News / Health

Study: Early Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Better for Patients and Caregivers

Vidushi Sinha

Alzheimer's affects more than 35 million people globally, robbing them of their precious memories and, over time, their lives. It is also the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.  In a recently published study, experts proposed new guidelines that encourage clinical procedures to secure early diagnosis of the disease.  They also want to see new drug trials aimed at eliminating Alzheimer's.

Dominic Batty doesn't like being dependent on his wife for everything. He suffers from Alzheimer's, which has left him virtually incapacitated.

"Part of me accepts that yes I'm going dotty and all the rest, but all the people around me are just having to cope with it because it's a great problem for them and that bothers me," he said.

The first sign of Alzheimer's disease is a failing memory.  Eventually, sufferers no longer remember loved ones, cannot talk, walk or even smile.

And the best medications available today attack only the symptoms.

Experts say early diagnosis can make controlling symptoms easier and cut down on caregiving effort.
They also suggest that early diagnosis of Alzheimer's is important for procedures and treatments to be effective.

Simple brain scans and blood tests can be useful in detecting Alzheimer's long before physical symptoms start. Those form the key component of new guidelines issued in the medical Journal Lancet this week.

Dr. Ted Rothstein, a neurologist at George Washington Medical Center, says blood tests can reveal the accumulation of abnormal proteins forming plaque in the brain.

"They form a kind of tangle in the brain which interferes with the normal protein function in the brain," said Dr. Rothstein. "And you can measure Tau [a kind of protein] levels both in blood and spinal fluid which tend to be elevated in Alzheimer's patients when compared to normal patients."

There is no cure for this growing epidemic with soaring costs.

Alzheimer's Disease International, in its latest report, shows the cost of caring for Alzheimer's patients is set to reach $604 billion this year.  Those costs are expected to rise as the number of cases could triple by 2050.  Dr. Rothstein:

"As of today we do not have any medication that prevents the disease from progressing and the treatments that are available are mildly effective with regard to the symptoms - the memory loss or the other disturbances," he said. "Eventually these patients continue to progress, continue to lose their memory, their activity of daily living and within five years most of them wind up in nursing homes."

Five per cent of Alzheimer's patients inherit this condition through a familial gene.  But for the vast majority of others, age is the common factor. After the age of 65 the chances of developing the disease doubles every five years. At the age of 85, there is a 50 percent chance of developing Alzheimer's.

Researchers urge countries to invest more in finding treatments for this disease, otherwise the cost of caring for Alzheimer's patients will reach crisis proportions.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid