By official proclamation from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago will celebrate it’s first-ever “Chicago Alzheimer’s Awareness Day” on Nov. 8th.Read More
As you may be aware, November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month. The Memory Care Coalition of Chicago is proud to join the Alzheimer's Association in promoting an exciting new initiative to raise awareness for Alzheimer's Disease.
Illinois is one of a few states that have passed a law authorizing a specialty #ENDALZ Alzheimer’s Association license plate. However, before the state will begin production, the law requires 1,500 reservations for the license plate be collected.
Currently, the Alzheimer’s Association has collected 1,434 reservations – 66 short of the 1,500 requirement.
What is so special about the Alzheimer’s Association’s #ENDALZ specialty license plate is that $23 of the $25 annual plate renewal fee is sent back to the Association to help fund care and support services for Illinois families affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
In an effort to get the remaining reservations the Alzheimer’s Association has waived the $10 reservation fee.
Will you reserve your plate right now by clicking here?
Illinois is about to become the first state in the country to have an #ENDALZ license plate. But time is running out. The reservations must be collected by the end of this year or the plate will not be issued.
Let’s help the Alzheimer’s Association obtain these reservations and in turn strengthen care and support programs for Illinoisans.
Change your attitude about aging, and you may just change how your brain ages.
Middle-aged people who believed older people were slower, unhappier and less sharp are more likely decades later to exhibit brain changes associated with Alzheimer's disease, according to a first-of-its-kind study to link the disease to a cultural-based psychosocial risk factor. This study was published in the journal "Psychology & Aging."
"We believe it is the stress generated by the negative beliefs about aging that individuals sometimes internalize from society that can result in pathological brain changes," says lead author Becca Levy, associate professor of epidemiology and psychology at the Yale School of Public Health in a university-issued news release. "Although the findings are concerning, it is encouraging to realize that these negative beliefs about aging can be mitigated and positive beliefs about aging can be reinforced, so that the adverse impact is not inevitable."
Researchers reviewed data from 158 healthy people without dementia enrolled in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, the nation's longest-running scientific study of aging. Participants were asked to rate their attitudes about aging in their 40s. About 25 years later, they began a decade of annual MRI brain scans. MRI scans showed people who held negative age stereotypes saw the same amount of decline in three years as the more positive group saw in nine years.
Then researchers used brain autopsies to examine two other indicators of Alzheimer’s disease: amyloid plaques, protein clusters that build up between brain cells; and neurofibrillary tangles, twisted strands of protein that build up within brain cells. Participants holding more negative beliefs about aging had a significantly greater number of plaques and tangles. The age stereotypes were measured an average of 28 years before the plaques and tangles.
Article from Long-Term Living
January 4, 2016
by Nicole Stempak, Associate Editor
There's growing evidence that a lack of sleep can leave the brain vulnerable to Alzheimer's disease.
"Changes in sleep habits may actually be setting the stage" for dementia, says Jeffrey Iliff, a brain scientist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.
The brain appears to clear out toxins linked to Alzheimer's during sleep, Iliff explains. And, at least among research animals that don't get enough solid shut-eye, those toxins can build up and damage the brain.
Iliff and other scientists at OHSU are about to launch a study of people that should clarify the link between sleep problems and Alzheimer's disease in humans.
It has been clear for decades that there is some sort of link. Sleep disorders are very common among people with Alzheimer's disease.
For a long time, researchers thought this was simply because the disease was "taking out the centers of the brain that are responsible for regulating sleep," Iliff says. But two recent discoveries have suggested the relationship may be more complicated.
The first finding emerged in 2009, when researchers at Washington University in St. Louis showed that the sticky amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer's develop more quickly in the brains of sleep-deprived mice.
Then, in 2013, Iliff was a member of a team that discovered how a lack of sleep could be speeding the development of those Alzheimer's plaques: A remarkable cleansing process takes place in the brain during deep sleep, at least in animals.
What happens, Iliff says, is "the fluid that's normally on the outside of the brain, cerebrospinal fluid — it's a clean, clear fluid — it actually begins to recirculate back into and through the brain along the outsides of blood vessels."
This process, via what's known as the glymphatic system, allows the brain to clear out toxins, including the toxins that form Alzheimer's plaques, Iliff says.
"That suggests at least one possible way that disruption in sleep may predispose toward Alzheimer's disease," he says.
