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New Hope for Alzheimers Treatment
There is now widespread agreement among research scientists and medical professionals that Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is a problem quickly growing to vast proportions. As the life expectancy of Americans continues to rise, increasing the percentage of the population over 65 years of age, so does the number of Alzheimer's cases.
It is currently estimated that people over 65 years of age have a 10% chance of developing Alzheimer's, while those over 85 have a 50% likelihood of developing AD, making it the leading cause of dementia among older people. Though the disease is associated primarily with memory loss, its effects also comprise a number of other severe disabilities, including changes in personality, disorientation, difficulty with speech and comprehension, and a lack of ability to move normally.
Consequently, most Alzheimer's patients require a great deal of care, costing society close to $100 billion annually. According to Christian Fritze, Ph.D., Director of the Antibody Products Division at Covance Research Products, "The impact of Alzheimer's Disease on our society will only increase as our population ages. The prevalence of the disease and disabling effects on the patient are significant by themselves. In addition we are becoming increasingly aware of the far-reaching effects on families, care-giver networks and the economics of our health care system. The drive for progress towards effective treatments by the research and drug development community is growing stronger every day."
A New Consensus
But recent developments in the medical research community do provide some hope. During the last two years, there has been a growing consensus among Alzheimer researchers about the cause of Alzheimer's disease, providing focus for scientists exploring the new treatment options.
The focus is on amyloid beta oligomers, a new wrinkle on an older hypothesis called the "amyloid cascade hypothesis". Widespread acceptance of this new conclusion is something of a milestone in the history of Alzheimer's research. As Dr. Fritze says, "The decades old quest for the causative agent in Alzheimer's Disease has recently focused on the precursors of amyloid plaques. These precursors are part of a bewildering array of processed (APP) Amyloid Precursor Protein) variants, Tau isoforms and secretase components that play a role in neuronal cytotoxicity and subsequent brain dysfunction."
Amyloid plaques are sticky protein deposits in the brain containing amyloid beta peptide. Researchers have associated the buildup of this plaque with Alzheimer's disease since its discovery in 1907. But despite the clear correlation, scientists were not sure what, exactly, spurred the onset of Alzheimer's Disease.
The hypothesis that amyloid beta accumulation in the brain is the major cause of Alzheimer's Disease1 has been the focus of much attention over the past decade. Although this hypothesis was the leading explanation for the cause of AD, it had several weaknesses. The most obvious problem with the theory was the fact that the buildup of amyloid beta peptides did not necessarily correspond with the severity of Alzheimer's symptoms.
However, in 19982 and in 20023, researchers proposed that it was not the amyloid beta plaques themselves that were neurotoxic ? and therefore the cause of Alzheimer's ? but rather precursors to amyloid beta plaques formed by smaller aggregates of amyloid beta. These new ideas are gaining widespread acceptance among the Alzheimer's research community, creating a consensus that had not existed before.
This new focus provides one more spur to action for Alzheimer's researchers, and underscores the need for further advancement. "The AD field demands sophisticated, highly-sensitive research tools to track these components and quantitate the existence of monomeric, oligomeric and fibrillar amyloid forms present in the progression of Alzheimer's disease," says Dr. Fritze.
Two new studies, both released in October 20044, suggest that new treatment options may be on the horizon. The studies are the modification of one of two previous attempts using amyloid beta (Aβ) antibodies in the treatment of Alzheimer's Disease. The previous attempts, though not successful, did at least suggest new courses of action in Alzheimer's research and provided invaluable information for researchers.
In the first of the two previous attempts, researchers injected the antigen itself ? pieces of the beta amyloid protein that makes up amyloid plaque ? into mice, in the hopes that the injections would generate an immune (antibody) response against amyloid. Results were initially positive. The injected antigen produced Aβ antibodies and slowed the onset of the disease by decreasing Aβ levels. However, when tried on humans, the procedure led to meningoencephalitis (an inflammation of tissue around the brain) in some patients, and was therefore halted.
In the second attempt, a passive immunity therapy was tried in which antibodies to amyloid beta (not amyloid protein) were injected into mice, but hemorrhaging and inflammation ensued due to the high antibody doses required to be effective.
But now there appears to be new hope for the use of antibodies as therapeutic agents for the treatment of Alzheimer's patients. In the first of the two new studies that appeared in October conducted by the National Institute for Longevity Sciences, NCGG, and the Center for Neurological Diseases, Brigham & Women's College, Harvard Institute of Medicine, researchers modified the first procedure. Concluding that the meningoenchaphalitis which occurred in some patients was caused by autoimmune T-cell activation, the researchers hoped to develop a vaccine that could minimize this T-cell activation while retaining the production of Aß antibodies.
To accomplish this they created an oral vaccine that attached Aß DNA to an adeno-associated virus vector, which served to mitigate T-cell activation. Thus they were able to decrease Aß levels in the brains of the mice and yet not activate T-cells to the degree they had before, greatly reducing the risk of meningoencephalitis.
