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Guidelines For Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Updated After 27 Years

April 21, 2011 by  

Guidelines for Alzheimer's diagnosis updated after 27 yearsThe National Institutes of Health and the Alzheimer's Association have added some much-needed updates to the guidelines used by physicians and scientists to diagnose and research the disease.

Previous criteria covered only one stage of Alzheimer's: the latest stage of dementia, a point where the disorder is so advanced that treatment is extremely difficult if not impossible.

Now, the guidelines include symptoms, tests and biomarkers for the early preclinical stage, mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's dementia.

"Bringing the diagnostic guidelines up to speed with [recent] advances is both a necessary and rewarding effort that will benefit patients and accelerate the pace of research," said National Institute on Aging Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D.

The guidelines have been created to be easily updated as researchers continue their extensive investigations into the causes and biomarkers of the disease as well as treatments and tests that may help patients.

Biomarkers — such as amyloid beta plaque and protein tangles in the brain — are becoming increasingly important as the medical community discovers their significance in early detection of Alzheimer's.  

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  • Mary

    Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older people. Estimates vary, but experts suggest that as many as 5.1 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness. Her symptoms included memory loss, language problems, and unpredictable behavior. After she died, he examined her brain and found many abnormal clumps (now called amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called neurofibrillary tangles).

    Scientists don’t yet fully understand what causes Alzheimer’s disease, but it is clear that it develops because of a complex series of events that take place in the brain over a long period of time. It is likely that the causes include genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.

  • C. R.

    Sugar has a big part to play in this condition and if we look at the current diet in the whole world, sugar has become a very large ingredient in sooo many foods.

  • chuckb

    where do you get your info about sugar?

    • Mike in MI

      chuckb -
      If you want to know about sugar you also want to know about high fructose corn syrup – and stat reading ingredients labels on foods you buy.
      Check out the Life Extension Foundation at .
      It would be a very prudent thing to do if you are over fifty to become a member and learn everything you can from them and all their resources for healthful products and services. AND, thank God for William Falloon, their founding president. He’s been the spearhead or about thirty years on health issues – and they are usually years ahead of most everybody else with non-medical health news and breakthroughs.

    • Carlucci

      Sugar causes inflammation all over the body. Alzheimer’s Disease is all about inflammation. So is arthritis and other diseases of “old age”. Most of the diseases in the past 100+ years can be attributed to the availability and over consumption of sugar. Not only is sugar responsible for physical illness, it is also responsible for the slave trade way back when, which is considered to be a “moral or societal illness”.

      Read the excellent books “Sugar Shock” by Connie Bennett, “Beat Sugar Addiction Now” by Jacob Teitlebaum, and “Sugar Blues” by William Dufty to learn more.

      • http://?? Joe H.

        I don’t buy that on alzheimers. My step-mother died of it and was a type one diabetic. she was very strict about sugar. Her intake of sugar was at best minimal!!

        • granny mae

          Joe H.

          My father-in-law lived with us the last five years of his life. He died with demtia also. He never consumed much at all in the line of sugar. He looked 20 years younger than his real age and also looked physically fit, however he had bypass surgery done on both legs, suffered a heart attack at age 60 and had the arteries in his neck on both sides operated on. His diet was mainly pork! He ate ham and sausage everyday of his life for over 70 years and I believe that is what gave him so many problems with circulation and dementia ! He was never one to eat sweets or junk food ever. The only thing I ever saw him go to a fast food place for was in the morning he would go to McDonalds for pancakes and sausage breakfast ! He went there because he didn’t have to cook his breakfast that way. After a while he got so bad that he couldn’t find his way there any more. It was only 3/4 of a mile away but he couldn’t find it ! We made him come home with us when that happened !

  • chuckb

    mike & carlucci, my wife has alzhiemers, the doctor has her on a regiment of pills and i have not heard anything before about sugar having an effect. thanks for the info.

    • Carlucci

      chuckb – It sounds to me like your wife is way over-medicated. Is she on cholesterol medication? That can cause dementia like symptoms. My mom (age 78) was on it and was struggling to put sentences together and her short term memory was completely shot. My sister and I talked her into stopping her cholesterol medication and she is doing fine now. Fortunately she also saw Dr. Rosenfeld on t.v. right after that and he said that women over age 60 do not benefit from cholesterol medication, and in fact, it can harm them.

