Alert
Close

Think you know AARP? What you don't know about us may surprise you. Discover all the 'Real Possibilities'

HIGHLIGHTS

Open
America's Winter Escapes Sweepstakes
Introducing RealPad by AARP
You and Your Town Contest-You could win an AARP RealPad

AUTO BUYING PROGRAM

AARP Auto Buying Program

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP BOOKS

Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

share your thoughts

What does the health care law mean to you? Your story is important. We read and learn from every story and it helps us in our educational efforts. We may even use your comments (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

Alzheimer's Disease

Scientists Look for Ways to Prevent and Treat Alzheimer’s

Research reveals new ways to detect the disease

woman looking out window

— Frank Siteman/Science Faction/Corbis

Researchers report they have valuable new tools to diagnose and predict Alzheimer’s disease and have added to the growing body of evidence that some vitamins and exercise might help lower a person’s risk. But the new science presented at the international Alzheimer’s Association conference this week in Honolulu did not provide what patients and families want most—a treatment for the 5.3 million Americans with this devastating disease.

Still, scientists say that as they continue to unravel the complicated chemistry of the Alzheimer’s brain, they move closer each day to a therapy that works.

“We desperately need to know more about the causes of Alzheimer’s, and the factors that affect our risk of getting or not getting the disease,” said William Thies, chief medical officer of the Alzheimer’s Association. “This kind of research will provide more targets for therapies and prevention strategies.”

The following is a roundup of some of the most important research to come out of the conference and medical journals this week and includes links to more detailed reporting from the AARP Bulletin.

Treatment

  • Insulin nose spray: A small drug trial testing insulin in the form of a nose spray to improve brain function showed some promising results. For years, Alzheimer’s has been linked to diabetes, because in both cases the body has trouble processing insulin. Researchers, including Suzanne Craft of the University of Washington in Seattle, believe that restoring normal insulin function in the brain could prove to be a treatment for Alzheimer’s. The researchers gave the insulin spray or a placebo to about 100 people with the disease and found that people who used the spray scored better on memory tests than those who did not use the insulin. Patients with a higher dose of insulin showed improvement in daily living activities but no improvement in cognition. The researchers say the results are encouraging enough to warrant a large trial.


Prevention

  • Vitamin D: Adequate levels of the “sunshine vitamin” can help protect against impaired thinking and dementia later in life. A new British study found that low levels of vitamin D in older adults can cause problems with memory, attention and logic. The study, which examined more than 3,000 adults age 65 and older, found that those who were severely vitamin D deficient were nearly four times more likely to perform poorly on tests of memory and attention. Read more in “Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Dementia.”

  • Moderate to heavy exercise: Physical activity was found to lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s, especially in men. Looking at data from a long-running study tracking the heart health of several thousand people, researchers at Harvard University found that older men who regularly participated in moderate to heavy physical activity had a 40 percent lower risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s, while those with the least amount of physical activity were 45 percent more likely to experience severe cognitive decline. Researchers say that maintaining even moderate levels of physical activity is a good way to lower the risk for dementia even into your 80s.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Reading eyeglasses eyemed 6 membership benefit health

Members save 25% on orders of $200 or more and get 25% off lens upgrades at glasses.com.

AARP/Walgreens Wellness Bus Stops in Clarksdale, MS

Members can get exclusive points offers from Walgreens and Duane Reade.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points