National Caregiving Foundation

“There are only four kinds of people in this world.  Those who have been caregivers, those who are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.” 

Rosalynn Carter, Former First Lady

         

 

 

FBI   -- WARNINGS ON MOST RECENT SCAMS www.fbi.gov

INTERNET CRIME COMPLAINT CENTER  --- CHECK VALIDITY OF AN E-MAIL OR FILE A COMPLAINT www.ic3.gov

EVERY 70 SECONDS SOMEONE IN AMERICA DEVELOPS ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE.       

News and Information

STUDY OF 74,076 VOLUNTEERS IDENTIFIED 11 NEW GENES ASSOCIATED WITH ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE from the Washington Post

 

An international group of researchers has identified 11 new genes associated with Alzheimer’s Disease, doubling the number of known gene variants linked to it.

 

The International Genomic Alzheimer's Project, a collaboration of two groups in the United States and two in Europe, scanned the DNA of 74,076 older volunteers from 15 countries - including people with and without the disease - to look for subtle gene variants involved in late-onset Alzheimer's, the most common form.

 

The study, that was reported in Nature Genetics, provides additional evidence of the involvement of certain genes in Alzheimer's Disease. One connected to the abnormal accumulation of amyloid protein in the brain, which has been associated with the disease.  It identifies new gene-related risk factors that may influence cell functions

 

Information from The Federal Trade Commission:

FTC Advises Consumers on Preventing, Identifying, and Dealing With Hacked Email or Social Networking Accounts

The Federal Trade Commission has new tips to help people deal with email and social networking hacks, whether it’s lessening the chances of a hack in the first place, or recovering from a hack once it happens.

Hacked Email, new guidance from the FTC, identifies signs an account may have been hacked such as friends and family members receiving messages the user didn’t send, a sent folder emptied, social media posts the user didn’t create, or email or other accounts the user can’t open.

If consumers think they have been hacked, the FTC encourages them to take the following actions:

  • Make sure security software is up-to-date and delete malware;
  • Change passwords;
  • Check with their email provider or social networking site for information about restoring the account;
  • Check account settings; and
  • Tell your friends

Using unique passwords for important sites like banking and email and safeguarding user names and passwords can help users protect themselves from hackers. The FTC recommends users turn on two-factor authentication if a service provider offers it; not click on links or open attachments from unknown users; and only download free software from sites a user knows and trusts. When using a public computer, do not let web browsers remember passwords, and log out of all accounts when finished.

  Tips for Using Public Wi-Fi Networks

Related Items

Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops, libraries, airports, hotels, universities, and other public places are convenient, but they’re often not secure. When using a hotspot, it’s best to send information only to websites that are fully encrypted.

You can be confident a hotspot is secure only if it asks you to provide a WPA password. If you're not sure, treat the network as if it were unsecured.

How Encryption Works

Encryption is the key to keeping your personal information secure online. Encryption scrambles the information you send over the internet into a code so that it’s not accessible to others. When using wireless networks, it’s best to send personal information only if it’s encrypted – either by an encrypted website or a secure Wi-Fi network. An encrypted website protects only the information you send to and from that site. A secure wireless network encrypts all the information you send using that network.

How to Tell If a Website is Encrypted

If you send email, share digital photos and videos, use social networks, or bank online, you’re sending personal information over the internet. The information you share is stored on a server – a powerful computer that collects and delivers content. Many websites, such as banking sites, use encryption to protect your information as it travels from your computer to their server.

To determine if a website is encrypted, look for https at the beginning of the web address (the “s” is for secure). Some websites use encryption only on the sign-in page, but if any part of your session isn’t encrypted, your entire account could be vulnerable. Look for https on every page you visit, not just when you sign in.

Don’t Assume a Wi-Fi Hotspot is Secure

Most Wi-Fi hotspots don’t encrypt the information you send over the internet and are not secure.

If you use an unsecured network to log in to an unencrypted site – or a site that uses encryption only on the sign-in page – other users on the network can see what you see and what you send. They could hijack your session and log in as you. New hacking tools – available for free online – make this easy, even for users with limited technical know-how. Your personal information, private documents, contacts, family photos, and even your login credentials could be up for grabs.

An imposter could use your account to impersonate you and scam people you care about. In addition, a hacker could test your username and password to try to gain access to other websites – including sites that store your financial information.

Protect Yourself When Using Public Wi-Fi

So what can you do to protect your information? Here are a few tips:

  • When using a Wi-Fi hotspot, only log in or send personal information to websites that you know are fully encrypted. To be secure, your entire visit to each site should be encrypted – from the time you log in to the site until you log out. If you think you’re logged in to an encrypted site but find yourself on an unencrypted page, log out right away.
  • Don’t stay permanently signed in to accounts. When you’ve finished using an account, log out.
  • Do not use the same password on different websites. It could give someone who gains access to one of your accounts access to many of your accounts.
  • Many web browsers alert users who try to visit fraudulent websites or download malicious programs. Pay attention to these warnings, and keep your browser and security software up-to-date.
  • If you regularly access online accounts through Wi-Fi hotspots, use a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs encrypt traffic between your computer and the internet, even on unsecured networks. You can obtain a personal VPN account from a VPN service provider. In addition, some organizations create VPNs to provide secure, remote access for their employees.
  • Some Wi-Fi networks use encryption: WEP and WPA are the most common. WPA encryption protects your information against common hacking programs. WEP may not. WPA2 is the strongest. If you aren’t certain that you are on a WPA network, use the same precautions as on an unsecured network.
  • Installing browser add-ons or plug-ins can help, too. For example, Force-TLS and HTTPS-Everywhere are free Firefox add-ons that force the browser to use encryption on popular websites that usually aren't encrypted. They don’t protect you on all websites – look for https in the URL to know a site is secure.   

