Friday, 29 August 2014

ADFM MEMORY WALK, SUNDAY, 21 SEPTEMBER - WORLD ALZHEIMER'S DAY



  MEMORY WALK 

COMMEMORATE 
WORLD ALZHEIMER'S DAY 

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.

MEMORY WALK PROGRAM (FT/SELANGOR):

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: jenny@adfm.org.my

SUPPORTED BY:

     


Friday, 18 July 2014

LIFESTYLE CHANGES ARE KEY TO EASING ALZHEIMER'S RISK

While medications have consistently failed to prevent Alzheimer's or significantly slow its progression, commonsense health activities can make a profound difference, a growing body of research shows.

"Health doesn't always come in the form of a pill," said Alan Lerner, Director of the Brain Health and Memory Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, and a Neurologist at Case Western Reserve University.

The combination of eating well, exercising, keeping mentally and socially engaged, and managing obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes can reduce someone's risk of memory decline, according to a new study from Finland. The study, presented Sunday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Denmark, is the first to examine the impact of all four factors together; other studies have looked at pieces of healthy lifestyles, but not the combination.

"The routine things, the things that are simple, have turned out to be protective," said Yonas Geda, a Professor of Neurology and psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., who was not involved in the Finnish study. "It keeps going back to the old advice from grandma."

In that study, 1,260 Finnish volunteers, ages 60-77, were divided into two groups – one that was encouraged to follow the four healthy lifestyle factors and the other that was given standard care.

At the end of the two-year study period, the group that paid extra attention to healthy eating, exercising, engagement and management of heart-health risk factors performed significantly better on tests of memory and other cognitive abilities than the control group. Researchers will follow both groups an additional seven years to see if the improvement continues.

Geda presented his own research at the conference, showing that exercise in midlife appears to be protective against dementia decades later. People who simply took an after-dinner stroll three times a week in their 50s and 60s were less likely to suffer memory problems in their 80s, according to the study.

He and his colleagues have also shown in past research that mental and social activities, such as reading books, going to Bible study, playing the piano and knitting can reduce the risk of memory loss, as can eating in moderation.

"This is really good news to society," said Geda, who has added an occasional after-dinner stroll to his own schedule. "Physical activity and mental activities are accessible to all people."

Another study, which Lerner led and presented at the conference, was the first to explore whether it is worthwhile to put dementia patients through the discomfort and expense of cataract surgery.

A group of 28 patients who had the surgery declined much more slowly than 14 people with similar vision problems who did not, the study found. The improvement was at least as large as the benefits seen with medication, he said.

"You don't stop being a person just because you have a dementia," Lerner said. "We find that really taking care of the whole person is very important, especially when it comes to sensory deprivation — if you don't perceive it, it's very difficult to remember it."


(Source:  USA Today, 14 July 2014)

Monday, 14 July 2014

ONE IN THREE ALZHEIMER'S CASES PREVENTABLE, SAYS RESEARCH

One in three cases of Alzheimer's disease worldwide is preventable, according to research from the University of Cambridge.

The main risk factors for the disease are a lack of exercise, smoking, depression and poor education, it says.


Previous research from 2011 put the estimate at one in two cases, but this new study takes into account overlapping risk factors.

Alzheimer's Research UK said age was still the biggest risk factor.


Writing in The Lancet Neurology, the Cambridge team analysed population-based data to work out the main seven risk factors for Alzheimer's disease.

These are:
·         Diabetes
·         Mid-life hypertension
·         Mid-life obesity
·         Physical inactivity
·         Depression
·         Smoking
·         Low educational attainment

They worked out that a third of Alzheimer's cases could be linked to lifestyle factors that could be modified, such as lack of exercise and smoking.

The researchers then looked at how reducing these factors could affect  the number of future Alzheimer's cases.  


They found that by reducing each risk factor by 10%, nearly nine million cases of the disease could be prevented by 2050.                                                     

In the UK, a 10% reduction in risk factors would reduce cases by 8.8%, or 200,000, by 2050, they calculated.