In the other new study, conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago, researchers succeeded in making the passive immunity protocol much safer. This they accomplished by changing the point of entry for the Aß antibodies. Rather than injecting the antibodies into the body of the mice, as was done previously, antibody was injected directly into the brain of the mice. Because the antibodies were injected directly into the brain, smaller doses were needed, and side effects were minimized.
The results of the above studies, and the potential for further optimized immunization strategies may prove to be watershed events in the history of Alzheimer's treatment.
Covance is a leading provider of innovative antibody products and custom antibody development services to the research community for Alzheimer's disease. Visit www.Covance.com for more in-depth information and to view the suite of products for Alzheimer's disease. Boris Predovich is Vice President of Immunology and Surgical Services at Covance Research Products.
1. J.A. Hardy, G.A. Higgins (1992), Science, 256:184-5.
R. L. Fielding writes on many health-related topics.
Long Term-Care; 70 Million Americans Will Be Over 65 by 2003
We will all grow old; this is a given. We will all have health issues as we grow older, this also is a given. Many people work their whole lives and if they are smart end up with a paid for house and a little nest egg for retirement. This is a good 15% of the population. Good for us as we have a strong middle-class. But whether you are rich or poor there will come a time when you need long-term care. As a matter of fact statistics show tat 10% of use will need long-term care for 3-5 years.
The Right Wheelchair Accessories Will Ease Your Life and Your Journeys on Wheels
Wheelchairs come in every shape and size with sufficient options that you can find the wheels you like to take you where you want to go with the assistance you need. To enhance the comfort and convenience of your journey, choose accessories tailored to provide the best support for your activities and your health concerns.
The Best Investment You Can Make Right Now: Long Term Care Insurance
Don't think you need it? Consider this: a full 50% of Americans over the age of 50 will need long term care at some point in their lives. The average cost of nursing facility care (or home health care assistance) is $61,000 per year, and the average stay in a long term care facility is 2½ years. Can you think of a faster way to decimate your nest egg?
Why Everyone Over 50 Should be Training for the Senior Games
by Phil Campbell, M.S., M.A., FACHE Senior Games participant and author of Ready, Set, GO! Synergy Fitness - 2nd Edition
Mom Wont Participate!
Q: Six months ago we placed my mother in an assisted living facility. She gets along fairly well, but we thought she would get involved with all of the activities. Instead she complains that she is very lonely, and won't participate. Do you have any suggestions?
Baby Boomers: Will They Be Able to Afford Their Parents?
Do you worry about whether your aging parents have their "affairs in order?" You should. After all, you're the one who will have to pay unnecessary taxes and endure time-consuming court procedures if your parents don't have an effective estate plan. Without some forethought on their part and your part, you could be facing a lot of wasted time and money in addition to a lot of frustration. All of the waste and frustration can easily be avoided.
Skilled Nursing Homes - What Are They?
A skilled nursing home is a medical facility providing services similar to a hospital. The homes are staffed with licensed nurses, shared rooms, hospital beds, regular scheduled doctor rounds, meals and housekeeping. Skilled nursing homes often provide a more pleasant setting with optimal nurse to patient ratios and relaxed atmospheres.
Second Hand Stair Lifts
Buying second hand stair lifts is a viable and cost effective alternative to purchasing a brand new stair lift. Most stair lifts can be purchased new or second hand.
The Dryer Ate Your Underwear!
Q: My mom is in the early stages of dementia and she is also incontinent we have tried to get her to stop wearing her underpants and have her start wearing pull-up diapers, she throws the Depends out the door and puts her underpants on. Of coarse we have a lot of laundry! How should I handle this?
Advocate For Senior Citizens ? Protecting Against Abuse and Fraud
Ruth is 87 years old this year and has been living alone since 1997. She is in good health, however the daily chores around the home became increasingly difficult. Ruth turned to her church bulletin and found a 'Home Care Company' advertised.
Paying For Elder Care Just Got Easier
It's not a surprise that thousands of families across the nation are facing the challlenges of an aging population. The "sandwich" generation, those who are caring for their children as well as their parents, have been feeling the financial pinch of caring for loved ones. Paying the high cost of Elder Care can cost a family thousands of dollars a month. Too many families are unaware of how utilizing a loved one's life insurance policy can not only pay for Assisted Living and Nursing Home care, but can maintain the standards of living for the remaining spouse.
