The impact of a dementia treatment

By Bruce Miller

Dementia is a collection of symptoms caused by a number of different disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia. The term dementia describes a progressive decline in memory or other cognitive functions that interferes with the ability to perform your usual daily activities (driving, shopping, balancing a checkbook, working, communicating, etc.). One of the major risk factors for developing dementia is age, meaning the older you are, the more likely you are to develop it. Age-related risk applies to many other conditions like heart disease and vascular problems, which means a single person may have two or more concurrent health problems leading to cognitive, behavioral, or motor symptoms. This co-morbidity can make both diagnosis and treatment more complicated.

Alzheimer’s-type disorder attacks young. Ursula Peri interviews FTLDA’s Terri Shultz Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration often mistaken for Alzheimer’s

SAN ANTONIO -
Terri Schultz is still trying to piece together the puzzle that took the lives of her brother and sister who suffered for years which a complex assortment of psychological, behavioral and physical symptoms.Doctors had diagnosed depression, bi-polar, Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses for years before finally determining it was Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration, or FTD. Schultz’s brother, Michael Bratton, was a police detective for 29 years with the San Antonio Police Department and had a stellar reputation prior to the onset of the brain disorder.

New York Times; “When Illness Makes a Spouse a Stranger”

“There’s really been an explosion related to the biology,” said Dr. Bruce L. Miller, a professor of neurology and psychiatry there. “I think at least some subtypes of frontotemporal dementia will be the first neurodegenerative diseases we find a cure for.” This disease is different from Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia. But it is perhaps even more devastating, because it strikes younger people, progresses faster and, unlike Alzheimer’s, does not attack memory at first but begins with silence, apathy or bizarre personality changes. It is thought to afflict at least 50,000 to 60,000 people in the United States.

Read the article on the New York Times website.

Dementia cases set to triple by 2050 but still largely ignored

Source: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2012/dementia_20120411/en/

11 APRIL 2012 | GENEVA – Worldwide, nearly 35.6 million people live with dementia. This number is expected to double by 2030 (65.7 million) and more than triple by 2050 (115.4 million). Dementia affects people in all countries, with more than half (58%) living in low- and middle-income countries. By 2050, this is likely to rise to more than 70%. Treating and caring for people with dementia currently costs the world more than US$ 604 billion per year. This includes the cost of providing health and social care as well the reduction or loss of income of people with dementia and their caregivers.

Hospital staff ‘lack skills to cope with dementia patients’

Hospitals are failing to care properly for the growing number of people with dementia, according to an NHS-funded report, which has prompted demands for big improvements to help patients.

Most staff do not have the skills to cope with such challenging patients, who too often receive “impersonal” care and suffer from boredom, the first National Audit of Dementia found. It says hospitals should introduce “dementia champions.”

Rare Disease Day February 29th 2012

Rare Disease Day is an annual, awareness-raising event co-ordinated by EURORDIS at the international level and National Alliances of Patient Organisations at the national level. The main objective of Rare Disease Day is to raise awareness amongst the general public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives. The campaign targets primarily the general public but it is also designed for patients and patient representatives, as well as politicians, public authorities, policy-makers, industry representatives, researchers, health professionals and anyone who has a genuine interest in rare diseases. Since Rare Disease Day was first launched by EURORDIS and its Council of National Alliances in 2008, more than 1000 events have taken place throughout the world reaching hundreds of thousands of people and resulting in a great deal of media coverage. The political momentum resulting from the Day has also served for advocacy purposes. It has notably contributed to the advancement of national plans and policies for rare diseases in a number of countries. Even though the campaign started as a European event, it has progressively become a world event, with the US joining in 2009 and patient organisations in 56 other countries participating in 2011. We hope many more will join in 2012. Our objective is for the WHO to recognise the last day of February as the official Rare Disease Day.

Single Gene Implicated in FTD/ALS

Researchers have recently found a single gene cause for two neurodegenerative conditions that are distinct but related, frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

In an online issue of the scientific journal Neuron, researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida, in collaboration with the UCSF Memory and Aging Center and others, report that the newly discovered genetic abnormality is responsible for a significant proportion of families with both FTD and ALS (FTD/ALS) and many families where the dominant syndrome is either familial FTD or familial ALS. Less commonly, it is associated with sporadic FTD or sporadic ALS, meaning occurrences of FTD or ALS without a family history.

A New Worry for Soccer Parents: Heading the Ball

By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS

What happens inside the skull of a soccer player who repeatedly heads a soccer ball? That question motivated a provocative new study of the brains of experienced players that has prompted discussion and debate in the soccer community, and some anxiety among those of us with soccer-playing offspring.

For the study, researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York recruited 34 adults, men and women. All of the volunteers had played soccer since childhood and now competed year-round in adult soccer leagues. Each filled out a detailed questionnaire developed especially for this study to determine how many times they had headed a soccer ball in the previous year, as well as whether they had experienced any known concussions in the past.

‘Boomer dementia’ alarming writes the San Antonio Express-News

Done by Patricia Ross

As a top adviser in a financial services company, Susan Grant, 59, knew something was wrong when she found her thoughts so muddled she couldn’t remember if she needed to take the interstate north or south to drive home.
More coverage: mySA Health
By Richard A. Marini
Published 10:24 p.m., Sunday, October 31, 2010