Scientists have discovered that a gene-regulating protein that protects the developing brain of a fetus resurfaces in old age and may stave off dementia, a finding that could open a new path in Alzheimer’s research.
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.
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, 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.
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.