Good news for women with MS: Disease may not worsen after pregnancy after all

There’s good news for women with multiple sclerosis (MS) — researchers now say the disease may not flare up again right after pregnancy as they had long believed, according to a preliminary study. Most people with MS have the relapsing-remitting form of the disease, where symptoms flare up, then go into periods of remission.
Breastfeeding News — ScienceDaily

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Deer in 24 states infected with chronic wasting disease

Chronic wasting disease has been detected in wild deer, elk or moose in 24 states, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warning hunters to avoid handling or eating potentially infected meat.


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Hunters in 24 US states warned of ‘zombie deer’ disease

zombie deer disease

Deer hunting is a big deal in many U.S. states, and surveys suggest that around 10 million hunters participate in the activity regularly. As any hunter will tell you, nabbing a deer isn’t always the easiest of tasks, but a growing risk of disease is making things even more difficult for sportsmen even after they’ve bagged a buck or doe.

Public health officials and infectious disease researchers are doing their best to raise awareness of an illness that has now been confirmed in deer populations across at least 24 states. It’s called chronic wasting disease, and the Centers for Disease Control fears that it may be possible that the disease could spread to humans who eat infected animals.

Continue reading…

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Hunters in 24 US states warned of ‘zombie deer’ disease originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 14 Feb 2019 at 23:07:13 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Washington measles outbreak soars to 48 cases while other states grapple with the disease

So far this year, Washington state is averaging more than one new measles case a day as officials try to help stop the disease’s spread.


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Nearly half of US adults have cardiovascular disease, study says

Nearly half of all adults in the United States have some type of cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association, defining the condition as coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke or high blood pressure.


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5 Questions With an Infectious Disease Epidemiologist

Sara Y. Tartof is an infectious disease epidemiologist who has traveled the world to investigate epidemics. She is now at the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation, where she studies infectious disease.

Her latest work showed it is safe to give patients the flu shot while they are hospitalized.

What motivated you to pursue this kind of research?

Read about Dr. Tartof’s latest study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

I’ve been fascinated by science for as long as I can remember. My dad had a research lab at the University of Chicago and I loved spending time there among the beakers and graduated cylinders. Then, in my first year of college, I took a microbiology class and I was awestruck by how simple organisms such as bacteria and viruses could hijack and commandeer complex systems like the human body.

At the heart of my professional drive is public health, and at the heart of public health is prevention. My passion for studying vaccines, and specifically how we can prevent rising rates of antibiotic resistance, is rooted in my commitment to preventive care.

I am also motivated by this idea of myth-busting. Sometimes you know something makes sense, but as a scientist, you feel compelled to test that idea with hard data. Our most recent research about flu vaccination for hospitalized patients is an example.

Why was it important for you to study flu vaccination for hospitalized patients?

There is still a lot of fear and hesitation around flu vaccine. There are many narratives that people use as reasons to avoid vaccination — being too sick is a common one.

I understand this sentiment. When my kids were sick, I considered waiting to get them vaccinated, but I also realized there are virtually no data to support this concern. I wanted to test this concern with real data among the people who were arguably the sickest — hospitalized patients.

Sara Tartof, PhD

Sara Tartof, PhD

Why was Kaiser Permanente a good place to conduct this research?

Our integrated care system, which includes inpatient as well as outpatient care, allows us to track health care visits after hospital discharge in all care settings. This means that we were able to track less serious, but still important, health care visits after patients leave the hospital. Most hospital safety studies include information only from the hospital visit itself.

Because of this, we were able to determine that flu vaccine given during hospitalization not only doesn’t increase readmissions to the hospital but also doesn’t increase the number of outpatient visits.

Now that you know flu vaccine is safe for people who are hospitalized, what else do you want to study?

I’m continuing to do work that involves safety in hospitals by focusing on antibiotic resistance and antibiotic stewardship. Antibiotic resistance is one of the most important issues in health care today. There are bacteria that no drug can treat, but few new antibiotics are being developed because they aren’t as profitable as other drugs for pharmaceutical companies.

In one study, we are trying to determine the early predictors of who might develop resistance. If we don’t get those patients the right drug early, they could die. At the same time, we don’t want to overuse our most powerful antibiotics because then they might not work for a patient when he or she really needs it.

In another study, I’m looking at whether antibiotic stewardship — the coordinated effort to promote the appropriate use of antimicrobials including antibiotics — really reduces the rates of resistant infections. There is a lot of momentum behind the belief that antibiotic stewardship improves patient outcomes, reduces microbial resistance, and decreases the burden of infections caused by multidrug-resistant organisms. But we have little data to prove that.

