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Breakthrough at Stanford University Could Help Find a Cure for Alzheimer's

December 11, 2014

A team of researchers at Stanford University very recently announced findings that Alzheimer's disease begins to develop when the microglia in the brain, a class of brain cells which compose 10-15% of all brain cells, stop functioning.Microglia are responsible for staving off inflammation as well as breaking down and destroying A-Beta, which form the protein deposits on the brain which lead to Alzheimer's.The study's senior author and professor of neourology and neurological sciences, Dr. Katrin Andreasson, reported that, "The microglia are supposed to be, from the get-go, constantly clearing A-beta, as well as keeping a lid on inflammation. If they lose their ability to function, things get out of control. A-beta builds up in the brain, inducing toxic inflammation."However, a...

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Giving Voice Chorus Offers Expression for Alzheimer's Patients

December 05, 2014

A Minneapolis-based choir called Giving Voice Chorus provides a unique form of relief and freedom for Alzheimer's patients, as well as their caretakers. Mary Margaret Lehmann is a caretaker for her husband, who has exhibited signs of Alzheimer's for almost 20 years. She says that singing, and sharing a love of music, has brought about new meaning in her husband's life and his battle with the disease. Jeanie Brindley-Barnett, music director for the choir, is astounded by the incredible spirit of her choir members. "'What I love more than anything is the unbridled enthusiasm, and just unabashed joy ... there's so much freedom and the sound is fabulous,'" she says. Many patients who suffer from Alzheimer's retain the ability to...

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Observer Reporter Alzheimer's Series: Rudy and Judy Keron

December 03, 2014

In the sixth part of their series documenting and reporting the challenges of dementia and Alzheimer's personally faced by families, Observer Reporter looks at the life of Rudy Keron, age 74, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's seven years ago. In Rudy's case the disease progressed rapidly, and he soon lacked the ability to speak, brush his teeth, or recognize family members. For five of these seven years post-diagnosis, Keron's wife Judy, took care of him herself in their home in Washington before finally deciding to move him to the Washington County Health Center in 2012."'I was in denial when we got the diagnosis,' said Judy. 'I took Rudy to Pittsburgh for additional tests at Allegheny General Hospital and had CAT scans sent to...

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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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