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Senior Care News

Research reverses Alzheimer’s in mice

Cleveland, OH — Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic found that the deletion of just a single enzyme in lab mice saw the near-total reversal of the deposition of amyloid plaques found in brains of those with Alzheimer’s, improving cognitive functions in the mouse subjects.

 

The study was published Feb. 14 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

 

These promising research findings center around deleting a gene that produces an enzyme called BACE1, which helps make the beta-amyloid peptides that accumulate abnormally in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Studies have shown that stopping or reducing that enzyme’s activity dramatically reduces production of beta-amyloid peptides, which are toxic to the brain and lead to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

 

However, researchers urge caution with the results as many Alzheimer’s discoveries seem to hold true in mice, then fail in people.  Still, five BACE1 inhibitors are being tested in human subjects currently.

 

New York State makes ‘Top Ten’ for retirees

New York, NY — The influential AARP seniors lobby and the World Health Organization (WHO) dubbed New York the first U.S. “Age-Friendly” state this past December.

 

And this February, more good news for Empire State seniors came in a state-by-state report by personal finance website WalletHub, which ranked all 50 states for retirement, worst to best, in three broad categories: affordability, quality of life, and health care.

 

In the Quality of Life category, New York came in at an impressive #6, largely on account of its wealth of world-class venues filling Manhattan.

 

Not surprisingly, what with its highest per-capita percentage of seniors, Florida is the best U.S. state overall for retirees; Kentucky takes the dubious honor of last place.

 

Human-rights org.: U.S. nursing homes improperly drugging dementia patients

New York, NY — Between October 2016 and March 2017, researchers with the international Human Rights Watch group visited 109 facilities across six U.S. states—interviewing 323 people including residents, family members, nurses, social workers, pharmacists and long-term care experts.

 

The resulting 157-page report, released Feb. 5, estimates that over 179,000 people living in U.S. nursing facilities are given antipsychotic medications each week, despite staff not having secured psychiatric diagnoses like schizophrenia to warrant usage of such drugs.

 

The report alleges that the medications are used as a cost-effective “chemical restraint” to suppress adverse behaviors in senior residents with dementia, and to ease the workload on overwhelmed staff.

 

Research on cholesterol-busters to lower Alzheimer’s

Denver, CO — Planned research at the Kerwin Research Center will look into the use of cholesterol-lowering therapies called cyclodextrins as possible treatments for Alzheimer’s.

 

Cyclodextrins are non-toxic compounds made up of sugar molecules that can bind with and extract cholesterol.  Preclinical-trial studies have shown that they can protect nerve cells, suggesting they can become a potential therapy for the disorder.

 

Scientists have long known that high cholesterol is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s. They also know that cholesterol-lowering drugs can reduce its progression of the disease—possibly because cholesterol and membrane lipid proteins can control production of the harmful beta amyloid proteins associated with Alzheimer’s.

 

Arthur Moss, Eminent Cardiologist, 1932-2018

Rochester, NY — Cardiology pioneer Arthur Moss, M.D. of the University of Rochester Medical Center passed away Feb. 16 after 60-plus years of major contributions to medicine.  He was 86.

 

Dr. Moss specialized in cardiac electrophysiology, or the relationship between the heart and natural electrical signals. 

 

He had a leading hand in developing the now-common pacemaker implants, which the medical establishment opposed over 40 years ago but which ultimately came around to his view.