What keeps you going outside of work?

I spend as much time as I can with my family. I have a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old, and they constantly remind me to wander off the linear path in life. I also have an amazing husband (a Kaiser Permanente physician who specializes in occupational and family medicine) who is not only supportive but also enthusiastic about my work. I also make sure to spend time alone, mostly running and swimming. I actually get a lot of my best work done during my workouts!

Main RSS Feed – Kaiser Permanente

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How Yankees pitching target overcame dreaded Steve Blass disease

The first time Neil McPhee saw Adam Ottavino throw off a mound, the longtime former Northeastern coach offered the senior at Berkeley Carroll High School in Brooklyn a scholarship. So when he watched him pitching in a game for the Rockies during Ottavino’s dreadful 2017 season, McPhee could hardly keep his eyes on the television….
Sports | New York Post

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The $35 billion race to cure a liver disease that affects 30 million Americans

In the U.S. 30 million Americans suffer from a form of fatty liver disease that turns into a form of liver cirrhosis that leads to death unless a patient can receive a liver transplant. Now drug companies are spending billions to help find a cure.
Health and Science

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Ballet as a Respite from Parkinson’s Disease

Four days a week, Richard, 72, takes an express bus from his home in San Francisco’s Richmond District to his downtown job as a bank teller. There, he’s on his feet for 5 hours.

Richard’s routine would be impressive for any senior. But it is especially so for someone now 3 years in to a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.

Then there are his Saturdays — spent taking a dance movement class sponsored by Kaiser Permanente at the San Francisco Ballet school.

Ballet is beneficial

Parkinson’s disease affects the nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine. Symptoms include changes in speech and gait, fatigue, and balance issues — all symptoms Richard suffers — as well as muscle rigidity and tremors. Approximately half a million Americans have the disease. There is no cure, but treatments can help relieve symptoms.

That is what motivated the dance school’s director, Patrick Armand. His mother was the director of the Ballet National de Marseille in France. She received a very early diagnosis of the disease that eventually included dementia. Armand watched his mother’s long, painful decline, and it made an imprint.

Dr. Meaghan Lynch and SF Ballet’s Cecelia Beam give a seated Parkinson’s dance class demonstration in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park

Dr. Meaghan Lynch and SF Ballet’s Cecelia Beam give a seated Parkinson’s dance class demonstration in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park

“There is something I can do now for those with Parkinson’s that I couldn’t do then for her,” he said. “Ballet can be concretely beneficial. It’s a fantastic way for people to keep moving — an hour where they can just get away from everything and concentrate on their bodies.”

“Certain types of exercise and certain types of dance slow the progression of Parkinson’s symptoms,” added Meaghan Lynch, MD, a Kaiser Permanente physical medicine and rehabilitation physician and former ballet dancer. “Ballet — with its musicality, broad expansive movements, and poise — really lends itself to helping balance, gait stability, and mobility in these individuals.”

Dr. Lynch and Rima Ash, MD, a movement disorder neurologist, collaborated on the class structure with Cecelia Beam, a longtime San Francisco Ballet employee and dance instructor. Beam modelled the class after those developed by the Mark Morris Dance Group and Brooklyn Parkinson Group, and brought in her own love of folkloric dance.

Two years ago, 12 people took the first class. By now, about 75 have participated.

Richard was prepared to not like the class. He was already enjoying “rock steady” boxing elsewhere. But he changed his mind quickly.

“By the time the very first class was ending, I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to be back here next week. There’s something different about this.’”

Let’s dance some ‘Nutcracker’

In a large, sunny studio at the downtown ballet school, a pianist plays as we lift our arms and move our legs, emulating Beam’s slow and graceful movements. She is a wonderful, patient teacher who has said she finds leading this class “hugely gratifying.”

A visitor is readily welcomed and soon we are sliding and high-stepping our feet. We count and add in arm movements. Some participants hold on to the ballet barre. There are dances with partners, with leaders to follow, and a snaking dance for all.

About 30 people join Beam today, some from the safety of their seats if the disease is advanced or helped by family members, caregivers, or volunteers. While the dancing often prompts laughter, it is also clearly intended to loosen limbs, stretch bodies, and promote balance. Since Parkinson’s can weakens one’s voice, everyone joins in singing a Shaker folk song.

