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Most Early Onset Dementia Not Alzheimer’s

“This is really a novel finding, because there hasn’t really been a study that’s looked at young-onset dementia in this way,” said study author Dr. Brendan J. Kelley, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “And the message is that young-onset dementia is generally not related to Alzheimer’s.”

For a more detailed report on early-onset Alzheimer’s, visit the U.S. Administration on Aging.

HealthDay News — The root cause of early-onset dementia is usually not Alzheimer’s, but rather another neurodegenerative or autoimmune disorder, new research suggests.

The study authors acknowledge that — age aside — the most common forms of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and the brain damage-associated condition known as Lewy body dementia. However, their current work indicates that among patients below the age of 45, the problem is much more likely to be traced back to diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s, lupus or HIV infection, among others.

“This is really a novel finding, because there hasn’t really been a study that’s looked at young-onset dementia in this way,” said study author Dr. Brendan J. Kelley, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “And the message is that young-onset dementia is generally not related to Alzheimer’s.”

The work of Kelley and his team was expected to be presented April 15 at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting, in Chicago.

The U.S. Administration on Aging highlights 2006 estimates released by the Alzheimer’s Association, which indicate that between 220,000 and 640,000 American men and women currently suffer from early-onset dementia. The association specifically defines “early-onset Alzheimer’s” as referring to cases that develop before the age of 65.

However, in their study, Kelley and his team focused exclusively on 235 patients diagnosed with a form of dementia diagnosed between the ages of 17 and 45 — citing statistics suggesting that 12 in 100,000 people develop some form of early-onset dementia before the age of 45.

All the study patients had sought care at the Mayo Clinic between 1996 and 2006, and all had normal cognitive function prior to their dementia diagnosis.

A medical record analysis revealed that despite the fact that most adult dementia is a function of Alzheimer’s, less than 2 percent of the cases among the under-45 group was attributable to that disease.

Kelley and his colleagues found that other neurodegenerative conditions — such as frontotemporal dementia, a group of diseases commonly misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s — were at play in almost one-third of the cases.

Autoimmune and inflammatory disorders — such as MS — accounted for just over 20 percent of the dementia cases. Metabolic abnormalities were cited in just over 10 percent of the diagnoses, while for another 20 percent, no cause for dementia could be established.

Kelley said his work is ongoing. And he added that he and his colleagues are now trying to identify specific disease markers for early-onset dementia to help physicians distinguish those cases prompted by causes other than Alzheimer’s.

“Because some of the other disorders linked to early dementia have treatable profiles that allow targeting not just of the symptoms but of the underlying disease process,” he noted. “So, we really should be looking to identify them quickly when they are the cause, because the research suggests that treatment could result in a direct improvement of the patient’s cognition and behavior.”

Greg M. Cole, associate director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, described the findings as “interesting, but not completely unexpected”.

“We know that Alzheimer’s gets rarer and rarer the younger you go,” he said. “So, when you’re focused as this study is on people between 17 and 45 — really before middle-age — it’s more likely you’ll find some other cause for the dementia, which can be a variety of different things.”

“But if you’re looking at these other autoimmune causes — multiple sclerosis, lupus, HIV — the real question is, can you treat any of this?,” pondered Cole. “Because you can get lupus and MS to go into remission. So, in this case, if patients are getting dementia caused by either disease, can the dementia also go into remission? If they can get that to happen, that would be very interesting.”

More information

For additional information on early-onset Alzheimer’s, visit the U.S. Administration on Aging.