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.  To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Visit ftc.gov/complaint or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).  The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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 Take Note

 If you receive calls from persons claiming to be a Police Officer or Federal Agent and having a warrant for your arrest.  The imposter then insists that this can only be cleared up by sending a money order or rechargeable Visa/Mastercard to them.  These callers are very aggressive and will attempt to intimidate the victim into sending them money.  Remember that Police Officers never call private homes demanding money for any reason.

 Scammers may pose as relatives or friends, calling or sending messages to urge you to wire money immediately. They’ll say they need cash to help with an emergency. Before you send any money, ask the person a question that only your actual friend or family member would know the answer to and call them back at a number you know to be genuine.

 

 

 

 

 

Aid & Attendance benefits for VETERANS             

Aid & Attendance and Housebound

Veterans and survivors who are eligible for a VA pension and require the aid and attendance of another person, or are housebound, may be eligible for additional monetary payment. These benefits are paid in addition to monthly pension, and they are not paid without eligibility to Pension.

Since Aid and Attendance and Housebound allowances increase the pension amount, people who are not eligible for a basic pension due to excessive income may be eligible for pension at these increased rates. A Veteran or surviving spouse may not receive Aid and Attendance benefits and Housebound benefits at the same time.

Aid & Attendance (A&A)

The Aid & Attendance (A&A) increased monthly pension amount may be added to your monthly pension amount if you meet one of the following conditions:

  • You require the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting yourself from the hazards of your daily environment
  • You are bedridden, in that your disability or disabilities requires that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment
  • You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity
  • Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less

Housebound

This increased monthly pension amount may be added to your monthly pension amount when you are substantially confined to your immediate premises because of permanent disability.

How to Apply

You may apply for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits by writing to the VA regional office where you filed a claim for pension benefits. If the regional office of jurisdiction is not known, you may file the request with any VA regional office. You should include copies of any evidence, preferably a report from an attending physician validating the need for Aid and Attendance or Housebound type care.

  • The report should be in sufficient detail to determine whether there is disease or injury producing physical or mental impairment, loss of coordination, or conditions affecting the ability to dress and undress, to feed oneself, to attend to sanitary needs, and to keep oneself ordinarily clean and presentable.
  • Whether the claim is for Aid and Attendance or Housebound, the report should indicate how well the applicant gets around, where the applicant goes, and what he or she is able to do during a typical day. In addition, it is necessary to determine whether the claimant is confined to the home or immediate premises.

Source:  Unites States Department of Veterans Affairs

 

 

Beta blockers used to treat high blood pressure may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease according to a study by Dr. Lon White of the Pacific Health Research and Education Institute in Honolulu.

"Levels of the Alzheimer lesions were about half or less in persons receiving beta blockers, compared with persons whose hypertension was untreated," said study author Dr. Lon White.  Dr. White added, "It would be premature to make any specific recommendations for treatment,"

Inderal  (propranolol), Tenormin (atenolol) and Lopressor (metoprolol) are drugs used as beta blockers.

"Our findings will need to be examined in other studies before such recommendations could be made," Dr. White said.

 

A Setback for Alzheimer’s drug Bapineuzumab    An experimental Alzheimer’s treatment failed to improve patients’ cognition or their ability to perform daily activities in the first of four pivotal studies needed for FDA approval.  Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Elan joined forces to develop Bapineuzumab, a drug designed to target brain plaques that are a hallmark of the degenerative disease.  Bapineuzumab is in a race with a similar product from Eli Lilly to become the first therapy to target a cause for Alzheimer’s, rather than just its symptoms—a $20 billion market, Deutsche Bank estimates.

Solanezumab by Eli Lilly and Co.   Lilly's Alzheimer’s drug trial for Solanezumab reported that combined data from both trials showed a statistically significant slowing of cognitive decline.  Lilly said it will discuss the results with regulators and plan the next steps. 

What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

From Department of Health & Human Services website:

Medicare

Medicare is an insurance program. Medical bills are paid from trust funds which those covered have paid into. It serves people over 65 primarily, whatever their income; and serves younger disabled people and dialysis patients. Patients pay part of costs through deductibles for hospital and other costs. Small monthly premiums are required for non-hospital coverage. Medicare is a federal program. It is basically the same everywhere in the United States and is run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, an agency of the federal government.

Medicaid

Medicaid is an assistance program. Medical bills are paid from federal, state and local tax funds. It serves low-income people of every age. Patients usually pay no part of costs for covered medical expenses. A small co-payment is sometimes required. Medicaid is a federal-state program. It varies from state to state. It is run by state and local governments within federal guidelines.

For more information regarding Medicare and its components, please go to www.medicare.gov.
For more information on Medicaid, please go to http://www.cms.gov/home/medicaid.asp

What is a Medigap policy?

A Medigap policy (also called "Medicare Supplement Insurance") is private health insurance that’s designed to supplement Original Medicare. This means it helps pay some of the health care costs ("gaps") that Original Medicare doesn’t cover (like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles). If you have Original Medicare and a Medigap policy, Medicare will pay its share of the Medicare-approved amounts for covered health care costs. Then your Medigap policy pays its share. A Medigap policy is different from a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) because those plans are ways to get Medicare benefits, while a Medigap policy only supplements your Original Medicare benefits. Note: Medicare doesn’t pay any of the costs for you to get a Medigap policy.

Every Medigap policy must follow Federal and state laws designed to protect you, and the policy must be clearly identified as "Medicare Supplement Insurance." Medigap insurance companies in most states can only sell you a "standardized" Medigap policy identified by letters A through N. Each standardized Medigap policy must offer the same basic benefits, no matter which insurance company sells it. Cost is usually the only difference between Medigap policies with the same letter sold by different insurance companies.

www.medicare.gov for more information

 

 

The Alzheimer's Association International Conference® 2012 researchers announced the creation of a new model of Alzheimer's derived from the skin cells of people with the disease that were reprogrammed into Alzheimer's brain cells.

