Lifestyle change, stress management can reduce Alzheimer’s risk

Change in lifestyle accompanied by proper stress management and indulgence in cognitive activities and socialising can help manage and reduce the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, experts said.

Lifestyle change, stress management can reduce Alzheimer's risk

Though Alzheimer’s is not curable, but lifestyle modifications like engaging in physical activity, eating the right diet and socialising can delay the onset of the disease, they said.

“Alzheimer’s though is not curable as yet, being involved in activities that keep the brain active is the best way to mitigate the risks associated with Alzheimer’s,” said Manjari Tripathi, professor of neurology at AIIMS.

Tripathi was speaking to reporters at a conference on “How to reduce risks of Alzheimer’s and the new innovations in its treatment”, organised by the Delhi chapter of the Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI). ARDSI in collaboration with the Netherlands embassy will Sep 19 host a discussion on Alzheimer’s and also release the World Alzheimer’s Report 2014.

She said physical activity, regular check-ups and abstaining from smoking and drinking were very important for every human to avoid Alzheimer’s. “It is important, as in the initial stages, the patients themselves do not realise that they are suffering from memory loss and very often consider it a minor problem,” she said.

According to scientific estimates published worldwide, a new case of Alzheimer’s arises every four seconds in the world, with the number of people with it set to double every 20 years. The studies also say that by 2040, over 82 million elderly people are expected to have Alzheimer’s if the current numbers hold and no preventive treatment become available.

Renu Vohra, member secretary of ARDSI’s Delhi chapter, said: “A brain-healthy diet is one that reduces the risk of heart disorders and keeps a check on diabetes. The intake of fish oils and folate reduces the dementia risk.” “Miling with friends and family members and having a large social network boost the emotional quotient. Stress clogs the mind and makes it virtually inactive, while the support system provides the healing and keeps one upbeat, at individual one should train the mind to stay calm and positive,” Vohra said.

Source: business standard

Cerebrospinal fluid test may detect Alzheimer’s

Researchers at the University of Texas, in Houston, analysed CSF samples from 50 people with Alzheimer’s disease, 37 people with other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, and 39 people with other brain diseases who had normal memory and thinking abilities. They set out to discover whether small fragments of the protein amyloid, which accumulates into clumps in the brain during Alzheimer’s, were present in the CSF of people with the disease.

Their results showed more of these fragments of protein in the CSF of people with Alzheimer’s compared to those with other diseases. The researchers suggest that more research is needed to explore whether the method could detect the disease at its earliest stages.

Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, said:
“This very small study suggests a potential way to identify people with Alzheimer’s disease, but it’s too early to tell how accurate this method might be or whether it can distinguish people with the disease from healthy people. We need to see further research in much larger groups of people before we can know whether this approach will be successful.

“Diagnosing Alzheimer’s can be difficult, and the ability to give an accurate diagnosis would be a real boost, allowing people access to the right care and existing treatments. The ability to detect Alzheimer’s accurately is also a key goal for research, as it’s important to be able to test potential new treatments in the right people. Investment in research is vital to develop better diagnosis tools and, crucially, for better treatments to be made available to those who desperately need them.”

Source: alzheimers Research


Alzheimer’s disease may kill as many as cancer in US

Deaths from Alzheimer’s disease are under-reported in the United States and the most common form of dementia may be taking as many lives as heart disease or cancer.

Alzheimer’s disease currently ranks sixth among causes of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart disease is first, and cancer second.

But researchers reported in the journal Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, that Alzheimer’s-linked deaths could be six times more common than thought.

“Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are under-reported on death certificates and medical records,” said study author Bryan James of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

“Death certificates often list the immediate cause of death, such as pneumonia, rather than listing dementia as an underlying cause.”

For the study, researchers followed more than 2,500 people aged 65 and older who were tested annually for dementia.

A total of 559 participants developed Alzheimer’s disease during the course of the study, and the average time span from diagnosis to death was four years.

People aged 75 to 84 who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s were also four times more likely to die than those without it.

One third of all deaths among those aged 75 and older were attributable to Alzheimer’s disease, said the study.

According to James, the findings would translate to an estimated 503,400 deaths from Alzheimer’s in the US population over age 75 in 2010.

That figure is six times higher than the 83,494 reported by the CDC based on death certificates.

“Determining the true effects of dementia in this country is important for raising public awareness and identifying research priorities regarding this epidemic,” said James.

Source: Channel news asia


Eating barbecued, fried food linked to Alzheimer’s

A new study has revealed that eating a meat-rich diet, which has been fried, barbecued or grilled, can trigger Alzheimer’s disease and accelerate ageing.

Scientists have discovered that harmful ‘Ages’ compounds in the “Western diet” cause a build-up of a dangerous protein that forms toxic deposits which ravage the brain, the Daily Express reported.

Researchers found that the high levels of these compounds suppress a protective enzyme concerned in conditions related to brain, metabolic disease, ageing and diabetes.

The study has also found that fatty and sugary foods, like cheese, eggs, white bread, pasta and sugary pastries, cakes and biscuits could also play a part in Alzheimer’s by boosting Ages levels.

Dr Simon Ridley, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said that diabetes has previously been linked to an increased risk of dementia, and this new study provides fresh insight into some of the possible molecular processes that may link the two conditions.

Ridley added that eating a balanced diet can help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and following a healthy lifestyle, which includes regular exercise, not smoking, and keeping blood pressure and weight in check can also be helpful.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences.

