|Dementia research forum|
|Tuesday, 03 July 2012 00:00|
The Forum enables working carers to learn about, comment on, and discuss the latest dementia research.
You will find it at http://dementianewsforum.com/
Some of the research being discussed on the forum currently includes:
A team of researchers from the University of Carolina conducted a study to clarify the timing and nature of the association between depression and dementia. Depression and dementia are common in older adults and often occur together.
The study looked at how the presence of depressive symptoms in midlife (40-55) and in later life (70+) related to the diagnosis of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia over a six- year period.
The researchers found that participants with mid-life and late life depressive symptoms were three times more likely to develop vascular dementia. Similarly, participants with depressive symptoms in later life had double the likelihood of a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.
During his presentation in Canberra, Professor Banerjee discussed his research for the United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Care Services (2009). This study found that an estimated 180,000 people with dementia in the UK are being treated with antipsychotic medication per year. Of these, only approximately 36,000 will derive some benefit from the treatment. It is estimated that the use of this medication for people with dementia led to 1,620 cerebrovascular adverse events and an additional 1,800 deaths per year.
Professor Banerjee suggests that a widespread use of antipsychotics to manage behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia is inappropriate, particularly as there are a number of alternate psychosocial treatments which should be used as a first approach in responding these symptoms.
Based on current research, no sound conclusions can be drawn about the efficacy of the use of coconut oil or coconut water as a therapeutic agent in the treatment Alzheimer’s disease. Recent studies have found that some of the chemicals contained in coconut water may play a role in neural transmission and possibly reduce amyloid β-protein formation (a causal factor in Alzheimer’s disease). These preliminary findings will need to be explored further to determine if these chemicals could be used to develop treatments for dementia.
The announcement followed an initial review by the committee that found that ‘these medicines were being prescribed to a much larger population for longer periods of time than was originally agreed as cost-effective by the PBAC’. The PBS listed medicines included in this review are: donepezil; rivastigmine; galantamine; and memantine- which are some of the medicines which are specifically designed for dementia to slow down progression of the disease, as well as ease symptoms.
“People with dementia and carers are alarmed by the announcement of this review. If the drugs are no longer offered by the PBS, or restrictions on accessing them are made tougher, the cost could reach $150 per month”, Alzheimer’s Australia CEO Glenn Rees said.
You can share your experiences or views by making a submission to the PBAC by 6 July at
Dr Chuanhai and a team of researchers from the Universities of South Florida and Miami conducted a study to determine whether caffeine intake influences the risk of dementia. The researchers tested the blood caffeine levels and cognitive ability of 124 people aged 65-68. The participants of the study were then monitored for cognitive status over a 2-4 year period to determine the extent to which blood biomarkers levels would be predictive of changes in cognitive status.
The result of the study suggested that participants who had developed dementia over the duration of the study had caffeine levels that were 51 per cent lower than those who did not develop memory impairments. Furthermore, participants that drank approximately three coffees a day and who were found to have mild cognitive impairment at the beginning of the study, had a delay in onset of dementia when compared to participants that showed signs of mild cognitive impairment at the beginning of the study, and did not drink coffee regularly.
Dr Yonas Geda and a team of researchers from the Mayo Clinic in the United States conducted a study to assess the relationship between mentally engaging activities, exercise and memory. The researchers recruited 926 people, aged from 70 to 93, to complete a questionnaire on physical exercise and mentally stimulating activities including computer use.
The results of the study found that 37 per cent of participants who did not exercise and did not use a computer showed signs of mild cognitive impairment compared to 18.3 per cent of participants who both exercised and used a computer.
“The aging of baby boomers is projected to lead to dramatic increases in the prevalence of dementia,” Dr Geda said. “As frequent computer use is becoming increasingly common among all age groups, it is important to examine how it relates to aging and dementia. Our study further adds to this discussion.”
WHO and Alzheimer’s disease International have released a joint report showing global dementia prevalence is likely to triple by 2050, from 35.6 million to 115.4 million.