This model may prove to be more accurate than current mouse models of the disease and  can be used to gain important new insights into the biology of Alzheimer's and related disorders and for testing of new therapies at an early stage.

"Current animal models of Alzheimer's are highly engineered to express elements of the disease, and, while valuable for research, incompletely represent how the disease forms and progresses in people," said William Thies, PhD, Alzheimer's Association® Chief Medical and Scientific Officer. "In order to develop better therapies and eventually prevent Alzheimer's, we need better, more accurate animal and cellular models of the disease. This newly reported research is a significant step forward in that direction."

“One advantage of this technology is that we get a near infinite supply of disease- and control – patient stem cells,” said Andrew Sproul, PhD,  researcher for NYSCF.  “Another is that we can then turn the iPSCs into any tissue in the body.  This allows us to investigate the role of various cells in Alzheimer’s disease progression by manipulating the iPSCs to form different types of brain cells that we and others believe are involved in Alzheimer’s.”

"We have made both the control and Alzheimer's iPSCs into brain cells and have demonstrated that they are electrically active. These new brain cells include forebrain cholinergic neurons, which are particularly vulnerable in Alzheimer's disease," Sproul said.

"We have also begun to use the iPSC-derived neurons and neural stem cells to compare differences in cellular function between people with Alzheimer's and their unaffected relatives. For example, we, in conjunction with Dr. Sam Gandy's group at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, have demonstrated that Alzheimer's neurons produce more of the toxic form of beta amyloid, the protein fragment that makes up amyloid plaques, though this aspect of the research is preliminary," Sproul added.

"We have begun to extend this work by collaborating with four different institutions in New York City – the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Columbia University, New York University, and Rockefeller University. Over the next few years, we expect to provide substantial insight into Alzheimer's and valuable tools to help create the next generation of therapeutics," Sproul said.

 

 

Much-Needed Funding for Soldier Suicide Prevention

PRESS RELEASE:  JULY 19, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last night, Congressman Leonard Boswell (IA-3) successfully passed his amendment to the Fiscal Year 2013 Defense Appropriations bill that increases critical funding for suicide prevention for active duty military by $10 million.

“With the epidemic of soldier suicides now eclipsing deaths on the battlefield and the Institute of Medicine and other medical experts calling for more screening for PTSD, now is not the time to be cutting any mental health funding – in fact, we should be increasing the availability of resources to combat this growing national concern. A soldier is taking their own life every single day. Estimates show hundreds of thousands of our currently deployed troops have symptoms of PTSD and just half of those who are eventually diagnosed will actually receive treatment,” Boswell said.

“We have a responsibility to eliminate the stigma shrouding mental health issues so our soldiers get the proper care they deserve. That means providing the necessary resources to educate, diagnose and treat. Our troops and their families depend on Congress to do the right thing on this issue. I’m pleased my colleagues joined me in setting politics aside to address this serious issue among our service members.”

Boswell, a 20-year Army veteran, has been a longtime proponent of military service-members’ and veterans’ health issues. In May, Boswell successfully included an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which directed the Secretary of Defense to submit a report on the effects of multiple deployments on the well-being of military personnel and their families. Additionally, Boswell was also able to pass his amendment that required the Defense and Veterans Affairs Departments to conduct a joint study on the incidence rate of breast cancer in service members and veterans.

In 2007, Boswell’s legislation, the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act, was the first major legislation passed and signed into law to address and prevent veteran suicide. Since enactment, the Veterans Crisis Hotline and VA Suicide Prevention Coordinators have made more than 21,000 life-saving rescues.

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According to the Secretary of Health and Human Services..... “America is aging.  Every day, 10,000 people in the United States celebrate their 65th birthday.   Between 2010 and 2030, the number of Americans 65 and older will nearly double, and the number of those 85 and older is on pace to grow more than 400% by 2050. Our senior citizens have contributed so much to our nation. We owe it to them to make sure they can live out their later years in peace, comfort and safety.”

BENEFITS CHECKUP... A SERVICE OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ON AGING

Find Benefits Programs that are available to older Americans who might need help and don’t know how to find it.  “When you look at how older adults have been hit by the downturn, you realize how many are in a precarious position,”  said Sandy Markwood, Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Area Agencies on aging.  “They might be one crisis away from slipping off the slope.”

Get all the benefits you deserve. Find and enroll in federal, state, local and private programs that help pay for prescription drugs, utility bills, meals, health care and other needs.

 If you are one of millions of people with Medicare who have limited income and resources, apply now for Extra Help through Medicare’s Prescription Drug Coverage. At the same time, you can also start an application for the Medicare Savings Programs and find out if you qualify for other valuable benefits programs.

More information available at  http://www.benefitscheckup.org

 

May 15, 2012

 

Health and Human Services today released an ambitious national plan to fight Alzheimer’s disease. The plan was called for in the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA), which was signed into law in January 2011. The National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease sets forth five goals, including the development of effective prevention and treatment approaches for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias by 2025.

In February 2012, the administration announced that it would take immediate action to implement parts of the plan, including making additional funding available in fiscal year 2012 to support research, provider education and public awareness. Today, the Secretary announced additional specific actions, including the funding of two major clinical trials, jumpstarted by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) infusion of additional FY 2012 funds directed at Alzheimer’s disease; the development of new high-quality, up-to-date training and information for our nation’s clinicians; and a new public education campaign and website to help families and caregivers find the services and support they need.

To help accelerate this urgent work, the proposed FY 2013 budget provides a $100 million increase for efforts to combat Alzheimer’s disease. These funds will support additional research ($80 million), improve public awareness of the disease ($4.2 million), support provider education programs ($4.0 million), invest in caregiver support ($10.5 million), and improve data collection ($1.3 million).

