New guidelines have been developed for the field of Alzheimer’s disease. They were published in the June edition of Genetics in Medicine, and jointly issued by the American College of Medical Genetics and the National Society of Genetic Counselors. The guidelines distinguish between genetic testing for dominantly inherited AD genes and that for the Alzheimer’s susceptibility gene, ApoE . The three early-onset familial AD genes — presenilin-1 (PS1), presenilin-2 (PS2) and amyloid precursor protein (APP) [...]
According to researchers at Columbia University, people with high levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” form) are 60 percent less likely to develop AD. The researchers followed 1,130 seniors with no history of memory loss or dementia and measured their cholesterol levels every 18 months for four years. When the researchers compared the cholesterol levels of study participants with and without Alzheimer’s, they found that those with the highest HDL counts, greater than 55 mg/dL, [...]
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh analyzed the relationship between walking and brain structure in 426 people: 299 cognitively healthy adults, 83 people with MCI, and 44 people with Alzheimer’s dementia. The researchers monitored how far each of the patients walked in a week. After 10 years, all patients underwent 3-D MRI exams to identify changes in brain volume. When they entered the study in 1989-1990, participants were asked how many city blocks they walked [...]
Dear Readers, Whenever I give a presentation about the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and discuss the known risk factors for the disease, I am asked this question . . . ( 90% of the time by the women audience members) . . . “Dr. A, is stress a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease?” Well, based on research findings from a variety of studies, the short answer is “Yes.” Let’s consider the latest finding [...]
Many of our patients and their physicians are aware that physical inactivity and obesity are at epidemic proportions in the United States, which has resulted in an increased prevalence of chronic diseases. Relatively few, however, realize that both these conditions may be associated with poor memory function.
Let’s consider the issue of obesity. Over the years, obesity has truly become a woman’s issue. Sixty five million of the 72 million American adults who are considered obese or overweight are women. In addition African American and Hispanic women are much more likely to be obese than white women.
Welcome to Checking in from the “Field” with Dr. A., a new monthly blog post on Alzheimer’s Insights. For the last 14 years, in addition to evaluating patients at the Rush Memory Clinic, I have been the “MD in the Field” for many of our community based participatory research studies conducted at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center and the Rush Institute for Aging in Chicago, Illinois.
Over the years performing study related home visits or community presentations, [...]
Readers, Another important finding from the ICAD meeting last week revolves around the relationship between cognitive decline and vitamin D. Several high-profile studies have suggested that high levels of vitamin D lower the risk of developing multiple sclerosis and accumulating evidence suggests previously unsuspected roles for vitamin D in brain development and neuroprotection. Now, a new study shows that low Vitamin D levels may be related to cognitive decline and dementia. Researchers have in fact [...]
Readers, A relationship between vascular risk factors and Alzheimer disease has been considered for over 20 years. In fact, it was widely accepted that “a hardening of the arteries” was to blame for senile dementias. There is also evidence that vascular diseases such as stroke, atherosclerosis, and hypertension are associated with an increased risk of dementia and AD, and that an abnormally elevated level of fibrinogen, the protein critical for blood clot formation, is correlated [...]
Increasing evidence indicates that there are reductions in testosterone and estrogen levels in older men and women. These hormonal reductions may be risk factors for cognitive impairment and the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). As testosterone levels decline as men age, there is an urge to treat this natural process with hormone replacement, just as it is done for many women undergoing menopause. The enzyme aromatase in the male brain converts some of the testosterone [...]
Readers, Two of the key elements when taking a history from a patient include smoking tobacco and alcohol consumption. Both of these activities have been shown to affect general health. Now, in a recently published study from Barcelona, Spain, it appears that they may be important risk factors in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but in a unique way. Knowledge regarding environmental factors influencing the risk of AD is surprisingly scarce, despite substantial research in this area. [...]