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Roundup of the latest research on older adults

Images of healthy brain and brain showing advanced Alzheimer's Disease
Images of healthy brain and brain showing advanced Alzheimer's Disease

The Endocrine Society on March 1, 2010 released a report on the study of over 600 men 50 and older initially conducted during the years between 1988 and 1991 measuring levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). During 18 years of follow up, those with elevated levels of the hormone (100 nanograms per milliliter) at the start of the study were nearly twice as likely to die of cancer as those with lower levels of the hormone.

Lead author of the study, Jacqueline Major, said that the differences could not be explained by variables such as body size, age, lifestyle or history of cancer. She added that if the results can be repeated and confirmed with other populations, the IGF-1 hormone “may have potential importance as a biomarker for prognostic testing.”

In other health news, March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer for both men and women. People over the age of 50 are at the highest risk for this cancer. March 5 is the 2nd Annual National Dress in Blue Day to promote awareness of colon cancer by wearing blue. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. It is also one of the most treatable forms of cancer when detected early. It is estimated that over 60% of colorectal cancer deaths would be preventable with regular screenings. There is no consensus on the role of diet with this cancer, although medical experts recommend a diet that is low in animal fat and high in fruits and vegetables.

Rocky Mountain Cancer Center (RMCC), headquartered in metro Denver, has 20 locations and more than 65 physicians across Colorado. RMCC is participating in research and clinical trials for all major cancer types.

And, on Wednesday, March 3, reports that the drug, Dimebon, failed a late-stage clinical test for effectiveness in staving off Alzheimer’s Disease. It showed promise in the 1980s in Russia in an earlier form when it appeared to have some positive impact on slowing the mental decline associated with Alzeheimer’s. The report says that the pharmaceutical Pfizer will continue studying Dimebon in conjunction with other Alzheimer’s drugs and as a medication for Huntington’s Disease.

In metro Denver, the local chapter of Alzheimer’s Association is accepting registration for its 21st Annual Education Symposium to be held May 3, 2010 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel DIA (Denver International Airport).

Kathryn also writes as Denver Disability Examiner and Denver Mobility Products Examiner. Contact for inquiries and to suggest future topics. Select “subscribe” above to receive Kathryn’s articles on a regular basis.


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