The plan, presented today at the Alzheimer’s Research Summit 2012: Path to Treatment and Prevention, was developed with input from experts in aging and Alzheimer’s disease issues and calls for a comprehensive, collaborative approach across federal, state, private and non-profit organizations. More than 3,600 people or organizations submitted comments on the draft plan.

As many as 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and that number is likely to double in the coming years. At the same time, millions of American families struggle with the physical, emotional and financial costs of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.

The initiatives announced today include:

·  Research – The funding of new research projects by the NIH will focus on key areas in which emerging technologies and new approaches in clinical testing now allow for a more comprehensive assessment of the disease. This research holds considerable promise for developing new and targeted approaches to prevention and treatment. Specifically, two major clinical trials are being funded. One is a $7.9 million effort to test an insulin nasal spray for treating Alzheimer’s disease. A second study, toward which NIH is contributing $16 million, is the first prevention trial in people at the highest risk for the disease.

·  Tools for Clinicians – The Health Resources and Services Administration has awarded $2 million in funding through its geriatric education centers to provide high-quality training for doctors, nurses, and other health care providers on recognizing the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and how to manage the disease.

·  Easier access to information to support caregivers–HHS’ new website, www.alzheimers.gov, offers resources and support to those facing Alzheimer’s disease and their friends and family. The site is a gateway to reliable, comprehensive information from federal, state, and private organizations on a range of topics. Visitors to the site will find plain language information and tools to identify local resources that can help with the challenges of daily living, emotional needs, and financial issues related to dementia. Video interviews with real family caregivers explain why information is key to successful caregiving, in their own words.

·  Awareness campaign – The first new television advertisement encouraging caregivers to seek information at the new website was debuted. This media campaign will be launched this summer, reaching family members and patients in need of information on Alzheimer’s disease.

In 2013, the National Family Caregiver Support Program will continue to provide essential services to family caregivers, including those helping loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease. This program will enable family caregivers to receive essential respite services, providing them a short break from caregiving duties, along with other essential services, such as counseling, education and support groups.

For more information on the national plan to address Alzheimer’s disease, visit: www.alzheimers.gov.

To read the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, visit http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/napa/NatlPlan.pdf.


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$1.3 billion to improve the health and independence of America’s older adults

Grants of more than $1.3 billion to every state, the District of Columbia, and five territories to continue implementing programs that help older adults live healthy, safely and independently in their communities were awarded today by Kathy Greenlee, assistant secretary for aging in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The grants will help older adults avoid institutional care through home and community-based supportive programs with an emphasis on prevention and wellness, nutrition, family caregiver and respite services.

“These services complement ongoing prevention-based efforts in the medical and health care systems, particularly since Medicare does not pay for them. They help prevent hospital readmissions. They provide transportation to doctor's appointments and support some of life's most basic functions,” said Assistant Secretary Greenlee. “This assistance is especially critical for nearly 3 million seniors who receive intensive in-home services, half a million of whom would otherwise qualify for nursing home admission.”

These programs make a difference every day for millions of older adults and their caregivers:

  • Caregiver Services: The National Family Caregiver Support Program provides caregivers with access to services such as respite care and counseling. Families are the nation’s primary provider of long-term care, but caregiving responsibilities demand time and money from families who too often are already strapped for both. The physical, financial and emotional demands of caregiving can lead to a breakdown of the caregiver’s health. Research indicates caregivers suffer from higher rates of depression than non-caregivers and caregivers suffer a mortality rate that is 63 percent higher than non-caregivers. Nearly 800,000 caregivers are projected to receive services, helping them care for people with Alzheimer’s disease or those with frailties that would qualify for nursing home admissions.
  • Nutrition: Studies have found that 50 percent of all persons age 85 and over are in need of assistance with certain activities of daily living (ADL), including obtaining and preparing food. AoA projects its network of partners and organizations will deliver approximately 219 million meals in FY 2012. These meals help older adults improve their nutritional intake, provide an essential service for many of their caregivers, and also provide seniors an opportunity for social interaction.
  • Supportive Services for Helping Frail Seniors Remain at Home: Home and community-based long-term services and supports assist seniors living at home who are unable to perform critical activities of daily living, such as bathing, eating, or dressing unaided. Among the services these funds are projected to support include nearly 7.5 million hours of adult day care and 21 million rides to critical places like the doctor, pharmacy, or grocery stores.

Preventive Health Services: AoA is committing more than $20 million in FY 2012 to evidence-based programs focused on fitness, wellness, falls prevention, chronic-disease self management, and medication management.

These grant awards are annually awarded by formula for the states and territories based on their share of the population age 60 and older. Each state develops a comprehensive service plan before receiving federal funds. States and territories recognize the value of these programs, typically leveraging as much as $3 additional dollars for every federal dollar, contributing to the outcomes expected from these awards.

Of the 57.8 million seniors 60 and older living in the United States, 5.5 million are living in poverty and more than 27 percent have difficulty in performing at least one activity of daily living. These services contribute significantly to helping those seniors with frailties, many of who are economically vulnerable, to remain in their own homes and avoid or delay entry into nursing homes.


If you are a senior who is subject to the “donut hole” be careful when getting your prescription in a new calendar year.  Often times automatic refills will be processed by the pharmacy in the month of December and you will be expected to pay the higher price even though you are not picking it up until the first of the year. Check with your pharmacy to see when your prescription was pulled and processed.  Make sure it was processed in the new calendar year.  It could mean hundreds of dollars in savings.