 

New Book and Review: The Alzheimer’s Action Plan

“Most of us will either get Alzheimer’s or care for a loved one who has”


Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for The Alzheimer’s Action Plan:
“Evidence-based content, conversational writing, and a good dose of humor make this an outstanding addition to collections on aging and caregiving and an excellent companion to Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins’s The 36-Hour Day. Highly recommended.”
–Library Journal

“Dr. Doraiswamy has done a masterful job of communicating what the layman should know on the treatment, the care giving and, most important, the prevention of Alzheimer’s. It was gratifying to learn about the mountain of evidence that what is good for your heart is also good for your brain.”
–Arthur Agatston, M.D., cardiologist and #1 New York Times bestselling author of The South Beach Diet

“Memory does matter. Adults across the life cycle are asking questions, many questions! The authors answer these questions for the educated public, family members who encounter memory loss in a loved one, and even adults who believe they are experiencing early memory loss. The answers are comprehensive and understandable, no small accomplishment given the plethora of new information available—information that at times is not only confusing but also conflicting.”
–Dan G. Blazer, M.D., Ph.D., former Dean of Medical Education, Duke University School of Medicine; past President of the American Geriatrics Society

“If you and your family face the specter of Alzheimer’s disease, run – don’t walk – to get Lisa Gwyther’s help. She combines many years of experience with empathy and respect for the patient. That results in the most sensible, compassionate, and practical advice….She is my hero.”
–Naomi S. Boak, Executive Producer, Emmy Award-winning PBS special, “The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer’s”

“This book is the most comprehensive and up-to-date guide for the diagnosis and management of Alzheimer’s disease. Whether you are a health care professional or have Alzheimer’s in your family or are simply interested to living to an old age, this book is a must read.”
–Deepak Chopra, M.D., New York Times bestselling author of Perfect Health: The Complete Mind/Body Guide

“I love this book! A powerful and vital resource for people who need it the most. Dr. Doraiswamy is that unique blend of medical expertise mixed in with warmth and compassion topped off with humility that makes him rare and wonderful.”
–Leeza Gibbons, Emmy award-winning TV host and founder of Leeza’s Place and the Memory Foundation

“Lisa Gwyther is a national treasure. She has been a pioneer in providing innovative care and education for Alzheimer’s patients and their families for many years. Lisa’s long experience helping families cope with the challenges of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease makes her uniquely qualified to co-author this book. Families experiencing the new world of memory loss and Alzheimer’s couldn’t ask for a better companion for the journey. Her warmth, compassion, and wisdom shine through, and will help light the way.”
–Pat Lynch, Director of Communications, Alzheimer’s Center Program, National Institute on Aging

“The Alzheimer’s Action Plan provides a clear and compelling message that there is something we can all do about Alzheimer’s disease. The book presents accurate, up-to-date information and step-by-step recommendations that people with the disease, their families, and friends can use now to reduce the potentially devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease.”
–Katie Maslow, M.S.W., Associate Director of Quality Care Advocacy for the Alzheimer’s Association and winner of the 2003 ASA Award from the American Society on Aging

“Most of us will either get Alzheimer’s or care for a loved one who has. This action plan can empower you to make a difference.”
–Mehmet C. Oz, M.D., co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, You: The Owner’s Manual

“A readable, informative, and thorough guide to the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. I highly recommend it.”
–Peter Rabins, M.D., co-author of The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring For Persons with Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementing Illnesses, and Memory Loss in Later Life
“Dr. Murali Doraiswamy, one of America’s top memory and Alzheimer’s specialists, has packed this book with expert advice and compassionate wisdom, creating an indispensable guide for anyone concerned about their own memory or that of a loved one. Both accessible and comprehensive, this is a must-read not just for families, but for their doctors as well.”
–Gary Small, M.D., Director, UCLA Center on Aging, and author of The Memory Bible and The Longevity Bible

“The authors speak authoritatively, providing sound evidence for the points they make that is based on current understanding of Alzheimer’s disease, but the language they use and the tone of the book will make their advice and guidelines for Alzheimer’s care and treatment readily accessible to the public….Bravo on a job so well done!”
–John Q. Trojanowski, M.D., Ph.D., William Maul Measey-Truman G. Schnabel, Jr., M.D. Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, Center Co-Director and Director, Institute on Aging, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center

Product Description

Is it really Alzheimer’s? How to find out and intervene early to maintain the highest quality of life

“Most of us will either get Alzheimer’s or care for a loved one who has. This action plan can empower you to make a difference.”—Mehmet C. Oz, M.D.

