Tuesday, September 30, 2008

LY450139, A Phase III Clincal Trial on the Progression of Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's Reading Room: LY450139, A Phase III Clincal Trial on the Progression of Alzheimer's Disease: "LY450139 is being tested to see if it can slow the progression associated with Alzheimer's disease by inhibiting gamma-secretase, an enzyme that can create a sticky protein called amyloid beta. Slowing the rate of disease progression could preserve independent functioning and quality of life for Alzheimer's patients in the milder stages of the disease, potentially delaying the onset of the severe stages of the disease."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Combining Alzheimer's drugs helps slow rate of decline in Alzheimer's Patients

These findings should bring hope to those suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia. Baby boomers should take note.
My mother is currently moving into the medium stage of Alzheimer's so for us this is exciting news. I intend to send this information to our personal care physician and discuss it with him immediately.
"Finding something that could actually modify the course of the disease is the Holy Grail of Alzheimer's treatment, but we really don't know if that is happening or what the mechanism behind these effects might be," Alireza Atri explains. "What we can say now is that providers should help patients understand that the benefits of these drugs are long term and may not be apparent in the first months of treatment. Even if a patient's symptoms get worse, that doesn't mean the drug isn't working, since the decline probably would have been much greater without therapy."

The results raise the intriguing possibility that the drugs may be protecting the patients' brains from further deterioration, the authors said.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Alzheimer's and the Thyroid

I wish I could shout this from the mountain top: "when Alzheimer's or dementia present themselves get the thyroid checked".

About a year ago, I read an article on hypothyroidism and posted it to this blog. The article described the symptoms of hypothyroidism and how it is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease in women only. The symptoms of hypothyroidism include: forgetfulness, weight gain, depression, dry skin, and fatigue. All of these were present in my mother. As a result, I asked our personal physician to check my mother's thyroid. Sure enough she was suffering from a sluggish thyroid. He prescribed levothyroxine.

The results of the medication for us were remarkable. Within a couple of months my mother started to smile more often. Next thing I knew, my mother started to experience an occasional hearty laugh. Something she had not done in years. If you are a caregiver, like me, you will understand how frustrating it can be when your loved one stops laughing and smiling. I believe you will understand how wonderful I felt when I heard my mother laugh for the first time in years. My mother continues to smile with greater frequency and I can tell you she went for years without a smile before the introduction of the drug. An additional benefit included a slow but gradual loss of weight(about 8 pounds so far). We were fortunate that we read the article on hypothyroidism. If you, a friend, or a loved one is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's please get the thyroid checked closely.

In the book The Alzheimer's Action Plan: The Experts' Guide to the Best Diagnosis and Treatment for Memory Problems the authors discuss in detail physical problems that can and do effect memory. The book is worth obtaining. It is full of beneficial information and resources.

I am not trying to mislead you here. The prescribed drug did not cure my mother's Alzheimer's. But, there is quite a bit of research which indicates that hypothyroidism can present as Alzheimer's or dementia.

Previously on the Alzheimer's Reading Room.

Abnormal Thyroid Levels Can Increase Risk For Alzheimer’s Disease in Women

Overuse Of Antipsychotics Among Nursing Home Residents With Dementia

Is it Alzheimer's or something else?

Alzheimer's Question, Where can I get the best medical evaluation for my wife?

Ten Million Baby Boomers likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s during their lifetime

I am a baby boomer. My mother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Five years ago, I left my job as the CEO of a small software company to take care of my mother. I am living the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s from the front row.

It is rare to meet baby boomers that are concerned about their own uncertain fate when it comes to Alzheimer's disease. This includes most of my close friends. Fifteen thousand baby boomers are turning 60 each day.

• Every 71 seconds someone develops Alzheimer’s disease.

• Alzheimer’s disease is now the sixth leading cause of death (recently surpassing diabetes).

One in every eight adults over the age of 65 suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

• One out of every two adults over the age of 85 suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

Ten million baby boomers will develop Alzheimer’s disease in their lifetime.
Alzheimer’s disease is certain brain death. Imagine living in a world where you can recount experiences from 1936, but can’t remember your birthday party five minutes after it ended. Meet my mother. My mother never suffered a major illness. She never had an operation. Five years after her diagnosis she is in very good health. But, her brain is dying. She doesn’t know it.

I started the Alzheimer’s Reading Room to keep track of the thousands of articles and many books I was reading. I soon realized I could help the ten million Alzheimer’s Caregivers worldwide by personalizing this information on my blog. Later on, I decided to start writing about our successes in fighting the disease, our decisions on treatments, our new life style, where to look for help, and news about the search for a cure. I stick to information I believe is useful and helpful. There is an enormous amount of new information each day; it’s difficult to identify the best and most useful information. This is my job.

I now know there are many things baby boomers can do to lower the odds of contracting Alzheimer’s disease. I do all of these things for myself each day. There are things you can do to stave off the disease. You need to start doing them now. You cannot wait. With this in mind, I am broadening my mission on the blog to include information to help baby boomers understand and take action against Alzheimer’s

Here are few things baby boomers should be doing right now:

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a cause of cognitive decline. Hypertension causes build-up of beta-amyloid in the brain. This is a complication frequently associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Take action to get your blood pressure down now.

High cholesterol levels in your 40s may raise the chance of developing Alzheimer's disease decades later. Failure to deal with this condition effectively could raise the odds of contracting Alzheimer’s disease by fifty percent. Get your cholesterol checked often and get it down.

B12. A recent study found that people with higher levels of vitamin B12 were six times less likely to experience brain volume loss. A simple blood test is all that is needed to check the level of B12 in your system. You should start eating foods rich in B12 and consider getting B12 shots to raise the amount of B12 in your system.

Big Belly. Having a large belly in middle age nearly triples the risk of developing dementia.

Cocoa flavanols. A recent study at Harvard found that those who regularly drank a cocoa flavanol-rich beverage had an eight percent increase in brain blood flow after one week, and 10 percent increase after two weeks. I highly recommend incorporating this into your diet.

Exercise. A new study just released shows that regular exercise is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of dementia and can help slow progression of Alzheimer's disease.

In the days ahead, I will be writing more about ways to combat Alzheimer’s disease. If you know someone currently caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease please tell them about the blog. You can subscribe to the blog via email or reader by taking the appropriate action on the blog.

They are predicting that ten million baby boomers will suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. By spreading the word and taking action we can lower the number. Let’s get together on this.

Original content the Alzheimer's Reading Room