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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

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Xel Pharmaceuticals Announces Successful Completion of Prototype Once-A-Week Huperzine A Transdermal Patch for Alzheimer’s Disease

People come to this site all the time looking for information on Huperzine A. It is very popular search.

Xel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced today the completion of the development of its once-a-week Huperzine A transdermal patch for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). The prototype transdermal patch can deliver 400–800 mcg of Huperzine A per day for up to seven days.

This is a prototype and is not currently available for purchase.

Huperzine A Factsheet (Alzheimer’s)

Note: the clinical trial of Huperzine A is closed but here is the link to the trial information..Huperzine A in Alzheimer’s Disease-The Clinical Trial

Xel Pharmaceuticals Announces Successful Completion of Prototype Once-A-Week Huperzine A Transdermal Patch for Alzheimer’s Disease

Xel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced today the completion of the development of its once-a-week Huperzine A transdermal patch for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). The prototype transdermal patch can deliver 400–800 mcg of Huperzine A per day for up to seven days. Huperzine A is a naturally occurring alkaloid found from the club moss Huperzia serrata that has been used for decades in China as a prescription medication for the treatment of dementia. Huperzine A is a potent, highly selective and reversible inhibitor of acetyl cholinesterase. Additionally, Huperzine A has anti-oxidative properties and possesses neuro-protective properties against glutamate that induce neuronal toxicity at the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor.

Dr. Danyi Quan, Chief Scientific Officer of Xel, said, “The failure of recent Phase III clinical trials for AD treatment may cast some new doubt on that theory as well as on other experimental drugs. In addition, some new Alzheimer drugs show potential risks including serious side effects. However, the clinical studies performed in China to-date showed Huperzine A to be more effective than other cholinesterase inhibitors currently on the market, and the US clinical Phase II trials with Huperzine A oral tablets conducted by the nation’s leader in AD therapy, Dr. Paul Aisen, clearly demonstrated the efficacy and safety of Huperzine A in the treatment of patients with AD.”

“In the past 10 years, there have been limits and some real difficulties in finding a good candidate from existing western medicines to develop transdermal drug delivery systems. However, many drug candidates derived from botanic sources with proven safety and efficacy data are available for further development, which now has become a fast and effective way for us to select candidates for designing our advanced drug delivery systems. Huperzine A is one of our most promising and successful transdermal products. Its low therapeutic dose and molecular weight makes Huperzine A ideal for transdermal drug delivery. Our once-a-week transdermal patch is a clearly preferable treatment method to AD patients and caregivers. The prototype Huperzine A transdermal patch is ready for IND filing and further development.” Dr. Quan added.

According to Mr. Wade Xiong, President and CEO of Xel, “We are delighted to announce the completion of the development of our prototype Huperzine A transdermal patch. Xel has two world renowned scientists, Dr. Dinesh C. Patel and Dr. Danyi Quan, both of whom pioneer in transdermal delivery technology. As our Chairman of the Board, Dr. Patel also was the past founder of transdermal drug delivery pioneer TheraTech, Inc. (now Watson Pharmaceuticals). Xel’s business strategy is to identify compounds having proven safety and efficacy, and to further develop advanced drug delivery systems in order to provide better delivery profiles as well as patent protection. Currently, Xel has several co-development and licensing opportunities available for major pharmaceutical companies.”

 

Vitamin B12 May Protect Against Brain Shrinkage in Baby Boomers

These findings should be of special interest to baby boomers now entering their 60s. It could be a good idea to consult with a physician about B-12 shots.

A study conducted by researchers at the Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing (OPTIMA) found that people with higher levels of vitamin B12 were six times less likely to experience brain volume loss.

Vitamin B12, a nutrient found in meat, fish and milk, may protect against brain volume loss in older people. The researchers studied 107 volunteers age 61 to 87 who did not have cognitive impairment when they volunteered. The volunteers underwent yearly MRI brain scans, cognitive and memory tests and physical exams for five years.

This study suggests that simply adjusting our diets to consume more vitamin B12 through eating meat, fish, fortified cereals or milk may be something we can easily adjust to prevent brain shrinkage and so perhaps save our memory, says Anna Vogiatzoglou of the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics at Oxford University. Research shows that vitamin B12 deficiency is a public health problem, especially among the elderly, so more vitamin B12 intake could help reverse this problem. Without carrying out a clinical trial, we acknowledge that it is still not known whether B12 supplementation would actually make a difference in elderly persons at risk for brain shrinkage.


Vitamin B12 may protect the brain in old age

Vitamin B12, a nutrient found in meat, fish and milk, may protect against brain volume loss in older people, according to a University of Oxford study.

For the study, 107 people between the ages of 61 and 87 underwent brain scans, memory testing and physical exams. The researchers from the Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing (OPTIMA) also collected blood samples to check vitamin B12 levels. Brain scans and memory tests were also performed again five years later.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, found that people who had higher vitamin B12 levels were six times less likely to experience brain shrinkage compared with those who had lower levels of the vitamin in their blood. None of the people in the study had vitamin B12 deficiency.

