It was a soggy morning in Sacramento, but more than 200 dedicated Alzheimer’s Association volunteer advocates still showed up in good spirits to the 2012 Advocacy Day at the State Capitol. Among them: people with early stage Alzheimer’s, family caregivers, healthcare professionals and other Alzheimer’s champions.
Following a light breakfast and overview of the day, we were welcomed to the Capitol by Senator Tom Berryhill who thanked everyone for their work as volunteers.
“What you’re doing up here today is very important because education of these legislators in that building is so necessary.”
“We work for you and that can be a one sided relationship unless you make it otherwise and reach out to us on a regular basis,” she said. “That’s your responsibility as Californians. I have a job to do and you have a job to do to make us informed of issues that are important to you.
There have been a couple of recent articles about common vitamins and their effect on individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. I thought it was a great opportunity to recap some of these supplements and what we know about them.
Movie poster from Academy Award winning film "A Separation"
To prove to you how lacking I am in movie trivia, I did not realize that “A Separation” won the Academy Award for best foreign film until I went to see it yesterday. Having read some reviews, I knew a bit of what to expect; in my opinion, the excellent reviews of this Iranian film were all accurate.
Paul and Susan were college sweethearts who had lived many adventures in their 38 years of marriage, including a stint with the Peace Corps in Afghanistan and teaching for two years in Norway, where their son James was born. The couple finally chose to settle in Reno, where they spent more than 20 years building their careers, family and community.
“My first recollection that something wasn’t right was when Susan wasn’t able to do simple addition or subtraction when balancing the checkbook,” says Paul. “Things got worse so we took her to a neurologist. He was the first person to bring up the possibility of Alzheimer’s.”
Today we released the 2012 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures Report. This year’s report has some new information. I’m struck by two things in particular:
1.) The report found that Medicare payments for an older person with Alzheimer’s or other dementias are nearly three times higher while Medicaid payments are 19 times higher than for seniors without Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
2.) A special section in this year’s report about individuals living alone with Alzheimer’s disease highlights the sheer number of people in this situation (1 in 7 people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias lives alone) and the potential dangers they face.
It’s also alarming to see the statistic of the number of people who get Alzheimer’s every day. Two years ago, our report said one person would get the disease every 70 seconds. In 2011 the report said someone would get the disease every 69 seconds. This year, we report that someone will get the disease every 68 seconds. What a scary illustration of how rapidly this disease is growing and its potential to bankrupt our health care system!
You can view the full report at www.alz.org/facts, where you can also view a new video that highlights the facts as well as a brief fact sheet and information specific to each state.
In a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers in the UK studied nearly 300 people with moderate or severe Alzheimer’s who had been treated with donepezil for at least three months. In this group of people with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s, those people who were on medication did better than those who were off medication.
The researchers observed individuals with Alzheimer’s in the study experienced statistically significant cognitive and functional benefits of continuing donepezil over 12 months. These benefits were “clinically important,” that is, they were noticeable to an outside observer and could have a beneficial impact on day to day life. Furthermore, initiation of memantine therapy was also associated with better cognition and function, although the benefits were below the threshold of “clinical importance.” Finally, the researchers concluded that adding memantine to donepezil treatment failed to show significant benefits. Continue reading “Benefit in longer term use of Aricept?” »
To eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.
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