Monday, 19 January 2015

SAT/24JAN15 3.00PM - Talk on Challenges In Caring Dementia Sufferers By Dr Yau Weng Keong at Sunway Damansara Residents' Association

To All Caregivers,

We will be having a Talk to Members of the Sunway Damansara Residents’ Association on:

DATE/DAY:   Saturday, 24 January 2015
TIME:             3.00pm – 5.00pm (3-4pm Talk and 4-5pm Q&As)
VENUE:         28th Residency, Sunway Damansara Residents’ Association, Sunway      Damansara, 47810 Petaling Jaya

The Speaker, DR YAU WENG KEONG, FRCP(Lond), is a registered Geriatrician with the Ministry of Health (MOH) since 2000 and had been working as a Physician and Geriatrician since 1997.

​Dr Yau has been involved in starting the Post-Basic Gerontology Nursing under MOH and instrumental in helping UPM, IMU and RCSI Perdana University to start and run their “Health Care for the Elderly” undergraduate programme. He sits in various ​elderly care committees, including National Specialist Registry for Geriatric Medicine.

Currently, Dr Yau is a Consultant Physician and Geriatrician with the Geriatric Unit, Department of Medicine, Hospital Kuala Lumpur.

Our Caregivers are encouraged to attend the above talk which will be held at the premises of the Association.

Compulsory RegistrationEmail to with full name/s, mobile contacts and indicate whether you are a caregiver or healthcare worker, etc..  More details, call Jenny/Michael at Tel:  03 7931 5850.

Closing Date:  Friday, 23 January before 12.00pm.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Has Stanford University Found A Cure for Alzheimer's Disease?

Scientists at Stanford University believe Alzheimer's disease could be prevented and even cured by boosting the brain's own immune response.

Researchers discovered that nerve cells die because cells which are supposed to clear the brain of bacteria, viruses and dangerous deposits, stop working.

These cells, called 'microglia' functioned well when people are young, but when they age, a single protein called EP2 stops them operating efficiently.

Now scientists have shown that blocking the protein allows the microglia to function normally again so they can hoover up the dangerous sticky amyloid-beta plaques which damage nerve cells in Alzheimer's disease.

The researchers found that, in mice, blocking EP2 with a drug reversed memory loss and myriad other Alzheimer’s-like features in the animals.

“Microglia are the brain’s beat cops,” said Dr Katrin Andreasson, Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine.
“Our experiments show that keeping them on the right track counters memory loss and preserves healthy brain physiology.”

By 2015 there will be 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with Alzheimer's disease being the most common type. The disease kills at least 60,000 people each year.

Microglial cells make up around 10 to 15 per cent of cells in the brain. They act as a frontline defence, looking for suspicious activities and materials. When they spot trouble, they release substances that recruit other microglia to the scene which then destroy and get rid of any foreign invaders.

They also work as garbage collectors, chewing up dead cells and molecular debris strewn among living cells including clusters of amyloid-beta which aggregate as gummy deposits and break the connections between neurons, causing loss of memory and spatial awareness. These clusters are believed to play a substantial role in causing Alzheimer’s.

“The microglia are supposed to be, from the get-go, constantly clearing amyloid-beta, as well as keeping a lid on inflammation,” added Dr Andreasson. “If they lose their ability to function, things get out of control. A-beta builds up in the brain, inducing toxic inflammation.”

The scientists discovered that in young mice, the microglia kept the sticky plaques under control. But when experiments were done on older mice, the protein EP2 swung into action and stopped the microglia producing enzymes which digested the plaques.

Similarly mice which were genetically engineered not to have EP2 did not develop Alzheimer's disease, even when injected with a solution of amyloid-beta, suggesting that their cells were getting rid of the protein naturally.
And for those mice who developed Alzheimer's, blocking EP2 reversed memory decline.

Now Stanford is hoping to produce a compound which only blocks EP2 to prevent unnecessary side effects.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

 (Source:  The Telegraph, 27 December 2014)

Saturday, 20 December 2014


In the standing on one leg with eyes closed test, men and women able to hold the position for less than two seconds were three times more likely to die than those who could hold it for ten seconds or more
Balancing on one leg may indicate if a person is at risk of dementia or stroke, a study has found.

Scientists found that an inability to stand on one leg for more than 20 seconds was associated with micro-bleeds and "silent" strokes.

Although the brain injuries were too small to cause symptoms, scientists warned they could indicate growing problems.

Silent strokes, or lacunar infarction's, are known to increase the risk of both full-blown strokes and dementia.