Many factors that affect brain health are thought to be out of our control, but this study suggests that simply adjusting our diets to consume more vitamin B12 through eating meat, fish, fortified cereals or milk may be something we can easily adjust to prevent brain shrinkage and so perhaps save our memory,” says Anna Vogiatzoglou of the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics at Oxford University. “Research shows that vitamin B12 deficiency is a public health problem, especially among the elderly, so more vitamin B12 intake could help reverse this problem. Without carrying out a clinical trial, we acknowledge that it is still not known whether B12 supplementation would actually make a difference in elderly persons at risk for brain shrinkage.”

Previous research on the vitamin has had mixed results and few studies have been done specifically with brain scans in elderly populations. We tested for vitamin B12 levels in a unique, more accurate way by looking at two certain markers for it in the blood,” adds Ms Vogiatzoglou.

Ms Vogiatzoglou says the study did not look at whether taking vitamin B12 supplements would have the same effect on memory.

The study was supported by the UK Alzheimer’s Research Trust, the Medical Research Council, the Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust, the Norwegian Foundation for Health and Rehabilitation through the Norwegian Health Association, Axis-Shield plc and the Johan Throne Holst Foundation for Nutrition Research.

For more information please contact Professor David Smith on david.smith@pharm.ox.ac.uk

Or the Press Office, University of Oxford, 01865 280528, press.office@admin.ox.ac.uk.

* OPTIMA, the Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing, is tackling one of the great medical and social challenges of our time: the diseases of the ageing brain. It aims to deepen our understanding of the changes that occur in the brain as we age, in a longitudinal study of normal volunteers and patients with memory problems. In revealing the differences between normal brain ageing and diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, OPTIMA will lay the foundations for the development of new forms of prevention and treatment. http://www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/optima

* Oxford University’s Medical Sciences Division is one of the largest biomedical research centres in Europe. It represents almost one-third of Oxford University’s income and expenditure, and two-thirds of its external research income. Oxford’s world-renowned global health programme is a leader in the fight against infectious diseases (such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and avian flu) and other prevalent diseases (such as cancer, stroke, heart disease and diabetes). Key to its success is a long-standing network of dedicated Wellcome Trust-funded research units in Asia (Thailand, Laos and Vietnam) and Kenya, and work at the MRC Unit in The Gambia. Long-term studies of patients around the world are supported by basic science at Oxford and have led to many exciting developments, including potential vaccines for tuberculosis, malaria and HIV, which are in clinical trials.

Original content the Alzheimer’s Reading Room

 

UCSF Memory and Aging Center

I just visited the UCSF Memory and Aging Center for the first time. This new YouTube channel set up by UCSF is designed to educate patients, caregivers and health professionals about the various forms of neurodegenerative diseases. This is a great new vehicle and you can subscribe for free.

You can go to the website for a video that explains their mission.

Go here to learn more about Alzheimer’s and Frontotemporal Dementia.

This video caught my attention: Loss of moral reasoning and sense of self. While I have not experienced this problem with my mother, I am often asked about moral reasoning and how to deal with this.

 

Researchers link cocoa flavanols to improved brain blood flow

I am always looking for alternatives that might help my mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Today, I read about how cocoa flavanols improve blood flow to the brain. I intend to try this and see if there are any identifiable benefits.

In a scientific study of healthy, older adults ages 59 to 83, Harvard medical scientists found that study participants who regularly drank a cocoa flavanol-rich beverage made using the Mars, Incorporated Cocoapro® process had an eight percent increase in brain blood flow after one week, and 10 percent increase after two weeks.

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Researchers link cocoa flavanols to improved brain blood flow

Cocoa flavanols, the unique compounds found naturally in cocoa, may increase blood flow to the brain, according to new research published in the Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment journal. The researchers suggest that long-term improvements in brain blood flow could impact cognitive behavior, offering future potential for debilitating brain conditions including dementia and stroke.

In a scientific study of healthy, older adults ages 59 to 83, Harvard medical scientists found that study participants who regularly drank a cocoa flavanol-rich beverage made using the Mars, Incorporated Cocoapro® process had an eight percent increase in brain blood flow after one week, and 10 percent increase after two weeks.

In this first-of-its-kind study, the researchers found both short and long-term benefits of cocoa flavanols for brain blood flow, offering future potential for the one in seven older Americans currently living with dementia. When the flow of blood to the brain slows over time, the result may be structural damage and dementia. Scientists speculate that maintaining an increased blood flow to the brain could slow this cognitive decline.

“The totality of the research on cocoa flavanols is impressive. This is just one more study adding to an increasing body of literature connecting regular cocoa flavanol consumption to blood flow and vascular health improvements throughout the body,” said Harold Schmitz, Ph.D., chief science officer at Mars, Incorporated, which has supported research on cocoa flavanols for more than 15 years. “Though more research is needed, these findings raise the possibility that flavanol-rich cocoa products could be developed to help slow brain decline in older age.”

