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Posted by ADRC Staff at 02/01/16 11:03 AM.

Is Alzheimer's Disease Contagious?

According to a study published in Nature, the capability of Alzheimer's disease proteins to transmit from one person to another may be possible under the right conditions. Does this mean you can 'catch' Alzheimer's in the same way you catch a cold? Not at all, according to CNN. The conditions have to align perfectly, and that alignment is extremely rare.

The findings emerged from an autopsy study of the brains of eight people who had developed Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a rare and fatal cognitive disease. The individuals had developed the disease decades after being injected with human growth hormone that had been extracted from human cadavers. In addition to the damage cause by CJD, six of the eight brains had developed a significant amount of the amyloid protein, which forms the sticky plaques that appears in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients.

John Collinge, a professor at the Medical Research Council's Prion Unit at University College London, said that the research is inconclusive as to whether the hormone injections received by the patients caused Alzheimer's, but it does raise concern. The individuals tested in the study were too young (ranging in age from 26 to 51 years old) at the time of their death to have such a high concentration of the protein in their brains.

If confirmed, the study suggests that the 30,000 individuals treated with this growth hormone, a predominant treatment for children with stunted growth from 1958 until 1985, may be at risk for CJD and amyloid protein buildup. None of the patients studied had shown clinical symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, which, like CDJ, has a long incubation period. Of the six brains that tested positive for amyloid protein, it was widespread in four, but none of the patients carried genes that would predispose them to early-onset Alzheimer's.

Although there is no evidence to suggest that Alzheimer's can be contracted through normal contact with patients, some scientists are suggesting the possibility that Alzheimer's could be transmitted in ways similar to CDJ, through blood transfusions or contaminated surgical instruments.

Alzheimer's Disease Resource Center, Inc. supports local advancements in Alzheimer's disease research to improve the lives of those living with the disease and to work towards a future free of the debilitating effects of this disease.

Posted by ADRC Staff at 11/18/2015 2:30 PM.

Alzheimer's Patient Tracking Devices Could Save Lives

Alzheimer's disease is a debilitating cognitive condition that effectively erases memory and can lead to severe consequences, like getting lost in suddenly unfamiliar surroundings. Often, Alzheimer's patients who wander away from their facilities become lost and frightened or find themselves in potentially unsafe situations. Caregivers around the world, especially in the United States and Canada, increasingly rely on a new tracking technology to curb the risk of these situations.

Companies like Project Lifesaver have developed tracking devices like the Protect and Locate system (PAL) for the search and rescue of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. The devices incorporate wristbands that are as inconspicuous as watches and a portable receiver that utilizes GPS technology to negotiate a perimeter that, if breached, sounds an alarm. Some systems also coordinate an emergency email and text message blast to surrounding individuals and families, much like an Amber Alert. If the caregiver presses the 'Find' button on the receiver, the at-risk individual is located and tracked. The patient also has the option of a 'Panic' button on the wristwatch that will send his or her location to the receiver.

Other available technologies include the GPS Smart Sole, PocketFinder, MindMe, Medic Alert's Safely Home and Comfort Zone Check-In, among others.

Studies show that 60 percent of individuals with dementia wander. Too often, families and caregivers consider this option when it is already too late. Alzheimer's Disease Resource Center, Inc. (ADRC) urges you to look into this technology that could save a life and to create a crisis plan for your loved one.

Posted by ADRC Staff at 11/04/2015 11:21 AM.

The Toll of Alzheimer's Disease is Carried on the Shoulders of Women

According to an Emory University Study, women are not only at greater risk for Alzheimer's but also bear six times the cost of caregiving, per capita, for loved ones with the disease. The greatest cost burden is attributed to the uncompensated, informal care that women provide to family members living with Alzheimer's disease.

The study is the first of its kind to document the disparate economic impact of Alzheimer's on women as both patients and caregivers, as well as the effects of the disease on the public health system. The findings have exposed the need for reimbursement policies for Medicare, Medicaid and long-term care to ease the burden that Alzheimer's disease puts on public and private services.

The study also found that the patient cost ratio for women as compared to men is 1.5 percent higher for Medicare and 2.2 percent more for Medicaid. Women also pay a 5.8 percent greater average rate for out-of-pocket payments for assisted living and home health services.

Women, most often the primary caregivers for loved ones with Alzheimer's, provide informal, uncompensated care that is worth 20 times more than the care men deliver. The greatest hardship goes to women who juggle caregiving, a job and other family responsibilities. Other women are older, often struggling with personal health and economic problems, yet still providing hours of unpaid care to spouses or other loved ones who are battling Alzheimer's. The patient's battle against the cognitive disease can last up to 10 years and the toll can be physically, psychologically and financially draining to the family members who care for the patient.

Alzheimer's Disease Resource Center supports and celebrates the advancements to cure, prevent or postpone the effects of Alzheimer's disease that will greater benefit the welfare and economic status of patients and caregivers alike.

Posted by ADRC Staff at 10/14/2015 9:02 AM.