Lead researcher Dr Yasuharu Tabara, from Kyoto University in Japan, said: "Our study found that the ability to balance on one leg is an important test for brain health.

"Individuals showing poor balance on one leg should receive increased attention, as this may indicate an increased risk for brain disease and cognitive decline."

The scientists looked at 841 women and 546 men with an average age of 67 who were asked to stand with their eyes open and one leg raised up for a maximum of 60 seconds.

Participants performed the test twice and the better of the two times was used in the study analysis.

They also had magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to assess their levels of cerebral small vessel disease, which can interfere with blood flow in the brain.

The research, published in the journal Stroke, showed that 34.5 of those with more than two lacunar infarction lesions had trouble balancing.
The same was true for 16 per cent of participants with one lacunar infarction lesion and 30 per cent of men and women with more than two sites of micro-bleeding.

"One-leg standing time is a simple measure of postural instability and might be a consequence of the presence of brain abnormalities," said Dr Tabara.

Earlier in the year researchers at the Medical Research Council found that standing on one leg may predict which 53-year-olds at risk of early death.

Men aged 53 years old who could balance on one leg for more than ten seconds and stand up and sit down in a chair more than 37 times in a minute were found to be least at risk of dying early by the researchers.
Women of the same age who could stand up and sit down more than 35 times in a minute and stand on one leg for more than ten seconds were also at the lowest risk compared to those who performed less well.

(Source:  The Telegraph, by Sarah Knapton, Science Editor, 18 December  2014)

Colombia Village's 'Curse' Could Hold Alzheimer's Cure

When John Jairo, a meticulous night watchman, lost his job for leaving all of his employer's doors open, his family knew they were hit by the "Yarumal curse."

Yarumal, a Colombian village perched in the Andes Mountains, has a high incidence of a genetic mutation that predisposes its population to Alzheimer's - a bleak heritage that scientists now hope could help lead to a treatment to prevent the disease.

Jairo is just 49 but his brain has already been gnawed away by Alzheimer's, a disease caused by toxic proteins that destroy brain cells, leading to memory loss and death.

Emaciated, he gazes vacantly at his daughter Jennifer, who at 18 years old already fears his fate.

"I'm constantly afraid it will happen to me. Whenever I lose something, I tell myself it's because I've already got it," she said.

Her father, "who used to be so happy," has been reduced to a restless, sometimes aggressive ghost of himself, who tries to escape the house day and night, she said.

Last year, a neighbor with the same condition slipped out without anyone noticing. His family found him frozen to death in the hills nearby.

Inherited from the village's European ancestors, the "paisa" genetic mutation -- named for the residents of the Colombian province of Antioquia - causes a devastating form of early-onset Alzheimer's.

A single parent can hand down the mutation, located on the 14th chromosome.

Those who have it have a 50 percent chance of developing Alzheimer's, sometimes by age 40.

In some families, parents and children have progressed through the illness together, from memory loss to dementia.

But a talented neurologist named Francisco Lopera, who grew up in Yarumal, hopes there is a blessing in the village's curse.

'Brain Bank'

Neurobanco is Colombia's only brain bank and a mainstay for global research on brain diseases, with a donation of 234 brains stored at -80 degrees Celcius, many of which belonged to Alzheimer patients (AFP Photo/Raul Arboleda)

Thirty years ago, Lopera, the Head of the Neuroscience Program at the University of Antioquia, set himself an ambitious mission: to find a treatment to prevent Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia in the world.

"Most treatments have failed because they're administered too late. Our strategy is to intervene before the disease destroys the brain," said Lopera.

For several months, he has been testing an experimental drug on a group of 300 healthy patients aged 30 to 60 years old who have the paisa mutation.

The results are expected around 2020.

The trials are part of a $100 million project financed by the National Institutes of Health and Banner Research Institute in the United States, as well as Swiss pharmaceutical group Roche.

The active molecule in Lopera's drug targets the beta-amyloid proteins that attack the brain.

The stakes are high worldwide: more than 36 million people suffer from Alzheimer's and, without a cure, the number could rise to 66 million in 2030 and 115 million in 2050, according to the World Health Organization.

That's nearly one new case every four seconds - three times the rate of HIV infections.

"We don't know what causes Alzheimer's, but for one percent of the cases worldwide, it's genetic in origin. And that opens a very important window toward finding a preventive treatment," said Lopera, who estimates 5,000 people are at risk in and around Yarumal.

At his university, a small room filled with refrigerators and formaldehyde jars holds a "brain bank" created with organ donations from local residents -- an invaluable research source.

