Alzheimer’s, known mostly for the memory loss and confusion it causes, may be the nation’s third- most deadly killer, according to a study that suggests many more Americans die from the disease than is known.
The pesticide DDT, banned in the U.S. because of its toxic effects on wildlife and potential to harm human health, may raise the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, according to the first study linking the chemical to the brain- ravaging illness.
At 8:30 p.m. on Christmas Day 2009, nurse Tiffany Gourley was called to a room at the Windmill Manor nursing home in Coralville, Iowa. She found a 78-year-old male resident who had just had intercourse with an 87-year-old woman. The man, a former college professor, was divorced. The woman, a retired secretary, was married. Both had dementia.
Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost 1 percent of the gross domestic product globally this year and that treatment tab will grow, making urgent the need for more research toward a cure, an advocacy group said.
Doctors should screen for Alzheimer’s as soon as mild cognitive symptoms occur and encourage genetic testing for patients, according to the first new guidelines for the disease in almost three decades.
In separate probes into the roots of Alzheimer’s, scientists have uncovered a rare gene mutation that keeps plaque from forming in the brain and found the disease may take hold 25 years before symptoms appear.