Category Archives: health and wellness

Drinking juice may delay onset of Alzheimer’s disease

Drinking fruit or vegetable juice may be better for you than you think. A new research study shows that drinking fruit or vegetable juice may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers at the Group Health Center for Health Studies in Seattle, Washington
following nearly 2,000 adults for 10 years found drinking fruit or vegetable juice more than three times a week cuts the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 76 percent compared to drinking it less than once a week. They found having juice once or twice a week reduced risk by 16 percent.

Highlights from the Study include:

“The theory is that the brain accumulates damage due to oxidation as we age, and if you can protect the brain from that damage you can protect the person from Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia,” said Eric Larson, MD.

Researchers saw the protective benefits from any type of juice. The study also found there are more antioxidants in juice than in vitamin C and E supplements.

According to Dr. Larson, juice is made using parts of the fruit with the highest concentration of natural antioxidants. “The theory is the brain accumulates damage due to oxidation as we age and if you can protect the brain from that damage, you can protect the person from Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia,” he said.

In most cases, juice is produced using the core, the seeds and the skin — parts of the fruit or vegetable people do not normally consume. The food is mashed together to create a concentrate. Juice is made in cold process, so nutrients aren’t damaged by heat. Juice will usually have a defined level of purity based on percentage of fruit juice. Juice should not be confused with squash, which is usually an artificial juice that can be diluted with water.

In theory, grape, apple and orange juices are very potent in antioxidants and could be the most effective at preventing Alzheimer’s disease, according to Dr. Larson. In the study, those who did not drink fruit juice, but ate several servings of fruit per week, saw some benefit. However, those who drank juice saw the most benefit.

Study participants who drank juice once or twice a week reduced their Alzheimer’s risk by 16 percent. Those who drank juice three times per week reduced their risk by 76 percent. Before you drink 10 glasses of orange juice each day, be aware there may be threshold for antioxidant consumption. Going above that amount may not necessarily bring benefits.

More on this study as it becomes available


Alzheimer’s Disease Rate Rises to More Than Five Million in the United States

Someone Develops Alzheimer’s Every 72 Seconds, According To New Alzheimer’s Association Report.

The Alzheimer’s Association today reports that in 2007 there are now more than 5 million people in the United States living with Alzheimer’s disease. This number includes 4.9 million people over the age of 65 and between 200,000 and 500,000 people under age 65 with early onset Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Alzheimer’s Disease Prevalence Rates Rise to More Than Five Million in the United States

The Alzheimer’s Association today reports that in 2007 there are now more than 5 million people in the United States living with Alzheimer’s disease. This number includes 4.9 million people over the age of 65 and between 200,000 and 500,000 people under age 65 with early onset Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. This is a 10 percent increase from the previous prevalence nationwide estimate of 4.5 million.

The greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s is increasing age, and with 78 million baby boomers beginning to turn 60 last year, it is estimated that someone in America develops Alzheimer’s every 72 seconds; by mid-century someone will develop Alzheimer’s every 33 seconds.

These new estimates, as well as other data concerning the disease and its effects, are issued today as hundreds of advocates from across the country gather in the nation’s capitol for the Alzheimer’s Association’s annual Public Policy Forum. The report titled, 2007 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, is being released at a hearing today chaired by Senator Barbara Mikulski. Senators Barbara Mikulski and Christopher Bond and Representatives Edward Markey and Christopher Smith have introduced bipartisan legislation to address problems identified in the Association’s report. The Association’s report details the escalation of Alzheimer’s disease which now is the seventh leading cause of death in the country and the fifth leading cause of death for those over age 65. It also offers numerous statistics that convey the burden that Alzheimer’s imposes on individuals, families, state and federal governments, businesses, and the nation’s health care system. For example:

Without a cure or effective treatments to delay the onset or progression of the Alzheimer’s, the prevalence could soar to 7.7 million people with the disease by 2030, which is more than the population of 140 of the 236 United Nations countries.

By mid-century, the number of people with Alzheimer’s is expected to grow to as many as 16 million, more than the current total population of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston combined.

As the prevalence impact of Alzheimer’s grows, so does the cost to the nation. The direct and indirect costs of Alzheimer’s and other dementias amount to more than $148 billion annually, which is more than the annual sales of any retailer in the world excluding Wal-Mart.

“Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures clearly shows the tremendous impact this disease is having on the nation; and with the projected growth of the disease, the collective impact on individuals, families, Medicare, Medicaid, and businesses will be even greater,” says Harry Johns, President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association. “However there is hope. There are currently nine drugs in Phase III clinical trials for Alzheimer’s several of which show great promise to slow or stop the progression of the disease. This, combined with advancements in diagnostic tools, has the potential to change the landscape of Alzheimer’s.”

