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Official Autopsy Shows Robin Williams had Lewy Body Dementia

November 21, 2014

Following his death, beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams was found to have had a disease known as Lewy body dementia (LBD). With approximately 1.3 million people in the US suffering from the disease, LBD is fairly common. It remains, however, largely undiagnosed because it shares many symptoms with more well-known diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's; the latter of which Williams also had. "'[Lewy body dementia] usually leads to significant cognitive impairment that interferes with everyday life,' said Angela Taylor, programming director of the Lewy Body Dementia Association. If you didn’t know them you may not realize anything is wrong.'" (source) The most common symptom of LBD is progressive dementia, but some people afflicted with the disease may also suffer...

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New Blood Test Might be able to Predict Alzheimer's a Decade Before Diagnosis

November 19, 2014

New research published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) and presented at the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, DC, suggests that a blood test capable of detecting Alzheimer's disease up to 10 years prior to diagnosis may be possible. Though the research is in very early stages, authors of the study have found a way of measuring insulin resistance in the brain--a symptom that commonly indicates the development of Alzheimer's. Researchers involved in the study analyzed the blood of living patients with Alzheimer's and frozen blood samples taken 1-10 years before being diagnosed with the disease. Using blood levels of an insulin receptor, IRS-1, researchers found they were able to accurately identify which...

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November is National Family Caregivers Month

November 14, 2014

November is National Family Caregivers Month, as well as Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month.  Over 50 million Americans serve as caregivers for loved ones who are chronically ill or disabled, and dedicate countless hours of free care that is estimated to reach about $306 billion annually. National Family Caregivers Month is sponsored by the Caregiver Action Network every year. John Schall, CEO of the network, says that, "NFC Month provides an opportunity to advocate for stronger public policies to address family caregiving issues. And it is a time to thank, support, educate, and celebrate family caregivers who are literally America's primary long-term care providers. Eighty percent of long-term care is provided by families or friends." Read more: Top 10 Ways to...

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The Problem with Alzheimer's, Medicare, and Long-term Care

November 12, 2014

The Alzheimer's Association reports that about 5 million Americans on Medicare are living with Alzheimer's disease—the most expensive disease in the U.S., with medical care costs reaching $214 billion in the year 2014. Unfortunately for these patients and their families, care needs usually fall far outside the scope of Medicare coverage. With the elderly population expected to double to around 88 million by the year 2050, there is a huge gap growing between medical needs and medical coverage that contributes to an ever-impending long-term care disaster. Long-term care insurance is an option, however, this only covers around 12 percent of these medical costs nationwide, and thus many people with family members afflicted with Alzheimer's look to Medicare to cover the...

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