Eighty percent of people with Parkinson’s develop dementia within 20 years of their diagnosis. In a recent article in Science Daily, I learned that researchers discovered that the genetic variant APOE4 spurs the spread of harmful clumps of Parkinson’s proteins through the brain. Findings suggest that therapies that target APOE might reduce the risk of dementia for people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
In making the above-noted finding, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, analyzed publicly available data from three separate sets of people with Parkinson’s. It was found that cognitive skills declined faster in people with APOE4 than those with APOE3. People with APOE2, showed no cognitive decline over the period of the study.
Although APOE does not affect the overall risk of developing Parkinson’s or how quickly movement symptoms worsen, an APOE-targeted therapy might stave off dementia, the researchers suggest.
We often blog on the issue of dementia as it affects many aspects of our practice as estate litigators. It is always encouraging to read about a positive study or breakthrough in the area of this debilitating disease.
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We repeatedly hear about the grim details behind Alzheimer’s disease. In a previous blog titled “The Grim Toll of Alzheimer’s”, I touched on a reported study called The Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia in Canadian Society. This study has cited that as our population continues to age, the number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is expected to double to 1.25 million within 30 years. Again, another grim statistic.
Today, I blog on another Alzheimer’s study, which fortunately does not have such grim details. In a recent article, Lesley Ciarula Taylor states that specialists in Rochester, Minnesota have discovered “a cheap and easy memory test can predict who will develop Alzheimer’s disease with almost perfect accuracy.” The Free and Cued Selective Reminding Test is used to distinguish normal aging memory loss from a degenerative brain disease.
Taylor states, “the cost is very low, much lower than an MRI. The hope is to be able to identify the disease as quickly as possible.”
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s. Diagnosing the likelihood of being vulnerable may not necessarily lead to a cure, but at least specialists in this area can now ask new questions that potentially could lead to different angles on handling this disease.
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Rick Bickhram-Click here for more information on Rick Bickhram