10 important updates for Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month
Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month is commemorated each June to improve knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, the burden of which could increase 178% by 2060 in the United States, according to CDC estimates.
A recent Alzheimer’s Association survey showed that primary care physicians are among those who may need greater awareness of dementias. Although 82% of PCPs acknowledged their role on the front lines of providing dementia care, 50% also said that they were “not at all prepared” or “not very prepared” to care for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
“Most of the responsibility for these patients’ future care will fall on primary care physicians, but primary care physicians are telling us they’re already struggling,” Keith N. Fargo, PhD, director of scientific programs and outreach at the Alzheimer’s Association, said in an interview.
He encouraged PCPs to utilize CME, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website and familiarize themselves with Project Extension of Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) to fill their information gaps.
“This is a tele-mentoring program,” Fargo said of Project ECHO. “It gives primary care physicians a chance to connect with and learn from specialist colleagues regardless of physical distance.”
In recognition of Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, Healio Primary Care compiled a list of 10 relevant stories from the past year.
Clinicians view new Alzheimer’s drug with guarded optimism
This year, Biogen is expected to submit a Biologics License Application to the FDA for its anti-amyloid antibody, aducanumab. If approved, it will be the first new drug available to patients with Alzheimer’s disease in 16 years. Read more.
Amount of alcohol consumed tied to dementia risk in older adults
The amount of alcohol older adults consume affects their risk for dementia differently depending on whether they have mild cognitive impairment, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open. Read more.
One question boosts memory tests’ effectiveness
A study published in Annals of Family Medicine describes a possible tool that could help family physicians determine which older patients are at risk for dementia. Read more.
Simple tool with ‘good accuracy’ predicts life expectancy in patients with dementia
Using routinely collected patient characteristics, researchers said they were able to predict the life expectancy of patients with dementia with “good accuracy.” Read more.
Flavonol may reduce Alzheimer’s dementia risk
Eating more foods with flavonol, an antioxidant found in most fruits, vegetables and teas, could reduce the risk for developing Alzheimer’s dementia, according to research published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Read more.
One night of sleep loss may increase risk for Alzheimer's disease
No sleep for one night increased levels of the Alzheimer’s disease biomarker tau among young, healthy men, according to results of a two-condition crossover study published in Neurology. Read more.
Personality traits during high school may predict later dementia risk
Personality traits exhibited during high school may be associated with dementia risk more than 5 decades later, according to findings of a retrospective cohort study published in JAMA Psychiatry. Read more.
Widowhood, Alzheimer's disease biomarker linked to cognitive decline among older adults
Widowhood may accelerate cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease clinical progression, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open. Read more.
Benzodiazepines, Z-drugs do not increase dementia risk
Use of benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepines, or Z-drugs, did not appear associated with subsequent dementia, according to results of a nationwide cohort and nested case-control study published in American Journal of Psychiatry. Read more.
Blood pressure drug shows promise in Alzheimer’s disease
Nilvadipine, a hypertension drug, increased cerebral blood flow to the hippocampus without affecting other brain regions among people with Alzheimer’s disease, study findings revealed. Read more.
- Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures. https://alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/facts-figures. Accessed June 16, 2020.
- Alzheimer’s Association. June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. https://www.alz.org/abam/overview.asp. Accessed June 16, 2020.