Alzheimer's disease continues to impact us, with the most recent discussions around Super Bowl this week where the Denver Bronco's team owner will not be attending the game due to his battle with Alzheimer's disease. We still do not know how to cure Alzheimer's disease and the only way to get closer to both a prevention and cure for this disease is to study the brains and behaviors of those who both do and do not have the disease. The financial impact of caring for seniors with Alzheimer's disease already is in the billions of dollars, as both our public tax dollars, through Medicare and Medicaid, and private funds go towards caring for these seniors.
You can assist in finding a cure for this disease by spreading the word about the A4 study, funded by the National Institute on Aging, Eli Lilly and Company and several philanthropic organizations. The University of Southern California Alzheimer's Therapeutic Research Institute is coordinating the A4 study and seeking participants who are NOT DIAGNOSED with Alzheimer's disease yet.
Senior caregivers and seniors can learn more about this study and join or refer a friend to join the study. Visit the website to learn more and find a location near you and just send an email to the contact to begin the application process. The eligibility requirements for this clinical trial for Alzheimer's disease are below.
- Age 65 to 85 years old
- Healthy (Normal) Thinking Ability and Memory
- Study Partner with Minimum Weekly Contact with You to Answer Questions Annually
- Willing to Receive IV Infusions of Treatment or Placebo for 36 Months (36 Monthly Infusions)
- Agree to Have Health Monitored During Study
- Health monitoring includes memory and thinking tests, ECG's, PET scans, MRI scans, blood and urine tests
- Already Receiving Treatment for Alzheimer's disease
- Current Diagnosis with Serious or Unstable Illness
- Reside in a Skilled Nursing Facility of Nursing Home
Caregivers assisting seniors with memory loss can take an online caregiver training course to learn more about positive ways to manage caregiving for memory loss diseases and learn about the various types of memory loss diseases.
Brain health may soon be proved to be the most important component of healthy living and aging, as our brains connect to all the other functions in our bodies. The human operating system is turning out to be greatly impacted by our state of mind. Researchers now say our brains are the most important organ, creating memories, driving emotions and controlling every movement in our bodies. Now you can be proactive about managing your brain health with an online brain check-up tool.
One of our favorite authors, Deepak Chopra, and his pal Dr. Rudi Tanzi, also have a new book coming out called "Super Genes, Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being", as a follow-up to their book "Super Brain" and you can pre-order it. This book discusses how 95% of disease-related gene mutations are fully deterministic and influenced by diet, behavior and other environmental conditions.
Cleveland Clinic's Six Pillars of Brain Health can help us preserve our memory and lower our risk for brain disease. The recent suicide of actor Robin Williams, who was suffering from Lewy Body dementia, we now know, reminds us how vital it is to be able to properly diagnose our health issues. However, some types of dementia are difficult to diagnose in the early stages. Especially when there is an early onset of Alzheimer's disease, it can be mistaken for schizophrenia, drug abuse and all kinds of ailments that add even more stress to the situation.
Keep Memory Alive is a non-profit organization created to increase awareness and raise funds for the research, management and treatment of brain disorders (they are located in Las Vegas and receive sponsorship money from Caesar's - it's good to know there are gambling dollars going towards something positive). The Cleveland Clinic's Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is supported by Keep Memory Alive and treats patients with:
- Alzheimer's Disease
- Huntington's Disease
- Parkinson's Disease
- Fronto-temporal Dementia
- Multiple Sclerosis
The Healthy Brains free brain check-up will help you manage your brain health and to be "mindful" of how to best care for your brain. When you take the Cleveland Clinic's free online brain check-up, you can also join their healthy brains research registry which also connects you to a community of people who are willing to participate in clinical research as we work to better understand how to treat illnesses impacting the brain. 6 Pillars for Brain Health
- Physical Exercise
- Mental Fitness
- Food & Nutrition
- Sleep & Relaxation
- Social Interaction
- Medical Health
Clinical trials are necessary to study better ways to treat memory loss. Right now, more than 70,000 volunteer participants are needed for more than 150,000 Alzheimer's Disease and dementia clinical trials. Participants are needed who are both healthy as well as those who already have a diagnosis of memory loss. Find clinical trial openings at Cleveland Clinic. Plan ahead for senior care needs or those of a loved one by learning about what Medicare and Medicaid cover and available care options near you.