A new study by researchers at the Mayo Clinic recommends adding two categories to the stages of Alzheimer's Disease.  There are currently three stages.  The new stages would help identify and manage the disease prior to having symptoms.  In addition to stages 1, 2 and 3 identified by the NIA-AA workgroup, the authors suggest two additional categories: * Stage 0: Patients with normal biomarkers and no evidence of cognitive impairment.  An estimated 43 percent of all cognitively normal elderly people would be classified as Stage 0. * SNAP patients: Those with "suspected non-AD pathophysiology."  Such patients have normal brain amyloid imaging studies, but abnormal neurodegeneration biomarkers.  An estimated 23 percent of cognitively normal elderly patients would fall into the SNAP category.  Dr. Clifford Jack, Jr., M.D. of Mayo Clinic said that " The important guidelines developed by the work group were a vital step in clarifying the progression of this devastating disease and aiding in earlier diagnosis." The study was published in the Annals of Neurology October 2011.

 


Starting May 9, 2011, Family Caregivers and Veterans can apply for services authorized under a VA interim final rule that was published on May 5th.  Eligible Family Caregivers of eligible post-9/11 Veterans will receive comprehensive training. It is part of a package of new services that also include a monthly stipend, mental health services and access to medical care under the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA), if the primary Family Caregiver is not entitled to care or services under a health plan contract.''

Family Caregivers of eligible post-9/11 Veterans will have a choice of how to receive their training.  Options will include traditional classroom training, online

 

APRIL 2011                                ALZHEIMER'S RESEARCH NEWS

Five new genes have been identified by scientists that are believed to raise the risk of late onset Alzheimer’s disease. 

This brings the total genes identified to ten.   Researchers hope this finding will lead to treatments that remove the

detrimental effects of these genes and help reduce the proportion of people developing Alzheimer’s disease.


 

 

NEW INFORMATION FOR VETERANS

 

VETERANS CRISIS LINE  -- DIAL 1-800-273-8255  CONFIDENTIAL HELP FOR VETERANS.

 

The Department of Veterans' Affairs announced the launch of a

new toll-free National Caregiver Support Line:   1-855-260-3274

Operates                   8:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and

                                   10:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.  Saturday     -   Eastern Time

Licensed clinical social workers will be available to answer your questions, listen to your concerns and directly link

you to the Caregiver Support Coordinator at your local VA Medical Center.  Each VA Medical Center has a

Caregiver Support Coordinator who can locate assistance tailored to your unique situation.

 


                                                

SOCIAL SECURITY CHANGES

The Social Security Administration will no longer mail annual Social Security statements to workers. 

They expect to save an estimated $30 million in 2011 and $60 million in 2012 by suspending these mailings.

Also Social Security will no longer mail checks to recipients who apply for benefits after May 1, 2011. 

The funds will be handled by direct deposit to a bank or credit union or put on a prepaid

Direct Express Debit MasterCard.

 

MEDICATION MISTAKES

These ten medication mistakes experts say are most likely to kill or cause serious harm

according to recent article by Melanie Haiken:

Confusing 2 medications with similar names

Taking drugs that magnify potential side effects

Overdosing with similar drugs

Getting the dosage wrong

Mixing alcohol with medications

Taking brand name drug and generic version at the same time

Taking RX drugs and over-the-counter alternative

Not understanding interactions between medications

Failing to adjust dosages after losing kidney, liver

Taking a medication that's not safe for your age

 

News from Mount Sinai School of Medicine on Alzheimer's Disease Studies

Studies suggest that elderly people with Type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. 

Scientists with the Mount Sinai School of Medicine believe a gene associated with the onset of Type 2 diabetes

is found at lower than normal levels in people with Alzheimer’s disease.  They are continuing research in the

hopes of new approaches to prevention and treatment.

 

Medicare News--Annual Wellness Exam

How often is it covered?

After you’ve had Part B for longer than 12 months, you can get a yearly wellness exam to develop or update a prevention plan just for you, based on your current health and risk factors. This exam is covered once every 12 months.

Who’s eligible?

All people with Medicare. If you got the “Welcome to Medicare” physical exam, you have to wait 12 months before you can get your first yearly wellness exam.

Your costs in Original Medicare

You pay nothing for the yearly wellness exam.

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A new study at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York                   revealed promising results that High HDL-C levels in elderly individuals may be associated                       with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

 Article available online by the Archives of Neurology (December 2010 issue) at

http://archneur.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/67/12/1431

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Maria Shriver's recently released report,  A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's,

emphasizes the fact that women are at the core of the Alzheimer's epidemic. 

Nearly 2/3rds of all people with Alzheimer's Disease are women,

Almost 60% of caregivers for people with Alzheimer's are women.

 

NEWS FROM MEDICARE  

Closing the Prescription Drug Coverage Gap

You Could Be Eligible For A $250 Rebate This Year to Help with your Medicare Drug Costs ………. 

The Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed by President Obama this year contains some important benefits for Medicare recipients. If you have Medicare prescription drug coverage, and aren’t already getting Medicare Extra Help, Medicare will automatically send you a tax free, one-time $250 rebate check after you reach the coverage gap (also called the “donut hole”) in 2010. This rebate is the first step toward closing the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap.

Will I need to do anything to get this rebate check? No. There are no forms to fill out. Medicare will automatically send a check that’s made out to you. You don’t need to provide any personal information like your Medicare, Social Security, or bank account numbers to get the rebate check. DON’T GIVE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION TO ANYONE WHO CALLS YOU ABOUT THE $250 REBATE CHECK. Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to report anyone who does this. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048

When will I get the rebate check? If you reach the coverage gap this year and enter the Part D “donut hole”, you will receive a one-time $250 rebate check if you are not already receiving Medicare Extra Help. These checks began mailing to beneficiaries in

mid-June 2010.  Checks will be mailed monthly throughout the year as beneficiaries enter the coverage gap. However, this is a one-time benefit and if you qualify, you will only receive one check after you reach the coverage gap. 