The Truth About Christmas
Every year, as Christmas approaches, you hear Christmas carols everywhere. Sometimes to the point where another Silent Night would make you want to silent the sound system. Everyone is scrambling to buy Christmas gifts for everyone in a list that seems miles long. The queues to pay up and the queues for a parking lot seem endlessly long too. Christmas cards are sent out to friends and family, some of whom you might not have seen for years. Beautifully decorated christmas trees pop up every where. Buildings are dressed in lights, mistletoes, bells, and other Christmas decorations. Santa Claus, his elves and reindeer are seen every where. Kids get more and more excited as Christmas approach. Even grown ups prepare for the onslaught of Christmas partying during that time of the year. Party dresses are purchased. Everyone gets ready to dress to their nines. In all this excitement, do you know what you are celebrating? What is Christmas actually? It sometimes seems like a brillian invention of the toy makers to push sales of toys to all the parents around the world. A sales marketing ploy of the retail industry. Actually, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Long ago, a little baby was born to a girl who was still a virgin. The baby was born in a manger, among the animals, yet angels proclaimed his birth. Wise men followed a star that marked his birth and presented him with precious gifts, to pay homage to him. It all seemed so beautifully sweet.. until you realise the reason why this child was born. This baby was born to die. To be crucified on the cross while still in his prime. Killed alongside murderers, on the insistence of the crowds, even though he had not committed a crime... days after being welcomed into Jerusalem by crowds of people waving palm leaves, shouting Hosanna, praising him. It was a gruesome death. He was whipped and then his body, all covered with blood, still a live, was nailed to a cross and left to die. Upon his death, the skies turned dark. There was an earthquake The curtain separating the holiest place in the temple in Jerusalem from the rest of the area was torn in two. 3 days later, his tomb was empty and the heavy stone was rolled away. His disciples and those close to him saw him. He spent time with them, ate with them, showing he was alive and not a ghost. Later, while talking to a crowd of people, he rose up in the sky disappeared into the clouds. All this happened for a reason. The first man and women, Adam and Eve disobeyed God. That was the first sin. From then on, every one of us sins. A tiny white lie, doing what we know we shouldn't do... The penalty for sin is death. The only one who did not sin is Jesus. Jesus is the Son of God. Mary was a virgin when she conceived Jesus. Jesus had to die on the cross to win forgiveness for anyone who chooses to accept his gift. The real Christmas gift. Sounds far fetched? That's why they are called miracles. Miracles are still happening today. All over the world. Check out Lighthouse which has miracle services every Saturday. You can read the pastor's latest sermon each week there too. A good resource that explains every detail of the Christmas story is http://www.answersingenesis.org/ Actually, that site explains the creation vs evolution theories, dinosaurs and a lot more. So the next time the pressures of Christmas preparations drive you up the wall and you wish you could kill the person who invented Christmas, don't worry. You already have.
What About Tennesse Dept. of Human Services Abuse of the Elderly and Their Families?
PART I: Physical Abuse of the Elderly vs. Tennessee DHS Abuse of Families
Assisted Living Facilities ? What Are They?
Assisted Living facilities are generally for person's 60 years of age and older. Typical candidates need assistance with "Activities of Daily Living" (ADLs), but wish to live as independently as possible. Assisted Living communities exist to bridge the gap between seniors that can live independently and skilled nursing homes.
As the Baby Boomers Age
Many employees today are calling in sick - not to care for themselves or their children, but to care for their aging parents. Baby boomers are rapidly moving into the role of caregivers for their parents, but with a few extra challenges due to the changing face of our workforce. Nearly 25% of U.S. households are now involved in caring for a senior family member, spending an average of 20 hours a week in caregiving services. Nearly 65% of those individuals providing the caregiving are employed outside of the home. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, approximately 15 million days of work per year are lost due to these circumstances. These numbers are forecasted to increase since the longevity of life is being extended by modern medicine.
When Assistance with Long Term Care Becomes Necessary
According to the Administration on Aging, it is estimated by 2030, the older population will more than double to approximately 71.5 million. It is also estimated that between 39 to 49 percent of people will use nursing home services during their lifetime. Unfortunately, there may come a time when your loved one may require assistance with long term care. The following is a list of warning signs one should be aware of when evaluating your loved one's situation. If the senior exhibits two or more of these signs, assistance is likely required:
Senior Care for Alzheimer?s
As a person ages, a certain amount of memory loss and confusion is quite normal. Personally, I've been known to invoke the cliché, "The older I get, the better I was!" Unfortunately, Alzheimer's disease represents a more serious loss of mental sharpness and calls for special care for seniors.
When the Box is Empty
The King had a modest kingdom. He was Danish. This meant he was proud, tall, athletic and he enjoyed a quick wit. He was married to a princess from Great Britain at a very young age. They were both really just children when they began their own family.
What Most Long Term Care Professionals Don?t Know
Medicare recognizes this need and, therefore reimburses your residents to receive advanced behavioral health services? making them free to your facility!
Retiring Abroad and Leaving the Grey Skies of the UK
Retiring abroad needs careful planning. Not all countries have the same entitlement to benefits as the UK and your tax liability may be affected. UK nationals have the right to retire in any European Economic Area (EEA) country. If you intend to move to any other country, you should speak first to the British Consul in that country and its foreign consulate here in the UK.
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