November 15, 2019

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


A November 14, 2019 UsAgainstAlzheimer’s blog post by LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s (LA2) Lead Jason Resendez and LA2 advocate Lisette Carbajal looked to the future of dementia caregiving - which is increasingly racially diverse and young. 1.5 million millennials provide care for a loved one with dementia, and more than half are Hispanic/Latino, African American/Black, or Asian American/Pacific Islander. According to the post, “Lisette offered her perspective of the balancing act of trying to manage work while taking care of a parent: “I had just graduated college trying to figure out what career I wanted to pursue. At the same time, I was coordinating my father’s care. It was stressful trying to have a social life, professional career, and be a caregiver all at the same time.””

A Johns Hopkins Medicine post featured the story of Kathy Siggins, who initiated the creation of the Alzheimer’s semipostal stamp in honor of her late husband, Gene, who had AD. According to the post, “As for her grieving, Kathy says, “I stayed busy, doing more advocacy. At a caregivers’ forum in Hagerstown the August after Gene died, we were talking about fundraising and awareness. Someone mentioned the breast cancer stamp that had been issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 1998.” Kathy was inspired… She and Gene had met at the headquarters of the Postal Service in Washington, D.C.” Siggins is a member of WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s.


A November 13, 2019 University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences news release spotlighted the work of Steven Barger, PhD, whose study looked at the link between Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. It is known that having diabetes doubles the risk of dementia, so scientists questioned if AD causes diabetes, or the reverse. “Our model indicated that, rather than diabetes, people with Alzheimer’s may have higher glucose in their blood simply because they are not transporting as much into the brain, and this may be responsible for the problems with the high blood sugar levels common to Alzheimer’s,” said Barger.


A November 13, 2019 Scientific American article pointed to a new study on whether literacy can offer protection against cognitive decline. The study, led (mostly) by Columbia University researchers in Manhattan, involved participants from the Washington Heights–Inwood Columbia Community Aging Project, many hailing from rural Dominican Republic. According to the article, “The researchers found that literacy was linked to higher scores on cognitive measures not solely tied to reading or language skills. And other research has discovered more gray matter and other beneficial changes in the literate brain. Separately, it surprised the new study’s team that the rate of cognitive decline did not differ between the literate and illiterate groups—perhaps because the illiterate segment, when first examined, was already closer to meeting dementia thresholds.”


(ICYMI) An October 8, 2019 Dr. Chow blog post touts the “God Forbid” podcast, about spiritual aspects of and philosophical questions surrounding living with dementia. The segment features author Reverend John Swinton and Dr. Robyn Wrigley-Carr, discussing the effects of music on people with dementia, the significance of personal memories, nursing home stigma, and the importance of supporting caregivers.