Will I have to pay taxes on this rebate check? No. You don’t have to pay taxes on your $250 rebate check. It is tax free.  

What if I don’t get the rebate check when I should? If you hit the donut hole after the program has begun, you should expect to receive your check within 45 days. Your rebate may be delayed if Medicare doesn’t have information from your Medicare drug plan showing that you reached the coverage gap in time to include you in the next mailing. You should call your Medicare drug plan to make sure all of your information has been sent to Medicare. If you don’t get your rebate check, contact Medicare at 1800MEDICARE. Individuals receiving Medicare Extra Help will not receive a rebate check. You can also check to make sure Social Security has your correct home address. Call 1-800-772-1213 or your local Social Security office. TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778.

 What’s Next…Coming in 2011 If you reach the coverage gap in 2011, you will get a 50% discount on your brand name prescription drugs at the time you buy them, unless you are already getting Medicare Extra Help. Stay tuned for more information from Medicare. Help us spread the word about this important benefit

And help stop scams against seniors Pass this information along to your friends, neighbors and family so they know the facts about this important program. Remember—there are no forms to fill out to receive this benefit once you qualify for it. Medicare will automatically send a check that’s made out to you. You don’t need to provide any personal information like your Medicare, Social Security, or bank account numbers to get the rebate check. Don’t give your personal information to anyone who calls you about the $250 rebate check. Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1‑800-633-4227) to report anyone who does this. TTY users should call 1‑877‑486-2048. Go to stopmedicarefraud.gov to learn more about how Medicare is working with law enforcement to stop scams against seniors.

Have other questions about the $250 rebate check or the Affordable Care Act and Medicare?   You can also visit www.medicare.gov, or call 1-800-MEDICARE.

 
   

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 Official Summary of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA)

Senator Evan Bayh and Representative Edward Markey (S. 3036/H.R. 4689)

 2/24/2010- Introduced.National Alzheimer's Project Act – (NAPA)

Establishes in the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) the

Office of the National Alzheimer's Project to:

(1) accelerate the development of treatments that would prevent, halt, or reverse the course of Alzheimer's;
(2) create and maintain an integrated national plan to overcome Alzheimer's;
(3) help to coordinate the health care and treatment of citizens with Alzheimer's;
(4) ensure the inclusion of ethnic and racial populations that are at higher risk for Alzheimer's or that are least likely to receive care in clinical, research, and service efforts with the purpose of decreasing health disparities;
(5) coordinate with international bodies to integrate and inform the fight against Alzheimer's globally; and
(6) provide information and coordination of Alzheimer's research and services across all federal agencies. Sets forth the duties of the Director of the Office, including to use discretionary authority to evaluate all federal programs concerning Alzheimer's. Establishes in the Office an Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research and Treatment.   Contact your congressman to encourage passage of this bill.

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Fluid test could reveal Alzheimer's

A Press Association release regarding an Alzheimer's marker in fluid drawn from the spine can reveal early signs of the disease in healthy adults years before any symptoms appear, new research suggests.

The spinal tap test was 90% accurate in identifying Alzheimer's in patients already diagnosed with the disease.

But it also produced positive readings in 72% of people with mild mental impairment, and 36% of apparently normal individuals showing no signs of dementia.

The test relies on three protein "biomarkers" linked to Alzheimer's in cerebrospinal fluid.

Scientists found that people with different levels of mental impairment had different amounts of the proteins.

The researchers analysed data from 114 older adults whose brain functioning was normal, 200 who had mild levels of mental impairment, and 102 who had confirmed Alzheimer's disease.

Their findings were published in the journal Archives of Neurology.

The authors, led by Dr Geert De Meyer, from Ghent University in Belgium, wrote: "The initiation of the Alzheimer's disease pathogenic process is typically unobserved and has been thought to precede the first symptoms by 10 years or more. Therefore, demonstrating that Alzheimer's disease biomarkers are true indicators of the pathogenic process at an early stage is a major challenge."

The results were confirmed by post-mortem studies of dead patients who had suffered from Alzheimer's, and following up patients who developed the disease over five years.

Finding the Alzheimer's signature in more than a third of "normal" individuals indicated the disease was detectable earlier than was previously thought possible, said the researchers.

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, at the moment, this could be an early warning of what is to come as life expectancy gets longer due to other medical advances. 

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ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES

Recent statistical numbers show assisted living facilities at a national median monthly rate of $3,185.00.  A 12 percent increase over 2009 and a 5 year growth rate of 6.7 percent.

 Other rates are currently: 

  • $18.00 an hour for homemaker services and personal care assistants
  • $185.00 daily for a semi-private nursing facility room
  • $206.00 daily rate for a private room in a nursing facility

 CAREGIVERS CAN RECOGNIZE UNSAFE DRIVERS

 According to the American Academy of Neurology a new guideline can help determine when people with Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia should stop driving by having Caregivers and family members identify warning signs.

These warning signs include:

  • Decreased miles being driven
  • Collisions
  • Moving violations
  • Avoiding certain driving situations, such as driving at night or in the rain
  • Aggressive or impulsive personality traits

  Most elderly underestimate their own safe driving abilities. 


YOU SHOULD KNOW…………..

You can receive unemployment benefits and Social Security at the same time in 45 states.  However, the states of Illinois, Louisiana, South Dakota, Utah and Virginia reduce your unemployment compensation by 50 percent of what you receive in Social Security retirement funds thereby eliminating most if not all of your unemployment benefits.  For example, if your Social Security benefit is $200 a week then $100 a week is subtracted from your weekly unemployment insurance check.


The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Remarks by the President at Signing of Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act

State Dining Room

1:29 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Danny Akaka, aloha.  (Laughter.)  Since the 9/11 attacks more than eight years ago, the United States has been a nation at war.  In this time, millions of Americans have worn the uniform.  More than a million have served in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Many have risked their lives.  Many have given their lives.  All are the very embodiment of service and patriotism.  And as a grateful nation, humbled by their service, we can never honor these American heroes or their families enough.

