Latest Alzheimer's disease Research Updates

Alzheimer's disease research updates for June 2011

The type of memory loss to pay more attention to are problems with what is called "executive function" or complex tasks that people complete.

A new study from the New York State Psychiatric Institute looked at neurological test results, brain-imaging studies and other data from roughly 820 people, 27% of the subjects had no cognitive problems, the remaining participants suffered from mild cognitive impairment (MCI)or had been diagnosed with the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD).

The study found that people with MCI or AD were more likely to have trouble organizing or knowing what to do with important papers like tax documents, missed important appointments or significant dates and had problems managing their medications.

Everyone experiences memory glitches or gets confused or overwhelmed on occasion. The study is important food for thought because it identifies certain types of activities that are "canaries in the coal mine". What really matters is how often do these types of problems occur, are they interfering with your family member's daily life and do they represent a change from previous abilities.

If you are answering yes to the impact and severity of the changes,they need to be investigated with your doctor.

Alzheimer's disease research updates for April 2011

A recent study conducted by University of Southern California Keck Medical School questions the effectiveness of the drug Memantine (brand name Namenda) when used by patients with early stage Alzheimer's disease. Namenda is approved by the FDA for use by patients suffering from moderate to severe AD. As with all current drug treatments for Alzheimer's disease Namenda does not cure AD but rather changes chemicals in the patient's brain to improve their cognitive abilities.

Some doctors have been prescribing it to early stage patients as well. If your family member has early stage AD and is currently taking Namenda, you should discuss this latest study with the doctor. The doctors involved in the study recommended further testing and studies to determine how and when Namenda is effective.

New genes discovered with a link to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Researchers have doubled the number of genes now associated with late onset AD from five to ten. Late onset AD is considered anyone who is diagnosed after the age of 65.

Importantly these new results are based on information from a large database of over 40,000 patients that makes these Alzheimer's disease research results more statistically sound. The International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project (IGAP)has created the large database and is the result of US and European scientists working together and sharing genetic information.

These findings in and of themselves are not direct links to treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. They do lead the way for understanding the underlying causes of AD that may lead to new treatments.

Alzheimer's disease research updates for Feb 2011

IGAP formed to enhance cooperation between Alzheimer's disease research teams looking at genetic causes for AD.

The International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project (IGAP) is a collaborative effort, between universities in Europe and the United States that conduct research on Alzheimer's disease genetics. The aim is to identify and map genes that contribute to AD.

Alzheimer's disease research updates for January 2011

President Obama signed the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA). NAPA provides for a coordinated national strategy to confront Alzheimer’s disease. AD has been identified as the next national heath crisis. With the Baby Boomer generation entering it’s golden years, the numbers of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is expected to grow dramatically. The bill creates the National Alzheimer’s project within the Department of Health and Human Services, to coordinate the country’s approach to Alzheimer's disease research, treatment and caregiving.

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