For the first time since Alzheimer’s disease was described 109 years ago, researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) have found build-ups of fat droplets in the brain of people who have died from the disease and have figured out the nature of the fat. "We found fatty acid deposits in the brain of patients who died from the disease and in mice that were genetically modified to develop Alzheimer's disease.
A new study found that people who will develop dementia may start to become unaware of their memory problems two to three years before the actual onset of the disease. The study also found that several dementia-related brain changes are linked with the decrease in memory awareness. “Our findings suggest that unawareness of one’s memory problems in an inevitable feature of late-life dementia, driven by a buildup of dementia-related changes in the brain,” said study author Robert S. Wilson, PhD, with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
The World Alzheimer Report 2015, which was commissioned by Alzheimer’s Disease International, has found that 46.8 million people worldwide have dementia. This number is predicted to reach 131.5 million by the year 2050. The report also revealed that the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease cases has accelerated in East Asia and Africa compared to predictions six years ago. The researchers believe that this is due to the proportional growth of older populations in developing countries. However, the amount of new and existing cases among people in the Americas and Europe has decreased.
In a recent study, researchers gathered and analyzed data from over 300 studies to determine the most common risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. They found that about two-thirds of global cases of Alzheimer’s disease were linked to nine risk factors: obesity, carotid artery narrowing, low educational attainment, depression, high blood pressure, frailty, smoking habits, high levels of homocysteine (an amino acid), and type 2 diabetes in the Asian population.
A policy paper recently published in The Lancet Neurology suggests that the occurrence of dementia seems to be stabilizing in some European countries despite population aging. Over the past 20 to 30 years, five large studies on dementia occurrence were conducted in Sweden, the Netherlands, the U.K. and Spain using similar diagnostic techniques.