WAMC New York News
12:09 pm
Tue April 19, 2011

A New Look At Alzheimer's Disease

Albany, NY – Today, the National Institute on Aging is out with new medical guidelines redefining what it means to have Alzheimer's disease. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

The new criteria is published in Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association... the first update in 27 years: it changes the criteria for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease and allows physicians to use new brain imaging and biochemical testing.

The guidelines partition the disease in three stages: a phase where dementia develops, a middle phase in which mild problems emerge but daily functions can still be performed, and the most recently discovered phase, in which no symptoms are evident but changes are silently occurring in the brain.

Marc Kaplan, Director of Communications and Advocacy for the Alzheimers Association of Northeastern New York, stresses the importance of early diagnosis, saying it will allow a physician to prescribe medications that may help slow the progression of the disease while allowing patients to make their own plans and provisions to comfortably live out their remaining years.

The new Alzheimer's Guidelines include methods to evaluate brain changes, including opening the door for identifying and using physiological indicators, known as bio-markers, that signal the likelihood of a person developing the disease. Marc Kaplan says the Association embraces the breakthrough criteria change and urges anyone having questions or needing help to call the 24/7 Helpline: 800.272.3900