"It was very hard for them to accept, in addition to their suffering, donating their loved ones' brains," said Lucia Madrigal, a nurse in the neuroscience department who organizes cognitive stimulation workshops for patients.

"But without that social link, the scientific project could never have seen the light of day," she said.

Herself a fit 60 something with no plans to retire, she has lived Yarumal's nightmare along with residents.

"Some say they'd rather kill themselves. Then they get sick and they forget," she said.

Marta, an energetic 72 year-old grandmother from Yarumal, who has settled in the regional capital Medellin, said she is praying for Lopera's treatment to work.

Two of her daughters, aged 43 and 47, are suffering memory loss and "becoming small children again," she said.

Another daughter, 53-year-old Alitee, is "just a body" who drinks from a baby bottle.

"I've trusted my children to God. It's his decision," she said.

(Source:  AFP - By Philippe Zygel, December 18, 2014 12:01 PM)

Monday, 17 November 2014



new dementia training and daycare centre



Under His Royal Patronage
DYMM Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Al-Haj, Sultan of Selangor

FRIDAY, 5 DECEMBER 2014, 7.30pm – 10.00pm


In Performance:


Led by Malaysian Conductor, Eugene Pook

Guest Stars:

Celebrated Violinist, Huang Bin 
Malaysia Famous Singer/Songwriter, Najwa Mahiaddin 

Ticket Prices: 
 RM500, RM300 and Special RM50 Ticket Price (for normal RM200 Ticket) at upper tier.

More information, ticket purchase and confirmation, please contact ADFM Secretariat at: 03 – 7956 2008 / 7931 5850 or email:

It is hoped that the fund raising project, Konsert Amal DiRaya - Forget Me Not, for the construction of a new Dementia Training and Care Centre will enable ADFM to extend its services to benefit more AD sufferers and their carers.  

Our heartfelt thanks to you for your support over the years.  We hope that you will continue to support ADFM in this worthy cause.

Your support and donations in cash or in kind are welcome.  All donations are tax deductible. 

Thank you.

Thursday, 6 November 2014


A gentle reminder to register early for the November Monthly Talk and Sharing Session for Caregivers and families on:


Sleep Disorders are common among Malaysians, but are often under diagnosed or mis-diagnosed. Disorders that will be covered include insomnia, and daytime hypersomnolence due to narcolepsy, and night time behavioural disturbances.

The Speaker, Prof Dato Dr Raymond Azman Ali in his talk will also be talking about SLEEP HYGIENE, an often neglected aspect of healthy lifestyle.

DAY / DATE:   Saturday, 15 November 2014
TIME:   2.00PM – 5.00pm
VENUE:   ADFM PJ Day Care Centre, No. 6 Lorong 11/8E, 46200 Petaling Jaya

The Speaker, Prof Dato Dr Raymond Azman Ali, a Senior Consultant Neurologist, is the Dean, Medical Faculty and Director UKM Medical Centre, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.

Compulsory Registration – kindly complete the Registration Form and email to or register via email with complete details of names, email/mobile contacts and indicate whether you are a caregiver or healthcare worker, etc.

Kindly register early for our refreshment and logistic arrangement. 

See all of you soon.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014


(Source:  The Sunday Star, 28 September 2014, contributed by Geriatricians, Dr Rizah Mazzuin Razali & Dr Alan Pok Wen Kin of Hospital Kuala Lumpur in conjunction with Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation Malaysia’s Royal Charity Concert “Konsert Amal DiRaja - Forget Me Not”  to be held on 5 December 2014 at the Plenary Hall, KLCC, in celebration of the 69th Birthday of his Royal Highness The Sultan of Selangor, DYMM Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Al-Haj, to raise funds for the building of a Dementia Training and Care Centre in Section One, Petaling Jaya. 

The 72-piece Orchestra to be led by Malaysian Conductor, Eugene Pook will feature the renowned Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, with special guest stars, multiple award winning singer-songwriter Najwa Mahiaddin and prize-winning violinist, Huang Bin. For event enquiries, please call ADFM at 03-7956 2008/7958 3008 or email For ticketing enquiries, call TicketCharge at 03-9222 8811 or visit

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain which causes gradual depletion of brain cells and resultant loss of mental capability.

The personality and behavioural changes of loved ones who suffer Alzheimer’s disease are often incomprehensible to family members, oftentimes leading to conflicts and dilemmas.

Aloysius Alzheimer, a German neuro-pathologist, first described this illness in 1907 in Auguste Deter, a 51-year-old lady who had been experiencing memory, language, as well as psychological problems like hallucination and disorientation.

After she passed away, the postmortem of her brain showed presence of abnormal protein deposits that have now become synonymous with Alzheimer’s disease.