Current estimates suggest that more than 106 million people worldwide will be living with Alzheimer's by 2050 - more than three times the number affected in 2010.

Healthier old age

Professor Carol Brayne, from the Institute of Public Health at the University of Cambridge, said: "Although there is no single way to treat dementia, we may be able to take steps to reduce our risk of developing dementia at older ages.”

"We know what many of these factors are, and that they are often linked.”

"Simply tackling physical inactivity, for example, will reduce levels of obesity, hypertension and diabetes, and prevent some people from developing dementia.”

"As well as being healthier in old age in general, it's a win-win situation."

Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at charity Alzheimer's Research UK, said there was still much to discover about the disease.

"While age is the biggest risk factor for most cases of Alzheimer's, there are a number of lifestyle and general health factors that could increase or decrease a person's chances of developing the disease.”

"However, we still do not fully understand the mechanisms behind how these factors are related to the onset of Alzheimer's."

Investment

Dr Ridley said there were more than 820,000 people in the UK living with dementia, and an ageing population would lead to spiraling numbers being affected.

"As there is still no certain way to prevent Alzheimer's, research must continue to build the strongest evidence around health and environmental factors to help individuals reduce their risk."

He added: "This new study also highlights that many cases are not due to modifiable risk factors which underlines the need to drive investment into new treatment research."

Of the seven risk factors, the largest proportion of cases of Alzheimer's in the US, UK and the rest of Europe can be attributed to physical inactivity.

The study says about a third of the adult population in these countries are physically inactive.

Physical inactivity is also linked to increased risks of other health problems, such as cancers and cardiovascular diseases.


(Source:  BBC News Health, 14 July 2014)

MEMORY LOSS: IT’S NOT INEVITABLE

The brain contains about 100 billion neurons. A common misconception is that tens of thousands of neurons die each day. In reality, few neurons die over a person's lifetime, but they do shrink. This shrinkage may partially explain why mental functioning slows in middle and older age. (Serious memory problems do occur when major disorders such as a stroke or Alzheimer's destroy whole clusters of neurons.)

In addition to the shrinkage of neurons, starting in middle age the brain begins producing smaller quantities of many neurotransmitters -- chemical messengers that relay information between nerve cells. Brain blood flow is also reduced 15 to 20 percent between ages 30 and 70, although the shrinkage of neurons may account for the reduced flow because less tissue requires less blood.

Cultural attitudes and preconceptions about aging and memory loss can also influence the occurrence of memory lapses as people age. In one study, researchers compared the memory skills of two groups known to harbor few stereotypes concerning old age -- the people of China and deaf Americans -- with those of a third group known to have numerous preconceptions about aging, hearing Americans. Among these preconceptions is the notion that aging causes an inevitable decline in memory skills.

The study results suggest that there is a strong link between culture and memory: The first two groups were less forgetful than the third group, and older Chinese participants performed as well as the younger people in each of these groups. The implication is that if people expect their memory to get worse, they may be less diligent in trying to remember.

Other research indicates that the mental processes required to remember newly acquired information are the same as those needed to retrieve memories from long ago -- something most older people do quite well. This finding implies that older people retain the capacity to recall recent events, but the new information is not being recognized as important or is being discarded instead of stored.

Some researchers interpret this to mean that occasional memory lapses may result from a failure to pay close attention to the information rather than an inability to remember. Thus, it appears that forging new memories depends in large part on staying interested, active and alert.



(Source:  John Hopkins Health Alert, 14 July 2014)

Saturday, 12 July 2014

ADI NEWS RELEASE - SMOKING INCREASES RISK OF DEMENTIA

The World Health Organization (WHO) and Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) in its latest report highlighted the serious risk that tobacco use creates for dementia. 

The Key Message is:

▪     Smoking is a risk factor for dementia, and quitting could reduce the dementia  burden.

▪     Second-hand smoke exposure may also increase the risk of dementia.

▪     14% of Alzheimer’s disease cases worldwide are potentially attributed to   smoking.

