Not all dementia is Alzheimer’s

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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.

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A new study and here is what the researchers say:

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“It would be nice if we could draw a blood test when you’re 50 or 60, monitor you every five years, be alerted of your amyloid levels, and a pill or infusion that’s going to help stave off Alzheimer’s,” said Joseph Shimon Kass, M.D., director of neurology at Baylor College of Medicine’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center. “We’re nowhere near that, but this study brings us closer to that possibility.”

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Bloodtest for Alzheimer’s

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A team of researchers from Australia, the U.K. and Sweden has found a possible method to test blood samples for Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms appear. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes their testing system and its performance.

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Look me in the eyes

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Results from two studies show that a new, non-invasive imaging device can see signs of Alzheimer’s disease in a matter of seconds. The researchers show that the small blood vessels in the retina at the back of the eye are altered in patients with Alzheimer’s. Even patients who have a family history of Alzheimer’s but have no symptoms show these telltale signs.

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Skinny-fat may indicate Alzheimer’s

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You can’t tell how healthy someone is just by looking at them, but that doesn’t mean people don’t make assumptions, especially when they’re factoring in weight. But what about people who are “skinny-fat”? According to a new study, this body type, which is characterized by a combination of high fat mass and low muscle mass, may actually be worse for your health than obesity alone.

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Watch out for your friends and family

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The early signs of Alzheimer’s centre around forgetfulness, which means that often loved ones – whether partners, family or friends – are best-placed to notice behavioral changes. Encouraging your partner to see his or her GP as early as possible is advisable.

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Major fix for Alzheimer’s found

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Scientists have recently made a major discovery that could lead to a breakthrough in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. A recent study published in Nature Medicine reports that researchers were able to identify the primary genetic risk factor the development of the disease, and they even figured out a potential way to neutralize the risk factor.

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New biomarkers for Alzheimer’s found

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Research from the University of Texas at San Antonio suggests that the plaques that cause the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease may be more complicated than previously believed, a finding that could significantly affect drug development for the disease.

Researchers found that in addition to the sticky proteins called amyloid beta, other neural and repair proteins also exist within the plaques, indicating new biomarkers for the disease that affects more than 5 million people in the United States.

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Forgetting one thing is not the same as forgetting another thing

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Most people associate dementia with short-term memory loss; someone with the condition can’t remember the prime minister’s name or where they left their car keys. But that inability to recall simple facts is not the only early sign of dementia, says Dr Selina Wray, Alzheimer’s Research UK senior research fellow and winner of the Alzheimer’s Research UK David Hague Early Career Investigator of the Year Award 2018.

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Big brother may come to watch over you

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Spotting the first indications of Alzheimer’s years before any obvious symptoms come on could help pinpoint people most likely to benefit from experimental drugs and allow family members to plan for eventual care. Devices equipped with such algorithms could be installed in people’s homes or in long-term care facilities to monitor those at risk. For patients who already have a diagnosis, such technology could help doctors make adjustments in their care.

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