Wednesday June 26, 2019

Reducing Alzheimer’s stigma crucial for prevention research

Almost half expected the person's health insurance would be limited due to data in the medical record (47 percent), a brain imaging result (46 percent) or genetic test result (45 percent)

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A lady suffering from Alzheimer's. Flickr
  • Alzheimer’s is a serious disease
  • To prevent it, it is important to remove the stigma attached to it
  • It was found in a recent survey

Reducing stigma attributed to Alzheimer’s disease is vital for prevention research, a new study suggests, adding that the stigma associated with the disease may be an obstacle for individuals to seek information about their risk of developing it.

The survey focused on what beliefs, attitudes and expectations are most often associated with the disease. “We found that concerns about discrimination and overly harsh judgments about the severity of symptoms were most prevalent,” said co-author of the study, Shana Stites from the University of Pennsylvania. “By understanding what the biggest concerns are about the disease, we can help develop programmes and policies to reduce the stigma about Alzheimer’s disease,” Stites added.

Diabetes drug could now treat Alzheimer's disease
To treat Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to remove stigma attached to it. IANS

For the study, published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, a random sample of 317 adults was asked to react to a fictional description of a person with mild stage Alzheimer’s disease dementia.

The study asked respondents to read a vignette and then complete the survey. Three different assessments were presented for the fictional person’s condition. Respondents were told the person’s condition would worsen, improve or remain unchanged. Over half of the respondents (55 percent) expected the person with mild cognitive impairment or dementia due to Alzheimer’s to be discriminated against by employers and to be excluded from medical decision-making.

Also Read: Beetroot compound may prevent Alzheimer’s

Almost half expected the person’s health insurance would be limited due to data in the medical record (47 percent), a brain imaging result (46 percent) or genetic test result (45 percent). Those numbers increased when the participants were informed that the condition of the person with Alzheimer’s would worsen over time, the researcher said. IANS

Next Story

Study: Hypertension Pill Help Patients Combat Alzheimer Disease Without Affecting Brain

Nilvadipine is a calcium channel blocker used to treat high blood pressure (HBP)

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alzheimer, hypertension drugs
"Even though no medical treatment is without risk, getting treatment for high blood pressure could be important to maintain brain health in patients with Alzheimer's disease," Claassen said. Pixabay

Researchers have found that a drug, called nilvadipine that is consumed as a pill to control hypertension, could also help patients combat Alzheimer’s disease without affecting other parts of the brain. Nilvadipine is a calcium channel blocker used to treat high blood pressure (HBP).

According to the study published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association, these findings indicate that the known decrease in cerebral blood flow in patients with Alzheimer’s can be reversed in some regions.

“This high blood pressure treatment holds promise as it doesn’t appear to decrease blood flow to the brain, which could cause more harm than benefit,” said the study lead author Jurgen Claassen, Associate Professor at the Radboud University in the Netherlands.

hypertension pill, alzheimer
Nilvadipine is a calcium channel blocker used to treat high blood pressure (HBP). Pixabay

“Even though no medical treatment is without risk, getting treatment for high blood pressure could be important to maintain brain health in patients with Alzheimer’s disease,” Claassen said.

For the study, researchers sought to discover whether nilvadipine could help treat Alzheimer’s disease by comparing the use of nilvadipine and a placebo among people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers randomly assigned 44 participants to receive either nilvadipine or a placebo for six months. They measured blood flow to specific regions of the brain using a unique magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique.

hypertension pill, alzheimer
Blood flow to other regions of the brain was unchanged in both groups. Pixabay

ALSO READ: Study: Personal Care Products Lead to Life Threatening Situations in Young Children

Results showed that blood flow to the hippocampus, the brain’s memory and learning centre, increased by 20 per cent among the nilvadipine group compared to the placebo group. Blood flow to other regions of the brain was unchanged in both groups.

However, the sample sizes were too small and follow-up time too short to reliably study the effects of this cerebral blood flow increase on structural brain measures and cognitive measures, the researchers noted. (IANS)