Jeffrey Iliff (left), a brain scientist at Oregon Health & Science University, has been studying toxin removal in the brains of mice. He'll work with Bill Rooney, director of the university's Advanced Imaging Research Center, to enroll people in a similar study in 2016.
To know for sure, though, researchers will have to study this cleansing process in people, which won't be easy.
Iliff studied the glymphatic system in living mice by looking through a window created in the skull. The system also involved a powerful laser and state-of-the-art microscope.
With people, "we have to find a way to see the same sort of function, but in a way that is going to be reasonably noninvasive and safe," he says.
The solution may involve one of the world's most powerful magnetic resonance imaging machines, which sits in a basement at OHSU. The MRI unit is so sensitive, it should be able to detect changes that indicate precisely when the glymphatic system gets switched on in a person's brain, says Bill Rooney, who directs the university's Advanced Imaging Research Center.
When humans enter deep sleep, and toxin removal begins, there should be a particular change in the signal coming from certain salt molecules. That would indicate that fluid has begun moving freely through the brain.
In young, healthy brains, the signal should be "robust," Rooney says, indicating that the toxin removal system is working well. In the brains of older people, and those who are likely to develop Alzheimer's, the signal should be weaker.
Rooney and Iliff have received funding from the Paul G. Allen Foundation to test their approach. They hope to begin scanning the brains of participants within a year.
One challenge, though, will be finding people able to fall asleep in the cramped and noisy tunnel of the magnetic resonance machine.
"It's a tricky thing because it's a small space," Rooney says. "But we'll make people as comfortable as possible, and we'll just follow them as they go through these natural stages of sleep."
If Rooney and Iliff are right, the experiment will greatly strengthen the argument that a lack of sleep can lead to Alzheimer's disease. It might also provide a way to identify people whose health is at risk because they aren't getting enough deep sleep, and it could pave the way to new treatments.
"It could be anything from having people exercise more regularly, or new drugs," Rooney says. "A lot of the sleep aids don't particularly focus on driving people to deep sleep stages."
John Hamilton, Correspondent, Science Desk
NPR.com: Your Health
Updated January 4, 2016 9:25 PM ET
Published January 4, 2016 5:05 AM ET
The drug, called AVP923, has approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat a disorder called pseudobulbar affect. The study, led by Cleveland Clinic neurologist Jeffrey L. Cummings, MD, suggests that the drug also may help manage agitation in patients with Alzheimer’s.
People with Alzheimer’s experience a number of symptoms that are disabling. As the disease progresses, more severe symptoms emerge. One of the most debilitating is agitation. This condition can cause people with Alzheimer’s to lash out physically and verbally at others, or become restless or upset.
No drugs available
While there are strategies to lessen the environmental stimulation that can prompt or exacerbate agitation in people with Alzheimer’s, no drugs are available to treat this common condition.
Researchers led by Dr. Cummings in the randomized, double-blind trial studied a total of 220 patients with Alzheimer’s disease between the ages of 50 and 90. They found that people with moderate to severe agitation who took the drug saw a 60 percent reduction in symptoms compared to the control group.
Reduction of the symptoms began within a week of starting the medicine. The decreased symptoms lasted through the study’s entire 10 weeks.
“The results of the trial for the drug AVP923 showed that patients who received it had a statistically significant reduction in their agitation compared to those who received a placebo,” says Dr. Cummings. Dr. Cummings is Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas and Cleveland.
Different symptoms, different stages
Agitation is a direct result of Alzheimer’s disease. It may be caused by a number of factors, including medication or a biological inability to deal with new information or stimulation.
Agitation often causes someone to shout, kick, curse, and throw things. It often makes it difficult for caregivers to provide care. Agitation is one of the main reasons people with Alzheimer’s move to nursing homes for care.
“If we’re able to treat agitation effectively, we’ll be able to keep patients home for a longer period of time,” Dr. Cummings says. “That will be a great win for patients and their families.”
The drug still needs to undergo one more type of study before the FDA will consider approving it to treat Alzheimer’s agitation, Dr. Cummings says. That process probably will take two to three years.
Numbers to grow
Other debilitating symptoms of the disease include:
- Mood conditions including depression, irritability and anxiety
- Memory loss
More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. The disease costs the nation $200 billion in direct health care costs.
As the percentage of Americans older than 65 continues to grow, estimates are that the number of people with Alzheimer’s will nearly triple to 13.8 million in 2050, with health care costs ballooning to $1.2 trillion.