Archive for January, 2010

The short answer is no. There are two tests of which I am aware that have received some press. One is a take home test and the other is a genetic test. First, there is a scratch and sniff test. The test is simple; you buy a kit and scratch to see if your sense of smell is adequate. This test is based on the findings that many people with Alzheimer’s disease have noted changes in the senses of taste and smell. This stems from the fact that the short-term memory circuits (i.e., the hippocampus) are next to the brain circuits for taste and smell (i.e., rhinal cortex). Often pathology (e.g., head injury, Alzheimer’s disease) in this region of the brain also may affect the abilities to learn new things, to smell, and/or taste. However, there are many factors other […]

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Does cardiovascular disease cause Alzheimer’s disease? There is no definitive answer to this question yet. However, there is good circumstantial evidence that heart and vascular risk factors are associated with memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have been consistent in showing an association of cardiovascular disease with impaired cognitive function and with Alzheimer’s disease. But whether this is a result of common risk factors or whether cardiovascular disease directly influences the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease is not clear. One relatively strong risk factor for both Alzheimer’s disease and for heart disease is having the E4 form of the Apolipoprotein gene. We discussed this last week and the link here may be that E4 influences cholesterol and hence adds to cardiovascular disease. The other strongly related cardiovascular risk factor that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease is type 2 diabetes. Diabetes often […]

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There are effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. Don’t wait for the magic elixir that may never come. The first thing to go is short-term memory. Treatment involves first understanding the changes in your memory and whether they are different from changes due to aging. A thorough memory assessment should help you understand, in detail, the strengths and weaknesses of your memory. Do you remember better visual or verbal information? Do you benefit from hints to improve your memory? Even if you cannot recall new information, are you able to recognize it? Are your other brain skills still sharp? Answers to these questions will help you decide on the strategies that will work best for you. Use external memory supports. For example, if you are struggling with arithmetic but can still do a checkbook, you may wish to use a calculator […]

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