Alzheimer's Association, July 24-28

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The Alzheimer's Association International Conference

The annual meeting of the Alzheimer's Association was held from July 24 to 28 in Toronto and attracted more than 4,000 participants from around the world, including researchers, dementia specialists, and neurologists. The conference featured the latest advances in Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, with presentations focusing on the identification, prevention, treatment, and management of Alzheimer's disease, mild cognitive impairment, dementia, and associated conditions.

In one study, Melanie Campbell, Ph.D., of the University of Waterloo in Canada, and colleagues found that a novel, non-invasive polarization imaging approach is a comfortable and potentially widely available test for early detection of amyloid accumulation tied to Alzheimer's disease. This approach may serve as a better biomarker than more expensive positron emission tomography scans, without the risk of a dye, according to the investigators, and could potentially be effective in detecting the disease stage.

"Earlier detection and intervention can improve quality of life, allowing patient involvement in care decisions," Campbell said. "This is a positive step forward to earlier detection and better intervention."

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In another study, Susan E. Bronskill, Ph.D., of the University of Toronto, and colleagues found that the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias among older adults has increased 18 percent in Ontario over the past eight years.

When the investigators looked at annual health spending associated with older adults with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, they found that long-term care and hospital care accounted for the largest proportion of total costs in both groups.

"This study adds clarity to other evidence showing that there will be more of us in Ontario living with dementia, and living longer," Bronskill said. "The overall population is aging. This, along with greater awareness and earlier detection of dementia and improvements in the care of persons with dementia, may account for the increase in prevalence."

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Fang Ko, M.D., of Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology in London, and colleagues found that thinning of the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) is associated with worse cognitive function. Specifically, the team found that individuals with thinner RNFL have worse prospective memory, worse episodic memory, lower reasoning scores, and slower reaction time.

"In addition, since the submission of our abstract, we have additional data, which show that thinner baseline RNFL may predict future cognitive decline," Ko said. "More research is needed to determine what the exact connection between RNFL and cognitive function might be, and what should be done if a person is found to have thin RNFL."

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Seonjoo Lee, Ph.D., of the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues found that olfactory functional deficit may precede entorhinal cortical thinning.

"Both odor identification impairment and entorhinal cortical thinning predict dementia transition. However, only odor identification impairment predicted cognitive decline that occurs prior to the clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease," Lee said. "Odor identification can identify Alzheimer's disease in the very early stage, and it can help to initiate intervention before clinical presentation of Alzheimer's disease."

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AAIC: Misdiagnosis Prevalence ~20 Percent for Alzheimer's

WEDNESDAY, July 27, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Alzheimer's disease is often misdiagnosed, possibly more so in men, two new studies reveal. The results of both studies were presented at the annual Alzheimer's Association International Conference, held from July 22 to 28 in Toronto.

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AAIC: Deprescribing Antipsychotics Feasible in Elderly

TUESDAY, July 26, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Deprescribing of antipsychotics in long-term care residents with previous behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) is feasible, with sustained results, according to a small study presented at the annual Alzheimer's Association International Conference, held from July 22 to 28 in Toronto.

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AAIC: Intellectually-Stimulating Jobs May Lower Alzheimer's Risk

MONDAY, July 25, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- People who work in jobs that task the intellect are better able to withstand the effects of brain lesions commonly associated with Alzheimer's disease, report researchers from the University of Wisconsin's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. The study, as well as two others focused on similar themes, was presented at the annual Alzheimer's Association International Conference, held from July 22 to 28 in Toronto.

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AAIC: Mild Behavior Changes May Be Early Indicator of Alzheimer's

MONDAY, July 25, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Certain behavior changes may be a harbinger of Alzheimer's disease, and researchers say they've developed a symptom checklist that might aid earlier diagnosis. The findings were presented at the annual Alzheimer's Association International Conference, held from July 22 to 28 in Toronto.

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