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Alzheimer’s Association, July 12-17

Last Updated: July 18, 2014.

The Alzheimer's Association International Conference

The annual meeting of the Alzheimer's Association was held from July 12 to 17 in Copenhagen, Denmark, and attracted more than 4,000 participants from around the world, including researchers, dementia specialists, and neurologists. The conference featured the latest advances in Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, with presentations focusing on the identification, prevention, treatment, and management of Alzheimer's disease, mild cognitive impairment, dementia, and associated conditions.

In one study, Maria Corrada, Sc.D., of the University of California in Irvine, and colleagues evaluated the relationship between risk of dementia, age of the onset of hypertension, and blood pressure in people who survive to age 90 and older.

The investigators found that people with hypertension onset in their 80s had a risk of dementia 41 percent lower than people who never reported having developed hypertension. In addition, people with hypertension onset in their 90s had a risk of dementia even lower -- 55 percent lower than people who never reported having developed hypertension. Dementia risk declined with higher levels of blood pressure, and the use of antihypertensive medications was not related to the lower dementia risk.

"We believe that, in the oldest-old, having high blood pressure may be necessary to maintain adequate blood flow and oxygenation to the brain," said Corrada. "In relation to cognitive health, what is a normal blood pressure for the oldest-old may be different from the youngest-old. Age matters, age is important, and what is adequate in terms of managing hypertension in younger elderly may not be the same in the very elderly."

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In another study, Stephanie Schultz, of the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute and the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center in Madison, and colleagues found that frequent game playing was associated with increased brain volume in Alzheimer's disease-related regions, such as the hippocampus, as well as higher scores on cognitive measures of episodic memory and executive function, in a middle-aged cohort.

"Engagement in cognitive activities involving games and puzzles is related to preservation of cognitive abilities and Alzheimer's disease-vulnerable brain structures in a cohort of at-risk, middle-aged adults," said Schultz. "Given the current lack of truly curative pharmaceutical agents for Alzheimer's disease, these findings suggest that engagement in specific cognitive activities may promote healthy cognitive aging and, thereby, help prevent or delay Alzheimer's disease for some individuals."

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Yonas Geda, Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues evaluated the link between timing of exercise and risk of new cases of dementia in 280 older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The investigators found that a history of moderate physical exercise in middle age was linked with a significantly decreased risk of MCI progressing into dementia. The investigators did not find a link between light or vigorous exercise in middle age and MCI progression. In addition, no link was found between exercise late in life and MCI progression.

"Physical exercise has several health benefits. For example, the heart health benefit of exercise is a well-established fact. Several observational and clinical trials suggest that physical exercise is associated with decreased risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia," said Geda.

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AAIC: A Healthy Lifestyle May Deflect Dementia

WEDNESDAY, July 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Seniors at risk for dementia may help safeguard their memory and ability to think by adopting a healthier lifestyle, a new study from Finland suggests. The study findings were presented this week at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference, held from July 12 to 17 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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AAIC: Alzheimer's Rate Falling in the United States

TUESDAY, July 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The number of new cases of dementia has been declining in recent decades in the United States, Germany, and other developed countries, a trio of new studies shows. The three studies are being presented Tuesday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference, held from July 12 to 17 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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AAIC: Cataract Surgery a Plus for Patients With Dementia

MONDAY, July 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Along with improving vision, cataract surgery may slow mental decline in people with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia, a new study suggests. The report was scheduled for presentation Sunday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference, held from July 12 to 17 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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