New Orleans’ Mortality Rate 47% Higher After Hurricane Katrina, Study Finds

The mortality rate among people who lived in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina made landfall in August 2005 increased by 47% during the first six months of 2006 compared with the rate in the years before the hurricane, according to a study recently published in the journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, USA Today reports. To measure the combined mortality rate of people who returned to New Orleans after the hurricane and those who remained in other cities, researchers at the New Orleans Health Department compared the number of death notices published each month in the New Orleans Times-Picayune during the first six months of 2006 to the number published each month in 2002 and 2004.

According to the study, 1,317 death notices on average were published per month from January 2006 to June 2006, compared with an average of 924 death notices per month in 2002 and 2004. The figures indicate that the death rate has risen to 91 per 100,000 people since the storm from 62 per 100,000 people, according to the study.

Kevin Stephens, director of the city’s health department and lead author of the study, said, “We’re facing a lot of health care challenges. I’m sure that has a significant impact on mortality.” Stephens added that people who no longer live in New Orleans often have trouble obtaining health care in their current locations. Jullette Saussy, director of New Orleans EMS, said, “The lack of primary care, of mental health care and of long waits in emergency rooms all have (worsened) people’s normally controllable chronic diseases.”

A separate study published in the same journal finds that more than 4,486 doctors from three parishes in the New Orleans area have been displaced, creating a shortage that continues to be a problem at many hospitals. The second study was led by Kusuma Madamala of the American Medical Association (Sternberg, USA Today, 6/22).

“Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork/dailyreports/healthpolicy. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation . © 2005 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

Canadian Lung Association Welcomes Environment Ministers’ Action On Air Quality

The Canadian Lung Association (CLA) is praising yesterday’s decision by the federal, provincial and territorial Environment Ministers to move forward on a new system for managing air quality across the country. The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment approved work to complete and implement the proposed Comprehensive Air Management System (CAMS) on a tight timetable by the end of 2013.

“The new system promises to reduce harmful air pollution and save thousands of lives every year”, said Heather Borquez, CLA CEO and president. “Better air quality will also improve the health of millions of vulnerable Canadians including people with asthma, COPD and other lung conditions, as well as those with cardio-vascular or heart disease.”

Air pollution currently exacts a heavy toll on the health of Canadians. According to a 2008 study by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) over 21,000 people die prematurely every year from the effects of air pollution. Poor air quality also results in over 620,000 visits to doctors’ offices and more than 30,000 treatments in emergency rooms every year. The resulting cost to Canada’s economy is very high. The CMA study estimates the economic burden at $8 billion annually, from premature deaths, higher healthcare costs, missed work time and lost productivity.

“We are pleased that the Environment Ministers have seen the need for early action to cut air pollution”, said Ms. Borquez. “The new system will give Canada the tools required to reduce damaging emissions of ozone and fine particulate matter and reduce the incidence of life-threatening smog conditions.”

The CAMS proposal was developed through a unique collaboration among health and environmental organizations, industrial associations, and the provincial/territorial and federal governments. CLA welcomed the Environment Ministers’ commitment to continue their collaboration with stakeholders in finalizing and implementing the new air management system.

CAMS will establish consistent nation-wide standards for air quality, regulated base standards for emissions by industrial facilities, and a robust system for managing local and regional air quality across Canada. The new system will deal with pollution from all sources including transportation, industry and trans-boundary sources. Under CAMS action to reduce emissions will be intensified in areas of the country with poor or deteriorating air quality.

The Canadian Lung Association was an active partner in creating the CAMS proposal, contributing to the steering committee and technical working groups that developed the proposal.

Year of the Lung

2010 has been declared the Year of the Lung, by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS). The goal of this global campaign is to raise awareness about lung health among the public, initiate action in communities worldwide, and advocate for resources to combat lung disease including increased investment in basic, clinical and translational research worldwide.


