Alzheimer’s Tools Unveiled at Conference
An interactive tool and a new research website are two features revealed at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease 2010.
The Alzheimer’s Association’s Research Center website ( http://www.alz.org/research) presents an extensive portfolio of information designed for a public searching for more knowledge about the current state of Alzheimer’s research. Equally attractive to scientists and medical researchers, the site will also include highlights from Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association and information about scientific grants available from the Association.
The innovative website combines rich visuals with easy-to-understand content on a broad array of topics including:
- What Alzheimer’s disease is, and how the disease progresses.
- Advances in treatments, diagnosis, and prevention.
- How to volunteer for Alzheimer’s clinical trials.
- Updates on key local, national, and global research initiatives.
Regular updates will include new information, interviews, graphics, and videos.
Also unveiled at the conference was TrialMatch™, a confidential and free interactive tool that provides comprehensive clinical trial information and an individualized trial matching service for people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The service is accessible via both Internet ( http://www.alz.org/trialmatch) and telephone (800-272-3900).
TrialMatch contains a comprehensive, constantly updated database of institutional review board-approved trials in the United States for Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, and other dementias. Specialists at the Alzheimer’s Association’s national Helpline—available 24 hours per day—assist in the process of matching individuals to clinical trials for which they are eligible on the basis of study inclusion/exclusion criteria, diagnosis, treatment history, and location.
By Association policy, telephone specialists will not recommend any particular clinical trial but will describe all studies for which the person is eligible. They will answer questions about the trial process and connect individuals with trial sites according to their unique profile. Patients and caregivers will be encouraged to share their trial matches with their health care professionals to help decide whether a clinical trial is appropriate.
Sources.“Alzheimer’s Association Launches New ‘Research Center’ Website to Expand Public’s Knowledge About Alzheimer’s Research.” (2010, July 12). Retrieved August 19, 2010, from http://www.alz.org/icad/2010_release_website_071110_1101pm.asp.“Alzheimer’s Association Launches TrialMatch-First-of-its-Kind Clinical Trial Matching Service in Alzheimer’s.” (2010, July 12). Retrieved August 19, 2010, from http://www.alz.org/icad/2010_release_trialmatch_071110_1101pm.asp.
Studies Scrutinize Vitamin D’s Role in Older Adults
An important vitamin has been receiving much attention in the literature lately, but finding the right dosage of vitamin D can be a delicate science.
In one study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, older adults with low levels of vitamin D were found more likely to experience declines in thinking, learning, and memory over a 6-year period. Researchers assessed blood levels of vitamin D in 858 adults age 65 and older when the study began in 1998. Participants completed interviews and medical examinations and provided blood samples. At the beginning of the study and again after 3 and 6 years, they repeated three tests of cognitive function (overall cognition, attention, and executive function).
Participants who were severely deficient in vitamin D (having blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D of less than 25 nanomoles per liter) were 60% more likely to have substantial cognitive decline in general over the 6-year period and 31% more likely to experience declines on the test measuring executive function than those with sufficient vitamin D levels. However, no significant association was seen for the test measuring attention.
Low vitamin D levels were also found to be a risk factor for metabolic syndrome in older adults, according to results announced at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting.
A 48% prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was found in this representative sample of the older Dutch population: nearly 1,300 White men and women age 65 and older, and nearly 37% of the total sample had metabolic syndrome. Participants with blood levels of vitamin D lower than 50 nanomoles per liter, considered vitamin D insufficiency, were more likely to have metabolic syndrome than those whose vitamin D levels exceeded 50. That increased risk especially stemmed from the presence of two risk factors for metabolic syndrome: low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and a large waistline. No difference in risk was noted between men and women.
However, upping vitamin D levels must be done with caution, according to a study in the Journal of the Medical Association, in which older women who received a single annual high dosage of vitamin D had a higher rate of falls and fractures compared with women who received placebo.
The study investigated whether high-dose (500,000 IU) cholecalciferol, a form of vitamin D, given orally once per year to older women would reduce falls and fractures. The vitamin D was given in a single high dosage to address low adherence and to be a practical intervention easily translated to clinical practice. The trial included 2,256 community-dwelling women, age 70 and older, considered to be at high risk of fracture, who were recruited from June 2003 to June 2005 and were randomly assigned to receive 500,000 IU of cholecalciferol or placebo each autumn to winter for 3 to 5 years. The study concluded in 2008.
The trial participants recorded a total of 5,404 falls over the study period, with 74% of 837 women in the vitamin D group and 68% of 769 women in the placebo group having at least one fall. Analysis indicated that women in the vitamin D group experienced 15% more falls. Women in the vitamin D group had 171 fractures versus 135 in the placebo group, with 26% more fractures for participants in the vitamin D group, who also had a 31% higher incidence of falls in the first 3 months following dosing.
The researchers, noting that their study used the largest total annual dosage of vitamin D reported in any large randomized controlled trial, indicated that the adverse outcome may be dose related and that the dosing regimen (i.e., four monthly versus annual intervals) rather than the total dosage might determine the outcome.
Sources.“High-Dose Vitamin D Linked with Increased Risk of Fractures Among Older Women.” (2010, May 6). Retrieved August 19, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100511173700.htm.“Low Vitamin D Levels Associated with Cognitive Decline.” (2010, July 9). Retrieved August 19, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100712162554.htm.“Low Vitamin D Linked to the Metabolic Syndrome in Elderly People.” (2010, June 29). Retrieved August 19, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100701072658.htm.
Hartford Institute Co-Director Is First Nurse to Receive AGS Award for Clinical Geriatrics
The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) praised Mathy Mezey, EdD, RN, for her teaching, leadership, and lifelong achievement in clinical geriatrics by presenting her with the Nascher-Manning Award in May at the Society’s annual scientific meeting.
Photo Courtesy of Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, NYU College of Nursing
Dr. Mezey began her career as a public health nurse at Jacobi Hospital in New York City, followed by a Lehman College teaching position at the City University of New York. For 10 years she was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, where she directed the geriatric nurse practitioner program and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Teaching Nursing Home Program. In 1991, she returned to New York to become the Independence Foundation Professor of Nursing Education at New York University (NYU). She later became director of the John A. Hartford Foundation Institute for Geriatric Nursing at NYU. She is currently Professor Emerita and Co-Director at the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, NYU College of Nursing.
Dr. Mezey is the author of 10 books and more than 60 publications that focus on educating advanced practice nurses for the care of older adults and bioethical issues that affect decisions at the end of life. Her current research and writing focus on quality of care for older people in hospitals and long-term care facilities. Dr. Mezey co-authored an article about atypical presentation of illness in older adults in the July 2010 issue of the Journal of Gerontological Nursing.
The Nascher-Manning Award, named for Ignatz Leo Nascher, MD (1863–1944), a pioneer in the field who coined the term “geriatrics” in 1909, is presented every 2 years to a distinguished individual for his or her lifelong achievement in clinical geriatrics.
Source.“Mathy Mezey, EdD, RN is First Nurse to Receive the American Geriatrics Society’s Nascher/Manning Award for Achievement in Clinical Geriatrics.” (2010, August 5). Retrieved August 19, 2010, from http://www.americangeriatrics.org/press/id:1068.