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The woman’s genetic profile showed she would develop Alzheimer’s by the time she turned 50. She, , going back generations, was born with a gene mutation that causes people to begin having memory and thinking problems in their 40s and deteriorate rapidly toward death around age 60.
Hospitalization is a. choice. That may sound surprising coming from a health care provider, but the fact is that hospitalization is not a necessity, especially for end-of-life patients with cognitive impairment. A trip to the hospital can be stressful — and downright torturous — for someone with Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia — and almost as bad for the caregiver who accompanies them.
The brain’s neural activity — long implicated in disorders ranging from dementia to epilepsy — also plays a role in human aging and life span, according to research led by scientists in the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School (HMS). The study, published today in , is based on findings from human brains, mice, and worms and suggests that excessive activity in the brain is linked to shorter life spans, while suppressing such overactivity extends life.
As a lifelong Alzheimer’s researcher, Dorene Rentz sees many brain scans with amyloid plaques, a telltale sign of the disease that ravages the brains and memories of its victims. But there’s one scan she’s unable to see: that of her husband, Ray Berggren. Never did she think that one day her 73-year-old husband would be part of a clinical trial she helped design, whose overall cognitive outcomes she will eventually help analyze.
Arthur Kleinman, MD, is the author of . He is one of the most renowned and influential scholars and writers on psychiatry, anthropology, global health, and cultural issues in medicine. Educated at Stanford University and Stanford Medical School, he has taught at Harvard for over forty years.
In the fall of 2011, one month shy of his 59th birthday, Steve Johanson was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Faced with “his worst nightmare,” Steve, a construction project manager from Watertown, Massachusetts, and his wife Judy, a family daycare provider, decided to face the disease together. For the next six years, the couple sought advice from doctors, visited museums, took gardening classes and surrounded themselves with family. But by the spring of 2017, things had started to unravel.
Alzheimer’s disease can be a long haul, with some symptoms taking years and even decades to progress. By the time a patient is in end stage Alzheimer’s, however, the signs are clear. They’ve progressed to severe dementia, and will likely need around-the-clock care for physical and mental needs.
Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is a complex, challenging brain disorder that affects many parts of the brain. Although less known than its “cousins” Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, it affects 1.4 million Americans. Where Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, it is followed by LBD and then Parkinson’s. Henry Paulson, M.D., Ph. D., University of Michigan, says: “Despite the prevalence of Lewy Body Dementia, confirming it can be challenging for doctors and patients alike.”
A few years ago, John Searle thought his life as he knew it was over. His body had slowly stopped working. He had trouble walking, he was falling down, he had bad short-term memory and, at 69, he was incontinent. It was a pattern of decline the retired Canadian engineer from Brantford, Ontario was all too familiar with. His own sister had died of Alzheimer's in her 50s. His father had died of dementia in his early 80s. So he began to start planning for a future he would not be able to participate in.
Even if you have a high genetic risk for developing Alzheimer’s, new research has found that making healthy lifestyle choices can lower your overall risk for the disease, as well as your risk for other forms of dementia. Researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that a healthy diet, regular exercise, light to moderate alcohol intake, not smoking and engaging in cognitively stimulating activities reduced the risk of Alzheimer's by 60 percent — when compared to those who only followed one or none of those habits.
For many people living with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, the demands of caring for a dog or pet can be a challenge. But a new robotic puppy being developed in California aims to change all of that by providing companionship and unconditional love for those who are unable to look after a real animal on their own.
“I’m always in the present. I have to be one step ahead of David. Things go missing all the time in this house—the remote, mail and even the utensils. I’m down to a handful of forks! It would be simple if I could just lock the door to store some important items, but he doesn’t like that.”Mary (name changed for anonymity) is the primary caregiver for David, her husband of 50 years who is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease. For Mary, ‘being in the present’ refers to her constant worry about even the most mundane elements of life that many take for granted.

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