Tripping the elderly on purpose would seem to be a cruel joke. Falls among seniors (those 65 or older) are the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma. They are also the leading cause of injury death. So who could possibly think that tripping older adults is a good idea?
Researchers at the University of Illinois in Chicago have developed a lab-built treadmill system that trips its subjects unexpectedly. After striding several paces, a sliding section of the treadmill walkway suddenly moves, causing the test subject to stumble.
Leading the research is physical therapy professor, Clive Pai. He calls the method a potential "vaccine against falls." He’s seen elderly subjects fall a few times on the treadmill (saved from actual injury by a harness), and then, after several “trips”, they subconsciously learn how to keep themselves upright.
Sensors attached to various points on the experiment participants track and analyze the muscle groups involved in catching oneself before one falls. The idea is to then concentrate on strengthening and improving the range of motion of those muscles. In theory, this will help prevent the injuries incurred when an elderly person falls to the floor.
"This is all implicit learning. We don't give any instruction. They don't have to be motivated — they're naturally motivated because they don't want to be on the floor," Prof. Pai said.
The National Institute on Aging is providing the five-year, $1 million grant to study and develop the treadmill system. There are plans to enroll 300 participants within the next five years. Researchers then hope to bring the treadmills to the public via doctor’s offices and physical therapy centers.
This photo taken on July 28, 2014, shows a UIC physical therapy assistant professor Tanvi Bhatt, left, with research subject Mary Kaye, 81 as they demonstrate a treadmill balance session. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
Until this research proves effective in preventing falls and the treadmills are widely available, consider these 6 tips to prevent falls from the Mayo Clinic:
- Consult a doctor to check eye and ear health and review medications.
- Exercise to improve strength, coordination, balance and flexibility.
- Wear sensible shoes or none at all. No high heels, slippers, thick-soled shoes. Stocking feet, especially on hardwood floors, can also be hazardous.
- Keep walkways clear of clutter. Use non-slip mats in showers. Secure rugs with double-stick tape. Keep household items like dishes, food and clothing within easy reach. Use plenty of lamps with bright bulbs.
- Turn on lights when going up and down stairs.
- Hand rails, grab bars, raised toilet seats can be of great assistance in the bathroom. Place a plastic seat in the shower along with a hand-held shower nozzle.
Senior caregivers need to know how to maintain a clean, safe, and healthy environment. Caregiverlist Basic Training, powered by Caregiver Training University, provides a training module to help prevent accidents and injuries in the home.
Memory loss actually may be first noticed by the person with the condition - meaning the person who is losing their memory realizes they are forgetting things and that something has changed even before anyone else does. But as this is a confusing process, most people find it difficult to identify exactly what is happening. This is why it usually is not until memory loss has escalated that it truly is identified. Many seniors have needed senior caregivers for ten or more years as their memory loss has progressed.
The Alzheimer's Association conference in Boston this week presented studies which show that some types of cognitive concerns were more likely to have Alzheimer's pathology in the brain although dementia would only fully develop later. People with more concerns about memory and organizing ability were more likely to have amyloid, a key Alzheimer's-related protein, in their brains.
As millions of dollars are poured into Alzheimer's research, in order to prepare for caring for what will become 5 million seniors with the disease, it still is not known exactly how the amyloid protein escalates in some individuals and causes the "tangles" that seem to be present when Alzheimer's disease is present.
Dr. Rebecca Amariglio, a neuropsychologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, presented the research which shows there are people who have their own sense that their memory and thinking skills are slipping. This is being called the "subjective cognitive decline".
Mayo Clinic's Alzheimer's center presented a similar preliminary study result. However, the problem remains that even early testing for amyloid in the brain does not necessarily help as we still do not know exactly who will have this condition escalate into Alzheimer's disease and why.
Perhaps as technology advances, all the research along with the caregiving for seniors with memory loss can collide to help move us closer to identifying a cure for this disease. The federal government's National Alzheimer's Project is a step in this direction.