Posts Tagged ‘Research’

Fact or Fiction

Fact or Fiction

By: Michelle Remold

There are often stories on the news or on-line about things you can do to prevent a wide array of diseases. It often seems that soon after we hear about the things we can do to ward off the different diseases, there is another story discounting the first one.

I used to get really excited when I heard news stories about what was thought to be a new way to prevent Alzheimer’s. After hearing follow-up stories that either discounted the earlier stories or stated that more research would need to be done, I started to become more critical about and really think about what I was reading or hearing.

While preparing to write this blog, I did a little research to see if I could find some commonalities among what is out now on methods to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia. Eating well and exercising seem to be popular prevention techniques along with coconut oil and fish oil. Exercise and eating well make sense to me, as they can help with preventing many other diseases as well. I am a little more skeptical on how much fish and coconut oils work to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia.

I am not saying that none of the things that are said to prevent Alzheimer’s or dementia don’t prevent it, but that it is important to look more into what research a person is reading or hearing about. There are many stories and articles that are not credible and can give false hope to people fighting diseases. Thinking about the credibility in what one hears or reads is very important. It is important to learn as much as possible when it comes to looking at things to help prevent any disease and to make sure that they are healthy for you to try.

??????????????????????????????? Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology: Social Sciences and a minor in Family Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Aging Studies and Nursing Home Administration from Minnesota State University Mankato.

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By Kevin Woo

Dr. Michael Devous believes that one day there will be a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

“I think we’re going to cure Alzheimer’s disease, and we’re not far away from it,” says Devous during an interview with the Dallas Morning News. Devous is a professor and director at the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

“Ten years ago I didn’t think so, but we’ve made tremendous progress,” he says. “We haven’t done it. We haven’t cured anyone from this disease yet, but I’m hopeful that the trials we’ve started will change the course of this disease in a positive way. There’s a mild cognitive impairment which precedes dementia. We are having clinical trials to see if removing plaque will keep (patients) from getting worse and maybe even allow them to get better.”

Researchers say that maintaining a healthy lifestyle; getting genetically tested if you’re at high risk for the disease; and removal of amyloid plaque all hold the key to finding a cure.

The study of plaque is key to Devous’ on-going research.

What also makes the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center unique is that it pools research efforts from other Texas institutions such as the Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortium, UTSW in Dallas, the University of North Texas Health Science Center, and it takes part in collaborative work with UTD Center for BrainHealth and Center for Vital Longevity and the Cooper Clinic in Dallas.

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By Kevin Woo, Special to Alzheimer’s Speaks | December 5, 2012


The United Kingdom’s Telegraph newspaper reported this morning that in early 2013 a small number of Alzheimer’s patients with mild-to-moderate stage symptoms could get access to a drug currently known as MK-8931.

The drug is in clinical trial but if proven effective millions of people world-wide could benefit. The study will involve 1,700 Alzheimer’s patients world-wide.  Half will be given MK-8931 and the other half a placebo.

In early testing the drug has proven to be effective at halting amyloid cascade, the buildup of structures between cells, which causes Alzheimer’s Disease.

Dr. Richard Perry, a consultant neurologist and lecturer at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, told the Telegraph in an interview, “The idea of this drug is to stop the production of abnormal levels of beta amyloid in the brain. It’s about getting in early, so that if less amyloid is produced, less plaques will come together. From what I have seen of the phase one trial results, this drug looks encouraging in terms of reducing the level of abnormal beta-amyloid in spinal fluid.”

Researchers say the results won’t be final until 2016.

The Telegraph story can be read in its entirety here:  http://bit.ly/TESaKk

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First assisted living facility dedicated to Alzheimer’s patients and research to open in 2014

By Kevin Woo, Special to Alzheimer’s Speaks | November 30, 2012

In 2014 the first assisted living facility dedicated to those with Alzheimer’s Disease will open in Nashville, TN.  The facility, Abe’s Garden, will expand from a 120-bed independent and assisted living facility to a “new” Abe’s Garden that will have 48 additional beds for residents who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia.

The expansion will include a new 5,700-square foot research facility that will allow academics, doctors, behavioral scientists, interior designers for the elderly, and gerontologists to conduct on-going research on the Abe’s Garden campus. The dedicated research center will also be the first of its kind in the U.S.  When the research center opens in 2014 the three medical academic partners will be Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Meharry Medical College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Michael Shmerling, the son of Abraham Shmerling for whom Abe’s Garden was named, hopes that the assisted living and academic research facilities will become a model for other such centers around the world.

“In the past, patients who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s have essentially been warehoused,” says Shmerling. “The assisted living facilities don’t have the physical infrastructure or the training to handle those who have various forms of dementia. We are going to change that model with the expansion of Abe’s Garden.”

According to The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. yet there are no residential facilities dedicated to serving its patients. One-in-seven people with Alzheimer’s disease live alone. More than five million people currently have Alzheimer’s disease and someone is diagnosed with the disease every 68 seconds. There are 15 million unpaid caregivers in the U.S. who provide 17 billion hours of assistance each year.

In 2012 it will cost $200 billion to care for the five million people diagnosed with the disease. By 2050 it’s estimated that more than 15 million in the U.S. will have Alzheimer’s disease and the cost for their care will exceed $1.1 trillion.

The gardens

The “garden” at Abe’s Garden will be sub-divided into a series of smaller gardens designed to stimulate difference senses – visual, auditory, and olfactory. Researchers have determined that by stimulating different parts of the brain Alzheimer’s patients have a better quality of life because they participate in something that is familiar and repetitive.

There will be flower gardens to stimulate the sense of smell and sight, and gardens equipped with benches, picnic tables, and things for kids to climb that will encourage family visits and, subsequently, more interaction with the medical staff.

The residents will have their choice of outdoor activities based personal preferences. There will be places to sit and watch others as well as spaces that encourage people take part in physical activity such as gardening or even sitting on swings.

The interior designers of Abe’s Garden will use colors and aromas throughout the facility to serve as memory queues and brain stimulants. For example, various colors will be used to help patients recognize different areas of the building and help them find their way through the facility. Aromas will be used to help manage patients’ emotions. The smell of coffee or chocolate, for example, will be used to trigger the memory of eating and energy, while the smell of almond milk will be used to create a sense of calmness. And, surprisingly, smell of broken crayons will be used as it has been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure.

Hopefully Abe’s Garden will be the beginning of a larger movement, one that will make assisted living facilities more friendly and efficient for those with Alzheimer’s.

What are your experiences and what would it take to encourage more facilities to follow the Abe’s Garden model?

Join the discussion.

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Faces of Dementia

This website is a collection of personal stories and poems submitted by members of the public who have been affected in some way by dementia.

Faces of Dementia was launched by Alzheimer’s New Zealand in recognition of World Alzheimer’s Day 2011, this website tells stories of love, loss and inspiration. Share your story and help to spread awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Together we are not alone.

Click Here to Go to Website

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Here is a Great Article on the National Alzheimer’s Project Act

My friend Stanton Berg has written a wonderful article on his blog regarding the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, in simple easy to under language.  I suggest you read it.    It is a bird’s eye view of the new bill and also pointing out that the fight for proper  funding is not over…this bill does not provide a nickels worth of funding but hopefully the main objectives of the bill to coordinate all government efforts in preventing and treating Alzheimer’s as well as establishing a national strategy will promote the necessary future funding… 

Thank you Stanton for writing the article and being such a wonderful advocate for Alzheimer’s disease!



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