Today’s Top Alzheimer’s News

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Our upcoming Alzheimer’s Talks teleconference on Friday, March 17, at 2pm (EST) will feature Dr. Gregory Jicha. He will talk about the impact of genetics on Alzheimer’s risk, how this research might help identify key targets for disease modification, and whether a treatment for Alzheimer’s might include personalized medicine based on an individual’s genetics. Dr. Jicha is Professor of Neurology and Robert T. and Nyles Y. McCowan Endowed Chair in Alzheimer’s Disease at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, University of Kentucky Alzheimer’s Disease Center.

A Must Listen California Healthline radio segment features LatinosAgainstAlzheimer's advisor, Dr. William Vega, about the growing impact of Alzheimer's on the Latino community and the importance of clinical trial participation.

MUST READS

A March 10, 2017 STAT article reported on dementia advocates’ fight for basic human rights for people with cognitive impairments. Leading the effort is Dementia Alliance International, a global organization run by and for people with dementia. Their demands boil down to: don’t write us off; include us in conversations about our future, rather than making decisions for us; help us participate in community activities, rather than locking us in institutions; let us weigh in on public policy; give us adequate care; respect our essential humanity. DAI activists want dementia to be seen as a form of neurodiversity: a different, and widely misunderstood, way of experiencing and interacting with the world. “Just because we have a diagnosis of dementia doesn’t mean we’re altogether incapable and lost,” said Mary Radnofsky, who has leukodystrophy, a rare genetic condition that leads to brain damage. “We are people, not patients” and “we object to constantly being referred to as ‘sufferers,’” said Peter Mittler, an 86-year-old British psychologist diagnosed with mild Alzheimer’s in 2006.

A March 9, 2017 Huffington Post article explored the dire economic impact of Alzheimer’s disease if we don’t stop or slow the disease, the potential pay-off for pharmaceutical companies, and the urgent need for increased research funding. It is estimated the federal government spends more than $200 billion a year on care for Alzheimer’s patients, yet only $950 million on research. “If we don’t find a way to stop or slow the disease by the middle of the century, one third of the Medicare budget as it currently exists would go to one disease… Alzheimer’s disease,” said James Hendrix, PhD, director of Global Science Initiatives at the Alzheimer’s Association. “This disease has the potential to actually bankrupt whole health systems in some countries. This is a very expensive disease,” he added. The potential market for an AD therapy would be considerable, however, some experts worry that pharmaceutical companies will stop pursuing drug trials if their efforts continue to fail.

A March 9, 2017 Miami Herald article points to the new Alzheimer’s Association report stating that the growing number of Alzheimer’s patients could bankrupt Medicare, which provides healthcare to more than 55 million Americans. The cost of AD care has already reached $259 billion, and Medicare and Medicaid pay for about two-thirds ($175 billion). These expenses are expected to continue spiraling upward as the population ages. According to the report, "The greatest risk factors for late-onset Alzheimer’s are older age, having a family history of Alzheimer’s, and carrying the APOE-e4 gene. Age is the greatest of these three risk factors, with the vast majority of people with Alzheimer’s dementia being age 65 or older."

DISPARITIES SPOTLIGHT 

A March 6, 2017 American Society on Aging article highlighted dementia and cultural awareness in the American Somali community, focusing on Minnesota, home to the largest Somali refugee population in the country. Many factors complicate dementia diagnosis including low literacy rates, mental health stigma, diet and environmental changes, and the high prevalence of depression and PTSD. These factors, combined with cultural awareness, must be taken into consideration by professionals from aging agencies and healthcare providers, in order to enhance their outreach and service delivery about dementia awareness and screening initiatives for community elders. Now they can rely on a pioneering consulting initiative from the Minnesota Board on Aging, “Cultural Awareness in Dementia Care,” which educates members of cultural communities about dementia, and matches them with agencies that work with elders.

 

EVENTS AND RESOURCES

Join A2A’s (Adversity to Advocacy) Alzheimer’s Messages of Hope campaign. Give hope. Get hope. All in 30 seconds. Share YOUR story with the help of professional journalists. The A2A Alzheimer’s Advocacy Resource Center (ARC) is an outreach project in partnership with The A-List and Leeza’s Care Connection, aiming to help individuals impacted by Alzheimer’s step into Alzheimer’s advocacy.

You’re invited to a special preview screening of sequences from the upcoming public TV science series, THE CROWD & THE CLOUD. Series host, Waleed Abdalati, former NASA Chief Scientist and now Director, CIRES at the University of Colorado, Boulder, will be on hand for Q&A and discussion, along with writer/producer, Geoff Haines-Stiles (COSMOS, Earth: The Operators’ Manual). Wed, March 15, 2017. 6–7:30pm (EST) at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine - 500 5th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20001.

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