Alzheimer's Disease

Study Seeks To Examine Lifestyle Change And Alzheimer's

Jun 4, 2020
Clement Falize / Unsplash

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month. At a research symposium earlier this year, the Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association discussed the state of research.

One project discussed was the US POINTER study, which is set to be completed in 2023.

SIU School of Medicine

Alzheimer's affects more than five million Americans, but the disease is still a mystery to scientists and doctors. Some patients and caregivers are hoping to help change that by joining clinical trials.

Bob Scott is a patient at the Alzheimer’s Center at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. His wife, Janet, is his caregiver, and is helping Bob as he takes part in a clinical trial for a new drug.

Across the United States, Alzheimer's is a growing problem. The number of people with the disease is expected to increase nearly 15 percent over the next eight years. There’s no cure, but some caregivers are using music to help. 

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Nearly six million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease.

In this edition of Reading Baseball, Pete Peterson tells us about a new program where baseball helps those dealing with this type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior.

For years, doctors have used an expensive brain scan to detect symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. 

But researchers at Washington University have found that a simple blood test could be similarly effective, according to a study published this month in the journal Neurology. A blood test to diagnose early symptoms could help make finding a cure easy or cheaper and even guide treatment for the disease in the future, the study’s authors say. 

African-Americans have lower levels of a key protein associated with Alzheimer's disease, which could keep blacks with the disease from being diagnosed, according to Washington University researchers.

In a 12-year study of 1,255 participants, the researchers found black patients have a much lower baseline level of the protein tau, which is present in higher amounts in patients with the neurodegenerative disease. Because doctors look for the protein when diagnosing Alzheimer's, lower levels in black patients mean they may not be diagnosed as quickly as their white counterparts.

As a result, black patients — already disproportionately affected by the disease — may not receive proper care, the study's authors said.

The holidays can be particularly stressful for families of someone living with Alzheimer's. That includes long distance trips to visit loved ones. An advocacy group is offering tips to help people cope.

Melissa Tucker is Director of Helpline and Support Services for the Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. Tucker said, rather than worry about traditions, caregivers should ask a basic question.

A group of nuns in Springfield is participating in a long-term medical study. For those involved, it’s another way to serve others.