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Monday, February 15, 2016

New Study On Dementia Shows They are No Closer To Answers IMO

Hello All,

Hope this nasty blast of cold is not hitting you to hard. In Michigan it was another brutally cold day today, but the weather man says by the weekend 50's are forecast, hope Al is right.

"More education leads to less cases of dementia, yet we live in the most educated time of the past 200 years and then they say that the number of overall cases is going up."  -New England Journal of Medicine

A new study just published and referenced by NPR titled
"Can Dementia Be Prevented? Education May Bolster Brain Against Risk"
shows in my opinion that they are no closer to having answers about these brain disorders plauging the world. Here is some of what the article stated and then I will share some of my experience with you to prove my point. 

In part is what the article stated:

"The odds of getting Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia are declining for people who are more educated and avoiding heart disease, a study finds.- The results suggest that people may have some control over their risk of dementia as they age."

This isn't the first study to find that the incidence of dementia is waning, but it may be the best so far. Researchers looked at 30 years of records from more than 5,000 people in the famed Framingham Heart Study, which has closely tracked the health of volunteers in Framingham, Mass.

They found that the incidence of dementia declined about 20 percent per decade starting in the 1970s — but only in people who had at least a high school education. The decline in people diagnosed with Alzheimer's wasn't statistically significant, but there were fewer people with Alzheimer's, which could have affected that result.

The study, which was published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, also looked at risk factors for heart disease and stroke, including smoking, obesity and high blood pressure. They found that the people who had better markers for cardiovascular health, such as normal blood pressure, were also less likely to develop dementia.

"That's telling us that perhaps better management of cardiovascular disease could potentially help in the reduction of dementia," says Claudia Satizabal, an author of the study and an instructor in neurology at the Boston University School of Medicine.

"To figure out what this all means, we called Dr. Kenneth Langa, a professor at the University of Michigan who also studies trends in dementia. Here are highlights from the conversation edited for length and clarity".

"One of the very confusing things about this is that even though an individual may be less likely to get dementia than they were 40 years ago, the number of people with dementia is going up."

You can read the entire article in the New England Journal of Medicine but in this posters opinion they are saying two completely different things. That more education leads to less cases of dementia, yet we live in the most educated time of the past 200 years and then they say that the number of overall cases is going up.

I do agree that using your brain keeps it healthy and that education leads to better health care for most, however I cannot see how that effects the number of people being diagnosed with dementia in one form or another.  To prove my point, I work for a wonderful woman. She was highly educated, lectured all over the world on childhood education. Was close to getting her doctorate in early childhood education. She was healthy as a horse, took no medication, still does not take any medication and yet she is suffering from some form of dementia and has been for over 20 years. According to the study the pieces don't fit. 

This proved in my mind that they are still a long way off from understanding and thus curing this set of diseases.  For many of us the research will be to little to late. I know I sound like a wet blanket but for those suffering and their families I think studies like this one only lead to more anger at the lack of progress. Do I have the answers? No of course I don't but neither does it seem they do. 

Perhaps in my daughter's lifetime they will find answers but I don't have hopes of a cure in mine. In the mean time I beleive more needs to be spent on helping those suffering and their families many of which are the primary caregivers. These caregivers have had their own lives ripped apart both emotionally and financially for many in dealing with this disease. I think the government needs to recoganize just what families are going through and step up the efforts to help them, both with emotional, but more importantly financial support as they care for their suffering loved ones. More programs need to be in place for paid respite care and adult day care for families who struggle to keep their loved ones at home. Recently I did a post about how the Bush family was hit by this disease. They are wealthy people with all the fanancial resources needed to cope with this, but what about the rest of us. We need more help. Will be see any? I sure hope so. 

Please tell me what you think. Are you dealing with this in your family? How do you cope. Would more resources help you? If we speak up perhaps we will see change. If we sit silent nobody will notice. Take a stand.

So Come On - Write me a Note!

Until Next Time
Take Care
Ruth Anne  

Additional Reading:

Hillary Clinton Proposes $6,000 Tax credit for Family Caregivers - PAL Caregivers

Clinton proposes $6,000 tax credit for family caregivers - Politico

Jeb Bush - Family Touched by Alzheimer's Disease - PAL Caregivers

Causes of Alzheimer's - In The News - PAL Caregivers




  1. I think more money needs to go into funding programs for respite. it is very hard for families trying to care for loved ones at home. If respite were more affordable than maybe we could keep our loved ones out of nursing homes which would save the government a lot of money. Seems like it would pay off big time when you do the math.

  2. paying family caregivers would keep people out of nursing homes also why don't they have more programs for that?


Please leave your comment, and Thank You.. Ruth Anne.