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New Research and a Date to Remember for Alzheimer's


August 2013


Laterlife Learns Of More Progress In Alzheimer’s Diagnosis, Plus A Way You Can Help...... Don’t Forget The Date Of Memory Walk!

Professor Christos Davatzikosis PhD, at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in America, explains to Laterlife how new research is showing a better way to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s. Then see how you can help with the 2013 Memory Walk!

AlzheimersDeveloping Alzheimer’s disease has been reported as one of the main health fears among the over 60s in the UK.  It is the most common form of dementia and causes problems with memory, thinking and behaviour that progresses over time.  It is not a rare disease; at the moment it is estimated that around 800,000 people are currently suffering from dementia in the UK and in America, Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death.

But despite the figures, Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging and it is not totally a disease of old age. Early onset Alzheimer’s can often appear when someone is in their 40s.

But whenever you get the disease, at the moment there is no cure. It is a progressive disease that worsens over time. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but as the disease develops people lose the ability to carry on a conversation or respond to the world around them.

There is a lot of work worldwide now to find better ways to treat the disease, to delay its onset, and to prevent it from developing.

A new study published by the Penn Medicine’s Department of Radiology reports that the route of clumps of abnormal proteins in the brain could be used in the early detection of cognitive decline.

The study was put together by Dr. Davatzikos together with his Penn colleagues in collaboration with a team lead by Susan M Resnick, PhD of the National Institutute of Aging.

“It has been recognised that amyloid plaque build up in the brain plays a role in cognitive decline,” said Dr Davatzikos. “However, this research indicates that rather than the total amount, it is the spatial patterns of plaque progression that appears to have most effect on memory loss.

"Knowing that certain brain abnormality patterns are associated with cognitive performance could have pivotal importance for the early detection and management of Alzheimer's," he told us.

Research is continuing in the UK and across the world and, with this steady increase in knowledge about the disease, there is certainly hope for future generations that the onset of Alzheimer’s may well be able to be significantly delayed.

But of course research requires money - and you can help!

The British Alzheimer’s Society is a membership organisation which works to improve the quality of life of people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Society has joined up with Bupa Care Homes to organise Memory Walk - a series of fundraising walking events taking place across Britain this September. All money raised toes to provide vital support for people living with dementia plus is used to help research into a cure.

There is no registration fee but everyone who joins in is asked to try and raise £50 to help fight dementia. Memory Walk in 2012 raised over £1.4 million, so it would be brilliant if this figure can be exceeded this year.

If you might be interested, more information is on:

http://www.memorywalk.org.uk/





 

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