▪     As no treatments are currently available to cure or alter the progressive course of dementia, it is essential to identify modifiable risk factors for reducing the occurrence of the disease, delaying its onset or reducing its burden.

▪     Governments should actively implement and enforce the measures of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, especially smoke-free environment laws and systematic access to tobacco cessation services.

Geneva, 09 July 2014:

Smokers have a 45% higher risk of developing dementia than non-smokers, according to information published today by the World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI).

Evidence reviewed by WHO reveals a strong link between smoking and the risk of dementia, and the more a person smokes, the higher the risk. It is estimated that 14% of Alzheimer’s disease cases worldwide are potentially attributable to smoking.

WHO warns that exposure to second-hand smoke (passive smoking) may also increase the risk of dementia.

"Since there is currently no cure for dementia, public health interventions need to focus on prevention by changing modifiable risk factors like smoking,” says Dr Shekhar Saxena, Director of the Department for Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO. “This research shows that a decrease in smoking now is likely to result in a substantial decrease in the burden of dementia in the years to come."

Tobacco use is already recognized as the one risk factor common to four main groups of non-communicable diseases (NCDs): cancers, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease and diabetes.

“Tobacco is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing nearly six million people a year,” says Dr Douglas Bettcher, Director of the Department for Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases at WHO. “WHO urges governments to actively implement and enforce the measures of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, especially smoke-free environment laws and access to tobacco cessation services”.

Laurent Huber, Director of the Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) for Tobacco Control, comments: “It is no surprise to see these findings confirm that tobacco smoking is a major risk factor for dementia. This adds yet another item to the long list of the devastating consequences of tobacco and gives even more reason for personal and public health action to help people to quit smoking.”  

“The research also shows that quitting smoking later in life might be beneficial so encouraging and supporting current tobacco users to quit should be a priority,” says Serge Gauthier, chair of the ADI’s Medical Scientific Advisory Panel.

Dementia affects more than 44 million people worldwide, with almost two thirds of them living in low- and middle-income countries. 

“Every year, there are 7.7 million new cases of dementia. In 2010, the global cost was calculated at US$ 604 billion, which represents 1% of global GDP (gross domestic product),” says Marc Wortmann, ADI Executive Director. “No government can ignore the opportunity to link this new information into its planning and health system activities to reduce smoking and control NCDs.”

ADI believes that this information brief can form the basis for countries to add messages about brain health and dementia risk into public health anti-smoking programs and interventions. 

For further information:

Click on -> Tobacco Use and Dementia   
Visit : http://www.who.int/tobacco/publications/en/ 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE COULD BE PREVENTED AFTER NEW BLOOD TEST BREAKTHROUGH

Scientists at Oxford University and Kings College London develop blood test which can predict the onset of Alzheimer's so that drugs could target the disease before symptoms appear

A blood test has been developed to predict if someone will develop Alzheimer’s within a year, raising hopes that the disease could become preventable.

After a decade of research, scientists at Oxford University and King’s College London are confident they have found 10 proteins which show the disease is imminent.

Clinical trials will start on people who have not yet developed Alzheimer’s to find out which drugs halt its onset.

The blood test, which could be available in as little as two years, was described as a “major step forward” by Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, and by charities which said it could revolutionize research into a cure.

“Although we are making drugs they are all failing. But if we could treat people earlier it may be that the drugs are effective,” said Simon Lovestone, Professor of Translational Neuroscience at Oxford. “Alzheimer’s begins to affect the brain many years before patients are diagnosed with the disease. If we could treat the disease in that phase we would in effect have a preventative strategy.”

Clinical trials into so-called “wonder drugs” such as BACE inhibitors and anti-amyloid agents, have shown little improvement for sufferers. Scientists believe that by the time Alzheimer’s is diagnosed, an irreversible “cascade” of symptoms has already occurred.

About 600,000 people in Britain suffer from Alzheimer’s and hundreds of thousands have mild cognitive impairment. Last month, David Cameron pledged to fast-track dementia research.

The new test, which examines 10 proteins in the blood, can predict with 87 per cent accuracy whether someone suffering memory problems will develop Alzheimer’s within a year.

