Archive for August, 2012

To review from last week, the brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease are found 25 years before onset of symptoms. This finding is based on longitudinal study of families with a particularly aggressive form of Alzheimer’s disease and can probably be extrapolated to the late onset form of the disease. Furthermore, memory decline starts 10 years before symptoms and current medical screening (the MMSE) does not detect changes until 5 years before symptoms. In short, Alzheimer’s disease unfolds over a very long time. It gives us opportunity to develop a comprehensive wellness plan. What does this mean for me and for my clients? There is hope for better managing memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. So often I hear “Why should I address memory issues as there is nothing I can do?” This adds to the feelings of hopelessness and […]


The article I wrote two weeks ago, “Timeline for the Development of Alzheimer’s Disease,” got me thinking. I have known for some time that most progressive dementing conditions unfold over the time span of decades, but having concrete data makes the natural history of Alzheimer’s disease all the more clear. Brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease are found 25 years before onset of symptoms. One way to use these data is to label the changes as being Alzheimer’s disease early on. Indeed, this is what has been done with the new diagnostic criteria. There are many unfortunate effects of doing this. We do not know the base rate of those who have these brain changes and don’t go on to show symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Recall that imaging studies produce a high rate of false alarms when completed on general […]


Diabetes mellitus is associated with increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. As with many areas of science, the data are inconsistent. Few studies have explored the impact of using diabetic medications and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. One study, Rotterdam study, showed that diabetics treated with insulin had a greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. On the other hand, another study demonstrated that diabetics treated with insulin or oral antidiabetic drugs had a lower density of neuritic plaques (associated with Alzheimer’s disease) than individuals who do not have diabetes. A recently published study (Journal of the American Geriatric Society, 2012, 60, 916-921) explored the association between diabetes and the use of Metformin (a popular antidiabetic drug). The data were gathered from the United Kingdom General Practice database that was established in 1987. The study was completed by assessing the data […]

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