      A shortage of B-vitamins can also cause dementia-like symptoms. Here’s a link to Dr. Whitaker’s site. Scroll down to the article about folic acid and Alzheimer’s:

  • coal miner

    Coal Miner:

    ScienceDaily (Apr. 21, 2011) — Scientists at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow are developing a technique based on a new discovery which could pave the way towards detecting Alzheimer’s disease in its earliest stages — and could help to develop urgently-needed treatments

    The technique uses the ratio of detected fluorescence signals to indicate that clusters of peptide associated with the disease are beginning to gather and to have an impact on the brain.

    Current techniques are not able to see the peptide joining together until more advanced stages but a research paper from Strathclyde describes an approach which could not only give indications of the condition far sooner than is currently possible but could also screen patients without the need for needles or wires.

    Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, currently affects around 450,000 people in the UK alone and currently has no cure.

    Dr Olaf Rolinski, of the University of Strathclyde’s Department of Physics, led the research. He said: “Alzheimer’s Disease has a devastating impact on people around the world and their families but one of the reasons it is still incurable is that little is known about how and why the peptide that contributes to the disease aggregates in its initial stages.

    “When irradiated with light, the intrinsic fluorescence given off by the peptide is like a communication from a spy. We took samples of the peptide and discovered that, where they were in the type of aggregation linked to Alzheimer’s, they produced fluorescence light signals which could be picked up with our technique much earlier than in more conventional experiments, such as those that use the addition of a dye .

    “This approach could help us understand better the role of these peptides in the onset of Alzheimer’s and discover ways in which the disease could be stopped in its tracks early on. We now want to take the research further so that it can be used in the development of drugs to treat Alzheimer’s.”

    The research paper, by Dr Rolinski and colleagues Professor David Birch and research student Mariana Amaro, has been published in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. The project forms part of a £5million Science and Innovation Award in molecular nanometrology, made in 2006, from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Scottish Funding Council.

    The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by University of Strathclyde.
    Journal Reference:
    Mariana Amaro, David J. S. Birch, Olaf J. Rolinski. Beta-amyloid oligomerisation monitored by intrinsic tyrosine fluorescence. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 2011; 13 (14): 6434 DOI: 10.1039/C0CP02652B
    Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
    MLA University of Strathclyde (2011, April 21). Early warning system for Alzheimer’s disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2011, from­ /releases/2011/04/110421141640.htm
    Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.
    Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.
    Dr Rolinski and colleagues Professor David Birch and research student Mariana Amaro are developing a technique based on a new discovery which could pave the way towards detecting Alzheimer’s disease in its earliest stages. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Strathclyde)
    Alzheimer’s Disease: Newly Found Peptide Offers Hope Of Early Test And Better Treatment (June 10, 2009) — Researchers in Japan have detected a peptide in cerebrospinal fluid that can show whether a person is developing Alzheimer’s disease. Measuring the level of this peptide could show that the disease … > read more
    Early and Easy Detection Of Alzheimer’s Disease? (June 17, 2009) — A new diagnostic technique which may greatly simplify the detection of Alzheimer’s disease has been discovered. There is currently no accepted blood test for Alzheimer’s, and the diagnosis is usually … > read more
    Combining Brain Imaging, Genetic Analysis May Help Identify People at Early Risk of Alzheimer’s (Feb. 8, 2011) — A new study has found evidence suggesting that a variation of a specific gene may play a role in late-onset Alzheimer’s, the disease which accounts for over 90 percent of Alzheimer’s cases. This … > read more
    MRI Scans Show Structural Brain Changes in People at Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease (Nov. 17, 2010) — New results from a study by neuroscientists suggest that people at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease exhibit a specific structural change in the brain that can be visualized by brain imaging. … > read more

  • coal miner

    Primordial Weirdness: Did the Early Universe Have One Dimension? Scientists Outline Test for Theory
    ScienceDaily (Apr. 20, 2011) — Did the early universe have just one spatial dimension?


    See Also:
    Space & Time
    Big Bang
    Matter & Energy
    Quantum Physics
    Albert Einstein
    Shape of the Universe
    Introduction to general relativity
    Large-scale structure of the cosmos
    That’s the mind-boggling concept at the heart of a theory that University at Buffalo physicist Dejan Stojkovic and colleagues proposed in 2010.

