Alzheimer’s disease – a form of dementia – is on the rise as our population continues to age. Alzheimer’s disease affects memory and cognitive function, which can make everyday living quite difficult. In 2015, there was ample news surrounding Alzheimer’s disease, especially regarding treatment and risk factors, which can increase the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Below are Bel Marra Health’s top Alzheimer’s disease news-stories that we reported to you over the course of the past year.
Blood Sugar and Alzheimer’s: Your risk of Alzheimer’s goes up if you have this…
Researchers have discovered a link between high blood sugar and Alzheimer’s disease risk.
The research comes from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Researchers tested the memories of 150 adults over the age of 61 who showed no signs of memory impairment. Tests for insulin resistance and brains scans were also conducted.
The findings uncovered that 40 percent of participants had a relative with Alzheimer’s disease, 40 percent had a gene mutation that increased their risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and nearly five percent had type 2 diabetes. Learn More
Alzheimer’s Prevention: Alzheimer’s disease stoppable much earlier by reducing beta amyloid protein
New research suggests that a reduction of beta amyloid protein can help prevent Alzheimer’s.
The trial focuses on treatment to reduce the impact of amyloid proteins. The researchers used positron emission tomography (PET scans) and found that beta-amyloid begins forming in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients one to two decades prior to visible symptoms. Researchers believe it is this accumulation of beta-amyloids that contribute to memory loss. Learn More
Alzheimer’s Diagnosis: Sniff test to help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease
A recent study found that testing a patient’s sense of smell can help diagnose Alzheimer’s.
The research comes from investigators at the Mayo Clinic who looked at 1,430 men and women with an average age of 79. The researchers used standardized sniff tests to assess how accurately participants could identify 12 scents – including six foods, such as banana and cinnamon, and six non-foods, such as petrol, soap and roses. Learn More
Alzheimer’s Research: Understanding Alzheimer’s disease plaques in brain easier with amyloid protein cues
Biologists have discovered new information about amyloid plaques.
MIT biologists found that yeast cells need to build amyloid-like structures during the production of reproductive cells. Lead author, Luke Berchowitz, said, “Amyloids in the brain persist for decades. We just can’t get rid of them, yet yeast cells seem to have a mechanism for getting rid of them in 15 minutes. If we can harness that mechanism, and really understand it, that could lead to anti-amyloid therapeutic opportunities.” Learn More
Alzheimer’s Detection: Chances of early detection of Alzheimer’s disease increased
The newly approved amyloid PET scans can increase the chance of detecting Alzheimer’s.
Methods of detecting Alzheimer’s disease include memory tests, computed tomography and cerebrospinal fluid sample method. Although these methods have shown to be effective, the cerebrospinal fluid sample method is only offered to those in memory clinics, so many individuals who needed it never get the test.
In Sweden a method called amyloid PET scans has recently been approved. It uses a substance which binds to a protein in the brain and is administered to the patient. The brain protein is β-amyloid and is a marker for Alzheimer’s disease. This is then mapped using PET scans. Learn More
Obesity and Alzheimer’s Risk: Midlife obesity increases Alzheimer’s disease risk
New research suggests that midlife obesity increases Alzheimer’s risk.
Midlife obesity has long been seen as a causative factor for increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s. But closer observation shows that being obese at age 50 may affect the age, years later, when Alzheimer’s strikes. Among those who did develop the disease, the speed of the onset of Alzheimer’s was directly proportional to the number of extra midlife pounds – the more pounds, the faster the onset. Learn More
Although there is still much to learn about it, science and medicine continues to explore further into the depths of Alzheimer’s disease, helping us understanding how and why it strikes and how to prevent it. We hope that in 2016 research will bring us closer to a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and help better treat all those who are affected by it.