Alzheimer’s disease

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Caring for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients is emotionally demanding but also is increasingly expensive, according to a Fort Myers News-Press analysis of 10 years of records from state agencies, nursing homes and hospitals.

A team of scientists in Sarasota has published a new discovery that could be a major breakthrough in Alzheimer’s disease research, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

 While eating healthy and exercising can improve one’s physical health, a study shows it also can lessen the chances of suffering dementia, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, affects about 5.1 million Americans, many of whom live alone.  The disease, which typically takes eight to twelve years to progress, destroys memory and cognitive skills, eventually leading to a vegetative state.  This is where a proactive family and the holidays come in, according to the Miami Herald.

Thomas Bender / Sarasota Herald-Tribune

A Sarasota retirement community has a special room set up to help ease depression and anxiety for dementia and memory care patients.  As the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports, the treatment relies on sensory stimulation and not the use of heavy drugs. 

Researchers at University of Florida report finding a biological mechanism that links Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. 

It’s a mutation in a brain protein called tau, involved in forming the tangles that bring on confusion.   The discovery, reported in a medical journal, may help in the fight against the two common devastating diseases and a host of other neurological disorders, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.

Retirement is a time many seniors look forward to, but can delaying retirement keep the brain healthy? According to a study of nearly half a million seniors, working every day may keep dementia away. Since working involves being physically active, socially connected and mentally challenged, seniors who delay retirement have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

If you're having chest pain, your doctor can test you for a heart attack. If you're having hip pain, your doctor could test for osteoarthritis.

But what if you're depressed? Or anxious? Currently there are no physical tests for most disorders that affect the mind. Lab tests like these could transform the field of mental illness. So far efforts to come up with biomarkers for common mental health disorders have proved largely fruitless.

Elaine Litherland / Sarasota Herald-Tribune

  Bob and Kay Vago have been married for 62 years, and have been almost inseparable -- even as his wife’s Alzheimer’s disease has progressed to the point that she must be in a nursing home. As the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports, Bob Vago, an inventor of numerous medical devices, has turned his inventive spirit into designing an approach that helps his wife feel that their old routine hasn’t changed.

Tampa Bay Times

Dr. Mary Newport of Spring Hill is convinced that coconut oil has greatly helped her husband, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at age 54. But as the Tampa Bay Times reports, the treatment has not undergone scientific testing and thus isn’t widely accepted in the medical community.

New tests could detect Alzheimer’s disease 10 to 20 years before symptoms appear, the Miami Herald reports. While there’s no cure, doctors say that knowing what to expect could ease the stress for families who will end up caring for an Alzheimer’s patient.  

Researchers at the University of Miami have identified a new gene they say could help develop specialized treatments for African Americans with Alzheimer’s disease, the Miami Herald reports.