Alzheimer's News

Alzheimer’s disease is a disorder that affects the brain, impacting memory and basic thinking skills. It is the most common form of dementia and typically develops in people over the age of 65, though some in their 40s and 50s may develop early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.


Researchers believe that Alzheimer’s disease is caused by a complex combination of factors related to genetics, environment and lifestyle. It’s also become clear in recent years that the damage in the brain may begin many years before the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s occur.

Some research has noted the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and other circulation problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. It also appears that lifestyle choices that are good for the whole body -- such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, avoiding smoking and maintaining a healthy weight -- may play a role in preventing Alzheimer’s disease in some people.


Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, so the symptoms start out subtly and gradually worsen over time. It may begin with trouble finding the right word, a decline in reasoning and judgment or issues with vision and spatial awareness, though these are not always related to Alzheimer’s. Over time, people gradually see their memory loss continue and confusion increase. In its end stages, the decline in brain function leads to total loss of communication, and the person is often bedridden as other parts of the body are affected by the loss of brain function.


Though there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, it can be treated. Treatment to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s usually involves a combination of medication, therapy and counseling. Support groups are also helpful for people with Alzheimer’s disease and those who care for them. The best results of treatment are usually in those in whom the disease is diagnosed early.

SOURCES: Alzheimer’s Association; U.S. National Institute on Aging

Date Posted
Article Title
America's Dementia Caregivers Cite Stresses, Rewards

New survey results illustrate the ups and downs of caring for aging family members

High Blood Pressure in 40s a Dementia Risk for Women?

Study didn't find same link in men

A More Accurate Predictor for Alzheimer's?

Genetic test might one day diagnose the disease before symptoms occur, researchers say

Failing Sense of Smell Tied to Dementia Risk

Long-term study suggests inability to identify scents may be early sign of problems

High, Low Levels of Magnesium Linked to Dementia Risk

But study didn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship

Is Dementia Declining Among Older Americans?

Rates have fallen among those 70 and older; gains against heart disease might explain trend

Women at Risk for Alzheimer's Face Critical 10-Year Window, Study Says

If your genes predispose you to the illness, 65 to 75 may be high-risk years

Do Fewer Nightly Dreams Mean Higher Dementia Risk in Seniors?

For every 1 percent drop in sleep's REM phase, a 9 percent jump in odds for thinking, memory troubles, study found

Dementia Care: A Huge Financial Burden for U.S. Families

Annual costs may top $320,000, study estimates

Popular Heartburn Drugs Don't Raise Risk of Alzheimer's: Study

Researchers say proton pump inhibitors like Nexium or Prilosec not linked to dementia

Blood Pressure Fluctuations Tied to Dementia Risk in Study

But the research only found an association, not cause-and-effect connection

Midlife Behaviors May Affect Your Dementia Risk

Of greatest importance are diabetes, blood pressure and smoking, researchers say

Traveling With Dementia: Tips for Family Caregivers

Stick to familiar routines, advises Alzheimer's Foundation

Noninvasive Brain Test May Pinpoint Type of Dementia

In small study, electrical currents helped distinguish Alzheimer's from another form of brain trouble

Targeting 9 Risk Factors Could Prevent 1 in 3 Dementia Cases: Study

Reducing mid-life hearing loss might make the biggest difference

Dozens of Potential Alzheimer's Meds in the Pipeline

Last new drug for the memory-robbing disease was introduced in the United States in 2003

Special Training Plus Medication Might Help People With Advanced Alzheimer's

Skills lost, such as dressing or bathing, can potentially be relearned, small study suggests

Can Poor Sleep Boost Odds for Alzheimer's?

Studies found sleep apnea tied to higher levels of tell-tale plaques, proteins in brain

Can Daily Crossword Protect You From Dementia?

Regular puzzlers score better on tests of mental function, study finds

A Healthy Diet May Help Ward Off Dementia

New studies suggest that, yes, eating right could boost your brain function

Boxers, MMA Fighters May Face Long-Term Harm to Brain: Study

Researchers find head injuries from fighting cause brain changes that might spur troubles later in life

How Poor Sleep Might Raise Odds for Alzheimer's

A few bad nights might not hurt, but chronic sleep problems may be cause for concern, researcher says

Sleep Problems: An Early Warning Sign of Alzheimer's?

Small study found an association but didn't prove link

Slowed Walking, Shrinking Brain?

Seniors whose pace dropped showed shrinkage in brain region linked to memory, spatial orientation

Popular Heartburn Meds Don't Raise Alzheimer's Risk: Study

New research debunks other studies suggesting that medications used to treat ulcers, reflux cause mental decline

Lifestyle Changes Might Prevent or Slow Dementia

The public should be aware of this encouraging research, expert says

Sticky Brain 'Plaques' Implicated in Alzheimer's Again

Researchers believe these substances form in early stages of the memory-robbing disease

'Making the Best of It': Families Face the Heavy Burden of Alzheimer's

With U.S. cases expected to triple to 16 million by 2050, support for caregivers desperately needed

Alzheimer's Deaths Jump 55 Percent: CDC

More patients also dying at home, with the caregiving burden falling on loved ones

Thin People Not More Prone to Alzheimer's, Study Finds

Gene-based research suggests that, instead, early stage disease might cause weight loss

Wives, Daughters Shoulder Most of Alzheimer's Care Burden

Careers, finances may take a hit because of caregiving demands, researchers say

Gene Mutation May Speed Alzheimer's Decline

If beta-amyloid plaques are present in the brain, process is even faster, study finds

Loving, Supportive Kids May Help Lower Seniors' Dementia Risk

But negative relationships with children, spouse increased chances, study finds

'Silent' Seizures Tied to Alzheimer's Symptoms

Researchers suggest they're a potential target for treating the disease

Do Diet Sodas Pose Health Risks?

Study suggests -- but does not prove -- a possible link to stroke, dementia

Could a Zap to the Brain Jog Failing Memory?

Deep brain stimulation appears to help, but much more research is needed, scientists say

Could Young Blood Boost the Aging Brain?

In study, mice regained memory skills after transfusion of human umbilical cord blood

A Healthy Middle-Aged Heart May Protect Your Brain Later

Dementia expert says take up heart-healthy habits sooner rather than later

Past Psychiatric Ills Don't Raise Alzheimer's Risk: Study

But more recent symptoms may be part of the disease

Xanax, Valium May Boost Pneumonia Risk in Alzheimer's Patients

Researchers suspect people may breathe saliva or food into their lungs due to fatigue from the drugs

FDA OKs 1st At-Home Genetic Tests for 10 Disorders

Saliva analysis can indicate higher risk of Parkinson's disease, among others, agency says

Vitamin E, Selenium Supplements Won't Curb Men's Dementia Risk

Brain expert says it's unlikely that any one nutrient would be a 'silver bullet'

Study: Gene Test Needed Before Using Alzheimer's Drug 'Off-Label'

Aricept is often prescribed for mild mental impairment without actual approval