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​'Milestone' research from Alzheimer’s Conference suggests new ways to detect, treat disease

by AirTalk®

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A woman, suffering from Alzheimer's disease, walks in her room in a retirement house in Angervilliers, eastern France. AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Leading Alzheimer’s researchers from around the world are meeting this week at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Toronto, where several news studies are changing the way we think about and treat the disease.

Among the highlights from the conference is a new “milestone” study showing for the first time that cognitive training intervention may prevent dementia. In that Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) study, researchers compared the effects of three forms of “brain training” on a group of 2,802 cognitively healthy seniors.

Another study describes a new condition known as Mild Behavioral Impairment (MBI), basically small changes in personality, that may be a precursor of dementia. That idea, that memory loss may not always be the first warning sign of dementia, is new. Researchers at the conference proposed a checklist of symptoms to alert doctors and families.

Losing interest in favorite activities? Getting unusually anxious, aggressive or suspicious? Suddenly making crude comments in public? "Historically those symptoms have been written off as a psychiatric issue, or as just part of aging," said Dr. Zahinoor Ismail of the University of Calgary, who presented the checklist.

*with AP files

Guests:

Heather Snyder, Senior Director of Medical and Scientific Operations, Alzheimers Association; she joins us from the conference in Toronto

Dr. Lon Schneider MD, director of the USC State of California Alzheimer’s Disease Research and Clinical Center and the clinical core of the USC NIA Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center; he also joins us from the conference in Toronto

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