Mild Cognitive Impairment

Increased brain activity may compensate for amyloid pathology in older brains

Researchers have long wondered why some older people remain cognitively normal despite having abnormal levels of beta-amyloid in their brains, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. While research has shown that older adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), which often leads to Alzheimer’s, frequently have increased activity in the hippocampus compared to their cognitively healthy peers, scientists questioned what the hyperactivity represented. Was it helping to compensate for declining brain function or signaling onset of the disease?

Estrogen therapy has no long-term effect on cognition in younger postmenopausal women

A randomized clinical trial of estrogen therapy in younger postmenopausal women, aged 50–55, has found no long-term risk or benefit to cognitive function. The National Institutes of Health-supported study, reported in JAMA Internal Medicine on June 24, 2013, looked at women taking conjugated equine estrogens, the most common type of postmenopausal hormone therapy in the United States.

The earlier Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS) linked the same type of hormone therapy to cognitive decline and dementia in older postmenopausal women.

Understanding Memory Loss

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What’s the difference between mild forgetfulness and more serious memory problems? Find out about memory problems, including Alzheimer's disease and dementia, and how to get help for serious memory loss.

Assessing Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults

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How can the primary care physician assess cognitive impairment in older adults? Learn about the benefits of early screening, screening tools & more.

Latest NIH Alzheimer’s research progress report available

A new online report from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) highlights recent progress in NIH-supported Alzheimer’s disease research.

Prepared annually by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at NIH, the latest report -- 2011-2012 Alzheimer’s Disease Progress Report: Intensifying the Research Effort -- describes new investments and summarizes research in several areas:

New, improved Alzheimer's clinical trials finder launched

An updated service from the Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) is making it easier than ever for people to find clinical research studies that are testing new ways to detect, treat, delay and prevent Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment and other dementias.

New criteria announced for assessing Alzheimer’s disease neuropathology

The neuropathology guidelines used since 1997 to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease at autopsy have been updated to reflect a deeper understanding of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. This will help pathologists characterize Alzheimer’s-related brain changes at death in people diagnosed with dementia and those who have not yet shown clinical symptoms.

Pilot clinical trial shows nicotine patch may improve cognition in older people with memory loss

A nicotine skin patch may improve cognition in older people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a condition marked by memory loss that often leads to Alzheimer’s dementia, according to findings from a small pilot clinical trial reported in the Jan. 10, 2012 print issue of Neurology. Nearly 70 volunteers, all non-smokers, wore either a nicotine patch or a placebo patch during the six month trial supported by the NIH. Researchers measured the volunteers’ cognitive performance at the start, at three months and at the end of the trial.

Pilot trial of insulin nasal-spray for Alzheimer’s yields promising results

Results of a pilot clinical trial show a nasal-spray form of insulin delayed memory loss and preserved cognition in people with cognitive deficits that range from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle led the trial, which was supported in large part by the NIA.

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