We do a seated version of the Russian Dance from “The Nutcracker,” folding our arms in front of our chests and tapping our toes out in front and to the side. Across the room, retired psychiatrist Reza, 80, smiles joyfully.

His days are full — playing with his 3-year-old granddaughter, reading in multiple languages while learning French, writing a blog, and going to boxing along with Richard, but he rarely misses the class that he said leaves him relaxed but not tired. “I have Parkinson’s, but I am not handicapped.”

Rebecca is a veteran journalist in her 60s who attends class for both the exercise and her many friendships.

She describes dance as having “a transcendent quality” that takes her somewhere else — reasons why she keeps coming. “If this class was every day, I would take it every day.”

Visit the San Francisco Ballet website for upcoming classes free to anyone in the community with Parkinson’s disease. Note: Participants are asked to commit to 8 classes. The deadline for classes starting on January 12, 2019, is December 30, 2018.

Main RSS Feed – Kaiser Permanente

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UPDATE 2-U.S. FDA approves Stemline Therapeutics’ rare blood disease treatment

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on
Friday approved Stemline Therapeutics Inc’s Elzonris
for the
treatment of a rare blood disease in adults and children aged
two years and above.


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Even When Not In Rome, Eat A Mediterranean Diet To Cut Heart Disease Risk

Once again, your mother was right. You really do need to eat your vegetables. And while you are at it, put down the bacon and pick up the olive oil, because new research supports the contention that switching to a Mediterranean diet could significantly decrease the risk of heart disease.

According to a study published Friday in JAMA Network Open, people who followed this type of diet had 25 percent less risk of developing cardiovascular disease over the course of 12 years.

The diet’s components make sense to anyone who follows nutrition news. Avoid red meat in favor of “good” fats like fish and poultry. Swap out salt for herbs and spices. Ditch butter and margarine and opt for olive oil instead. Most important, eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Nuts are good, so are whole grains. And, every once in a while, have a glass of red wine.

Since the 1950s, researchers have pointed out this diet’s possible cardiovascular benefits. More recently, it has been credited with addressing any number of ills, including Alzheimer’s disease, asthma and helping pregnant women control factors that lead to high-birth-weight babies and contribute to obesity risk factors as kids grow.

Until Friday’s study, though, no randomized trials had been conducted in the U.S. to determine this diet’s long-term effects. This research also sought to shed light on the molecular underpinnings of why.

The mechanisms by which the Mediterranean diet reduced cardiovascular disease “were sort of a black box,” said Shafqat Ahmad, the lead author of the paper and a researcher in the department of nutrition at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We know it reduced cardiovascular risk,” he added, but the precise ways it had this effect over time “are not well understood.”

Ahmad and his co-authors, using a panel of nine biomarkers in blood tests, were able to isolate exactly why the diet reduces heart disease.

The three biggest biological mechanisms were changes in inflammation, blood sugar and body mass index.

Inflammation was the issue for Meg Grigoletti, a 23-year-old graduate student from New Jersey who switched to a Mediterranean diet when she was recovering from back surgery in 2014. Her doctors recommended it to reduce swelling, hoping it would ease the pain in her back and help her migraines.

“It’s more of a lifestyle than a diet,” Grigoletti said. “It taught me what food is good for me and what’s not.”

Researchers followed more than 25,000 women who were part of the Women’s Health Study, a survey of female health professionals older than 45. At the beginning of the study, participants completed a questionnaire on 131 different foods to assess their diets. They were then assigned different “MED scores” on a scale of 1 to 9, based on how closely they followed the Mediterranean diet.

There were three levels, people who scored between zero and 3 were on the low end, 4 to 5 was in the middle and 6 and up was categorized as a high intake of Mediterranean diet foods.

The participants’ cardiovascular health was then tracked for 12 years.

When all was said and done, those in the middle category saw a 23 percent reduction in risk, and the upper category had 28 percent less risk of cardiovascular disease.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — claiming about 600,000 lives each year. Coronary heart disease is the most common form, killing more than 370,000 people annually. Each year, about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack.

The authors pointed out that these findings do have limitations. For instance, the study relied on self-reported data, which isn’t always accurate — especially when it involves diet choices. The participants, all of whom were female health professionals, also might lean toward healthier behaviors than the rest of the population.

The results of the study weren’t a shock to Dr. Andrew Freeman, the director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health hospital in Denver. He wasn’t involved in the study but has been recommending a Mediterranean diet, or a similar version of it that emphasizes vegetables and fruit, to his patients for years.

