FDA Doesn’t Approve Alzheimer’s Test - Yet

FDA Doesn’t Approve Alzheimer’s Test - Yet
The FDA has postponed approval of an Alzheimer’s test, Amyvid, to be performed on the living brain. Eli Lilly/Avid Radiopharmaceutical has designed this scan to identify the telltale sign of the disease – amyloid plaque. The test uses an injectible compound which travels in the blood stream, binds with beta-amyloid plaque and is then highlighted by a PET scan. The test most likely will be used for early detection.

The FDA did not approve this test because it felt medical personnel like, radiologists and technicians, performing it would need more training in interpreting it. Also, the FDA wants to make sure there is data reliability as there might be too many false positives especially in people over eighty years old. However, the mood is optimistic that the scan will be approved later this year proving to be a boon for researchers. Amyloid plaque buildup needs to be observed and evaluated throughout the years in order to be better understood for its role in disease process. When does that tipping point into Alzheimer’s occur?

Meanwhile it’s back to evaluation via interview/observation, case history, famiy input and MRI evaluation of brain shrinkage.

To prevent or postpone Alzheimer’s:
  • New evidence brings strength training into the picture. While aerobics has always stood at the forefront of exercise benefits for the cardiovascular system and the brain, strength training is yielding great results. I personally have been lifting weights for 15 years and can testify that strength training improves focus, clarity and activities of daily living. It is important to constantly change up a workout (every couple of weeks) to “overload” muscles with changes like slightly heavier weights (gradually increasing), more repetitions to fatigue or using different equipment (medicine balls, bands, kettle bells) and then let muscles adapt to the new demands of the workout. The brain creates new pathways by learning new exercises and concentrating on proper form and execution of the move.
  • Although some studies claim that brain-training exercises could delay or reverse signs of cognitive decline, there is no clear-cut evidence to confirm. Memory drills don’t seem to improve daily conversation with memory lapses. Researchers advise seniors to keep reading and studying. Engaging in conversations about art, politics, literature, etc. will accomplish the same, if not better, than memory drills. And having a conversation involves another person or persons, which means getting connected and socializing provide some protection from this disease process by reducing stress and improving mood.
  • While sometimes a Mediterranean Diet is in favor and other times it doesn’t seem to matter regarding Alzheimer’s disease, I have found that eating fish, nuts, legumes, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables can improve the immune system, reduce inflammation, improve heart health and lower the risk for diabetes. And if people in the Mediterranean are getting Alzheimer’s and heart disease, it is because our fast food chains have invaded their countries!

For more information on caregiving read my book, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show

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