2/6/2013 – The Paradox of Overnutrition in Aging and Cognition

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are devastating diseases without effective treatments; as the population ages these conditions are becoming epidemic. Meanwhile, a second epidemic, obesity—driven by overabundance of calorie-rich but nutrient-poor food and sedentary lifestyles—is already evident in western and westernizing cultures. Researchers have begun to explore the possibility that overweight and obesity may affect the brain and play a role in age-related diseases. On December 4, 2012, epidemiologists, clinicians, and researchers met at the New York Academy of Sciences for The Paradox of Overnutrition in Aging and Cognition, a conference presented by the Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science to elucidate the intersection between aging, cognition, obesity, and nutrition.

For a full set of meeting resources – including the meeting report, slides and audio, participants and more – visit The New York Academy of Sciences.

2/6/2013 – Alzheimer's cases, and costs, projected to swell

As baby boomers age, 13.8 million are expected to have Alzheimer’s disease by 2050, a study finds. Experts say caring for all those patients may cost $1 trillion a year.

Read the full article at Los Angeles Times.

2/5/2013 – In Blended Families, Responsibility Blurs

Research shows that the ties which lead adult children to become caregivers — depending on how much contact they have with parents, how nearby they live, how obligated they feel — are weaker in stepchildren. Money sometimes enters the equation too, if biological children resent a parent’s spending their presumed inheritance on care for an ailing stepparent.

Read the full article at The New York Times.

1/30/2013 – Pig proteins may help dementia patients: study

A drug containing purified brain proteins derived from pigs may yield modest improvements in patients whose dementia is caused by a lack of blood flow to parts of the brain, according to a new analysis.

Read the full article at Reuters.

1/30/2013 – For Some Caregivers, the Trauma Lingers

Recently, I spoke at length to a physician who seems to have suffered a form of post-traumatic stress after her mother’s final illness.

There is little research on this topic, which suggests that it is overlooked or discounted. But several experts acknowledge that psychological trauma of this sort does exist.

“When something happens that the individual perceives and reacts to as a tremendous stressor, that can intensify and bring back to the forefront of consciousness memories that were traumatic,” said Stanford professor of psychiatry and Center on Longevity faculty affiliate Dolores Gallagher-Thompson, “It’s more an exacerbation of an already existing vulnerability.”


Read the full article at The New York Times.

1/27/2013 – Aging in Brain Found to Hurt Sleep Needed for Memory

Scientists have known for decades that the ability to remember newly learned information declines with age, but it was not clear why. A new study may provide part of the answer.

Read the full article at The New York Times.

1/25/2013 – Time to Recognize Mild Cognitive Disorder?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published and periodically updated by the American Psychiatric Association, is one of those documents few laypeople ever read, but many of us are affected by.

Dr. Allen Frances, chairman of the task force that developed the previous Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, predicts inclusion of mild neurocognitive disorder in the new version will lead to “wild overdiagnosis.”

Read the full article at The New York Times.

1/24/2013 – Grief Over New Depression Diagnosis

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (D.S.M. 5), to be published in May, has generated an unusual amount of heat. Two changes, in particular, could have considerable impact on older people and their families.

Read the full article at The New York Times.

1/23/2013 – Study Links Cognitive Deficits, Hearing Loss

There’s another reason to be concerned about hearing loss — one of the most common health conditions in older adults and one of the most widely undertreated. A new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine suggests that elderly people with compromised hearing are at risk of developing cognitive deficits — problems with memory and thinking — sooner than those whose hearing is intact.

Read the full article at The New York Times.

1/8/2013 – Workshops Help Families Grappling With Alzheimer's Home Care

There are more than 5 million people with Alzheimer’s in the U.S., and most are cared for at home. Now, one company has begun offering training to family caregivers to help them deal with the special challenges of caring for an Alzheimer’s patient.

Read/Listen to the full story at National Public Radio.