass away three weeks later.”


A National Institute on Aging post advised on the importance of a healthy diet for people with Alzheimer’s disease, offering tips and practical advice to help ease the process. According to the post, “As Alzheimer’s progresses, familiar routines and food choices may need to be adapted to meet the person’s changing needs. For example, a family custom of serving appetizers before dinner can be preserved, but higher-calorie items might be offered to help maintain the person’s weight.”