According to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2000-2004 death rates have declined for most major diseases — heart disease (-8 percent), breast cancer (-2.6 percent), prostate cancer (-6.3 percent) and stroke (-10.4 percent), while Alzheimer’s disease deaths continue to trend upward, increasing 33 percent during that period.

“We must make the fight against Alzheimer’s a national priority before it’s too late. The absence of effective disease modifying drugs, coupled with an aging population, makes Alzheimer’s the health care crisis of the 21st century,” Johns said.

Medicare currently spends nearly three times as much for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias than for the average Medicare beneficiary. Medicare costs are projected to double from $91 billion in 2005 to more than $189 billion by 2015, more than the current gross national product of 86 percent of the world’s countries. In 2005, state and federal Medicaid spending for nursing home and home care for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias was estimated at $21 billion; that number is projected to increase to $27 billion by 2015.

The new report also highlights the impact that Alzheimer’s has on states with more than 6 in 10 (62%) having double digit growth in prevalence by the end of the decade. In addition, Alaska (+47%), Colorado (+47%), Utah (+45%), Wyoming (+43%), Nevada (+38%), Idaho (+37%), Oregon (+33%), and Washington (+33%) will experience increases ranging from one-third to one-half. The states with the largest numbers of deaths due to Alzheimer’s disease in 2003 were (1) California, (2) Florida, (3) Texas, (4) Pennsylvania, and (5) Ohio.

The Alzheimer’s Association is the first and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to finding prevention methods, treatments and an eventual cure for Alzheimer’s. For more than 25 years, the Association has provided reliable information and care consultation; created services for families; increased funding for dementia research; and influenced public policy changes.

Source Alzheimer’s Association


Exercise slows decline in Alzheimer’s patients

I can attest, exercise makes a difference. My mother now has the tendency to sit around all day. On those days when I can get her to go to Gold’s Gym with me she is a completely different person. The look on her face, from dull to smiling, is more than enough to tell me that exercise works to her benefit.

The article on the next page talks about the effects of exercising on Alzheimer’s patients.

“Nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s disease who participate in a moderate exercise program have a significantly slower deterioration than those who receive routine medical care, researchers have shown.”

Exercise slows decline in Alzheimer’s patients

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s disease who participate in a moderate exercise program have a significantly slower deterioration than those who receive routine medical care, researchers have shown.

Dr. Yves Rolland, of Hospital La Grave-Casselardit in Toulouse, France, and colleagues examined the effects of a program of exercise for one hour twice weekly on activities of daily living, physical performance, nutritional status, behavioral disturbance and depression among 134 Alzheimer’s disease patients in nursing homes.

The patients were 83 years old on average. They were assigned to the exercise program, which focused on walking, strength, balance and flexibility training, or to routine medical care for 12 months.

As reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 110 participants completed the study. Among the 56 subjects in the exercise group who completed the study, the rate of adherence to the program was about 33 percent on average.

At the end of the 12 months, the average activities-of-daily-living score was significantly more improved in the exercise group than in the routine medical care group, Rolland’s team reports.

In addition, average walking speed improved significantly more in the exercise group than in the routine medical care group at 6 months and 12 months.

However, the exercise program had no apparent effect on behavioral disturbance, depression or nutritional assessment scores.

ORIGINAL SOURCE: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, February 2007.


The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation

The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), a biomedical venture philanthropy founded by the Estée Lauder family, and Elan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a neuroscience-based biotechnology company, are pleased to announce the winners of their second annual research award program, Novel Approaches to Drug Discovery for Alzheimer’s Disease. Six recipients were selected from a highly competitive pool of 32 scientists from 6 countries.

The award winners are: Yousef Al-Abed, PhD, Associate Investigator and Director at the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Research Institute; John Cashman, PhD, Executive Director and Founder of the Human Biomolecular Research Institute; Donald Porter, PhD, Senior Scientist at Senex Biotechnology, Inc.; Juan Sanchez-Ramos MD, PhD, Professor of Neurology at the University of South Florida; D. Martin Watterson, PhD, Professor at Northwestern University Medical School; and Michael S. Wolfe, PhD, Associate Professor of Neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Center for Neurologic Diseases. The recipients were chosen by an independent scientific review panel of 10 experts chaired by ADDF Executive Director Howard Fillit, MD, a leading geriatrician and neuroscientist.

According to Dr. Fillit, “These awardees are conducting innovative research in Alzheimer’s drug discovery. Their programs were recognized as most promising to advance the discovery of effective disease-modifying drugs for Alzheimer’s. Thanks to our collaboration with Elan, we are delighted to present grant awards totaling $520,000 for this year’s program.”