What would you do if your mother was having memory problems?

Five million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, with a new diagnosis being made every seventy-two seconds. Millions more are worried or at risk due to mild memory loss or family history. Although experts agree that early diagnosis and treatment are essential, many people with memory loss and their families—and even their doctors—don’t know where to turn for authoritative, state-of-the-art advice and answers to all of their questions.

Now, combining the insights of a world-class physician and an award-winning social worker, this groundbreaking book tells you everything you need to know, including:

· The best tests to determine if this is—or is not—Alzheimer’s disease

· The most (and least) effective medical treatments

· Coping with behavioral and emotional changes through the early and middle stages

· Gaining access to the latest clinical trials

· Understanding the future of Alzheimer’s

Clear, compassionate, and empowering, The Alzheimer’s Action Plan is the first book that anyone dealing with mild memory loss or early Alzheimer’s must-read in order to preserve the highest possible quality of life for as long as possible.

 

Duke Experts On Aging Pen Alzheimer’s Guide

clipped from www.nbc17.com

Dr. Murali Doraiswamy and social worker Lisa Gwyther of Duke University have almost 40 years of combined experience working with and caring for Alzheimer’s patients and their families. Their new book, “The Alzheimer’s Action Plan,” was written to answer many of the questions they have received about diagnosis and treatment.

“Alzheimer’s is a very complex disease, so the more people know, and the more they know about how to approach this issue, the more in control they’ll feel and the less frightening it’ll be,” said Gwyther.

It also presents some hard facts about mistakes that are often made by healthcare professionals, whom Doraiswamy said often have varying levels of understanding of the disease.

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Teva can’t yet sell Alzheimer’s generic (Aricept)

My mother takes Aricept at a cost of about $160 a month. A generic versions of Aricept is sure to benefit millions and dramatically cut the cost of health care.

We use to pay over $100 a month for Zocor. The generic now runs $10 a month (since July 2007).

Drug developer Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. said Friday a U.S. District Court ordered Teva to tentatively refrain from selling a generic version of Eisai Co.’s Alzheimer’s treatment Aricept.

The tentative injunction by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey was requested by Japan’s Eisai as part of an ongoing lawsuit with Teva.

Teva has already gained tentative Food and and Drug Administration approval for the generic drug and could receive final approval April 26, when the mandatory stay of approval under the patent lawsuit expires. A trial date has not yet been set.

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How is Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosed?

clipped from www.nia.nih.gov

Today, the only definite way to diagnose AD is to find out whether there are plaques and tangles in brain tissue.

At specialized centers, doctors can diagnose AD correctly up to 90 percent of the time. Doctors use several tools to diagnose “probable” AD, including:

  • questions about the person’s general health, past medical problems, and ability to carry out daily activities;
  • tests to measure memory, problem solving, attention, counting, and language;
  • medical tests – such as tests of blood, urine, or spinal fluid; and
  • brain scans.
  • Why is early diagnosis important?

    An early, accurate diagnosis of AD helps patients and their families plan for the future. It gives them time to discuss care options while the patient can still take part in making decisions. Early diagnosis also offers the best chance to treat the symptoms of the disease.

    The course the disease takes and how fast changes occur vary from person to person.

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    Free Online Publications Alzheimer’s and Caregiving

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    National Institute on Aging Clinical Trials

    clipped from www.nia.nih.gov

    The Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical Trials Database is a joint project of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) maintained by the NIA’s Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center.

    Here you can search a database of clinical trials on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia currently in progress at sites throughout the U.S.:

    Search for Trials 

    Trials in the News 

    More Information:

  • AD Clinical Trials: Questions & Answers
  • To search further listings of clinical trials underway at the National Institutes of Health and other research institutions, go to Clinicaltrials.gov.
  • For information about submitting a clinical trial to the ADEAR database, send an e-mail to: trials@alzheimers.org.
  • To receive updates about new clinical trials, subscribe to e-mail alerts.
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