Along with their loved ones, we give thanks every time our men and women in uniform return home.  But we’re forever mindful that our obligations to our troops don’t end on the battlefield.  Just as we have a responsibility to train and equip them when we send them into harm’s way, we have a responsibility to take care of them when they come home. 

As Michelle and Dr. Biden have reminded us in all their visits to military bases and communities, our obligations must include a national commitment to inspiring military families —- the spouses and children who sacrifice as well. 

We have a responsibility to veterans like Ted Wade, who joins us here today with his wonderful wife Sarah.  We are so proud of both of them.  Six years ago, Sergeant Wade was serving in the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq when his Humvee was struck by an IED, an improvised explosive device.  He lost much of his right arm and suffered multiple injuries, including severe traumatic brain injury.  He was in a coma for more than two months, and doctors said it was doubtful that he would survive.  
But he did survive -- thanks to the care he received over many months and years, thanks to Ted’s indomitable spirit, and thanks to the incredible support from Sarah, who has been at his side during every step of a long and very difficult recovery.  As I’ve said many times, our nation’s commitment to our veterans and their families —- to patriots like Ted and Sarah —- is a sacred trust, and upholding that trust is a moral obligation.

Since taking office, my administration -— in partnership with many -- the veterans organizations who are here today —- has worked to make sure that America fulfills this obligation.  We’ve dramatically increased funding for veterans’ health care, including our wounded warriors, especially those with the signature wounds of today’s wars -— post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.  Under Secretary Ric Shinseki’s outstanding leadership, we’re building a 21st century VA, including budget reform to ensure predictable funding, and a historic increase in the VA budget.

But as we all know, keeping faith with our veterans and their families is work that is never truly finished.  As a nation, as the beneficiaries of their service, there’s always more we can do and more that we must do.  And that’s what we’re doing today, as I sign this important legislation —- the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act.

With this legislation, we’re expanding mental health counseling and services for our veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq, including our National Guardsmen and Reservists.  We’re authorizing the VA to utilize hospitals and clinics outside the VA system to serve more wounded warriors like Ted with traumatic brain injury. 

We’re increasing support to veterans in rural areas, with the transportation and housing they need to reach VA hospitals and clinics.  We’re expanding and improving health care for our women’s veterans, to meet their unique needs, including maternity care for newborn children.  And we’ll launch a pilot program to provide child care for veterans receiving intensive medical care. 
We’re eliminating co-pays for veterans who are catastrophically disabled.  And we’re expanding support to homeless veterans, because in the United States of America, no one who has served this nation in uniform should ever be living on the streets.

Finally, this legislation marks a major step forward in America’s commitment to families and caregivers who tend to our wounded warriors every day.  They’re spouses like Sarah.  They’re parents, once again caring for their sons and daughters.  Sometimes they’re children helping to take care of their mom or dad.   

These caregivers put their own lives on hold, their own careers and dreams aside, to care for a loved one.  They do it every day, often around the clock.  As Sarah can tell you, it’s hard physically and it’s hard emotionally.  It’s certainly hard financially.  And these tireless caregivers shouldn’t have to do it alone.  As of today, they’ll be getting more of the help that they need.

If you’re like Sarah —- and caring for a severely injured veteran from Afghanistan or Iraq —- you’ll receive a stipend and other assistance, including lodging when you travel for your loved one’s treatment.  If you need training to provide specialized services, you’ll get it.  If you need counseling, you’ll receive it.  If you don’t have health insurance, it will be provided.  And if you need a break, it will be arranged —- up to 30 days of respite care each year.

So today is a victory for all the veterans’ organizations who fought for this legislation.  It’s a tribute to those who led the fight in Congress, including Senator and World War II vet Danny Akaka, and Senator Richard Burr; and in the House, Representatives Mike Michaud and Bob Filner.  And I thank all the members of Congress who are joining us here today.

Most of all, today is a victory for veterans like Ted and caregivers like Sarah, who, by the way, has become a passionate and very effective voice on behalf of wounded warriors and their families.  Testifying before Congress, she said of her husband, “Just like he needed a team in the military to accomplish the mission, he needs a team at home in the longer war.”

So to Ted, and to Sarah, to all our veterans and your families, with this legislation we’re building a stronger team here at home that you need —- now and for the long road to recovery.  And that’s why I’m very much looking forward to signing this legislation.  Thank you. 
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Elder Justice Act and the Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act

 

Final Congressional approval was given and then signed into law for the Elder Justice Act and the Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act as part of health care reform legislation.  The Elder Justice Act was added into the Senate health care bill by Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas) a co-author of the measure and a member of the Finance Committee.  The bill's sponsor was Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).  The Patient Safety Legislation was added by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) on behalf of the bill's author Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin).

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Social Security News:                

Early-Onset Alzheimer's disease will be included in the New Compassionate Allowance Conditions set by the Social Security

Administration according to Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security.  Mr. Astrue said, " The expansion we are announcing today means tens of thousands of Americans with devastating disabilities will now get approved for benefits in a matter of days rather than months and years. "There can be no higher priority than getting disability benefits quickly to those Americans with these severe and life-threatening conditions."