The scientists received their awards at a recent luncheon held at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco, CA. Ms. Nancy Cozine, ADDF President; and Dr. Lars Ekman, Elan Executive Vice President and President, Global R&D, welcomed an audience of over 35 distinguished guests to celebrate the second annual ADDF/Elan Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Discovery Awards and to recognize the recipients. During the luncheon, Ms. Cozine and Dr. Ekman both commented on the importance of this program and the ongoing need to accelerate the discovery of effective drugs to conquer this devastating disease, which impacts one in ten individuals over age 65.

Dr. Ekman stated, “Elan’s collaboration with the ADDF underscores our commitment to bringing new therapeutic options to Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. We are dedicated to working together to make tangible progress in the fight against Alzheimer’s. For that reason, we are proud to support the work of this year’s award recipients.”

For more information regarding this unique public charity-corporate alliance research program, contact Howard Fillit, MD, at 212-935-2402 or

About the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF)

The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) is the only public charity solely dedicated to rapidly accelerating the discovery and development of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive aging. To date, we have awarded $27.3 million for 183 global research programs and conferences. For more information, visit

About Elan Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Elan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Elan Corporation, plc (NYSE: ELN). Elan is a neuroscience-based biotechnology company committed to making a difference in the lives of patients and their families by dedicating itself to bringing innovations in science to fill significant unmet medical needs that continue to exist around the world. Our effort to develop treatment alternatives for patients and caregivers suffering from Alzheimer’s disease includes research programs focused on modifying or halting the progression of the disease. Two programs that are currently in clinical development are immunotherapeutic approaches, in partnership with Wyeth, and a small molecule program, in collaboration with Transition Therapeutics. For additional information about the company, please visit


AADDF Contact:
Suzanne Grossberg
Director of External Affairs


Caring for the CareGivers

Group meetings help those coping with dementia in a loved one.

Caring for the caregivers

By Elizabeth Cooney

WORCESTER— You came to the right place, the group told the silver-haired woman who had just joined them.

She took her seat on one of the 14 armchairs fanning out from the fireplace at Dodge Park Rest Home. Twice a month, people caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease meet to share supper, stories, strategies and support. Across the hall, their relatives can have a meal and take part in an activity while the two-hour session unfolds.

The new arrival, who didn’t want her name used in the newspaper, told the group why she came.

“I don’t think I know how to handle the situation with dementia,” she said about her husband’s disease, diagnosed 10 years ago. “I lose my temper a lot and I get exasperated. I know I’m not handling things well, not for him and not for myself.”

Everyone in the room struggles with anger, frustration, fear and sorrow, said Deanne Weissflog, who was sitting next to her. While the men and women were all caring for relatives in different stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s, they all know the difficult road they are traveling.

And that includes Nafie Saba-Shapazian, executive director of Dodge Park and its Day Club, and Don Kemp, who helps her lead the sessions for caregivers.

Ms. Saba-Shapazian, a registered nurse, is responsible for Dodge Park’s 60 residents. Mr. Kemp, a rehabilitation counselor, took care of his father when he had Alzheimer’s.

They all know dementia and Alzheimer’s are insidious diseases, stealing up on people and their families. Only after the fact do bizarre behaviors and odd lapses make sense, sometimes after working lives and financial security are in a shambles. Alzheimer’s affects about 4.5 million Americans. There are some medications that stall the chronic, progressive disease, but there is no cure.

At the meeting, Betty Belevick read from an article in a business magazine about drugs in the pipeline. It might be too late for their loved ones in the grips of Alzheimer’s, but maybe it could help their children, Donna Haran said. There has been progress, not just in medications, Jeanette Rosa-Brady, support group coordinator of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Massachusetts chapter, said in an interview. She is not involved with the Dodge Park group.When she started training support group leaders in 1992, not as much was known about the disease, she said.

“People are able to access information much more readily now with the Internet,” she said. “That wasn’t there when I started. There weren’t medications to treat Alzheimer’s and there wasn’t a lot we knew from research about how to manage home safety or understand what someone with Alzheimer’s perceives.”

The Dodge Park group members talked about how to stay in the moment with the patients. For Ms. Haran, that meant not fighting with her husband when he headed for the snow blower at the first flake. Instead, she told him it was out of gas.

Distraction can work, as can humor.

The worst can be those moments of lucidity when Alzheimer’s patients recognize their plight.

Barbara Gould said her husband retired when he couldn’t face going to work once he knew he wasn’t doing it properly.

“All of a sudden he couldn’t count the money in his pocket,” she said. “That was humiliating for such a proud man. He was quick with numbers, like a calculator.”