The researchers used data from three international studies. Blood samples were taken from 1,148 people, 476 of whom had Alzheimer’s, 220 with memory problems, and a control group of 452 without any signs of dementia. The scientists found that 16 proteins were associated with brain shrinkage and memory loss and 10 of those could predict whether someone would develop Alzheimer’s.

Mr Hunt said: “This is welcome research on an issue we’re made a national priority. Developing tests and bio markers will be important steps forward in the global fight against dementia as we search for a cure.”

Previous studies have shown that PET brain scans and plasma in lumbar fluid could be used to predict that onset of dementia from mild cognitive impairment. But PET imaging is highly expensive and lumbar punctures are invasive and carry risks.

The first tests are likely to be available in between two and five years. However, the study is likely to throw up ethical dilemmas about whether patients should receive potentially devastating news about their future. Prof Lovestone said it was unlikely that GPs would use the test until a treatment was available.

The breakthrough was welcomed by dementia charities and academics.

Eric Karran, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, which helped fund the research, said it brought the prospect of Alzheimer’s becoming a preventable disease “significantly closer”.

Prof Gordon Wilcock, Emeritus Professor of Geratology at Oxford, added that it was “great news”. The study was published in the Journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia.


(Source:  The Telegraph, 8 July 2014)


Monday, 30 June 2014

CALMING ALZHEIMER'S AGITATION WITH CITALOPRAM

A drug intended to treat depression has been found to reduce agitation in people with Alzheimer's disease. The drug, citalopram (Celexa), appears to be a safer alternative to the traditional antipsychotic medicines used for agitation. Doctors typically prescribe antipsychotics after nondrug treatments, such as behavioral therapy, fail to calm patients.

In a randomized clinical trial reported in JAMA (volume 311, p. 683), Johns Hopkins scientists studied 186 people, average ages 78-79, with Alzheimer's who had symptoms of agitation such as emotional distress, irritability, aggressive behavior, verbal or physical outbursts and restlessness.

They gave about half the patients citalopram with gradually increasing doses up to 30 mg. The remaining patients received a placebo. Participants in both groups, and their caregivers, received counseling as well. After nine weeks, 40 percent of the patients in the citalopram group showed marked improvement in agitation symptoms, compared with 26 percent in the placebo group. Caregivers of patients who received citalopram also reported less stress.

The risks - Citalopram, however, does have some risks; the FDA advises people over 60 to avoid doses above 20 mg. Citalopram been associated with abnormal heart rhythms and a mild decrease in cognitive function. Some study participants who took citalopram also reported anorexia, diarrhea, falls and upper-respiratory infections. Yet, lower doses are still thought to be safer than antipsychotic drugs, which have been associated with stroke, heart attack and death.

The study authors say the next step is more research to determine whether the drug is as effective in doses of 20 mg over a longer period. They also recommend that doctors assess patients individually to determine drug doses, based on factors like the patients' severity of agitation, cardiovascular health and cognitive function.





(Source:  John Hopkins Health Alert, 30 June 2014)

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

SAT/5JULY14 Caregivers Monthly Sharing Session and Talk on Dementia Care Titled "Beyond Diagnosis ... What Next??"

TO:  All Caregivers, 

ADFM National Caregivers Support Network will be having it's July Monthly Caregivers Sharing and Talk on Dementia Care Titled "BEYOND DIAGNOSIS ... WHAT NEXT ??" by Mr Willie Kwa from UK.

Day / Date :  Saturday, 5 July 2014
Time :  2.30pm to 5.00pm
Venue :  ADFM PJ Daycare Centre, No. 6, Lorong 11/8E, 46200 Petaling Jaya.

Objective: How being a Caregiver who is prepared, knowledgeable, supported and in good psychological and physical health ultimately provide the best care !!.  It will be a very interactive talk to allow more interaction from the caregivers with the Speaker.  

Facilitator's Profile:

Willie Kwa is a Malaysian from Taiping and ex distant caregiver to his late dementia Mom. 

