K09 — March 2010 — New Alzheimer's Research
Intro: How many times have you lost your car keys? Or forgotten someone's name? We all have memory loss. It's a normal part of aging. But researchers at Mayo Clinic found that if you carry a gene known to increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease, your memory may decline faster than people without the gene, even if you never develop full blown Alzheimer's.
"THIS ISN'T CATCHING A COLD. THIS ISN'T BREAKING A BONE. THIS IS THE NATURE OF LIFE. EVERYTHING AGES AND DIES."
AND SO, AS WE REACH ABOUT AGE 55, DR. RICHARD CASELLI SAYS WE ALL FALL VICTIM TO THE NATURAL AGING PROCESS. WE BEGIN TO FORGET THINGS. MAYBE A PHONE NUMBER, THE NAME OF A RESTAURANT YOU LIKE, OR, WHERE YOU PUT YOUR READING GLASSES.
"DOG, DRINK, DILIGENT, DUCK." THIS WOMAN IS TAKING A MEMORY TEST EXACTLY LIKE THE ONES DR. CASELLI AND COLLEAGUES USED TO STUDY THE EFFECT NORMAL AGING HAS ON PEOPLE WITH AND WITHOUT AN ALZHEIMER'S GENE CALLED APOLIPOPROTEIN E-4. THE RESULTS WERE PUBLISHED IN THE NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE. "THE STUDY WE PUBLISHED WAS A STUDY THAT LOOKED AT PEOPLE WHO APPEARED TO BE AGING NORMALLY. OUR HYPOTHESIS WAS: AGE-RELATED MEMORY LOSS MIGHT BE A SUBTLE MANIFESTATION OF ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE, AND THAT PEOPLE WHO EXPERIENCED THE MOST AGE-RELATED MEMORY LOSS MAY ACTUALLY BE PEOPLE IN THE VERY EARLY STAGES OF THE DISEASE."
WHAT THEY FOUND WAS THIS: AT ABOUT AGE 55, MEMORY STARTS TO DECLINE A BIT. NO BIG DEAL, IT'S COMMON. BUT AFTER THAT THINGS CHANGE. PEOPLE WHO HAVE THE ALZHEIMER'S GENE HAVE A MORE ACCELERATED RATE OF MEMORY DECLINE THAN PEOPLE WHO DON'T. DR. CASELLI SAYS IF YOU DO HAVE THE GENE YOU ARE AT INCREASED RISK OF ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE. IT DOES NOT MEAN YOU WILL DEFINITELY GET IT. HE HOPES THIS NEW INFORMATION ABOUT MEMORY LOSS WILL HELP RESEARCHERS LEARN MORE ABOUT WHEN IT STARTS AND HOW TO SLOW THE PROGRESSION.
FOR MEDICAL EDGE, I'M VIVIEN WILLIAMS.
What can you do to try to prevent memory loss? Dr. Caselli says keeping your mind active and your body healthy by eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep may help.
For more information on memory loss and Alzheimer's disease, visit our Website at…
STATIONS: Per the licensing agreement, please provide a link from your station's website to http://www.MayoClinic.org or voice tag "MayoClinic.org" for more information.