Treating other conditions may stall Alzheimer's
Older people suffering from mild memory and cognition problems may be less likely to progress to full-blown Alzheimer's disease if they receive treatment for medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, a new study has found. In 2004, researchers at Daping Hospital in Chongqing, China, began following 837 residents ages 55 and older who had mild cognitive impairment but not dementia. Of these, 414 had at least one medical condition that can impair blood flow to the brain. After five years, 298 of the participants had developed Alzheimer's. Subjects who had high blood pressure or other vascular problems at the beginning of the study were twice as likely to develop the dementia, compared with those without these risks, the researchers found. Half of those with vascular risks progressed to Alzheimer's, compared with only 36 percent of those without. Among those with vascular problems, those who received treatment were almost 40 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's, the study also reported. The researchers suggested that vascular risk factors may affect the metabolism of beta-amyloid plaque, which accumulates in the brains of Alzheimer's patients and seems to play a pivotal role in the disease. The study was published last week in the journal Neurology.
Study: Young moms get less exercise
Many women adopt healthier lifestyles when they become pregnant, but a new study suggests that young mothers of small children exercise less than other women their age and don't eat as well. The report, published in the journal Pediatrics, drew on data from a study of 838 women and 682 men from Minneapolis and St. Paul who were 25 years old, on average. The young mothers in this group consumed more calories and got about an hour less of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week than similar childless women, who were active for three hours a week on average. The mothers were also more likely to be overweight than other women their age, but researchers said that may have been because many had recently given birth. The young fathers got five hours a week of physical activity, compared with almost seven for childless men their age. While they exercised less, their diets were not significantly different and they weren't heavier.
Comedian's family to speak at rally
The daughter and widow of actor-comedian Bernie Mac will be in Tampa this weekend to promote awareness of sarcoidosis, a little-known condition that took Mac's life in 2008. Mac's daughter, Je'Niece McCullough, will speak at a rally and walk Saturday in Tampa. Mac was 50 when he died of pneumonia, a complication of sarcoidosis, which causes inflammation and formation of tiny cell clumps, usually in the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes and skin. The cause is unknown. USF Health pulmonologist Dr. Nathan Do said most patients recover, but about 20 percent develop severe illness. "Nobody knows who is going to get worse, so if you have symptoms, especially if there's a family history of the disease, you should see a doctor," said Do. Registration for the walk is at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Al Lopez Park, 4810 N Himes Ave. Go to www.sarcoidosis walk.org for details or call (813) 238-8072
Times staff, wires