New Blood Test May Predict Alzheimer’s, Dementia Risk

A simple blood test that a researcher calls a “game changer” may be able to accurately predict whether older adults will develop dementia. The experimental test, developed by researchers at six universities, was 90 percent accurate at predicting whether adults age 70 and older would develop either mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s within two to three years. The study was published online Sunday in the journal Nature Medicine. The test measures the levels of 10 lipids, or fats, in the bloodstream. …

Alzheimer’s: In More Ways Than One, the Costliest Disease

Alzheimer’s disease accounts for more U.S. health care spending than any other disease, and that share will skyrocket as the nation’s population ages, experts told members of a Senate health subcommittee on Feb. 26. Research shows that 14.7 percent of Americans 71 and older had dementia in 2010 and that the condition, on average, was associated with $41,685 a year in medical and informal-care costs, said Michael D. Hurd, director of the RAND Center for the Study of Aging. Dementia …

Living With Dementia and Caregivers: So Many Unmet Needs

Call me naive, but I didn’t realize that as many as 70 percent of the 5.4 million Americans who have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia are cared for by family and friends. A four-year Johns Hopkins School of Medicine study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society examined the unmet needs of people with dementia (PWD) living in the community (as opposed to long-term care) and their family caregivers. Researchers wanted to determine if there were a lot of unmet needs (an …

New Study Looks at Caregiving and Twins

Does caregiving cause stress? Most research shows that it does – in spades.  But a small study on a limited sample suggests how family caregivers handle distress is influenced more by their genes and family history than by the difficulty of the caregiving role. Those are the findings of Peter Vitaliano, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Washington, and his colleagues after studying more than a thousand female twins, some of whom were caregivers. According to Vitaliano, how your parents …

Hearing Loss Tied to Brain Shrinkage

We’ve known for several years that hearing loss is linked to dementia and decline in memory and thinking skills, but we don’t yet understand why they are connected. A new study from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore may provide an explanation: Older adults with hearing problems appear to have a greater rate of brain shrinkage as they age. Researchers used information from the ongoing Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging to study 126 adults ages 56 to 86 who had yearly MRI brain scans …

Can a Take-Home Test Reveal Early Alzheimer’s?

Could a 15-minute test you take with pen and paper provide an early warning of Alzheimer’s or other cognitive problems? Researchers at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center say the simple 22-question test, called the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination, or SAGE, can’t diagnose Alzheimer’s, but it can reveal cognitive impairments at an early, more treatable stage. (To take the test, click here to download.) These impairments “could be related to many conditions like medications, ministrokes, dementia or sleep apnea to …