Should All Older Adults Be Screened for Dementia?

Should older adults be routinely screened for Alzheimer’s disease or memory problems? Maybe, maybe not. A government panel says there’s not yet enough data to recommend either for or against it. The panel’s uncertainty reflects the complexity of the issue at a time when scientists are progressing much faster in their ability to diagnose Alzheimer’s than in their ability to treat it. This news is especially relevant in light of the recent discovery of a blood test that can predict with 90 …

The Surprising Risks of Antibiotics

The next time you find yourself asking for an antibiotic to treat a nasty cough or sinus infection – or accepting one when your doctor offers it – consider this: Doctors are overprescribing antibiotics and putting patients at risk, sometimes giving patients three times as many antibiotics as are warranted, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. This practice can cause harmful side effects and lead to infections that kill thousands of Americans …

Alzheimer’s Deaths: Much Higher Than Reported

Alzheimer’s disease may cause up to six times more deaths than previously reported, making it the third leading cause of death in the country, just behind heart disease and cancer. The disease kills as many as half a million people each year, according to a new study published in the journal Neurology. “We know that a lot more people are passing away from this disease than we recognized before,” said lead author Bryan D. James, an epidemiologist with Rush University …

New Guidelines Aim to Reduce Women’s Stroke Risk

Older women have a higher risk of stroke than men and should strive to reduce that risk, say the first guidelines aimed specifically at preventing stroke in women. Women share many of the same risk factors for stroke with men, but their chances of having a stroke can be increased by hormones, pregnancy and childbirth, said Cheryl Bushnell, M.D., associate professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., who led the team of experts who developed the …

Vitamin E May Slow Alzheimer’s Progression

We haven’t discovered a cure for Alzheimer’s, or a drug that reverses the ravages of the disease, but researchers may have found a treatment to slow disease progression that’s simple, cheap and safe. Among more than 600 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, a daily high dose of vitamin E slowed the decline in the ability of patients to perform everyday tasks, such as dress or bathe independently, by about six months on average. And, perhaps more tellingly, those taking …

Good News About Exercise: It’s Never too Late to Start

Need inspiration to head out to that Turkey Trot in the frightful weather? A new study finds that regular physical activity later in life boosts the likelihood of healthy aging up to sevenfold. What’s more, the findings, published yesterday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, show that it’s never too late to start. “Significant health benefits were even seen among participants who became physically active relatively late in life,” wrote the study authors, led by Mark Hamer of the …