New Hope in Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease

When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, we really can’t overstate the importance of early detection. However, despite the need for and value of diagnosing this disease before symptoms actually start to appear, researchers have struggled to find a reliable method of doing so — until now.

Thanks to Henrik Zetterberg and Kaj Blennow of Gothenburg University’s Sahlgrenska Academy, there is now hope in a test that measures beta-amyloid proteins in cerebrospinal fluid for early detection of Alzheimer’s. The two scientists recently developed a way to detect Alzheimer’s up to thirty years before any symptoms start to show by measuring this specific protein in the spinal fluid.

Alzheimer's Disease

“If the concentration of beta-amyloid in the spinal fluid is abnormally low, it indicates that the protein is sticking in the brain, which is the earliest sign of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Henrik Zetterberg.

In a healthy person, beta amyloid collects in the brain and immediately goes into the blood and spinal fluid. But with Alzheimer’s patients, a protein called GPR3 is believed to be the reason that beta amyloid plaques develop and stick to the brain. These plaques cause brain and nerve cells to die. This beta amyloid buildup can happen as early as middle age and can easily go unnoticed for years before the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease start to appear. At this point, the disease is too advanced to respond to any type of treatment.

With advanced degrees in gerontological administration, our director, along with our team of medical professionals who have extensive hands-on patient care experience, is fully able to understand and assist with every aspect of care faced by the aged and infirmed.

At David York Agency, we consider every one of our clients family. We understand how life-changing and scary an Alzheimer’s Disease diagnosis can be, not just for the person diagnosed, but for everyone in their life. We hope to provide families with the support and care they need during this particularly difficult time.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

Recognizing the Signs of Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease

It is important to recognize the signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease as early as possible. It affords family members plenty of time for planning, ensures that a safe living arrangement is set in place and enables the elderly to take advantage of all current and cutting edge treatments available. Unfortunately, both the elderly and their loved ones are ignorant of the signs and can be in a state of denial.

It’s easy to try to deny signs of dementia in oneself and a loved one. It is terrifying for the former and painful for the latter. Often denials sound like this:

  1. Getting confused is just part of getting older.
  2. The irrationality is just part of a mid-life crisis.
  3. Stress and sleep deprivation is causing the forgetfulness.
  4. Everyone forgets things.
  5. Depression is causing the lack of focus.

Then again, you could be experiencing early signs of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association is a great resource and has compiled the following list:

10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems.
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
  4. Confusion with time or place.
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing.
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
  8. Decreased or poor judgment.
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.
  10. Changes in mood and personality.

If you have a suspicion that the forgetfulness is something more serious, it is time to go see a doctor. The best to find out if any of these signs and symptoms is indicative of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is to get a complete medical evaluation.

Receiving a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is naturally extremely stressful to all concerned. Anticipating and planning for the eventual outcome of the disease is not easy, but David York Home Healthcare Agency can help. When home healthcare becomes necessary, David York Agency provides skilled home health aide services for the elderly and infirm in their home. A nurse is always standing by and would be happy to discuss your case with you. Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit our website. Please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

 

Can Change in Gait Indicate Bigger Problems?

The shuffle. It’s something we’ve come to accept as a normal part of aging, or as a result of certain medical conditions—following a stroke or coinciding with the onset of Parkinson’s disease. But what if there was more to this sometimes-gradual change in a person’s gait? What if it indicated a shift in cognitive function? Research is beginning to investigate possible connections between the way people walk and their ability to think as well as the possibility that changes in gait may be an early indicator of cognitive impairment stemming from conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

AlzheimersRecent studies suggest that thinking skills—memory, planning activities or processing information—decline at nearly the same rate as the ability to walk steadily and information increasingly points to a correlation between trouble walking and difficulty thinking.

A number of studies utilize a dual-tasking testing system to help uncover problems, asking subjects to simultaneously perform thinking and movement tasks such as walking while counting to 50. While still inconclusive, the results of these tests —which revealed that subjects who walked more slowly or inconsistently did worse on cognitive tests, with the worst of these suffering the most severe Alzheimer’s—may indicate that the brain is sufficiently compromised as to be unable to coordinate and efficiently manage more than one task.

This seeming correlation could be an indicator for earlier diagnosis and treatment for conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Once the studies are conclusive, the hope is to integrate an observation-based screening protocol that can be used during routine examinations by doctors, or physical therapy sessions.

As mobility and accessibility needs change, David York Agency and their team of home heath aide professionals will be there to help you every step of the way. Our client intake coordinator is available to answer your questions about in-home healthcare. When you sign on as a client, a free nursing assessment helps tailor a specific care plan performed by a caring home health aide.

For more information about our services, please visit www.davidyorkagency.com or follow us on our Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter pages. You can also call us at 718.376.7755 and we will be happy to talk over your specific home healthcare needs.