“There’s a lot of noise out there, but the signal that’s been out there the longest is this kind of plant-based diet is the best.”

He also acknowledged that there is a lot of competing nutritional information swirling around the airwaves and the internet, which amounts to “a whole lot of hype” that makes healthy eating habits a difficult regimen for many consumers.

And doctors often don’t have clear information, either. “The vast majority of cardiologists and health providers in general have very little nutrition training,” Freeman said.

He switched to a mostly plant-based diet after his residency, and lost 35 pounds. He now recommends this approach to his patients, too. He said he has seen his patients’ conditions — heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes — improve.

“Nutrition and lifestyle medicine is the place where there’s a chance of a cure,” Freeman said.

Kaiser Health News

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Dr. Rahul Desikan, who was diagnosed with the debilitating illness last year, can no longer speak but continues to work.
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Jordin Sparks Is Teaming Up With ‘Generation S’ To Bring Attention To Sickle Cell Disease

Jordin Sparks has teamed up with an inspiring new project called Generation S to bring attention to and tell real stories of sickle cell disease.

Sparks lost her 16-year-old step sister Bryanna to sickle cell earlier this year. She remembers her as being a “vibrant,” happy teen. So seeing her struggle with this disease was hard, but it also inspired Sparks to help others.

Sparks says if a project like Generation S was around before Bryanna’s death, “she would have felt less alone,” and knew that there were people who understood her pain.

Sickle cell disease affects hundreds of thousands of people and most of them are Black and brown people.

You can find out more at Sicklecelldisease.org or JoinGenS.com.

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Cancer surpasses heart disease as leading cause of death in many US counties

An important transition is happening across the United States: Cancer was the leading cause of death in more counties in 2015 than 13 years earlier, a new study finds. However, the opposite was true for heart disease during that period; fewer counties reported it as the top killer.


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Helping Families Cope With Alzheimer’s Disease

The Balm In Gilead, Inc. is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO) whose mission is to prevent diseases and to improve the health status of individuals who are disproportionately affected by high rates of health disparities. Dr. Pernessa Seele, is the Founder and CEO. Her organization works to combat health disparities in the African-American community.

One of those disparities is around dementia and Alzheimer’s which impacts African-Americans and Hispanics disproportionately. Other health conditions like high blood pressure and socioeconomic factors contribute to the challenges of addressing Alzheimer’s in the African-American community.

African-Americans and minorities are also more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the later stages of the disease or to be misdiagnosed to due other illnesses, a lack of awareness, and a lack of access to appropriate medical care.

Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, affecting an estimated 5 million people in the United States. Alzheimer’s disease is irreversible and slowly gets worse as the disease destroys the brain’s memory and thinking skills. There is no cure for this debilitating disease. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, the goal of treatment is to maintain and delay the decline in memory and cognitive functions. Support for families and caregivers play a major role in the treatment and management of Alzheimer’s.

Healthcare providers should be mindful to include the caregivers in the treatment plan and to work with them to develop a plan of care that will meet the needs of the persons diagnosed as well as the needs of the caregiver that may arise as the disease progresses. Referrals to support groups and other social services are good to consider.

Each year, the Balm In Gilead hosts Healthy Churches 2020, a national training conference now in its 5th year where more than 500 health ministry leaders gather to get important information to better serve their congregations.

This year, it will be held November 13-16, 2018 in Point Clear, Alabama.

Dr. Pernessa Seele is Founder and CEO of The Balm In Gilead, Inc., a not-for- profit organization, celebrating 30 years of providing technical support that strengthens the capacity to faith institutions in the USA and in Africa to promote health education and services that contribute to the elimination of health disparities.

As a pioneer in developing public health & faith-based models for engaging individuals in health promotion and disease prevention interventions, Time Magazine 100 named her One of the Most Influential Persons in the World in 2006, among other honors. 

Dr. Seele answers your Text Tom questions on the next page.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALZHEIMER’S AND DEMENTIA?
Alzheimer’s has a specific cause in the brain, but dementia is a generic term that means you have thinking and memory problems. You can have dementia from Alzheimer’s, or you can get dementia from depression or alcoholism or normal pressure hydrocephalus or other rare causes like Lewy bodies or Parkinson’s disease.

IF EARLY DETECTION IS A KEY FACTOR, ARE THERE CERTAIN TESTS WE NEED TO TAKE OR ASK OUR DOCTOR ABOUT TO SEE IF WE HAVE THE DISEASE? IF SO, WILL HEALTH INSURANCE COVER THE COST?

