Alzheimer's

On a warm early summer day, Bella Doolittle sits on the doorstep of her house feeding biscuits to her dog Pepper. Bella was in her mid-50s when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. That was two years ago and the symptoms are advancing, with more memory loss and a new painful anxiety.

"Have you ever watched a really terrible horror movie where you know any moment now someone's going to get torn to pieces in a very evil, painful way?" she says, describing the tension she often feels.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., impacting an estimated 5.8 million Americans who currently live with the disease. Many of them are 65 and older and live in places with limited access to health care and education, which heightens the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. 

In the U.S., older people with dementia are usually told they have Alzheimer's disease.

But a range of other brain diseases can also impair thinking and memory and judgment, according to scientists attending a summit on dementias held Thursday and Friday at the National Institutes of Health.

These include strokes, a form of Parkinson's disease and a disease that damages brain areas that regulate emotion and behavior.

Records Exemption Backed For Alzheimer’s Program

Feb 22, 2019
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NPR

Alzheimer’s disease research grant proposals submitted to a state advisory board would continue to be exempt from Florida’s broad public records law, under bills moving through the Legislature.  

The University of South Florida is recruiting 1,600 elderly volunteers to determine whether computer brain exercises can prevent dementia.

More than 540,000 Floridians are living with Alzheimer’s Disease, and health officials say that's expected to increase by more than 30 percent in the next few years.

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Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court, announced Tuesday in a frank and personal letter that she has been diagnosed with "the beginning stages of dementia, probably Alzheimer's disease."

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It may be too late to stop Alzheimer's in people who already have some mental decline. But what if a treatment could target the very earliest brain changes while memory and thinking skills are still intact, in hope of preventing the disease? Two big studies are going all out to try.

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Researchers at the University of South Florida say reducing your risk of dementia can be a mouse click away.  

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Lowering blood pressure more than usually recommended not only helps prevent heart problems, it also cuts the risk of mental decline that often leads to Alzheimer's disease, a major study finds.

It's the first time a single step has been clearly shown to help prevent a dreaded condition that has had people trying crossword puzzles, diet supplements and a host of other things in hope of keeping their mind sharp.

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Decades ago, hundreds of nuns and priests made an extraordinary decision: They agreed to donate their brains upon death to science, hoping to help solve mysteries about Alzheimer's and other diseases. Now, a study that used their gifts is giving some clues. It reveals that high blood pressure late in life might harm the brain.

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Pharmaceutical companies have for the past 20 years barraged the public with commercials about pills that help people lose weight, control cholesterol or soothe irritable bowels.

Caring for someone who has Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia is always a daunting task. Those caregivers will be getting some much needed help during an upcoming conference in Tallahassee on Saturday, June 30.

The conference is hosted by the local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association where David Huckabee is the vice president of programs.

"The Alzheimer's Association provides care and support for people affected by Alzheimer's and when we say 'affected,' we paint that with a really broad brushstroke."

An international coalition of brain researchers is suggesting a new way of looking at Alzheimer's.

Instead of defining the disease through symptoms like memory problems or fuzzy thinking, the scientists want to focus on biological changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer's. These include the plaques and tangles that build up in the brains of people with the disease.

But they say the new approach is intended only for research studies and isn't yet ready for use by most doctors who treat Alzheimer's patients.

Beer has fueled a lot of bad ideas. But on a Friday afternoon in 2007, it helped two Alzheimer's researchers come up with a really a good one.

A little electrical brain stimulation can go a long way in boosting memory.

The key is to deliver a tiny pulse of electricity to exactly the right place at exactly the right moment, a team reports in Tuesday's Nature Communications.

"We saw a 15 percent improvement in memory," says Michael Kahana, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and an author of the study.

A study published Monday by Human Rights Watch finds that about 179,000 nursing home residents are being given antipsychotic drugs, even though they don't have schizophrenia or other serious mental illnesses that those drugs are designed to treat.

A Tallahassee film producer has wrapped up his latest movie. It's the story of a young woman who is pressed into caring for a member of her family who's afflicted with Alzheimer's.

Fresh evidence that the body's immune system interacts directly with the brain could lead to a new understanding of diseases from multiple sclerosis to Alzheimer's.

A study of human and monkey brains found lymphatic vessels — a key part of the body's immune system — in a membrane that surrounds the brain and nervous system, a team reported Tuesday in the online journal eLife.

Efforts to develop a treatment that stalls the memory-robbing devastation of Alzheimer's disease have so far been unsuccessful, but scientists are making strides in another important area: the development of better tests to tell who has the condition.

Their aim is to develop more accurate, cheaper and less invasive tests to detect the biological markers of Alzheimer's-induced changes in the brain.

Harsh life experiences appear to leave African-Americans vulnerable to Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, researchers reported Sunday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in London.

Several teams presented evidence that poverty, disadvantage and stressful life events are strongly associated with cognitive problems in middle age and dementia later in life among African-Americans.

A professor at the University Of West Florida is the new Alzheimer’s Association Ambassador for the Florida Panhandle. "I had never been involved in political advocacy before and it sounded like a good opportunity." said Dr. Daniel Durkin, an assistant professor of Social Work at UWF with a specialty in Gerontology.  

Decades ago, scientists surgically attached pairs of rats to each other and noticed that old rats tended to live longer if they shared a bloodstream with young rats.

It was the beginning of a peculiar and ambitious scientific endeavor to understand how certain materials from young bodies, when transplanted into older ones, can sometimes improve or rejuvenate them.

Behind just about every senior suffering with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is a caregiver, usually a family member, making sure they are fed and clothed and safe. But who takes care of the caregivers? To find out, WUWF’s Bob Barrett recently sat down with Margaret Jerauld, the Activities Supervisor for the Council on Aging of West Florida. 

This past month has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for Brian LeBlanc of Pensacola.

Now age 56, LeBlanc was diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s nearly two-and-a-half years ago. As part of his advocacy, he’s been sharing his journey with the disease, including his latest setback and triumph involving his ability to speak.

For about a two week period in February, LeBlanc had the words in his head, but could not talk. There were some isolated words, but no sentences would come out.

There are more than 120 specialty license plates in Florida, and some Florida lawmakers are hoping to add several more to that list. It includes a “President Ronald Reagan” license plate that will also go toward helping fight the disease he had in the latter years of his life.

Many people consider Alzheimer's disease an unspeakable tragedy. But, with the incidence of the disease on the rise, an alliance of Alzheimer's patients, advocates and caregivers has launched a campaign to help reduce the terror and stigma associated with the illness.

Some encouraging news in the battle against Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia: The rate at which older Americans are getting these conditions is declining. That's according to a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers say one reason for the improved outlook is an increase in education.

Few families in America are untouched by Alzheimer’s disease. The event’s prime organizer says an upcoming Tallahassee fundraiser will help ease the burden for those impacted by this malicious affliction.

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Failures by a Tampa assisted living facility to follow its policies helped lead to an 81-year-old man’s death a state investigation found, according to the Tampa Bay Times. 

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