 

These 38 New Compassionate Allowance Conditions go into effect March 1, 2010:

 

  1.   Alstrom Syndrome

  2.  AmegakaryocyticThrombocytopenia

  3.  Ataxia Spinocerebellar

  4.  Ataxia Telangiectasia

  5.  Batten Disease

  6.  Bilateral Retinoblastoma

  7.  Cri du Chat Syndrome

  8.  Degos Disease

 9.  Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease

10.  Edwards Syndrome

11.  Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva

12.  Fukuyama Congenital Muscular Dystrophy

13.  Glutaric Acidemia Type II

14.  Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocystosis (HLH), Familial Type

15  Hurler Syndrome, Type IH

16  Hunter Syndrome, Type II

17.  Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

18.  Junctional Epdermolysis Bullosa, Lethal Type

19.  Late Infantile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses

20.  Leigh's Disease

21.  Maple Syrup Urine Disease

22.  Merosin Deficient Congenital Muscular Dystrophy

23,  Mixed Dementia

24.  Mucosal Malignant Melanoma

25.  Neonatal Adrenoleukodystrophy

26.  Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses, Infantile Type

27.  Niemann-Pick Type C

28.  Patau Syndrome

29.  Primary Progressive Aphasia

30.  Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy

31.  Sanfilippo Syndrome

32.  Subacute Sclerosis Panencephalitis

33.  Tay Sachs Disease

34.  Thanatophoric Dysplasia, Type 1

35.  Ullrich Congenital Muscular Dystrophy

36.  Walker Warbug Syndrome

37. Wolman Disease

38.  Zellweger Syndrome

 

For more information:  www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances

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"Caregiving can be a lonely, exhausting experience-- but it still can be a spiritually-enriching one.  Here are seven ways to help you get there according to Verna Benner Carson, PhD., Rev. Lois Knutson and Beth Witrogen:

Believe that caregiving is a calling.  Looking at caregiving as an appointed or God-given task makes it inherently meaningful from the get-go.   

Treat the mundane as the sacred.  Every task, from sorting paperwork to preparing food, can become meaningful if it's endowed with love and a passion to dignify another human being.

Maintain disciplines of reflection.  Keeping a journal of thoughts and feelings, for example, can help caregivers become more self-aware and make them more likely to manage emotions better from day to day.

Pray or meditate.  Contemplative practices provide time for much needed quiet, outlets for releasing stress and connections to a wider universe.

Care for the body.  Getting sufficient sleep, nutrition, exercise and recreation help create conditions in which caregiving can be more rewarding than draining.

Repeat helpful truths.  Saying the same affirming statements to oneself on  a regular basis provides positive structure to a day and keeps the mind from slipping into destructive negativity.

Remember that attitude is a choice.  Determine each day to view caregiving more as an opportunity for growth rather than an undeserved burden.  This sets the stage for joy and hope to color the experience."

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Recent news on Alzheimer's Disease

Failed Drug Trials are Disappointing

Alzheimer's drug researchers served up a string of bad news at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease, presenting one failed trial after another.

None of these strategies tested--such as blocking amyloid, improving insulin sensitivity in the brain, or even doubling up on agents that improve synaptic signaling--was able to alter the steady rate of cognitive and functional decline in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's.

Instead of searching for the compound that will alter the so-far inevitable decline seen in Alzheimer's, the key will probably be preventing the disease from taking hold in the first place, Samuel Gandy, MD, PhD said.

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  • Alzheimer and Caregiver assistance proposals being considered in Congress:

    HR 519 Elder Caregiver Support and Information Enhancement Act of 2009 provides for additional appropriations for FY 2010 - FY 2012 for the family caregiver support program.

    HR 769  Social Security Caregiver Credit Act of 2009 if passed this legislation would amend the Social Security Act to give wage credits for up to 5 years of caring for a dependent  relative, no actual pay is given, but the credit could significantly increase a caregiver's Social Security benefit amount. 

    HR 1192 Alzheimer's Family Assistance Act of 2009.  If enacted would amend the IRS Code to allow a tax credit for family caregivers of spouses and dependents who have long-term care needs as well as a tax deduction for long-term care insurance contracts.

    S 697 Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS)  A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to help individuals with functional impairments and their families pay for services and supports that they need to maximize their functionality and independence and have choices about community participation, education, and employment, and for other purposes. 

    H.R.3286  To amend the Public Health Service Act to fund breakthroughs in Alzheimer's disease research while providing more help to caregivers and increasing public education about prevention.                        

                                                                                                                                                               
    S.1492  A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to fund breakthroughs in Alzheimer's disease research while providing more help to caregivers and increasing public education about prevention.

    S.RES.185  A resolution supporting the goals and ideals of National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month and National Memory Screening Day, including the development of a national health policy on dementia screening and care.                                                                                                                                                            
    H.R.2987  To amend the Public Health Service Act to ensure sufficient resources and increase efforts for research at the National Institutes of Health relating to Alzheimer's disease, to authorize an education and outreach program to promote public awareness and risk reduction with respect to Alzheimer's disease (with particular emphasis on education and outreach in Hispanic populations), and for other purposes.                                                                                                                                                                             
    H.R.632   To encourage, enhance, and integrate Silver Alert plans throughout the United States, to authorize grants for the assistance of organizations to find missing adults, and for other purposes.
     

    H.R.908   To amend the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to reauthorize the Missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program.

    S.1555   A bill to establish the Office of the National Alzheimer's Project. 

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  • Georgetown University Medical Center researchers released study results indicating that a class of Alzheimer’s disease drugs appears to be effective in the treatment of traumatic brain injury.  These animal test results show that this class of drugs could possibly prevent the long-term damage from a serious brain injury.  Researchers hope to soon test these drugs with patients who have traumatic brain injury. For detailed information on this and other research check out the Georgetown University Medical Center website: http://memory.georgetown.edu
  • For Information on all clinical trials go to:   http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/
  • CPHPC is a new drug developed by Researchers at University College London's dementia research unit to benefit Alzheimer’s patients.   CPHPC was found to remove a protein, SAP (serum amyloid P component), and thought to be involved in the disease.  Findings that CPHPC removed the protein from the brain without any side effects are the result of a study of five patients over a three month period.  Researchers are encouraged and believe the results warrant more extensive clinical study of CPHPC.

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Last modified: 06/07/12