Guardian Dementia

This page shows the latest items from the Guardian Dementia newsfeed.

More than 41m dementia cases globally are undiagnosed – study

In some countries as many as 90% of people with dementia have not been diagnosed, research finds

More than 41 million people living with dementia worldwide have not yet been diagnosed, according to a report by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI).

Experts say getting diagnosed with the disease is vital, enabling those affected to receive support and treatment, which is more effective the earlier it begins, and to take part in clinical trials.

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20 September 2021, 11:01 pm

People with chronic conditions among most at risk from Covid even after jabs

Research finds those with Down’s syndrome, Parkinson’s and other conditions may benefit from booster dose

People living with chronic conditions such as Down’s syndrome and dementia remain among the most vulnerable to Covid-19 even after vaccination, research has found.

The study, based on data from more than 6.9 million vaccinated adults, 5.2 million of whom had received both doses, found that being vaccinated offers powerful protection against hospitalisation for almost all groups. However, a risk calculator based on the data shows that some groups remain at particular risk and may benefit from booster vaccine doses and treatments such as monoclonal antibodies.

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18 September 2021, 5:00 am

Life expectancy in England falls to lowest level since 2011

Excess Covid deaths contributed to life expectancy in England falling by 1.3 years for men and 0.9 years for women

Excess deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic contributed to life expectancy in England falling last year to its lowest level in almost a decade, according to Public Health England (PHE).

PHE said the “very high level” of excess deaths caused life expectancy to fall by 1.3 years for men, to 78.7, and 0.9 years for women to 82.7.

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15 September 2021, 8:09 pm

Millions with eye conditions at higher risk of dementia, shows research

People with macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetes-related eye disease at greater risk

Millions of people with eye conditions including age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetes-related eye disease have an increased risk of developing dementia, new research shows.

Vision impairment can be one of the first signs of the disease, which is predicted to affect more than 130 million people worldwide by 2050.

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13 September 2021, 11:01 pm

Photographer David Bailey reveals he has vascular dementia

‘It’s just one of those things,’ says the British celebrity snapper, 83, who is still busy with new work

David Bailey has revealed he has dementia, a life-limiting condition the British photographer described as a bore.

Speaking to the Times, Bailey, 83, said: “I’ve got vascular dementia. I was diagnosed about three years ago.

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11 September 2021, 2:12 pm

Transport noise linked to increased risk of dementia, study finds

Large survey involving two million adults found links between road and rail traffic and Alzheimer’s in particular

Exposure to noise from road traffic and railways is associated with an increased risk of dementia, according to the largest study of its kind.

Research has consistently linked transport noise to health conditions including heart disease, diabetes and obesity, but studies on transport noise and dementia were scarce and small, and findings inconsistent.

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9 September 2021, 5:00 am

Here Today review – Billy Crystal’s disingenuous dementia romcom

This frustrating tale of a comedy writer battling memory loss lapses into another showcase for Crystal’s onscreen charm

At first glance an inoffensive plodder of a movie about a veteran comedy writer grappling with the early stages of a rare form of dementia, Here Today is in fact a glossily disingenuous piece of work. It’s a film that sets out to tackle the impact of degenerative disease, but, barring a few moments of confusion and a forgotten name or two, is infuriatingly evasive when it comes to showing the realities of the condition.

Co-written, directed by and starring Billy Crystal, as TV writer Charlie Burnz, it is, unsurprisingly, a showcase for Crystal’s affable comedic charms. Which is fine, if droll sentimentality is your bag. But the film largely fails to capitalise on the considerable talents of Tiffany Haddish, playing the aspiring jazz singer who, after a chance encounter with Charlie, offers him the support that his semi-estranged family have failed to provide.

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5 September 2021, 11:00 am

Here Today review – Billy Crystal and Tiffany Haddish smile through tears in dementia dramedy

Crystal directs and stars in this oppressively sentimental film about a TV writer coming to terms with his condition with the help of an unlikely new best friend

Billy Crystal directs and stars in this oppressively sentimental dramedy: a glutinous soup of heartbreaking and heartwarming life-lessons, learned as you smile through your tears. Crystal also co-writes with his longtime collaborator, SNL veteran Alan Zweibel, on whose short story The Prize it is based.

Crystal plays Charlie Burns, an ageing New York comedy writer and widower. Charlie created Broadway hits and Hollywood screenplays in his day (some cameos here from Kevin Kline and Sharon Stone), and he is still working on a late-night TV comedy show, though regarded as a dinosaur by the younger writers. Tiffany Haddish plays Emma, a woman who wins lunch with Charlie at a charity auction. Despite her having zero in common with the old guy, there is an intergenerational spark and they develop an odd-couple friendship. Charlie finds that Emma is the only person to whom he can confide his awful secret: he has dementia and the symptoms are getting worse.

