All About Alzheimer’s: Misconceptions, New Study Gets Underway, Rite Aid Reactions

About 80% of survey responders from 12 countries said Alzheimer’s is the condition they most fear experiencing, after cancer. In some countries such as China, India and Saudi Arabia, more than 80% of respondents said that Alzheimer’s disease is a normal part of aging.

A major study recently got underway to see if a new drug could help protect healthy seniors whose brains may be at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists plan to scan the brains of thousands of older volunteers in the United States, Canada and Australia to find those who have too much of the brain protein beta-amyloid causing it to form like plaque on the brain. The experimental medicine is Eli Lilly & Co.’s solanezumab. Scientists believe Alzheimer’s begins attacking the brain at least a decade before memory problems appear.

Doctors are expressing concern over memory tests given at Rite Aid drugs stores as an early warning marker for Alzheimer’s disease, saying they don’t work well and may stir fear on customers who don’t have the disease. The drug store chain is making the tests available this month at more than 4,000 sites in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The five- to 10-minute oral and written exams screen for early memory loss, but some doctors say the tests should be given in a medical setting with the results assessed by a professionally trained memory loss expert.

Model and restaurateur B. Smith reveals she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Smith, 64, turned a successful modelling career into a series of cookbooks, decorating books and eponymous restaurants in New York and Washington, DC. As a prominent African- American who has gone public with her diagnosis, “she may encourage other African- Americans to pay attention to warning signs and diminish the stigma associated with this devastating disease,” reads an NPR report.