Willie is a retired Nurse in UK with over 40 years extensive nursing care experience for people with mental health issues, in particular relating to older people, and with special interest in caring people with various forms of dementia.

He is a member and volunteer with the Alzheimer's Society (UK) for over 30 years in areas of raising awareness of dementia and care issues.   

His experience includes managerial operational responsibility for a 70 beds hospital service for older people with mental health difficulties. Commissioned and managed new services consisting of community, day care centers and in-patient care units.  

Presently, Willie is with private sector giving care to old people with various health problems including all aspects of mental health and dementia care.

COMPULSORY REGISTRATION:  

Kindly register early by click on -> Registration Form and return the completed form to jenny@adfm.org.my or fax to: 03 7960 8481. 

Further inquiries, feel free to call Jenny at 016 608 2513 / 03 7931 5850 or email jenny@adfm.org.my.



From:  ADFM National Caregivers Support Network
June 2014  

BRAIN-HEALTHY EATING PLAN

Are there dietary eating plans that are both heart- and brain-healthy?

Recent research strongly suggests that dietary changes -- in particular, the adoption of a Mediterranean-style eating plan -- can help prevent the onset or else slow the rate of cognitive decline. The Mediterranean diet consists of foods traditionally consumed by people living along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

Over the past decade, a number of studies have linked the Mediterranean diet with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension. For example, an important Spanish study on the Mediterranean diet, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found a 30 percent reduction in heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular deaths in high-risk people who consumed the Mediterranean diet, compared with those eating a "low-fat diet." That's similar to the risk reduction seen with statin drugs.

Not surprisingly, foods that are good for your heart are also good for your brain. A study published in the Annals of Neurology reported that among 2,258 participants (average age 76), those who closely followed the Mediterranean diet had a 40 percent lower risk of Alzheimer's disease than those with the least adherence after four years. Partial observation of the Mediterranean diet proved to have benefits, too, reducing the risk by 15 percent.

The Mediterranean diet may also keep those who have mild cognitive impairment (MCI) from progressing to Alzheimer's disease. A recent study published in the Archives of Neurology reported that among people with MCI, the risk of developing Alzheimer's over a four-year period was 48 percent lower for those who adhered strictly to a Mediterranean diet. Those who adhered moderately to the diet had a 45 percent lower risk.

The Mediterranean diet is characterized by:
•  smaller portion sizes than a Western diet.
•  a focus on fresh rather than processed foods.
•  a high intake of plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grain.
•  moderate amounts of nuts, olive oil and fish, which are high in healthy monounsaturated and omega-3 fats.
•  moderate consumption of wine, typically with meals.
•  regular consumption of skinless poultry and low-fat dairy in smaller portions.
•  infrequent consumption of meat, which is high in saturated fats, and sweets.




(Source:  John Hopkins Health Alert, 23 June 2014)

Saturday, 21 June 2014

BRAIN SCANS: A NEW TOOL FOR TREATING DEPRESSION

Treating depression can be challenging for clinicians, with no way of knowing how a patient will respond. But brain scans taken before treatment may help predict which treatment is best for an individual patient, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry (Volume 70, page 821).

In the study, researchers used a positron emission tomography (PET) scanner to obtain images of the resting brain in 63 people, ages 18 to 60, with depression. They then compared brain activity of patients who were successfully treated with that of those who saw no improvement. Participants had been randomly assigned to either 12 weeks of antidepressants or 16 weeks of psychotherapy.

Based on the PET imaging, activity in the area of the brain known as the anterior insula - responsible for such things as decision-making, emotions and body cues (such as hunger and cravings) - appeared to be able to predict which depression treatment would elicit a patient's response: cognitive behavior therapy or escitalopram (Lexapro). Low activity in the insula was associated with a better chance of successful treatment with cognitive behavior therapy and failure with escitalopram, while high activity in the insula correlated with successful treatment using medication and failure with therapy.

Takeaway - If further research supports these findings, it may mark the beginning of more individualized medicine.


(Source:  John Hopkins Health Alert, 27 May 2014)