One woman who, like many in the room, is caring for not one but two relatives — a parent and a spouse — with Alzheimer’s, said putting her husband in a nursing home was harder for her to get through than his death. Another woman said she had promised her aunt to keep her at home as long a she possibly could. Because her relatives disagree with her vow, she said, they don’t help her with the care.

Some of the people the caregivers spoke about were elderly, but some were just in their 50s when they began to fail. Many of the caregivers in the group are still working full time, fraying when demands tear them apart.

Russ Varney said he hasn’t taken a vacation in the three years since his mother became ill. He lives in Boston, works in Wellesley and takes care of his mother in Worcester. He’s exhausted pretty much all the time.

At 89, she is in perfect health — except for her dementia. She attends a day program most weekdays, as did other relatives of group members. He was cleaning her bathroom one recent weekend when he realized he couldn’t recall the last time he did the bathroom in his own house.

He recommended respite care, just to recharge.

That sounds good, but it’s not so easily done. First, the caregivers have to get over the guilt they feel when they turn their attention to themselves for a change, said Ms. Rosa-Brady of the Alzheimer’s Association. They feel guilt that they didn’t notice the disease sooner, or that they still enjoy things they used to do together, or that they get angry.

“People feel guilty that they are not doing a better job,” she said. “Any support group can dispel that right away. There’s no such thing as a perfect caregiver. You’re a human being.”

And human beings need rest. Ms. Saba-Shapazian tells them they can’t give good care if they don’t take care of themselves.

There’s even a study from the National Institutes of Health published in November that showed caregivers significantly improved their own quality of life and their loved ones’ when they were visited by people trained in stress management and problem-solving techniques and had support groups to call on.

While the Dodge Park group members talked about their trials, they never forgot the patients, saying how painful it must be for them, both in the early stages when they know they are declining and later when they are afraid and can’t be calmed.

Ms. Haran’s husband asked her one morning, when he didn’t know if he should get up, “What life is this, when I don’t know if it’s morning or night?”

Deanne’s mother was frightened, asking her, “What’s going to happen to me?”

Heads nodded as she said that.

“The strength from the people in this room is very encouraging,” Ms. Haran said.

Ms. Rosa-Brady said that’s the constant in support groups.

“You can read about Alzheimer’s on the Internet all you want. You will find information that is useful but all of us need to sit down and talk to other people who are doing the same thing you are,” she said. “You can read all you want, but that’s not going to dispel the feeling that you are the only person in the world this is happening to.”

That’s what the newcomer heard.

“It’s not easy being the ones who are left, trying to keep your head afloat. But here there’s camaraderie, compassion and understanding,” June Shack told her. “This is the right place to be.”

Comment on this story at Send an e-mail to Elizabeth Cooney at


Alzheimer’s and Loneliness Linked

People who are lonely are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, a large US study has suggested.

Source Archives of General Psychiatry

A total of 823 older persons free of dementia at enrollment were recruited from senior citizen facilities in and around Chicago, Ill. Loneliness was assessed with a 5-item scale at baseline (mean ± SD, 2.3 ± 0.6) and annually thereafter. At death, a uniform postmortem examination of the brain was conducted to quantify AD pathology in multiple brain regions and the presence of cerebral infarctions.

The study found that the risk of Alzheimer’s disease was more than doubled in lonely persons compared with persons who were not lonely. The study also concluded that Loneliness is associated with an increased risk of late-life dementia but not with its leading causes.


Alzheimer’s Vaccine Patch Works in Mice

The Alzheimer’s vaccine being tested works by triggering the immune system to recognize and attack Ab — a protein that abnormally builds up in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

Source United Press International

Alzheimer’s vaccine patch works in mice

MIAMI, Jan. 22 (UPI) — A transdermal vaccine shows promise in treating the deadly memory-impairment disorder Alzheimer’s disease in mice, say U.S. researchers.

The needle-free approach appeared effective in clearing the Alzheimer’s-affected animals of the brain-damaging plaques that mark the disease, said researchers at the University of South Florida.

“While many groups have shown vaccinating against the beta amyloid protein (Ab) can reduce Alzheimer’s-like pathology including certain cognitive deficits, this study is the first to demonstrate that immunization using the skin may be an effective way to reduce Ab pathology,” said senior study author Jun Tan, director of the Neuroimmunology Laboratory at the Institute for Research in Psychiatry at USF.

The Alzheimer’s vaccine being tested works by triggering the immune system to recognize and attack Ab — a protein that abnormally builds up in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

“The beauty is that something as simple and non-invasive as a skin patch could potentially be a promising therapy for Alzheimer’s disease,” said study coauthor Terrence Town.

A transdermal treatment for the disease would also reduce the risk of adverse immune reactions, the researchers said.

The study is published online this week in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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