Thursday, September 11, 2014

Type AB Blood? You May Be More Prone to Memory Loss

Laura Tedesco
How sharp you are at age 65 may be tied to something totally out of your control: blood type. And people with type AB blood — the least common type — may face a particularly high risk of memory loss later in life, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Neurology
The researchers asked more than 1,000 people age 45 and older to perform cognitive and memory tests — learning and then recalling a list of 10 words, for example — and then took blood samples from each study participant. After following the participants for an average of 3.4 years, the scientists found that those with type AB blood had an 82 percent higher risk of cognitive decline.
This isn’t the first time blood type has been shown to influence health risks. In a 2014 study from Pakistan, for example, people with type A blood were shown to be at significantly higher risk of heart disease. Another recent study, published in the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostics Research, identified type A blood as a possible risk factor for oral, esophageal, and salivary gland, cancers, while type B was flagged as a potential risk factor for laryngeal cancers.
It’s also not the first time type AB blood has been tied specifically to vascular trouble: A 2014 study published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostatis — conducted by same researchers behind the new Neurology study — found that people with type AB blood faced an 83 percent higher risk of stroke than those with type O blood, which had previously been linked to reduced odds of cardiovascular issues.

But despite this emerging — and increasingly compelling — body of research, said Mary Cushman, author of the new study, “Physicians and patients aren’t thinking at all about blood type and risk of diseases.” She told Yahoo Health in an email, “The reason is that we don’t yet know the cause for the connection.” Much more research is required, she explained, before doctors can consider checking blood type to predict disease. “Right now,” she said, “we are a ways off from doing this.”
Even so, Cushman and her colleagues have begun to explore potential links between type AB blood and memory loss. A primary area of interest: coagulation factor VIII, which is “a clotting protein involved in normal formation of blood clots,” explained Cushman. In the study, the AB group had the highest levels of the protein, compared to folks of other blood types. “We think that people with higher factor VIII are at increased risk of vascular conditions, like stroke,” Cushman said. “Since factor VIII levels are closely linked to blood type, this may be one causal connection between blood type and cognitive impairment.”
However, in the study, factor VIII didn’t emerge as a statistically significant link between type AB blood and memory decline, suggesting there’s another physiological explanation at play. One possibility? Something called ABO glycotransferase, which is “the enzyme that tells us what your blood type is,” Cushman said. Different versions of the enzyme, as dictated by blood type, signal different sugars to attach to red blood cells. As a result, ABO may play a role in regulating different bodily systems, including clotting function, said Cushman.   
So should type AB people panic about preserving their memory? Cushman thinks not — at least not yet. “The association we saw was relatively small, and the findings need to be confirmed in other studies,” she said. “However, everyone can work to maintain their cognitive function through leading a healthy lifestyle, in terms of diet, physical activity, and not smoking, as well as controlling cardiovascular risk through optimizing blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes treatment.” 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Seth Rogen, Mel B. and a Huge Audience Surprise

Meredith kicks off her signature segment, #TheList, with a huge audience surprise. Then, actor Seth Rogen and his actress wife, Lauren Miller, discuss Alzheimer’s Disease and explain why the cause is so near and dear to them. “America’s Got Talent” judge Mel B. also stops by to dish on the other “AGT” judges. Plus find out just how fearless Scary Spice is in a game of, “What Scares Scary Spice?” Check your local listings for station and times!
Special thanks to Hello Kitty for surprising The Three Little Fighters on today’s show!
To learn more about Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller-Rogen’s foundation,Hilarity for Charity, visit their website. You can also learn more about their documentary, This is Alzheimer’s, here.
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer’s Association advances research to end Alzheimer’s and dementia while enhancing care for those living with the disease.
Special thanks to these charities for donating funds to help #EndAlz in honor of Steve Vieira:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Toronto Film Review: ‘Still Alice’

Julianne Moore plays a woman slowly disappearing within her own body in this sensitive and restrained look at early-onset Alzheimer's.

