Monday May 28, 2018

Memory and thinking tests can help in early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease: New Study

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New York: Even if symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease become apparent in old age, the biological processes that cause the mental decline may begin a couple of decades ago in the ‘middle age’, suggests a new study by an Indian-origin researcher.

Low scores on memory and thinking tests may signal Alzheimer’s up to 18 years before the disease can be diagnosed, the findings showed.

“The changes in thinking and memory that precede obvious symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease begin decades before,” said study author Kumar Bharat Rajan, assistant professor, at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

“While we cannot currently detect such changes in individuals at risk, we were able to observe them among a group of individuals who eventually developed dementia due to Alzheimer’s,” said Rajan, an alumnus of Madras Christian College.

For the study, 2,125 people from Chicago, with an average age of 73, without Alzheimer’s disease were given tests of memory and thinking skills every three years for 18 years.

The researchers found that those who were finally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, scored lower overall on the memory and thinking tests throughout the study.

One unit lower in performance of the standardized cognitive test score was associated with an 85 percent greater risk of future dementia.

“A general current concept is that in development of Alzheimer’s disease, certain physical and biologic changes precede memory and thinking impairment. If this is so then these underlying processes may have a very long duration. Efforts to successfully prevent the disease may well require a better understanding of these processes near middle age,” Rajan said.

The research was published online in The Journal of Neurology. (IANS)

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World Health Organization Preparing For Some Significant Modifications

The World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, passed a number of resolutions aimed at improving global health.

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WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus paid homage to his predecessor, Margaret Chan, saying the reforms begun under her leadership to make the World Health Organization more responsive and better able to tackle emergencies were now paying off.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization. VOA

The World Health Organization’s annual conference ended on a high note Saturday, with the organization’s director general praising delegates for giving him a strong mandate to implement an ambitious program of reforms and initiatives that will improve global health.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus paid homage to his predecessor, Margaret Chan, saying the reforms begun under her leadership to make the World Health Organization more responsive and better able to tackle emergencies were now paying off.

“The current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has demonstrated exactly that. … Let me assure you that I am personally committed to ensuring that we do everything we can to stop this outbreak as soon as possible,” Tedros said. “And the commitment of the government, of course, and the leadership is at the center, which we really admire.”

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus paid homage to his predecessor, Margaret Chan, saying the reforms begun under her leadership to make the World Health Organization more responsive and better able to tackle emergencies were now paying off.
The World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, passed a number of resolutions aimed at improving global health. Wikimedia Common

The World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, passed a number of resolutions aimed at improving global health. Some deal with diseases that have plagued humanity for centuries, while others are newly emerging.

But all these decisions, Tedros said, involve commitments to make the world a healthier, safer place. For example, he noted the assembly had approved a road map to reduce deaths from cholera by 90 percent by 2030.

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“You endorsed our five-year strategic plan on polio transition, to strengthen country health systems that could be affected by the scaling down of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative,” he said. “You passed resolutions on tuberculosis and noncommunicable diseases. … And you have agreed to increase the development and use of digital technologies to improve health and keep the world safe.”

Tedros urged the delegates to go back to their countries with renewed determination to work every day for the health of their people. How well they succeed in this endeavor, he said, will be measured by the outcomes, by whether they result in real change on the ground. (VOA)

 

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