Today’s Top Alzheimer’s News
A December 7, 2017 EurekAlert! release reported on findings from a UCLA study which says that by 2060, around 15 million Americans will have either Alzheimer's or mild cognitive impairment. According to Lead Study Author Ron Brookmeyer, “There are about 47 million people in the U.S. today who have some evidence of preclinical Alzheimer's, which means they have either a build-up of protein fragments called beta-amyloid or neurodegeneration of the brain but don't yet have symptoms. Many of them will not progress to Alzheimer's dementia in their lifetimes. We need to have improved methods to identify which persons will progress to clinical symptoms, and develop interventions for them that could slow the progression of the disease, if not stop it all together."
According to a December 6, 2017 Medical Xpress article, Italy launched a pioneering program, "Interceptor,” to identify the 50 percent of Italians with the highest risk of developing Alzheimer’s, in the hopes of treating them early. Italy has the oldest population in Europe. About one million Italians have dementia, and 600,000 have Alzheimer’s.
A December 6, 2017 WBUR Modern Love podcast featured an essay, "A Boyfriend Too Good to Be True,” by Deenie Hartzog-Mislock. Her grandmother has Alzheimer’s disease and was known to make-up stories. According to Hartzog-Mislock, “Of course you'll have days that are completely devastating. And the reality is, there's nothing good about Alzheimer's. But sometimes the humor is the only thing that keeps you moving forward.” Actor Caitriona Balfe read the essay, which reminded her of her own experience with her grandfather who had AD.
RESEARCH, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
A December 6, 2017 Science Daily article looked at the push to consider Alzheimer's a metabolic disease. Researchers found that boosting mitochondria defenses against a particular form of protein stress enables them to protect themselves and reduce the formation of amyloid plaques. According to Johan Auwerx from Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, “So far, Alzheimer's disease has been considered to be mostly the consequence of the accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain. We have shown that restoring mitochondrial health reduces plaque formation -- but, above all, it also improves brain function, which is the ultimate objective of all Alzheimer's researchers and patients."
A December 6, 2017 Financial Times article spotlighted Yuji Ogawa, who helped set up an “Alzheimer’s café” in Fukuoka, Japan, where carers and people with AD and other dementias go for advice and support. Ogawa’s mother has Alzheimer’s and Japan is world’s fastest aging country. Japanese society is rethinking dementia by moving away from medicine and institutional care, toward community care. According to Kumiko Nagata of the Tokyo Centre for Dementia Care, “What we need most of all is a change of values. Even with Alzheimer’s, there are things a person can do. They don’t need to be expelled from society.”