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2 September 2021, 12:00 pm

Why has rugby taken so long to wake up to what boxing has long known?

New research points to small, repetitive blows damaging rugby players’ brains, but boxing established this decades ago

They hanged Del Fontaine at Wandsworth prison early on Tuesday 29 October 1935, three months and 19 days after he shot his girlfriend Hilda Meek having overheard her arranging a date on the phone and convinced himself she was seeing another man. Protesters picketed the prison the day they killed him, one told the papers that “they’re hanging an insane man”. Fontaine was a boxer, and had been a good one, twice the middleweight champion of Canada, but that was behind him. He had lost 11 fights in the last year, in the last he was knocked down four times in the first round.

When he was arrested Fontaine told the police “don’t think I’m crazy because I’m not”. But his lawyers argued that he was deluded. They called doctors, who said he had double vision, depression, insomnia, a loss of balance and that he had been bleeding from his ear. The welterweight world champion Ted “Kid” Lewis testified that Fontaine had “received more punishment than anyone I’ve ever seen”. The Guardian reported that their defence argued he was suffering from “a condition known as ‘punch-drunk’” which meant he didn’t know what he was doing.

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2 September 2021, 7:00 am

Rugby players’ brains affected in single season, study suggests

University of South Wales research finds professional squad suffered decline in cognitive function

A single season of professional rugby could be enough to cause a decline in a player’s blood flow to the brain and cognitive function, according to a study.

The research, reported by the BBC, also suggests that repetitive contact events, rather than only concussions, incurred through rugby caused the declines seen in the players.

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31 August 2021, 9:34 am

Second Spring review – bracing optimism in the face of dementia diagnosis

Andy Kelleher’s accomplished drama debut is packed with deft performances as its characters make the best of a grim situation

Andy Kelleher has directed documentaries about the film-makers Carol Reed, Alan Clarke and Chris Petit, but now makes an accomplished fiction debut with a film hovering in the edgelands of London, the south-east and on the protracted plains of middle age, receding out towards uncertainty. It concerns a medical diagnosis that should be devastating, but – aided by a deftly off-key performance from lead actor Cathy Naden – actually functions as an awakening.

Naden plays fortysomething history lecturer Kathy, whose impulsive behaviour has begun to unsettle her friends. Stuck in a zombie marriage, she takes up with gangly, long-haired landscape gardener Nick (Jerry Killick) after throwing him a line next to his vintage BMW: “You can take me for a spin some time.” Alarmingly forthright has become her social modus operandi. She wakes up one morning on a disused railway platform after a night of alfresco boozing with a stranger. When her friends press her to get a brain scan, the news is not reassuring: she has fronto-temporal dementia, which can be lived with, but not cured. “It’s not Alzheimer’s,” husband Tim (Matthew Jure) feebly comforts her.

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30 August 2021, 12:00 pm

Streaming: The Father and other films about dementia

Florian Zeller’s heart-rending film The Father is the latest in a spate of recent works tackling the condition and its effects on the family

First shown way back at Sundance in January last year, and repeatedly delayed by the pandemic, The Father waited an awfully long time for its moment in cinemas, and when it finally arrived – buoyed up by glowing reviews and two big Oscar wins – not that many people went to see it. After a year spent largely away from cinemas, Florian Zeller’s solemn, uncompromising, ingeniously structured chamber drama about the ravages of dementia wasn’t most people’s idea of a summer night out, no matter how good Anthony Hopkins is in it. (Which is to say very, very extraordinarily so: his Oscar may have been controversially unexpected, but it was not undeserved.) “I’ll wait to watch it at home,” said a number of friends to whom I recommended the film: now, on Amazon and the like, they can.

But I don’t think it was just the film’s seriousness that made people shy to see it. The specific subject matter of dementia yields such strong emotions – connected, for so many of us, to painful personal experience – that we worry we won’t be able to hold it together in the public space of the cinema. (I doubt I would have: I first saw Zeller’s film at home, during one of last year’s lockdowns, and wept into my duvet for some time afterwards.) For all the advantages that the big screen has over the small, the films that place us in a vulnerable position can sometimes benefit from the privacy of streaming.

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28 August 2021, 7:00 am

Liverpool great Terry McDermott diagnosed with dementia

  • Former England midfielder has Lewy body dementia
  • ‘The number of ex-players being diagnosed is frightening’

The former Liverpool favourite Terry McDermott has pledged to “battle” after being diagnosed with dementia.

The 69-year-old announced the news on Liverpool’s official website that he is in the early stages of Lewy body dementia.

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21 August 2021, 11:11 pm

Manchester United legend Denis Law is diagnosed with mixed dementia

  • The former Scotland striker confirms his condition
  • ‘You hope that it won’t happen to you,’ says 81-year-old

The Manchester United and Scotland great Denis Law said he wanted to be open about his condition after becoming the latest former player to have been diagnosed with dementia.

