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Senior Care News

New York non-profit gets Alzheimer’s support grant

Cohoes, NY — Among the 11 national grantees announced Oct. 16 by the federal Administration for Community Living (ACL) is New York’s very own Capital Region Geriatric Center.

 

The Albany-area senior support center will be providing the Alzheimer's Disease Initiative: Specialized Supportive Services (ADI-SSS) program over the next three years. 

 

The Center’s new ADI-SSS program will expand the safety net for those living alone with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, collaborate with those offering services to people with developmental disabilities, and work with caregivers.

 

Alzheimer’s-detecting headset wins NIH top prize

Bethesda, MD — A portable, computerized headset system tests for Alzheimer’s by measuring brainwaves with soundwaves.

 

It’s also won its inventors the $20,000 top prize in the 2017 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams (DEBUT) challenge.

 

The low-cost system uses existing electroencephalogram (EEG) technology to compare patients’ brainwaves with healthy brainwaves.  It was created by a student team at the University of Maryland, College Park.

 

The non-invasive tool has “the potential to detect Alzheimer’s disease with a high level of accuracy,” according to the NIH, and “could make dementia diagnosis more quantitative, systematic, and less costly—allowing doctors to use it at regular check-ups.”

 

Currently, PET scans, MRIs, and spinal taps are the most common ways to diagnose Alzheimer’s.  But because they can be costly or invasive, many patients are not diagnosed until symptoms are evident—which can be up to two years after clinical symptoms arise.

 

“New” Parkinson’s drug approved; questions remain

Washington, D.C. — Gocovri, a Parkinson’s drug newly approved by the FDA, is really not “new.”  Its basic ingredient is amantadine, an antiviral drug around for decades.

 

Gocovri’s makers say it eases the common Parkinson’s side effect of dyskinesia, or uncontrolled trembling. 

 

But doctors have been giving amantadine to Parkinson’s patients for its “off-label” dyskinesia benefit for years now—raising questions on the difference between Gocovri and amantadine, as well as whether any of amantadine’s known side effects will also be present with Gocovri—and if so, it is worth it for amantadine patients to switch to Gocovri.

 

Shingles vaccine closer to approval

Washington, D.C. — An FDA expert panel unanimously approved GSK’s shingles vaccine Shingrix on Sept. 13.  The shot, slated to be a blockbuster, now awaits an October action date.

 

With approval, GSK hopes to vaccinate people ages 50 and up against shingles—and compete with Big Pharma rival Merck, whose Zostavax shingles vaccine is already in use.

 

Japanese restaurant hires waiters with dementia

Tokyo, Japan — In a publicity stunt to raise public dementia awareness and reduce its social stigma, nonprofit organization Maggie’s Tokyo opened the Restaurant of Order Mistakes.

 

The pop-up eatery, which operated for a total of two days, featured waiters with diagnosed dementia and the resulting mismatched food deliveries—not to mention viral popularity resulting in hundreds of customers swamping the temporary establishment, according to reports.

 

According to Maggie’s Tokyo, the awareness event was a huge success—and a September encore for the Restaurant of Order Mistakes is planned.

 

Exercising and non-exercising seniors equally sedentary: study

Gainesville, FL — A daily movement tracking study of over 1,300 seniors found that those who exercised daily still had as much “down time” as those who didn’t.

 

In recent years, an ever-growing number of studies have linked physical exercise and activity for seniors with health, especially in reducing risk and even progression of Alzheimer’s. 

 

But the new study found that even participating seniors who engaged in daily exercise or physical activity were only active 12 minutes a day more than non-exercising participants.

 

“Going out and exercising doesn’t necessarily budge the amount of time people are going to be sedentary in the entire day,” explains associate professor Todd Manini of the University of Florida’s Institute on Aging.  “You are not necessarily taking away from the sedentary bucket and putting it into the exercise bucket.”

 

The takeaway is simple: Seniors should subtract from their daily sedentary activities the same amount of time they spend on daily physical activity—ideally by replacing sedentary time with activity time.