Navigation Links
Fighting Alzheimer's before its onset
Date:9/10/2012

Montreal, September 10, 2012 By the time older adults are diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, the brain damage is irreparable. For now, modern medicine is able to slow the progression of the disease but is incapable of reversing it. What if there was a way to detect if someone is on the path to Alzheimer's before substantial and non-reversible brain damage sets in?

This was the question Erin K. Johns, a doctoral student in Concordia University's Department of Psychology and member of the Center for Research in Human Development (CRDH), asked when she started her research on older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). These adults show slight impairments in memory, as well as in "executive functions" like attention, planning, and problem solving. While the impairments are mild, adults with MCI have a high risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

"We wanted to help provide more reliable tools to identify people who are at increased risk for developing Alzheimer's so that they can be targeted for preventive strategies that would stop brain damage from progressing," says Johns.

The new study was published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society and was funded by the Quebec Network for Research on Aging and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. In it, Johns and her colleagues found that people with MCI are impaired in several aspects of executive functioning, the biggest being inhibitory control.

This ability is crucial for self-control: everything from resisting buying a candy bar at the checkout aisle to resisting the urge to mention the obvious weight gain in a relative you haven't seen in a while. Adults with MCI also had trouble with tests that measure the ability to plan and organize.

Johns and her colleagues found that all the adults with MCI they tested were impaired in at least one executive function and almost half performed poorly in all the executive function tests. This is in sharp contrast with standard screening tests and clinical interviews, which detected impairments in only 15 percent of those with MCI.

"The problem is that patients and their families have difficulty reporting executive functioning problems to their physician, because they may not have a good understanding of what these problems look like in their everyday life." says Johns. "That's why neuropsychological testing is important."

Executive function deficits affect a person's everyday life and their ability to plan and organize their activities. Even something as easy as running errands and figuring out whether to go to the drycleaners or to the supermarket can be difficult for adults with MCI. Detecting these problems early could improve patient care and treatment planning.

"If we miss the deficits, we miss out on an opportunity to intervene with the patient and the family to help them know what to expect and how to cope," says Johns. She is now conducting a follow-up study funded by the Alzheimer Society of Canada and Canadian Institutes of Health Research, along with her supervisor, Natalie Phillips, associate professor in the Department of Psychology and member of CRDH.

Johns hopes her continued research will lead to a better understanding of why these deficits start at such an early stage of Alzheimer's and what other tools could be used for earlier detection of the disease.

Rewarding research: In recognition of the excellence of this research, Johns was awarded the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Aging Age+ Prize.
'/>"/>

Contact: Clea Desjardins
clea.desjardins@concordia.ca
514-848-2424 x5068
Concordia University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Toward medicines that recruit the bodys natural disease-fighting proteins
2. UCI microbiologists find new approach to fighting viral illnesses
3. Mayo Clinic: Drug duo turns on cancer-fighting gene in kidney, breast cancers
4. Male Ontario students show declines in fighting; females show elevated bullying and mental distress
5. Fighting obesity with thermal imaging
6. Ordinary chickens may be extraordinary in fighting cancer, says Texas A&M researcher
7. Why current strategies for fighting obesity are not working
8. Parents Fighting May Have Long-Lasting Effect on Kids
9. Moffitt researcher, colleagues find success with new immune approach to fighting some cancers
10. 2-1-1 could be effective tool in fighting cancer disparities
11. Living longer - variability in infection-fighting genes can be a boon for male survival
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... August 16, 2017 , ... Modern Consulting Insurance & ... program. Partnering once again with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, ... area’s very own American Idol. With all proceeds benefitting local worthy causes, donations ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... August 16, 2017 , ... The ... a three-year grant totaling $975,000, renewing its funding from the Health Resources and ... , This funding marks, the fourth time the HRSA administration has renewed its ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... 16, 2017 , ... LabRoots , the leading provider of educational and ... excited to announce Andrew Ly as the winner of the LabRoots Summer Textbook scholarship, ... , Ly, who is in his third year at the University of California, Los ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... , ... With a new PD diagnosis every nine minutes, research is critical ... are awarded through a competitive application process and reviewed by APDA’s Scientific Advisory Board ... in all areas relevant to PD research. The SAB meets annually to review ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... NY (PRWEB) , ... August 16, 2017 , ... Melbourne’s ... year by the prestigious Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) annual Liveability Index. , The Index ... , Since the index began in 2006, Melbourne has consistently come in the top ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:8/7/2017)... 2017 Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: DPLO ... as president, effective Aug. 7, 2017. ... pursue other interests and will serve as president emeritus during ... served us in multiple leadership roles since he joined Diplomat ... and has provided decisive, strategic leadership which continues to benefit ...
(Date:8/4/2017)... , Aug. 4, 2017 The search ... shortly after a physician/patient consult has long been the ... was a notable focus of the largest meeting of ... according to healthcare market research firm Kalorama Information.  The ... testing (POCT) offerings or related supplies and software were ...
(Date:8/2/2017)... , Aug. 2, 2017 ... Who,s Who as a Pinnacle Lifetime Professional in ... Key Account Manager at Turing Pharmaceuticals, AG. Her ... troubleshooting and relationship building.                ... more than 25 years of experience as a ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: