AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) —
· A new blood test is being studied that may diagnose whether people with cognitive issues are experiencing Alzheimer’s rather than another disorder. Early diagnosis is key because scientists now understand that changes in the brain may begin a decade or more before memory and other cognitive problems appear.
· There is hope. New Alzheimer’s research and clinical trials aim to treat patients BEFORE symptoms appear in hopes of slowing or preventing disease.
· As many as half a million people under age 65 may have young-onset dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Health care providers often don’t look for the disease in younger patients, so they often are misdiagnosed and don’t receive support.
· The COVID-19 pandemic may be hard for loved ones with dementia to understand. If social distancing necessitates being apart, video visits or other methods may help families connect.
· Skills such as practicing mindfulness can help care partners cope with the stress of caring for a loved one with dementia. Show compassion to yourself as well as your loved one.
· At any age, following a Mediterranean diet and exercising can help reduce the risk of dementia and optimize brain health.
Bio: Jonathan Graff-Radford, M.D., is a behavioral neurologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and the book’s co-editor. He is a co-investigator in the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging.