Lysosomes, the “garbage disposal” systems of cells are found in large amounts close to the amyloid plaques in the brain that are a major characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists have long believed that their presence was beneficial as they were breaking down the toxic proteins that initiate amyloid plaque formation. However, in Alzheimer’s patients, these lysosomes do not function properly. They may even play a causative role in the disease, according to new research from Yale University.
Le Soleil, a Quebec City newspaper recently conducted an investigative report, which revealed that 30-50% of seniors with dementia residing in Quebec’s long-term care homes are prescribed antipsychotic medications. That number should be closer to 10%, according to Philippe Voyer, a registered nurse and professor of nursing science at Université Laval. “The side effects of these drugs and the limitations of their efficacy are well-known, but the problem is we still use it a lot among people with dementia in long-term care facilities,” said Voyer.
For 18 years, Kumar Rajan, Associate Professor of Internal medicine at Rush University Medical Center and his team monitored 2,125 older adults who did not have dementia. Every three years, the researchers administered mental skills tests to the participants and evaluated these results over time. They found that those who went on to develop Alzheimer’s disease exhibited lower scores on their tests through the study period. Their scores progressively decreased with each test.
On Tuesday, Nova Scotia’s Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine announced a new three-year plan to enhance care for people with dementia. The plan includes low-cost measures such as updating a telephone helpline for caregivers and developing information for medical professionals to improve diagnosis and treatment. An education campaign will also be created within the next year, which will inform the public about the disease and look at how to educate caregivers and families through the Alzheimer Society.
Previous findings has shown that people with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing dementia than non-diabetics. Neurologist Michael Heneka, and demographers Anne Fink and Gabriele Doblhammer conducted a recent study to examine the effect of antidiabetic medication on this risk. Their study confirmed that diabetics have a greater risk of developing dementia, and showed that treatment with pioglitazone significantly reduced the risk of dementia.