Even though there is no cure for Alzheimer’s or many dementias, early detection really is key in order to do all we can. Your regular doctor should provide a wellness check as part of your annual visit once you’re 70, so make sure they do that! This is covered by insurance.

If you need more testing, you should get a referral to see a neurologist and/or a neuropsychologist. With a referral, this should be mostly covered by insurance, but the testing can take up a whole morning so it’s good to plan ahead.
There are basic tests available for free online, but you will need a medical professional to be formally diagnosed (or cleared!)

ARE THEY CLOSE TO FINDING A CURE FOR ALZHEIMER’S?
Yes! Many drugs in the clinical trials phase (where they are currently testing the cures of tomorrow) are looking very promising in terms of helping memory and stopping the brain changes that occur in Alzheimer’s disease.

We are not yet able to reverse the bad symptoms of Alzheimer’s, but we are likely less than 3 years away from significantly being able to slow down the disease.

 IS ALZHEIMER’S HEREDITARY?
Yes and no. If your immediate family member has it (parents, siblings, children), it increases your risk by 50%. But outside of a few rare cases, no one is “doomed” to get Alzheimer’s. The biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease is age. And Black Americans are at least twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as white populations.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS/SYMPTOMS OF ALZHEIMER’S?
Change is key when it comes to noticing Alzheimer’s disease. If you’ve always been bad with names and you still are at 80, that doesn’t mean you have Alzheimer’s or dementia. But if someone has major memory problems that they didn’t 1 or two years ago, if they were an accountant but suddenly can’t balance a checkbook, or if they were in construction but can’t hang a towel rack, these are key concerns. Some of the major signs are: memory loss that disrupts daily life, challenges in problem solving, sudden and persistent personality changes, confusion with time or place, withdrawal from daily life (work or social activities).

IF DIAGNOSED EARLY, CAN THIS BE PREVENTED OR DELAYED?
No, unless someone gets involved in one of the clinical trials that may prevent Alzheimer’s. But it can help your family with insurance and care planning, which are major issues. Black American families bear 40% of the nation’s Alzheimer’s cost, which can be reduced with careful planning ahead of time.

WHAT CAUSES ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE?
Alzheimer’s is thought to be caused by two proteins that go wrong, amyloid and tau. You have them both your whole life, and they’re important for normal brain function but they go wrong in Alzheimer’s.

Think of amyloid (amma-lloyd) like Saran Wrap – if you cut it the right way it’s useful, but if it’s cut the wrong way or twisted it is just a big mess. Tau (towww) is like having water damage to a wall in your home – it weakens the structures so that they collapse. These two proteins work together in the brain to kill off brain cells.

ALZHEIMER’S HAS BEEN CALLED THE LONG, SAD GOODBYE. EXPLAIN WHAT THAT MEANS.
Alzheimer’s is what’s called a progressive disease. The symptoms start out small and hard to see, and then over 8 – 12 years, they get much worse. When people get Alzheimer’s they lose their memories and their self-identity. What’s often left is a shell of the loved one that we knew.

WHAT ARE THE STAGES OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE?
There are three main stages in Alzheimer’s disease: Preclinical, which is when amyloid and tau start to build up but there aren’t memory problems.

Then there is mild Alzheimer’s, when there are enough cognitive problems to interfere with daily life, but the person can still walk around and get through the day with support. Finally, there is severe Alzheimer’s disease, when there is no attempt to get through a normal day, the individual doesn’t leave the house much, and needs help eating, sleeping, and going to the bathroom.

ARE THERE ANY SOURCES OF FINANCIAL HELP FOR PEOPLE WITH ALZHEIMER’S OR THEIR CAREGIVERS?
The Alzheimer’s Association offers a huge range of support for people who are dealing with Alzheimer’s in their family. All of their resources are free and include support groups for patients and caregivers, a referral service, a 24/7 phone line, community programming, and information for local businesses. There is also a new Medicare billing code for care planning that many doctors don’t know about (99483) that will allow them to help families plan and coordinate care and bill these conversations and efforts through insurance.

Are PTSD and dementia similar?
They are both disorders of the brain, and while having symptoms of PTSD can mean that you are disoriented or confused, it is generally not considered to be a kind of dementia.

Can the stress that African-Americans go through on a regular basis cause dementia or could that be one of the reason why we are more affected?
Yes! Lifetime discrimination is one of the leading theories of why Black Americans are more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease.