These abnormal proteins result in loss of connection between nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain, and eventually, lead to the death of these cells.

Anatomically, the hippocampus is one of many areas in the brain that play a big role in encoding new memories, and it is one of the first regions of the brain to suffer damage in Alzheimer’s.

Generally, there are three types of Alzheimer’s disease: young-onset that occurs at age 60 years or younger, which is fortunately rare; late-onset, which is the most common type occurring at age 60 and above; and familial Alzheimer’s disease, entirely inherited and occurs at a much younger age, often in the 40s.

The worldwide prevalence of dementia is estimated to be around 30 million people, with 4.6 million affected annually.

The forecasted rate of increase is estimated to be more than 300% in India, China, South Asia and the Western Pacific, including Malaysia, where the prevalence of the elderly with Alzheimer’s disease is likely to exponentially increase with the increasing ageing of the population, resulting in substantial financial and social impact on our society.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain, which causes gradual depletion of brain cells and resultant loss of mental capability.

The most prominent feature of this disease is short-term memory loss.

Events from long ago are remembered well, but those that have occurred recently are recalled with difficulty.

Those with Alzheimer’s may constantly repeat themselves, and forget things that transpired just moments ago.

They may also frequently misplace belongings such as their glasses, keys and money.

Other symptoms include problems with language, which may present as difficulty in finding the right word for everyday objects; being unable to recognize familiar faces or items; losing the ability to use familiar tools and objects; and having trouble performing complex tasks such as driving and banking.

These features may begin very subtly at first, but become more obvious as the disease progresses.

As people with Alzheimer’s deteriorate, they will find it more and more challenging to manage their day-to-day lives.

They will first lose skills that have been acquired over their lifetime, such as managing finances, cooking meals or using a phone.

At more advanced stages, relatively simple activities such as bathing, dressing and toileting, will be impaired.

The rate of progression of Alzheimer’s disease varies from person to person.

However, there is a persistent and inexorable decline from minimal deficit to complete dependence, at which time the person will lose the ability to walk, speak and control their bladder and bowels.

Death occurs at the end, usually from infections such as pneumonia.

The time a person with Alzheimer’s has from symptom onset to death, is between five and 15 years (average eight to 10 years).

A person with Alzheimer’s may also present with behavioural changes and psychiatric manifestations.

The person’s mood may be affected, with the person experiencing depression, anxiety or apathy, or he may develop psychosis, with hallucinations and delusional thoughts.

Some people become disinhibited or aggressive, and others may exhibit purposeless repetitive behaviour, such as constantly fidgeting or wandering aimlessly at night.

Generally, disturbing conduct becomes more common in moderately severe disease.

The enormous physical, psychological and financial impact on the caregivers, however, are not often understood by friends and relatives.

Caregivers may not know how to get help or are sometimes embarrassed by these bizarre behaviours of their loved ones.

Too often, they try to handle such difficult situations on their own, and this usually results in more frustration and guilt.

Often, caregivers have to quit their jobs to give fulltime care to this highly demanding person with Alzheimer’s, and as a result, suffer significant loss of income.

The situation may disrupt their future plans and create much conflict within them.

Alzheimer’s disease is not curable, but there are ways to help caregivers cope and manage a person with this illness.

Caregivers need to have a sound understanding of this disease to enhance optimal care, and with pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods, the outcome of care is more likely to be successful.

There are a few drugs that can be used to improve cognition, function and behaviour, but these drugs do not change the course of the illness and may not be effective for everyone.

Non-pharmacological treatment should be considered in all patients with Alzheimer’s, and it has to be tailored to the individual to achieve a balance, as excessive stimulation or over-activity may be counterproductive.

Examples of non-pharmacological therapy include making changes to the environment by moderating noise and other levels of stimulation, using signage, easier access to toilets, well-lit surroundings, improving time orientation by using a prominent calendar/clock, and recreational activities that may enhance quality of life such as exercise, gardening, music, art, pet therapy etc.

Avoiding confrontations and using distraction techniques are useful in preventing anger outbursts that usually end with more agitation and irritabilities.

Using simple words rather than multi-layered sentences help the patient understand instructions, and thus, help them perform their tasks more efficiently.

Knowing the diagnosis earlier means supporting people earlier, and timely and useful information, advice or assistance from either a healthcare professional or support group such as Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation Malaysia (ADFM) can help both the person and caregiver cope better as the disease advances.

Prompt diagnosis allows for future planning.

Early strategizing gives time to work through complex legal, financial and personal matters such as making a will, sorting out property issues and making changes to living arrangements.

