Hands to Help Seniors
Researchers have been studying a group of families in Columbia for years due to the fact that they carry a variant of the gene PSEN-1 which pretty much guarantees they will get Alzheimer’s. Many get it at an early age, with a sad story being told by a mother who had to take care of her son who had Alzheimer’s disease. There has been a recent breakthrough, with Aliria Rosa Piedrahita de Villegas, a woman in her 70’s with the gene who did not get Alzheimer’s disease until the age of 72, three decades after most others with the gene get the disease. Further study found that Aliria also had two copies of another rare variant of the APOE gene, also known as the Christchurch variant, which helped protect her brain and drastically slowed the progression of the disease. “This opens a new door for Alzheimer’s research,” said Yakeel Quiroz, an associate professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. “And through that door are new opportunities for treatments,” he said. Quiroz and other researchers are now working on developing an Alzheimer’s treatment that can replicate the protective actions and effects of the Christchurch variant. Regular readers of my blog know that both my grandmother and my father had this terrible disease when they died. There is a great group of people at the Monterey branch of Alzheimer’s Association in Ryan Ranch or you can also call their 24-hour hotline for support at 1-800-272-3900.
A shocking new study found that 1 in t0 older adults have early stage memory or cognitive problems, signaling early onset of Alzheimer’s disease. A new report from the Alzheimer’s Association found that 12-18% of those in the age bracket of 60 and older have “mild cognitive impairment,” a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.
Seniors are getting more and more adept at using technology. It was great to see that Alliance on Aging is offering free one-on-one technology training classes for seniors age 60+ every Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., by appointment only. You can learn the basics on how to use your devices – smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks, computers, and laptops. The training is provided by Loaves Fishes and Computers at 236 Monterey Street in Oldtown Salinas. For an appointment, call 831-646-4931 or 831-512-1330. This is a national trend. The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story about senior communities and assisted living facilities offering similar training.
Drugmakers and patient advocacy groups are pushing back against a federal proposal to cut off most Medicare payments for a new drug from Biogen Inc. to treat Alzheimer’s, called Aduhelm. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last month proposed to limit coverage of the drug to patients enrolled in clinical trials which are sanctioned by the agency. The proposal would apply to similar drugs still in development and not yet approved that work by reducing amyloid protein in the brain. The high cost of the drug and questions over its efficacy are behind the decision of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.