The absence of a certain chemical in the brain could be used as an early Alzheimer's test, new research suggests. Dopamine, which regulates movement, 'feeds' a region of the brain responsible for storing memories, known as the hippocampus. When the number of cells producing dopamine reduce, people's memories and abilities to learn new information suffers, which may put them at risk of dementia, according to researchers. Lead author Professor Annalena Venneri, from the University of Sheffield, said: 'The results point at a change which happens very early on, which might trigger Alzheimer's disease. 'More studies are necessary, but these findings could potentially lead to a new way of screening the elderly population for early signs of Alzheimer's disease.' Alzheimer's, which is the most common form of dementia, affects around 850,000 people in the UK.
Alzheimer's disease robs people of their memories and their ability to think clearly, and the latest annual report from the Alzheimer's Association has placed a price tag on how the disease can rob families financially. According to the report, in 2016 an estimated total of 236 billion will go toward treating Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, when including the payments from the government, private insurance and out-of-pocket costs. "Families get blind-sided by what the costs actually are, and the costs of long-term care are significant," says Beth Kallmyer, vice president for constituent services at the Alzheimer's Association. The disease affects 11 percent of people 65 and older, and is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. No treatment slows Alzheimer's degeneration of brain cells, and no cure has been found. Though not much can be done on the medical side, the Alzheimer's Association stresses that preparing financially will prevent families from making long-term care decisions in an emergency situation, without having the time to review options.
Does gum disease play a key role in the development of Alzheimer's? Scientists believe this may be the case after their study found further evidence of the link between bacteria in a common type of gum disease and people with dementia. Researchers say their findings offer hope for a new way of tackling the illness, for which there is no cure and no effective treatments. But does it mean people should be more worried about their oral health? Scientists analysed brain tissue, spinal fluid, and saliva from dead and living patients with diagnosed and suspected Alzheimer's.
An international research team led by scientists at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Queensland, has identified three new genes linked to the risk of Alzheimer's disease. The study, supported by Alzheimer's Research UK and also involving researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, is published today (18 May) in the journal Translational Psychiatry. The researchers combined findings from an existing study of Alzheimer's genetics, with those from a new analysis involving the children of people with the disease. The findings are set to help researchers better understand the mechanisms underlying Alzheimer's and could open the door to new approaches for treating the disease. To find genetic risk factors for diseases like Alzheimer's, researchers generally compare the DNA code of people with and without the disease.
Deaths from Alzheimer's disease skyrocketed in recent years, rising 55 percent in just 15 years. In 2014, there were 93,541 deaths from Alzheimer's disease in the United States as compared with 44,536 in 1999, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts said the climbing rate was likely due to better diagnosis of the disease, an aging population and an increased willingness among doctors to ascribe death to Alzheimer's. The CDC also noted that declines in other causes of death, like heart disease and cancer, were enabling people to live long enough to die of Alzheimer's. Read: Air Pollution Could Be Linked To Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease There is currently no cure for the disease, but certain medicines can slow its progression.