Being diagnosed early also enables people with Alzheimer’s to be actively involved in discussions about their future while they still retain their mental capacity, particularly regarding treatment choices and end-of-life care.

This eliminates guesswork and potentially avoids future conflict among caregivers.

Therefore, a timely diagnosis allows a person with Alzheimer’s disease and the caregiver to have the best quality of life possible.

The goal is for the person to live a good life and stay independent for as long as possible despite having Alzheimer’s disease, as life does not stop with the diagnosis.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014


In conjunction with World Alzheimer’s Day (21 September), Alzheimer's Disease International [ADI] launched the World Alzheimer Report 2014, focused upon sets of potential modifiable risk factors in four key domains:
·      Developmental
·      Psychological and Psychosocial
·      Lifestyle  
·      Cardiovascular Risk Factors.

The World Alzheimer Report 2014 examines the latest existing evidence associated with dementia risk factors, ranging from smoking to socializing, and provides an analysis of interventions that have been trialed to create change around the world.  The report provides an invaluable resource and the basis upon which to campaign for change, and opens the door for more research in the area.

The Report highlights that:

·   dementia risk for populations can be modified through reduction in tobacco use and better control and detection for hypertension and diabetes, as well as cardiovascular risk factors.  A good mantra is “What is good for your heart is good for your brain”.

·   brain health promotion messages should be integrated in public health promotion campaigns such as anti-tobacco or non-communicable disease (NCD) awareness campaigns, with the message that it’s never too late to make these changes.

·   dementia needs to be included on World Health Organization (WHO) and National NCD Planning.

The report reveals that control of diabetes and high blood pressure as well as measures to encourage smoking cessation and to reduce cardiovascular risk, have the potential to reduce the risk of dementia even in late-life. The report found that diabetes can increase the risk of dementia by 50%. Obesity and lack of physical activity are important risk factors for diabetes and hypertension, and should, therefore, also be targeted.

While cardiovascular health is improving in many high income countries, many low and middle income countries show a recent pattern of increasing exposure to cardiovascular risk factors, with rising rates of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Smoking cessation is strongly linked in the report with a reduction in dementia risk. For example, studies of dementia incidence among people aged 65 years and over show that ex-smokers have a similar risk to those who have never smoked, while those who continue to smoke are at much higher risk.

Coinciding with the launch of the report, survey data released by Bupa has shown over two thirds (69%) of people around the world are concerned about getting dementia in later life, but many are unclear about the causes and the actions they can take to potentially reduce their risk.  

If we can all enter old age with better developed, healthier brains we are likely to live longer, happier and more independent lives with a much reduced chance of  developing dementia.

Download the Full Report here.

Take a look here at the info-graphics about risk reduction. 

Click on Video highlights the presentations and discussion at the launch of the World Alzheimer Report 2014 in London.

Friday, 29 August 2014




21 SEPTEMBER  2014
Lebuhraya Bukit Jalil, Bukit Jalil, 57000 Kuala Lumpur (Entrance: Gate 3)

"Every 4 seconds, someone in the world develops dementia. There are now 44 million people worldwide living with the disease, 62% of which live in low and middle-income countries. By 2050, this number will triple to 135 million. As a result, dementia will be the most serious health crisis of the 21st century.” - ADI.

ADFM, together with ADI and its Federation of 84 Alzheimer Associations Worldwide, will be commemorating World Alzheimer’s Day with the Theme “DEMENTIA: CAN WE REDUCE THE RISK?”, focusing ON WAYS to reduce the risk of developing dementia by adopting brain healthy personal lifestyles. 

In Malaysia, ADFM and its Local State Support Groups will be hosting a MEMORY WALK in Penang, Johor and Ipoh on Sunday, 21 September 2014 (contact your respective local state support groups).

JOIN US, WALK as a whole family to raise public awareness of dementia, combat stigma and give your support to persons living with dementia and their caregivers.


7.00am   Warming up exercises
7.30am   Sing-along session by AD clients
7.45am   Memory Walk - flag-off by Patron, Puan Sri Wendy Ong 

Note:  Fun walk - 2km for PWDs and 5km participants. No worries if you can't complete the 5km.  Your presence and support is more important !!

Registration Fee:  RM20 per participant.  (AD Clients FREE)
(Participant will get T-shirt, cap, goody bag, drink and food.)

Your generous sponsorship/donations towards the organizing of the Memory Walk are most welcome (Tax Exempt Receipt for Donations). 

To Register, click on -> Registration Form

ENQUIRY: Jenny / Michael at 03 – 7931 5850 / 016 608 2513, Email: