Older adults who have too much, too little or restless sleep have an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, according to studies that suggest doctors note these conditions in patients for follow-up evaluations.
A slow or uneven gait in older patients may be more than the effect of advancing age, according to three studies that found walking disorders in the elderly also may be early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
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.
When 70-year-old Bill Price signed on in 2006 to become one of the early testers of the Alzheimer’s drug bapineuzumab, he held high hopes the injections would stop the disease that was starting to claim his memory.
Over the past 18 months, 81-year-old Bill Bunnell has visited the doctor a half-dozen times to take memory tests, provide blood samples, and undergo a spinal tap and imaging scans. It’s all part of the most extensive study ever conducted on Alzheimer’s.
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.