Alzheimer's

There's growing evidence that a lack of sleep can leave the brain vulnerable to Alzheimer's disease.

"Changes in sleep habits may actually be setting the stage" for dementia, says Jeffrey Iliff, a brain scientist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.

The brain appears to clear out toxins linked to Alzheimer's during sleep, Iliff explains. And, at least among research animals that don't get enough solid shut-eye, those toxins can build up and damage the brain.

A drug that's already approved for treating leukemia appears to dramatically reduce symptoms in people who have Parkinson's disease with dementia, or a related condition called Lewy body dementia.

A pilot study of 12 patients given small doses of nilotinib found that movement and mental function improved in all of the 11 people who completed the six-month trial, researchers reported Saturday at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago.

Sergey Bogachuk, 123rf Stock Photo

As we head into the autumn months our minds may go to all of the delicious food associated with the holidays. While many focus on heart health, it's also important to give your brain the things you need to be as healthy as possible. On Sounds Good, Tracy Ross speaks with Lisa Raum, registered dietician and Nutrition Affairs Program Manager of the Southeast Dairy Association, about ways to defend yourself over the cold months with healthy tips to "feed your brain." 

There have been suggestions that low levels of vitamin D might be a factor in cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease, but there's no proof that the lack of D is actually causing the problems.

A study published Monday doesn't prove that link, but it does find that people with low levels of vitamin D lost key thinking skills more quickly than people with enough.

alz.org

There are 60,000 Kentuckians with Alzheimer's disease and 270,000 caregivers in the Commonwealth. It's a good number of caregivers, says Kimberly Fondaw, Alzheimer's Ambassador for the First District in western Kentucky, but there needs to be more education to the public and funding for research before it bankrupts the system. This year alone, we've paid out $153 billion dollars in Medicare and Medicaid to those with Alzheimer's and the numbers are growing, she says. Tracy Ross speaks with Fondaw on Sounds Good about upcoming awareness events in Hopkinsville and Paducah. 

Ann Gordon / Flickr (Creative Commons License)

An estimated 80,000 Kentuckians are serving as caregivers to family members suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia.

The Greater Kentucky-Southern Indiana chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association wants more of those caregivers to be better informed about resources available to them.

The face of Alzheimer's isn't always old. Sometimes it belongs to someone like Giedre Cohen, who is 37, yet struggles to remember her own name.

Until about a year ago, Giedre was a "young, healthy, beautiful" woman just starting her life, says her husband, Tal Cohen, a real estate developer in Los Angeles. Now, he says, "her mind is slowly wasting away."

People like Giedre have a rare gene mutation that causes symptoms of Alzheimer's to appear before they turn 60.

Music & Memory, Facebook Page

Haws Memorial Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Fulton is embarking on the use of the program Music & Memory with those suffering with Alzheimer's and dementia. The Center's Jo Ann Roy says that they have about twelve iPods in use with residents and in a month or so they will bring families in to view the documentary about Music & Memory titled "Alive Inside" at the facility. In Murray, Cheri Theatres offers two free viewings of "Alive Inside," winner of the Audience Award at last year's Sundance Film Festival. Kate Lochte speaks with Deborah Ferris, Regional Program Coordinator for Music & Memory about the organization and how iPods full of music help give patients therapeutic joy.

Working with an Arts Access Grant titled "The Art of Caregiving" from the Kentucky Arts Council, Murray author Constance Alexander is coordinating collaborators across arts agencies and healthcare providers in a positive community conversation about patients and caregivers at the end of life. There's a public forum at the Calloway County Public Library at 710 Main Street in Murray, Thursday starting at 7 p.m. Alexander's commentary relates to these community activities focusing on a new support group in Murray.

Wikimedia Commons

The University of Kentucky is about to launch a clinical study that tests an existing medication as a treatment for Alzheimer Disease.

Researchers at UK’s Alzheimer Disease Center think a cholesterol-lowering class of drugs known as fibrates can also prevent the deadly dementia related ailment. 

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