The Body of Evidence
Contrary to statements often made in the popular media, the collective research demonstrates that the vascular effects of cocoa flavanols are independent of general “antioxidant” effects that cocoa flavanols exhibit in a test tube, outside of the body. While research aimed at studying the potential role of cocoa flavanols in the context of blood vessel and circulatory function continues, a number of previously published studies already suggest that the consumption of cocoa flavanols can have important beneficial effects on the function of the body’s network of blood vessels. The body of research not only suggests that cocoa flavanols may provide a dietary approach to maintaining cardiovascular function and health, but also points at new possibilities for cocoa flavanol-based interventions for vascular complications associated with cognitive performance, skin health and age-related blood vessel dysfunction.

Future Cocoa Flavanol Research Directions
For more than 15 years, Mars, Incorporated has conducted and/or supported a significant portion of the research undertaken in the field of cocoa flavanols and reported new insights in peer-reviewed scientific literature. Working in collaboration with top research institutions around the world, Mars, Incorporated continues to lead the way in exploring the nutritional and medical potential of cocoa flavanols. Mars’ commitment to rigorous scientific research of cocoa and flavanols is evidenced by more than 100 peer-reviewed research publications and more than 80 patents held by the company. Mars also developed and patented the breakthrough process called Cocoapro® that helps retain more of the naturally occurring flavanols in cocoa. The high-flavanol cocoa powders made using the Mars Cocoapro® process are thoroughly characterized in terms of nutrient content, as well as standardized with respect to flavanol level and flavanol profile. Through the newly created Mars Botanical division, Mars will continue to develop and apply industry-leading analytical techniques and standards to further investigate the biomedical potential of cocoa flavanols. For more information on the many research studies on cocoa flavanols, visit http://www.healthycocoa.com.

Source: Sorond FA, Lipsitz LA, Hollenberg NK, Fisher NDL. Cerebral blood flow response to flavanol-rich cocoa in healthy elderly humans. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. 2008;4:433-440.
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About Mars, Incorporated
Mars, Incorporated, headquartered in McLean, Virginia is a family-owned company with a strong commitment to science-based research. With more than 15 years of research into the health effects of cocoa flavanols, and decades of research invested into improving the cocoa plant and farming techniques, Mars, Incorporated has become the global leader in cocoa research. For more information, visit http://www.cocoapro.com. For more information about the Mars, Incorporated cocoa sustainability program, visit http://www.cocoasustainability.mars.com.

About Mars Botanical
Mars Botanical, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, is a newly-established division of Mars, Incorporated. The mission of Mars Botanical is to further develop leading edge science and technologies in the field of phytonutrients with the goal of creating new plant-derived products aimed at improving human health, and do so in a sustainable way that helps both farming communities and their local environment. Mars, Incorporated scientists and colleagues at leading research institutions are dedicated to unlocking the full nutritional and medical potential of cocoa flavanols. For more information, visit http://www.marsbotanical.com.

 
 

Exercise May Prevent Brain Shrinkage in Early Alzheimer’s Disease


Mild Alzheimer’s disease patients with higher physical fitness had larger brains compared with mild Alzheimer’s patients with lower physical fitness, according to a study published in the July 15 issue of Neurology.



Physical Fitness May Slow Alzheimer’s

Getting a lot of exercise may help slow brain shrinkage in people with early Alzheimer’s disease, a preliminary study suggests. Analysis found that participants who were more physically fit had less brain shrinkage than less-fit participants. However, they didn’t do significantly better on tests for mental performance.

That was a surprise, but maybe the study had too few patients to make an effect show up in the statistical analysis, said Dr. Jeffrey Burns, one of the study’s authors.

He also stressed that the work is only a starting point for exploring whether exercise and physical fitness can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. The study can’t prove an effect because the participants were evaluated only once rather than repeatedly over time, he said.

While brains shrink with normal aging, the rate is doubled in people with Alzheimer’s, he said.

Burns, who directs the Alzheimer and Memory Program at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City, reports the work with colleagues in Tuesday’s issue of the journal Neurology.

The study included 57 people with early Alzheimer’s. Their physical fitness was assessed by measuring their peak oxygen demand while on a treadmill, and brain shrinkage was estimated by MRI scans.

Dr. Sam Gandy, who chairs the medical and scientific advisory council of the Alzheimer’s Association, said the result fits in with previous indications that things people do to protect heart health can also pay off for the brain.

 

Lack of good HDL Cholesterol Linked to Memory Loss

If you are genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s by birth you might want to take a close look at this article and video.

My mother falls into this category so it does concern me.

clipped from health.usnews.com

News today that low levels of the “good” HDL cholesterol raises a person’s risk of memory loss and memory loss and dementia may send many folks rushing to their doctor for a cholesterol check. Indeed, the findings are pretty scary. Study participants with the lowest HDL levels—defined as less than 40 mg/dL—were 53 percent more likely to perform poorly on short-term memory tests compared to those with high HDL, defined as 60 mg/dL or greater. (These healthy participants were age 61, on average, experiencing the earliest signs of dementia that typically start in middle age.) Those whose HDL levels plunged over the six-year study also experienced a decrease in the number of words they were able to recall on the memory test, says study leader Archana Singh-Manoux, senior research fellow in epidemiology at the University College London.

The Good and the Bad
Video: Cholesterol: The Good and the Bad
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