Source:l Business standard


DDT: Pesticide linked to Alzheimer’s

Exposure to a once widely used pesticide, DDT, may increase the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease, suggest US researchers.

A study, published in JAMA Neurology, showed patients with Alzheimer’s had four times the levels of DDT lingering in the body than healthy people.

Some countries still use the pesticide to control malaria.

Alzheimer’s Research UK said more evidence was needed to prove DDT had a role in dementia.

DDT was a massively successful pesticide, initially used to control malaria at the end of World War Two and then to protect crops in commercial agriculture.

However, there were questions about its impact on human health and wider environmental concerns, particularly for predators.

It was banned in the US in 1972 and in many other countries. But the World Health Organization still recommends using DDT to keep malaria in check.

Not clear
DDT also lingers in the human body where it is broken down into DDE.

The team at Rutgers University and Emory University tested levels of DDE in the blood of 86 people with Alzheimer’s disease and compared the results with 79 healthy people of a similar age and background.

The results showed those with Alzheimer’s had 3.8 times the level of DDE.

However, the picture is not clear-cut. Some healthy people had high levels of DDE while some with Alzheimer’s had low levels. Alzheimer’s also predates the use of DDT.

The researchers believe the chemical is increasing the chance of Alzheimer’s and may be involved in the development of amyloid plaques in the brain, a hallmark of the disease, which contribute to the death of brain cells.

Prof Allan Levey, the director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centre at Emory, said: “This is one of the first studies identifying a strong environmental risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.

“The magnitude of the effect is strikingly large, it is comparable in size to the most common genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s.”

Fellow researcher Dr Jason Richardson added: “We are still being exposed to these chemicals in the United States, both because we get food products from other countries and because DDE persists in the environment for a long time,” .

Dr Simon Ridley, the head of research at the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “It’s important to note that this research relates to DDT, a pesticide that has not been used in the UK since the 1980s.

“While this small study suggests a possible connection between DDT exposure and Alzheimer’s, we don’t know whether other factors may account for these results.

“Much more research would be needed to confirm whether this particular pesticide may contribute to the disease.”

Source; BBC news

Monthly injection to prevent Alzheimer’s in five years

Scientists are hopeful of a breakthrough in dementia within five years – with drugs that could be given to prevent disease

Scientists are hopeful of a breakthrough in dementia within five years – with drugs that could be given preventively to delay the onset of disease.

Researchers say a new drug has shown some promise in patients with mild dementia, and might be yet more effective if given to those at risk of disease long before they show any symptoms.

Dr Eric Karran, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said scientists were “full of hope” that a breakthrough in drug therapy to prevent dementia could come within five years.

If further trials on the drug succeed, it could mean that those with a family history of dementia are given monthly injections of the drug a decade before any signs of disease show – in the same way that millions of people now take statins to ward off heart disease, he said.
Speaking ahead of a G8 summit next week on dementia, Dr Karran said trials have suggested that a drug called solanezumab may delay the onset of disease, halting problems with brain function and behaviour in those with mild dementia.

The studies originally tested the drug on patients with mild to moderate dementia, where the treatement did not achieve effective results.
But when analysis examined the impact of the drug only on those with mild dementia, researchers found it had an effect both on their daily behaviour and the functioning of their brain and memory.
Now researchers in the US are recruiting to a new study which will examine the impact only on patients with mild dementia.

If the trials prove that the drugs work, it would be “logical” to prescribe them to patients preventively, Dr Karran said, given that changes in the brain associated with dementia occur as far as a decade before symptoms are shown.
Dr Karran said the promise from the drug, and from two other treatments now undergoing trials, left him optimistic that a breakthrough is on the horizon, despite years of disappointment in the field of dementia research.

He said: “I am full of hope that we are going to have a breakthrough in five years.”
If trials on sufferers with mild dementia succeed, “there is a logic” to use the drug therapies at least a decade earlier, to prevent the onset of dementia, he said, in the same way that statins have been widely prescribed for those at risk of heart attacks and strokes.

“That’s exactly the path that blood pressure-lowering agents have taken – people taking them before they have a stroke,” he said. “It’s the path that’s been taken with statins which first showed efficacy against the disease and then you go earlier. That has to be the pathway we take. There is very very good human genetic data which shows that if you can effect this amyloid early on – and only modestly – you have the potential to dealy the onset of that disease very significantly indeed.”

Currently, the only drugs used for dementia can mask symptoms, but do not delay the onset of disease.
Brain scans have found that changes in the brains of patients with diseases such as Alzheimer’s can occur a decade before you have symptoms.

Providing people with anti-body drugs five or 10 years before the condition would otherwise develop could have a “drastic impact” on prevalence of disease, he said.
Dr Doug Brown, director of research and development for the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “If we can delay the onset by five years we could probably cut the numbers with dementia in yhalf – and recent research evidence suggests this could be a possibility.”

Prof Nick Fox, from the Institute of Neurology, at University College London, said that preventing disease before symptoms were present offered the best “window of opportuntity” to halt the impact of disease.

He said: “Let’s just hope that we can slow the devastation at the stage when there is much to save … rather then when we are bed bound or mute – because that is the end result of these dreadful diseases.”
Next week science and health ministers from G8 countries will meet in London for the first ever G8 dementia summit.

Charities called on them to draw up a shared global plan to tackle dementia, and invest heavily in research, which currently receives a fraction of the funds devoted to cancer in this country.
David Cameron has said he will use the UK’s presidency of the G8 to lead coordinated international action.

Source: Telegraph