Latest issue of Alzheimer's & Dementia Explores New Ideas for Cause

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Cause of Alzheimer's Disease

Though publishing only its fourth issue, Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association continues to feature valuable new data, and stimulate thought and discussion with provocative perspectives on key issues, such as alternative theories for the cause of Alzheimer's.

Included in the journal's April 2006 issue are: Screening - A call for consideration of dementia risk factors in individuals at age 50, with routine yearly screening after age 75.

Cause - A new theory for the cause of Alzheimer's based on research with a well-known diabetes drug.

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Risk Factors - A large-scale observational study in twins, some tracked for as long as 45 years, suggests education, physical exercise and inflammatory load (as shown by tooth loss) as risk factors for Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

"Should older adults be screened for dementia?" J. Wesson Ashford, et. al.

Screening is common for various types of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and depression to identify disease states early, and to encourage early treatment and lifestyle interventions. The question of whether to screen for Alzheimer's disease (AD), especially in cognitively healthy people, has been controversial. For instance, in 2005, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force stated that "the evidence is insufficient to recommend for or against routine screening for dementia in older adults."

The 12 authors of this article, who are an international group of scientists interested in dementia screening, state that there is extensive evidence of substantial under-recognition of dementia and Alzheimer's, even into the disease's moderate and severe stages. They suggest that screening could largely redress this gap, and feel that waiting to initiate dementia assessment until after the disease is suspected delays both diagnosis and the use of the available symptomatic treatments. The authors state that there are many adequate tests that have been well studied for both dementia and

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