When the movies deal with Alzheimer’s, they nearly always approach it from the vantage of the family members who are painfully forgotten as loved ones lose their memories. “Still Alice” shows the process from the victim’s p.o.v., and suddenly the disease isn’t just something sad that happens to other people, but a condition we can relate to firsthand.Julianne Moore guides us through the tragic arc of how it must feel to disappear before one’s own eyes, accomplishing one of her most powerful performances by underplaying the scenario — a low-key approach that should serve this dignified indie well in limited release.
Based on the novel by neuroscientist Lisa Genova, “Still Alice” gives new meaning to the phrase, “It happens to the best of us.” Columbia professor Alice Howland is the sort of character who, even without Alzheimer’s to contend with, is accomplished and interesting enough to warrant her own movie. She has achieved much in her 50-odd years, both as a respected scholar and mother of three grown children, played by Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth and Hunter Parrish.
For the otherwise healthy Alice, there’s no good reason why Alzheimer’s should strike now, nearly 15 years before it traditionally occurs, although, as her doctor points out, the condition can actually be harder to diagnose in intelligent people, since they’re capable of devising elaborate work-arounds that mask the problem. Genova’s book hit especially close to home for husband-and-husband helmers Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland (“Quinceanera”), since Glatzer suffers from ALS — another degenerative condition that systematically attacks one’s sense of self.
At first, it’s just a word that goes missing in the middle of one of Alice’s linguistics lectures. But the situation gets scarier when she loses track of where she is during her daily jog. Since Alice’s disease involves short-term memory loss, a number of the tests she faces are ones the audience can take alongside, with the inevitable result that we start to reflect on the blind spots in our memory. Forgetting things isn’t unusual even among perfectly healthy adults, making it easy to identify with Moore, who plays her initial concerns quite casually.
It’s not until Alice learns that the disease is hereditary that the severity of her situation sets in: As if it weren’t bad enough that she will eventually cease to recognize her own children, Alice may also be responsible for passing the condition along to them. This is a tragedy, pure and simple, and yet the directing duo refuses to milk the family’s situation for easy tears. Instead, the idea is to put us inside Alice’s head. We experience disorientation as she would, suggested by a shallow depth of field where things shown out of focus appear to be just beyond her comprehension.
Alice’s diagnosis calls for a form of grieving, during which she tries coming to terms with the fact that life as it had previously existed is now over. She tells the department chair at Columbia U., where she taught, about her Alzheimer’s and is promptly dismissed from her position. She gets lost in her own home and is easily overwhelmed whenever she steps out of it. Though her husband John (Alec Balwin) aims to be supportive, he refuses to let her condition derail his own professional life. Alice begs him to take a year off work so they can be together before she’s too far gone to experience her own life, making visits to retirement homes and making contingency plans (a bottle of sleeping pills stashed at the back of a dresser drawer) for the day when she can no longer answer a series of personal questions about her life.
The directorial couple must have gone through something very similar when Glatzer’s ALS kicked in, forcing him to accept that his body had become his greatest enemy. The pair bring that personal connection to the writing process, emphasizing Alice’s emotions over those of her various family members — although Stewart, whose character steps in as caregiver at one point, gets several intimate, unshowy scenes with Moore. The helmers have made a conscious decision to keep things quiet, commissioning a score from British composer that doesn’t tell you how to feel, but rather how she feels: lost, emotional and anxious most of the time.
Clearly, Glatzer has not yet given up, and neither does Alice, despite her relatively rapid degeneration. It’s a devastating thing to watch the light of recognition dwindle in her eyes, to see the assertive, confident lecturer that she had so recently been reduced to the nervous, scared woman we see delivering one last speech at an Alzheimer’s society confab. After the stiff lifelessness of “The Last of Robin Hood,” the helmers have made a near-total recovery, shooting things in such a way that activity is constantly spilling beyond the edges of the frame, giving the impression that characters’ lives continue when they’re not on camera, even as Alice’s seems to be closing in around her. Just as her kids look for ever-fainter signs of their mother behind those eyes, we lean in to watch Moore the actress turn invisible within her own skin.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

17 Things No One Tells You About Alzheimer’s Disease

Every 67 seconds, a person in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s disease.posted on Sept. 4, 2014, at 1:01 p.m.

1. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

2. One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

3. Women are affected by Alzheimer’s most. Almost two-thirds of Alzheimer’s patients are women.

4. Women in their sixties are about two times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s in their lifetime than they are to develop breast cancer.

5. Every 67 seconds, another person in the United States develops Alzheimer’s.

6. There are currently more than five million Americans living with Alzheimer’s.

7. Alzheimer’s is the most expensive condition in the nation.

8. Worldwide, nearly 36 million people have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.

9. African Americans and Hispanic Americans are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than Caucasian Americans.

10. In 2031, when baby boomers reach the age 85, it is expected that more than 3 million people 85 and older will have Alzheimer’s.

11. Globally, the cost of Alzheimer’s and dementia is estimated around $605 billion. This is equivalent to 1% of the entire world’s gross domestic product.

12. In 2013, over 15.5 million family members and friends provided over 17 billion hours of unpaid care to those suffering from Alzheimer’s.

13. And because of the physical and emotional burdens that caregivers experience, caregivers had $9.3 billion in additional health care costs of their own due to high levels of stress.

14. Unless a cure is found, Alzheimer’s disease isn't going away. It’s estimated by 2050, 16 million Americans will be living with Alzheimer’s disease.

15. And Alzheimer’s will take your loved ones away from you… and never give them back.

16. However, in 2013, the Alzheimer’s Association invested almost $15 million in over 75 scientific investigations in an effort to end Alzheimer’s disease.

17. Since 1982, the Alzheimer’s Association has invested nearly $320 million toward science to help end this terrible disease. And someday, they hope to find a cure.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Broncos owner Pat Bowlen steps down to deal with Alzheimer's disease

Pat Bowlen, the Denver Broncos owner who won two Super Bowls and oversaw one of the NFL's most consistently competitive franchises, has given up control of the team to continue his battle of Alzheimer's disease.
The Denver Post first reported the story early Wednesday morning.
"As many in the Denver community and around the National Football League have speculated, my husband, Pat, has very bravely and quietly battled Alzheimer's disease for the last few years," Annabel Bowlen said in a statement released through the Broncos. "He has elected to keep his condition private because he has strongly believed, and often said, 'It's not about me.'
"Pat has always wanted the focus to be solely on the Denver Broncos and the great fans who have supported this team with such passion during his 30 years as owner. My family is deeply saddened that Pat's health no longer allows him to oversee the Broncos, which has led to this public acknowledgment of such a personal health condition."
oe Ellis, the Broncos' team president since 2011, takes over the day-to-day operations of the team and also was named the Broncos' chief executive officer serving as the team's representative on all league matters. The longtime owner's stake in the team was placed in the Pat Bowlen Trust, according to a statement from the team, with the intention for the franchise to be taken over by one of his seven children. The team is not expected to be up for sale.
"Plans for this trust were arranged by Mr. Bowlen beginning more than a decade ago as part of his succession plan to keep the Broncos in the Bowlen family," according to a Broncos' statement.
Since Bowlen, who turned 70 in February, bought the team in 1984, the Broncos have won more than 300 games and been to six Super Bowls. The franchise won its first two championships behind quarterback John Elway, who now serves as the team's general manager and executive vice president of football operations, in 1997 and '98.
"It's a really, really sad day," Ellis said, per the Post. "It's sad for his family, his wife and his seven children. It's sad for everyone in the organization. And it's sad for all the Bronco fans who know what Pat Bowlen meant to them as an owner. It's a day nobody wanted to see happen."
The Broncos are scheduled to report to training camp Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

END ALZ Magnets on Sale

In college I made magnets and sold them for extra money for school. They were called "Charmed", because I designed each one differently with beads on them with some wiring. Recently I went to compete at Mrs. International 2014 and I had no idea what to make all the ladies as a gift. It dawned on me one day when I was at the craft store. I should make purple magnets because purple is the color of of Alzheimer's. I am not sure why I didn't know what to make until it all came to me at the craft store. Well I have decided to keep making the magnets to raise money for my Remember My Photo Alzheimer's team. :) See image of them. If you would like to get one, please let me know. They are $5.00 each. You can email me at
Thank you!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

