For the first time, scientists have found a connection between abnormalities in how the brain breaks down glucose and the severity of the signature amyloid plaques and tangles in the brain, as well as the onset of eventual outward symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
The death of musician Glen Campbell on Aug. 8 after a very public struggle with Alzheimer’s disease has again focused attention on whether science will ever find a drug that truly halts this devastating condition.
Deaths from Alzheimer’s are increasing, according to the nonprofit advocacy group UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. The organization, which has the goal of stopping Alzheimer’s by 2020, lobbies legislators to increase research funding. Some 35 drugs are in various phases of clinical trials. But as this excellent Pacific Standard article reports, the goal of a cure by 2020, or 2025, is iffy at best. Continue reading
More people are living with Alzheimer’s than ever before — and more are also dying from the disease, according to a new report from the CDC. Alzheimer’s-related deaths in the United States more than doubled between 1999 and 2014 — from 44,536 to 93,541. That’s a 54.5 percent jump in 15 years. Rates were higher among women compared with men and among non-Hispanic whites compared with other racial/ethnic populations.
While most people with the disease still die in nursing homes, the proportion of older adults dying at home also increased significantly during this time frame — from 13.9 percent in 1999 to 24.9 percent in 2014. Continue reading
Each year, the AHCJ conference includes a smorgasbord of opportunities to inform and enhance journalists’ knowledge and reporting. Topics include health care disparities, hospital performance reporting, age-specific conditions for youth and elderly alike – and, of course, what the medical research reveals about these and other subjects.
Even in sessions that focus on a specific population or a condition that doesn’t immediately seem relevant to medical research – such as how to cover the ongoing opioid epidemic – there likely are ways that the material intersects with research on that topic. If you’re looking for stories that might involve some digging in PubMed, here are some sessions to consider during Health Journalism 2016 in Cleveland, April 7-10. Continue reading
There seems to be no end of news reports about promising therapies for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
With the aging of the population having become one of the more serious and complicated aspects of modern American health care, these typically age-associated conditions are driving a lot of research into new drug and other treatment approaches.
Despite high excitement and hope surrounding the latest treatments, journalists need to report responsibly on these drugs to avoid delivering false hope and ensure their stories are leavened with balanced, quality information. There is always a risk that reporters may too easily accept what drug manufacturers, geriatricians and others tell them about new therapies and not demand to see the research backing up their claims.
Alan Cassels (@AKECassels), a writer and drug policy researcher affiliated with the School of Health Information Sciences at the University of Victoria, has some tips for reporters covering treatments for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.