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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Dr. Roach: Alzheimer’s disease does have some genetic link

Dear Dr. Roach: My wife and her two siblings all have Alzheimer’s disease. My wife is 81 and now lives in a nursing home. Her sister is 86 and in hospice, and their brother died at age 80. What is the risk of getting Alzheimer’s if a family member has it? — Anon.

Alzheimer’s disease is a common cause of dementia, the impairment of memory and other cognitive brain function, such as decision-making ability. The biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease is age, with the rate of Alzheimer’s roughly doubling every five years after age 65. Having a first-degree relative (a parent or sibling) who has it increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease at any age; the absolute increase in risk can be as much as 30 percent higher. The risk appears to be even higher for blacks. However, the older the relative at the time of diagnosis, the less the increased risk for the family member. So, having a family history definitely increases the risk but doesn’t guarantee diagnosis.

Although there are genetic tests currently available, I don’t recommend them at this time. They don’t accurately predict who will and won’t develop Alzheimer’s disease: They only can point to an increased or decreased risk.

The Alzheimer’s Association, at www.alz.org, has an outstanding website with many resources.

DR. KEITH ROACH is a syndicated columnist with North America Syndicate Inc., P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.

By |August 31st, 2013|blogs|0 Comments

Dr. Roach: Alzheimer’s disease does have some genetic link

Dear Dr. Roach: My wife and her two siblings all have Alzheimer’s disease. My wife is 81 and now lives in a nursing home. Her sister is 86 and in hospice, and their brother died at age 80. What is the risk of getting Alzheimer’s if a family member has it? — Anon.

Alzheimer’s disease is a common cause of dementia, the impairment of memory and other cognitive brain function, such as decision-making ability. The biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease is age, with the rate of Alzheimer’s roughly doubling every five years after age 65. Having a first-degree relative (a parent or sibling) who has it increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease at any age; the absolute increase in risk can be as much as 30 percent higher. The risk appears to be even higher for blacks. However, the older the relative at the time of diagnosis, the less the increased risk for the family member. So, having a family history definitely increases the risk but doesn’t guarantee diagnosis.

Although there are genetic tests currently available, I don’t recommend them at this time. They don’t accurately predict who will and won’t develop Alzheimer’s disease: They only can point to an increased or decreased risk.

The Alzheimer’s Association, at www.alz.org, has an outstanding website with many resources.

DR. KEITH ROACH is a syndicated columnist with North America Syndicate Inc., P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.

By |August 31st, 2013|blogs|0 Comments

Yoga tied to better sleep after cancer

By Veronica Hackethal, MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Practicing yoga may help people who have had cancer sleep better and reduce their use of sleep aids, according to a new study.

Researchers found study participants, mostly women with a history of breast cancer, reported significant improvements in sleep quality and sleep duration when they attended yoga sessions twice per week.

The study’s lead author called it “the kind of study that doctors typically look to when changing the standard of care with patients.”

“One of the biggest messages from the trial is yoga worked,” Karen Mustian, from the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, said.

“Regardless of whether people had mild sleep disruption or a clinical diagnosis of insomnia, people who participated in yoga experienced the same amount of sleep improvement,” she told Reuters Health.

Mustian said between 30 and 90 percent of cancer survivors report some form of sleep disturbance.

That can be due to anxiety about a cancer diagnosis, related health problems or side effects of treatments including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy.

Studies suggest yoga can lower blood pressure and improve anxiety, depression and insomnia. The program used in this study included Gentle Hatha yoga, which focuses on physical postures, and Restorative yoga, with an emphasis on relaxation, breathing and meditation.

The study included 410 people with a history of cancer who were recruited from 12 U.S. cities. Participants were 54 years old, on average. Almost all were […]

By |August 30th, 2013|blogs|0 Comments

Teva to drop depression treatment after trial fails

By Vrinda Manocha

(Reuters) – Generic drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd said it will stop the development of a depression treatment after a late-stage trial failed to show the drug was more effective than a placebo.

The third late-stage study tested Nuvigil, or armodafinil, as an adjunct therapy in adults with major depression associated with bipolar I disorder.

While the first late-stage trial had positive results, the second trial had failed.

Analysts said the drug did not present much of an opportunity for Teva in a market where antidepressants for bipolar disorder are already available.

“If (the trial) had worked, Teva would have had to commit a lot of additional capital to compete in the market place,” Maxim Group analyst Jason Kolbert said.

Eli Lilly’s drug Symbyax is approved for the treatment of depression caused by bipolar disorder.

Other drugs used as adjunct therapies include AstraZeneca Plc’s Seroquel XR and GlaxoSmithKline’s Lamictal.

Given that Nuvigil’s patent would expire in 2016, the company would have had a very short time to market the drug even if the trial had gone well, said Morningstar analyst Michael Waterhouse.

The drug is already approved to treat sleep disorders and accounted for $347 million, or 2 percent, of the company’s revenue in 2012, according to a regulatory filing.

“The silver lining to Teva’s failure is that the associated marketing expenditures now are halted and therefore, Teva can focus its capital on those priorities that represent unmet medical needs” Kolbert said.

Teva said there will be no material […]

By |August 30th, 2013|blogs|0 Comments

Online tools may boost breast cancer patients’ mood

By Kathleen Raven

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Women with breast cancer who created a personal website about their health reported feeling less depressed, more positive and having a greater appreciation for life in a small new study.

Though cancer patients have long benefited from support groups made up of fellow patients and survivors, researchers said, they may still have trouble talking about their experiences with family and friends – who may also feel uncomfortable broaching the subject.

The websites in this study were especially helpful for women to “be able to truly tell their story, express emotions and communicate with others without having to repeat information about their diagnosis and treatment,” said lead author and psychologist Annette Stanton of the University of California at Los Angeles.

The study is the first to use a randomized controlled trial to evaluate online intervention tools and their influence on patient moods, Stanton told Reuters Health. Popular sites like CaringBridge.org and MyLifeLine.org offer similar tools, “but, to our knowledge, none of those websites have been tested for their effects,” she said.

For their study, Stanton and her colleagues recruited 88 women from BreastLink, a network of cancer treatment centers in Southern California. The women ranged in age from 28 to 76 years old and roughly half were randomly assigned to create a personal website through a program called “Project Connect Online.” The rest were put on a waiting list and given the same opportunity after the six-month study ended.

Participants in the group that created […]

By |August 30th, 2013|blogs|0 Comments