At what age should you be checked for dementia?
You should start to be checked for dementia beginning in your mid to late 60s. Ask your doctor for a wellness check. If you or someone you know starts to have memory or thinking problems that come on suddenly or over 1-2 years, even before your 60s, have them seen by a doctor.

My mom has symptoms  -she’s extremely paranoid and when she has an UTI that makes the symptoms WORSE but my dad is in denial about it. What can I do to get my mom some help?
Reach out and get some support from your family, and from your local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org). Try to have her see a doctor for a regular checkup and have the doc examine her thinking and memory.

Dr. Doc, how to tell the early signs of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s in persons under 50?
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s is very very rare in people under 50. You basically have to have a very rare genetic mutation. But the signs and symptoms are the same as for everyone else – they just tend to show up earlier and get worse much more quickly.

 Can dementia affect teens & children?
Almost never. There has only been one documented case of a 17-year-old with Alzheimer’s disease, but they had an extremely rare genetic version of Alzheimer’s.

How to be supportive of someone with dementia?
It depends on what stage of dementia they have. It’s important for people living with dementia to feel safe and secure, so please continue to treat them with respect and dignity. Little white lies are fine, if it helps keep the peace. Try to set a clear daily routine, and make sure they eat and stay as physically active as is safe.

Reach out to your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter. They offer a lot of free support!

I am a 47-year-old black female. I have been having trouble with my memory to the point I would walk in a room and forgot why I went into the room. Should I be concerned and go and get tested for dementia?
A: Nope! These kinds of things are common. If your memory gets much worse in a 1-2 year period (like you can’t remember how to get home when you’re just around the block), please see a doctor.

Good morning, what is the earliest age that you can determine if you have the disease?
With the help of a neurologist and a neuropsychologist, you can determine whether you have Alzheimer’s at any age but it’s easiest to detect starting in your 60s.

 I have 2 related questions: 1) I have had 4 concussions throughout my adolescence and adulthood. Could this lead to dementia later in life? 2) I also have constant tinnitus. I heard this was an early sign of dementia. Is there any valid evidence supporting this?
Concussions don’t lead to Alzheimer’s. but may be a risk factor with dementia. Many concussions, even small concussions over time, like football players experience, may lead to a kind of dementia called CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). We believe upwards of 99% of NFL players may be at risk of CTE by the end of their careers. CTE has different symptoms than Alzheimer’s, but they are both dementias.

Tinnitus can be a sign of Alzheimer’s, but you definitely need many other signs to know for sure, like changes in memory, concentration, and personality

Since there is no cure or prevention for Dementia, what’s the benefit of meds that are indicated for it like Aricept and Namenda?
Aricept and Namenda don’t treat the underlying disease. Just as cold medicines don’t cure your cold but they help you feel better, Aricept and Namenda don’t cure dementia but help you keep your thinking and memory sharp.

Is one of the signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s crying?
Sudden crying and changes in mood or behavior, especially if this kind of thing hasn’t happened before, could be a sign of dementia. You should see a doctor about this for more testing.

Are psychotropic medications recommended to treat aggressive behaviors?
They are, sometimes. They tend to be recommended more for people of color, which is a problem, as others receive less aggressive treatments.

My grandmother recently died from dementia. Is it true that there’s an increased risk of stroke with dementia?
Yes, especially if it’s a vascular dementia (different from Alzheimer’s) and an increased risk of dementia with stroke.

 Is there a correlation with anesthesia and dementia? After being under anesthesia for a recent colonoscopy, I have more difficulty remembering.
There are occasionally some people who have this issue. Usually the memory problems go away after a few weeks. If they don’t, please see a doctor!

Ask the doctor I have moderate obstruction sleep apnea I am 46 do I have a higher risk of Alzheimer’s or dementia?
Yes, you may be at higher risk. It’s important to stay in touch with friends, family, and a doctor to make sure your health stays at its best.

What type of tests do you need to take to determine if you have dementia and or Alzheimer’s disease?
You need to have testing done by a neurologist and sometimes a neuropsychologist as well. They will test your memory, your ability to concentrate, how you see, how well your muscles and joints work, how you make decisions, and changes to your social life. They may also ask a close friend or loved one for their opinion too.

Dr. Seele is the author of Stand Up to Stigma! How to Reject Fear & Shame. She is an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She received a Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science from Clark Atlanta University in 1976 & 1979 respectively, and a Doctorate of Human Letters from the College of New Rochelle, NY in 2007. She is a native of Lincolnville, SC.


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