Tau Linked to Subjective Cognitive Decline
The buildup of tau protein in the brain – one of the
hallmarks of Alzheimer’s dementia – is correlated with subjective cognitive
decline (SCD), according to new research.
SCD – or self-reported increase in memory loss or confusion – may be a first
outward sign of tau buildup in the brain, though further research is needed to
establish cause and effect.
|ROAD MAP ACTION ITEM M-02
Use surveillance data to enhance awareness and action in public health programming.
The study adds to a growing body of evidence that shows that SCD may
be a strong indicator of future Alzheimer’s. The Cognitive Module of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
(BRFSS) provides state-specific surveillance data on SCD, allowing public
health practitioners to better understand the extent and burden of cognitive
issues in their communities; this information can also help identify
populations to prioritize for early detection efforts. As recommended in the Healthy Brain Initiative Road Map – a public health guidebook
jointly developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Alzheimer's Association –
public health officials can enhance awareness and action by incorporating BRFSS
data in their programming.
For more resources and examples of how states have
successfully utilized BRFSS data, be sure to check out the Alzheimer’s Association’s
Guide. In it, you can find other resources and examples of the work being
performed by the public health community around the country.
New Briefs Offer
Guidance for AAPI Communities
Two new issue briefs from the National
Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA) share information on dementia as an
important issue for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.
They also present recent findings from a study that tested culturally
appropriate messages to improve early identification of dementia and suggest
resources for better reaching AAPI communities.
The briefs resulted from collaboration among NAPCA, the
Washington State Department of Health, the University of Washington’s
coordinating center of the Healthy Brain Research Network, the Washington State
Dementia Action Collaborative, and the Washington Chapter of the Alzheimer’s
Rural Caregivers Face
More Financial Barriers
Rural informal caregivers faced greater financial barriers to seeing
a doctor compared with urban caregivers, according to a recent study. Examining data
from the BRFSS Caregiver Module, nearly 40 percent of rural caregivers reported
that in the past year, they needed to see a doctor but were unable to do so due
to cost. Only 31 percent of urban caregivers reported the same financial
|ROAD MAP ACTION ITEM W-07
Increase awareness among health care professionals about care partner health.
States with a large rural population can use data like this to help ensure
that health care providers assess for care partner health, as recommended in
the Healthy Brain Initiative Road Map.
Caregiver Needs and Well-Being
On November 16, 2017 from 9:00-10:00 am ET, the University of
Albany-SUNY School of Public Health will host the next Public Health Live!
webinar designed for clinicians and other health care professionals:
Dementia Caregiver Needs and Well-Being. Please register in advance.
As more and more Americans become caregivers for loved ones
with dementia, maintaining and improving the health and well-being of
caregivers is essential. This webcast will feature discussion on how to assess
and support caregiver needs to best ensure optimal care for their loved ones
Public Health Grand
Rounds: Beyond the Data
As part of the Public
Health Grand Rounds this past September, Dr. Phoebe Thorpe of the CDC and
Matthew Baumgart of the Alzheimer’s Association sat down for a discussion on protecting
brain health and the challenges of caring for an aging population. Their talk –
Beyond the Data (click the second
tab in the video player) – focuses not only on reducing the risk of cognitive
decline – especially by managing cardiovascular disease – but also the services
needed to provide competent and compassionate care for people with dementia and
the importance of caregiver health.
Also, be sure to check out the entire Grand Rounds
presentation, Healthy Aging: Promoting Well-Being in Older
Adults (first tab in the video player) for a broad view of aging and
health. Continuing education credits are available.
New Tools Available
A number of helpful guides and toolkits for health care
providers have been published recently. They will help providers assess for
cognitive issues, begin care planning for those with cognitive impairment, and
help caregivers maintain their own health.
Gerontological Society of America (GSA)
published the KAER
Toolkit, based on their model (kickstart the conversation, assess
cognition, evaluate for dementia, and refer for community resources). The
toolkit is designed specifically to help providers with each of the four steps
by recommending evidence-based tools. The guidance incorporates the
perspectives of the patient and family caregivers.
The Health Resources & Services Administration
(HRSA) released a 16-module online Training
Curriculum on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias for the primary
care workforce. Designed for many sectors of the health care workforce – including primary
care practitioners, direct service workers, and medical and nursing students -
the training covers basic dementia education. Some modules also explore more
in-depth topics such as shared decision-making, caregiver health, and
The National Institute of Aging now offers a guide
on caregiving in Spanish. This guide contains information on a number of
different subjects, such as wandering, healthy eating and exercise, and
What Is Public
Health? – New Explanatory Tools for the Public
Two new tools will help educate the public, health care providers,
and policymakers about public health and why, specifically, Alzheimer’s is a
public health issue. Dr. David Satcher, former Surgeon General of the United
States, called Alzheimer’s “…the most under-recognized threat to public health
in 21st century.” These two new tools will help explain just why
One side of a new infographic
not only defines “public health,” but also walks through when health issues
become public health concerns. The reverse explains why the burden of
Alzheimer’s needs to be addressed from a public health perspective.
A complementary, animated video
goes a step further, offering examples of how the public health community can
use tools and techniques of public health to address Alzheimer’s in their
communities. Feel free to download and distribute these tools throughout your
AAIC Abstracts Available
All abstracts from
research presented at this year’s Alzheimer’s
Association International Conference, held in London, England, from July
14-20, 2017, are now available.
These abstracts include the landmark Lancet Commission
Report describing modifiable risk factors for dementia as well as other
areas of public health interest including socioeconomic disparities related to increased
dementia risk and incidence.
In Case You Missed
It: Webinar on Disparities Among African Americans
This summer’s webinar – African
Americans and Alzheimer’s: Innovating to Turn the Tide – is now available
online. Co-hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association and the Balm in Gilead, the webinar explores
Alzheimer’s and dementia disparities among the African American community
including innovative awareness building via faith-based institutions.
Be sure to check out the Public
Health playlist on YouTube for other public health webinars and trainings.
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