    They suggested that the early universe — which exploded from a single point and was very, very small at first — was one-dimensional (like a straight line) before expanding to include two dimensions (like a plane) and then three (like the world in which we live today).

    The theory, if valid, would address important problems in particle physics.

    Now, in a new paper in Physical Review Letters, Stojkovic and Loyola Marymount University physicist Jonas Mureika describe a test that could prove or disprove the “vanishing dimensions” hypothesis.

    Because it takes time for light and other waves to travel to Earth, telescopes peering out into space can, essentially, look back into time as they probe the universe’s outer reaches.

    Gravitational waves can’t exist in one- or two-dimensional space. So Stojkovic and Mureika have reasoned that the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), a planned international gravitational observatory, should not detect any gravitational waves emanating from the lower-dimensional epochs of the early universe.

    Stojkovic, an assistant professor of physics, says the theory of evolving dimensions represents a radical shift from the way we think about the cosmos — about how our universe came to be.

    The core idea is that the dimensionality of space depends on the size of the space we’re observing, with smaller spaces associated with fewer dimensions. That means that a fourth dimension will open up — if it hasn’t already — as the universe continues to expand.

    The theory also suggests that space has fewer dimensions at very high energies of the kind associated with the early, post-big bang universe.

    If Stojkovic and his colleagues are right, they will be helping to address fundamental problems with the standard model of particle physics, including the following:

    The incompatibility between quantum mechanics and general relativity. Quantum mechanics and general relativity are mathematical frameworks that describe the physics of the universe. Quantum mechanics is good at describing the universe at very small scales, while relativity is good at describing the universe at large scales. Currently, the two theories are considered incompatible; but if the universe, at its smallest levels, had fewer dimensions, mathematical discrepancies between the two frameworks would disappear.
    The mystery of the universe’s accelerating expansion. Physicists have observed that the expansion of the universe is speeding up, and they don’t know why. The addition of new dimensions as the universe grows would explain this acceleration. (Stojkovic says a fourth dimension may have already opened at large, cosmological scales.)
    The need to alter the mass of the Higgs boson. The standard model of particle physics predicts the existence of an as yet undiscovered elementary particle called the Higgs boson. For equations in the standard model to accurately describe the observed physics of the real world, however, researchers must artificially adjust the mass of the Higgs boson for interactions between particles that take place at high energies. If space has fewer dimensions at high energies, the need for this kind of “tuning” disappears.
    “What we’re proposing here is a shift in paradigm,” Stojkovic said. “Physicists have struggled with the same problems for 10, 20, 30 years, and straight-forward extensions of extensions of the existing ideas are unlikely to solve them.”

    “We have to take into account the possibility that something is systematically wrong with our ideas,” he continued. “We need something radical and new, and this is something radical and new.”

    Because the planned deployment of LISA is still years away, it may be a long time before Stojkovic and his colleagues are able to test their ideas this way.

    However, some experimental evidence already points to the possible existence of lower-dimensional space.

    Specifically, scientists have observed that the main energy flux of cosmic ray particles with energies exceeding 1 teraelectron volt — the kind of high energy associated with the very early universe — are aligned along a two-dimensional plane.

    If high energies do correspond with lower-dimensional space, as the “vanishing dimensions” theory proposes, researchers working with the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator in Europe should see planar scattering at such energies.

    Stojkovic says the observation of such events would be “a very exciting, independent test of our proposed ideas.”

    Email or share this story:| More

    Story Source:

    The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by University at Buffalo, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.


    Journal Reference:

    Jonas Mureika, Dejan Stojkovic. Detecting Vanishing Dimensions via Primordial Gravitational Wave Astronomy. Physical Review Letters, 2011; 106 (10) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.101101
    Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:

    MLA University at Buffalo (2011, April 20). Primordial weirdness: Did the early universe have one dimension? Scientists outline test for theory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 22, 2011, from­ /releases/2011/04/110420152059.htm
    Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

    Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

    Scientists have outlined a test for “vanishing dimensions” hypothesis, which, if proven, would address major problems in particle physics. (Credit: iStockphoto/Mihail Ulianikov)
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