Encouraging but Inconclusive: Interventions that May Help Prevent Cognitive Decline and Dementia

Published on Oct 2, 2017

In a 2017 report, a committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine evaluated the most rigorous, up-to-date research on how to prevent cognitive decline and dementia, as well as recommended ways to conduct future prevention research. This video, featuring several members of the committee, outlines the three interventions named by the committee: cognitive training, blood pressure management for those with hypertension, and increased physical activity.

NIA’s Alzheimer’s Caring Guide in Spanish

Looking for Alzheimer’s caregiving information in Spanish?

Check out Cómo cuidar a una persona con la enfermedad de Alzheimer: Una guía fácil de usar del Instituto Nacional Sobre el Envejecimiento.

This new book from the National Institute on Aging (part of the National Institutes on Health) has helpful tips on topics including: changes in behavior; wandering; healthy eating and exercise; and caregiver health.

Copies are available to order for free on our website, or read the new Alzheimer’s caregiving information in Spanish online.

National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease: 2017 Update

The National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease: 2017 Update is now available here.

Achieving the vision of eliminating the burden of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias requires goals. The five goals that form the foundation of the National Plan are:

  1. Prevent and Effectively Treat Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias by 2025.
  2. Enhance Care Quality and Efficiency.
  3. Expand Supports for People with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias and their Families.
  4. Enhance Public Awareness and Engagement.
  5. Track Progress and Drive Improvement.

The activities outlined in this National Plan Update vary in scope and impact, and include:

  1. Immediate actions that the Federal Government has taken and will take;
  2. Actions toward the goals that can be initiated by the Federal Government or its public and private partners in the near term; and
  3. Longer-range activities that will require numerous actions by federal and non-federal partners to achieve.

The National Plan was never designed to be a “Federal Plan”. Active engagement of public and private sector stakeholders is critical to achieving these national goals.

For more information about ongoing or previously completed projects, please consult Appendix 3: Implementation Milestones.

How Alzheimer’s affects the brain

In Alzheimer’s disease, changes to the brain likely start a decade or more before memory and other cognitive problems appear. This new video developed by the National Institute on Aging shows what we’ve learned about the brain in Alzheimer’s, and where research on treating or curing the disease is headed.

Learn more about what happens to the brain during Alzheimer’s disease.

How do doctors diagnose dementia?

To diagnose dementia, doctors do a medical assessment to determine whether changes are because of an underlying treatable condition like depression or vitamin B12 deficiency. Then, they will assess whether there are signs of dementia.

A medical assessment for dementia generally includes:

  • Patient history. Typical questions about a person’s medical and family history might include asking about whether dementia runs in the family, how and when symptoms began, changes in behavior and personality, and if the person is taking certain medications that might cause or worsen symptoms.
  • Physical exam. Measuring blood pressure and other vital signs may help physicians detect conditions that might cause or occur with dementia. Such conditions may be treatable.
  • Neurological tests. Assessing balance, sensory function, reflexes, vision, eye movements, and other functions helps identify conditions that may affect the diagnosis or may be treatable with drugs.

Learn more about diagnosing dementia.

The National Research Summit on Care, Services and Supports for Persons with Dementia and Their Caregivers

The National Research Summit on Care, Services and Supports for Persons with Dementia and Their Caregivers is a two-day meeting of researchers, service providers, persons with dementia, family caregivers, and other stakeholder groups.

It will be held October 16-17, 2017, at the Natcher Building’s Ruth L. Kirschstein Auditorium of the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland. NIA’s Division of Behavioral and Social Research (NIA/DBSR) would like to encourage you to attend this Research Summit. The meeting is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health through private sector support.

In-person registration is now full. The wait list also has reached its capacity. If you would still like to participate in this meeting, you may register for the videocast option.  By registering, you will receive an email with videocast details approximately one week before the Summit. You can register here.

The Summit is intended to identify what we know now and what we still need to learn in order to accelerate the development, evaluation, translation, implementation, and scaling up of comprehensive care, services, and supports for persons with dementia, families, and other caregivers. The Summit is focused on research that is needed to improve quality of person-and family-centered care and outcomes across care settings, including quality of life and the lived experience of persons with dementia and their caregivers.

 

CDC Public Health Grand Rounds — “Healthy Aging: Promoting Well-being in Older Adults,” on Tuesday, September 19, at 1:00 p.m. (ET).

Please plan to attend the September session of CDC Public Health Grand Rounds, “Healthy Aging: Promoting Well-being in Older Adults,” on Tuesday, September 19, at 1:00 p.m. (ET). The session also may be viewed via live webcast. Open captions are provided.

Hear experts discuss the impact the aging population will have on their caregivers, the public health system, and the aging themselves. Learn how older people can maintain their health and independence. Hear what CDC and public health officials are doing and what needs to be done.

Americans are Living Longer and in Greater Numbers

The population of older Americans is growing and living longer than ever. As a group, they are living active lives and contributing to the economy. The added years to the lifespans have resulted in a longer middle age—extending the period when workers are at their most productive and creative.

  • 10,000 people a day are turning 65
  • 80 percent of people age 50 and older plan to work past 65
  • People over 50 in the United States contribute $7.6 trillion to the economy annually

Aging Brings Challenges

Aging brings an increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, and dementia. For example, Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia, is the fifth leading cause of death among older Americans. Older adults also face more challenges with everyday living activities.

  • 80 percent of older adults have at least one chronic health condition
  • 1 in 3 older adults have limitations in activities such as preparing meals and housekeeping

The Challenges of Caregiving and Caregivers

Birth rates are declining, posing a potential shortfall of caregivers, and that trend will continue. Caregivers themselves are at risk for health problems. Trends show they will be working longer hours and caring for people with more than one chronic disease.