Law scored 237 goals in 404 appearances for United after making his breakthrough at Huddersfield. The Aberdeen-born striker had spells with Manchester City and Torino before heading to Old Trafford in 1962. He also remains Scotland’s joint top scorer on 30 goals but in a statement on Thursday he revealed his dementia diagnosis.

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19 August 2021, 11:21 am

Dementia risk lower for people in stimulating jobs, research suggests

Findings of large study support the idea mental stimulation could delay onset of symptoms, says lead author

People with mentally stimulating jobs have a lower risk of dementia in later years than those who have non-stimulating work, research has suggested.

Scientists looked at more than 100,000 participants across studies from the UK, Europe and the US focused on links between work-related factors and chronic disease, disability and mortality.

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18 August 2021, 11:10 pm

Britney Spears’ case has shown why guardianship laws need to change | Nina A Kohn

Assigning someone the legal power to make decisions for a vulnerable adult should always be a last resort

Around the world, fans of pop star Britney Spears celebrated her father’s announcement last week that he would resign as her conservator. This development is welcome news for Spears and her supporters, dubbed the #FreeBritney movement. But it will not end Spears’ conservatorship, which has prevented her from making decisions about her own life since it was established shortly after she had a mental breakdown in 2008. Nor will it prevent others from finding themselves in similar situations. That will require changing the underlying legal systems that created Spears’ predicament.

While many have only recently learned of conservatorship thanks to the #FreeBritney movement, this legal process is neither new nor unique to the US. It is a common court proceeding in which the court appoints someone to make decisions for individuals the court has found cannot make decisions for themselves. California – where Spears lives – calls this proceeding conservatorship and calls the appointee a conservator. More commonly, it is called guardianship and the appointee is called a guardian. While Spears has drawn attention to guardianship, the process typically entangles those far less privileged. Changes in the pop star’s situation , as welcome as they may be, won’t themselves trigger the reform of a legal mechanism mainly experienced by people society has historically treated as expendable.

Nina A Kohn is the David M Levy professor of law at Syracuse University and the Solomon Center distinguished scholar in elder law at Yale Law School.

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18 August 2021, 2:00 pm

Artificial intelligence could be used to diagnose dementia

Researchers say AI tool could lead to earlier diagnoses that could improve patients’ outcomes

It’s been used to detect eye diseases, make medical diagnoses, and spot early signs of oesophageal cancer. Now it has been claimed artificial intelligence may be able to diagnose dementia from just one brain scan, with researchers starting a trial to test the approach.

The team behind the AI tool say the hope is that it will lead to earlier diagnoses, which could improve outcomes for patients, while it may also help to shed light on their prognoses.

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10 August 2021, 9:58 am

Football should consider eliminating heading, dementia expert says

  • Game needs to come with a health warning, argues Dr Stewart
  • Latest research ‘missing link’ in search for dementia connection

Football should consider eliminating heading, the leading researcher into dementia in the sport has said, after new evidence provided “the missing link” between repeated heading and neurodegenerative disease.

Dr Willie Stewart of the University of Glasgow, who leads the landmark Field study, says the game must ask whether heading is “absolutely necessary”. Football, he said, should now come with a health warning attached.

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2 August 2021, 3:00 pm

Vortex review – Gaspar Noé’s latest goes gentle, for once, into the night

The provocateur has shocked Cannes with a change of pace: an extraordinary midnight movie that follows an elderly couple’s pained last steps in their Paris apartment

In the final days of the Cannes film festival the guests start leaving, the crowds grow thin and there are empty seats everywhere at the bars, restaurants and cinemas around town. The mood is already funereal ahead of the red carpet premiere of Gaspar Noé’s Vortex – at which point the director slopes in to turn off all the lights.

Prompted by the recent departures of several close friends, and his own recent near-death experience (a cerebral haemorrhage in 2019), Noé’s extraordinary film unfolds as a tale of murmured terrors and nameless dread, creeping softly around a cramped Paris apartment like a cinematic Grim Reaper. This is not just a whiplashing change of pace for the tearaway France-based director, who customarily crash-lands on Cannes during its bacchanalian middle weekend. In terms of scope, ambition and execution, it’s one of the finest pictures he’s made.

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16 July 2021, 9:00 pm

Age, sex, vaccine dose, chronic illness – insight into risk factors for severe Covid is growing

A look at the demographics as 18.5 million people in the UK fall into the heightened risk category

About 18.5 million individuals, or 24.4% of the UK population, are at increased risk of developing severe Covid because of underlying health conditions. It is well known that older people are at high risk, but the understanding of all the risk factors is incomplete. Experts say that this knowledge needs to develop at speed to support policy and planning given that social restrictions will end in England on 19 July.

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7 July 2021, 6:08 pm