5 things you didn't know about Alzheimer's

By Felix Gussone, Special to CNN
 Thu July 17, 2014
(CNN) -- Approximately 44 million people live with dementia worldwide, according to the Alzheimer's Association. By 2050, that number is expected to more than triple to 115 million.
In the fight against these fast-growing numbers, experts from all over the world discussed the latest research at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, this week.
Here are five things we learned about Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia:
Hypertension in old age may save your brain
High blood pressure is usually called the "silent killer." However, a new study from the University of California now suggests that if you're over 90, hypertension can save the life of your brain cells.
Hypertension may protect against dementia in people over age 90, the study authors say.
The researchers followed 625 participants who developed high blood pressure in their 90s for up to 10 years and found that their risk for dementia was 55% lower than people without a history of hypertension.
Nevertheless, the study doesn't promote hypertension in the elderly, given that high blood pressure is related to other bad outcomes.
"I don't think it says if I find somebody who's doing well at age 90, whose blood pressure is 120/80, we should feed them salt to bump their blood pressure up," says William Klunk, vice chair of the Alzheimer's Association Medical and Scientific Advisory Council.
The study simply shows that when it comes to normal levels of blood pressure, it might not be a one-size-fits-all with respect to age, he says.
Better late than never
Seniors can lower their risk for late-life cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease with a number of lifestyle changes, new research suggests.
A two-year clinical trial from Karolinska Institutet and the Finnish Institute for Health included 1,260 participants aged 60 to 77. One part of the group received a "lifestyle-package," including nutritional guidance, physical exercise, management of heart health risk factors, cognitive training and social activities. The control group received standard health advice.
After two years, the lifestyle-intervention group did much better in tests of memory and thinking.
We know from past studies that implementing those lifestyle factors in midlife can hedge against Alzheimer's disease later on, says Ralph Nixon, chairman of the Alzheimer's Association Medical and Scientific Advisory Council. "The good news from this particular study is that these kind of changes can be implemented in your 60s and 70s."
Playing games makes your brain bigger
Middle-aged people who were avid game-players (think crosswords, checkers, cards) tended to have bigger brains than people who did not play games, according to a recent study that looked at brain scans.
"It's like looking at someone's muscle mass," said Dr. Laurel Coleman of the Maine Medical Center Geriatric Assessment Center. "It's bad when it's smaller, good when it's bigger."
Researchers looked specifically at certain parts of participants' brains. The volume among game-players was greater in areas that tend to be damaged by Alzheimer's disease, suggesting the potential for delaying -- maybe even avoiding -- the disease. People who kept their brains pumped scored higher on tests of their thinking ability.
Coleman suggests mixing it up: Try potentially stimulating activities like learning a new language or switching from reading nonfiction to fiction -- anything that poses a cognitive challenge.
Exercise benefits the mind too
Exercise seems to slow the descent toward dementia as well.
Two sets of data from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging suggest that exercise may positively influence how mild cognitive impairment (a precursor to dementia) and dementia develop.
In one group of patients with mild cognitive impairment, exercising seemed to protect against developing dementia. Data on a different group of healthy patients who exercised -- either lightly or vigorously -- showed they were less likely to be diagnosed with cognitive impairment.
"We would never say that these things totally prevent Alzheimer's, that they will cure you," said Coleman, a geriatrician. "But they're going to help your brain."
smell test may detect Alzheimer's
In the future, a test of your sense of smell may help doctors predict your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
In two separate studies, scientists found that people who were unable to identify certain odors were more likely to experience cognitive impairment. The researchers believe that brain cells crucial to a person's sense of smell are killed in the early stages of dementia.
Researchers say this information could help doctors create a smell test to detect Alzheimer's earlier. Early detection means early intervention and treatment to slow the progression of the disease. Doctors today can only diagnose Alzheimer's disease once it has caused significant brain damage.
"In the face of the growing worldwide Alzheimer's disease epidemic, there is a pressing need for simple, less invasive diagnostic tests that will identify the risk of Alzheimer's much earlier in the disease process," Heather Snyder, director of medical and scientific operations for the Alzheimer's Association, said in a statement.