Canadian Lung Association

Malaria Clinical Trials Alliance Supported By New $17 Million Gates Foundation Grant

The international INDEPTH Network announced today the establishment of a new initiative, the Malaria Clinical Trials Alliance (MCTA), that will help conduct clinical trials of new drugs and vaccines to fight malaria, a disease that kills 2,000 African children every day.

MCTA will provide training and technical assistance to research centers in nine countries across Africa (Mozambique, Tanzania, Malawi, Gabon, Nigeria, Ghana, The Gambia, Kenya and Senegal) and help to leverage the capabilities of the INDEPTH Network to strengthen global research and development activities targeting malaria. MCTA is supported by a new US$17 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

New malaria drugs and a vaccine are urgently needed in Africa, where malaria has grown resistant to the cheapest and most widely-used treatments. As several promising new drugs and vaccines move through the research pipeline, there is a need to build African capacity to conduct large-scale clinical trials of these drugs and vaccines over the next decade.

MCTA will help ensure that African trial sites are properly managed; are able to hire and train staff; and have database, communications and good financial accounting systems in place. MCTA will also facilitate collaboration among trial sites, including sharing of data, expertise and best practices.

Professor Fred Binka, Executive Director of the INDEPTH Network, said: “Important progress is being made in developing new malaria drugs and vaccines, but there are not enough research sites in Africa to conduct the trials that are needed. The funding that we have received from the Gates Foundation, which is one of the most significant grants to an Africa-based organization involved in the fight against malaria, will help accelerate research that could save millions of lives.”

MCTA’s initial focus will be to work with the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative to prepare sites for large-scale clinical trials of malaria drug and vaccine candidates. In the future, this alliance will seek to partner with other organizations that have candidate products that require clinical testing.

“Strengthening clinical trials facilities in Africa is key to achieving the goals of product development partnerships such as Medicines for Malaria Venture,” said Dr Christopher Hentschel, President and CEO of MMV. “With nearly 20 drug development projects in the portfolio, several of which are in phase III, we are very pleased with the additional support our trial sites will receive from the Malaria Clinical Trial Alliance.”

Dr Pascoal Mocumbi, the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership’s ambassador, said that “this alliance addresses the fundamental issues from a long-term perspective to ensure that trial sites in Africa will provide sustainable, continuous support for, and take the lead in, clinical trials.”

MCTA’s long-term goal is to increase the number of self-sustaining clinical research centers in Africa that can support their own research programs linked to local and national priorities.

The INDEPTH Network was formally constituted in 2002 with initial core support from the Rockefeller Foundation, Sida/SAREC, the World Bank and the Wellcome Trust. “This investment by the Gates Foundation is not only a major milestone for INDEPTH, making it possible for us to ratchet up our scientific contributions, but is also true recognition of the efforts of our other funding partners who continue to show sustained confidence in INDEPTH,” said Prof. Stephen Tollman, Chair of the INDEPTH Board of Trustees.


Brain Changes Observed In Unimpaired Older Humans Could Be Early Warning Of Alzheimer’s

New research has uncovered an early disruption in the process of memory formation in older humans who exhibit some early brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) but show little or no memory impairment. The work, published by Cell Press in the July 30th issue of the journal Neuron, sheds light on the role of amyloid protein in memory impairment and may lead to development of strategies for predicting and treating cognitive decline in individuals who are at-risk for AD.

Amyloid-protein plays a major pathogenic role in AD, a devastating neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive cognitive impairment and memory loss. In fact, one of the primary characteristics of AD is the accumulation and deposition of neuron-damaging clumps of amyloid protein. Previous studies have led to the suggestion that amyloid deposition begins many years prior to the onset of clinical symptoms. However, the exact link between amyloid deposition and memory impairment has not been clearly demonstrated in humans.

“Two recent advances in neuroimaging now allow us to explore the early, asymptomatic phase of AD, the ability to measure amyloid distribution in living humans and the identification of sensitive markers of brain dysfunction in AD,” explains lead study author, Dr. Reisa Sperling from the Center for Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. In addition to amyloid accumulation, AD has been associated with functional alterations in a specific network of brain regions that are intimately linked with memory formation.

Dr. Sperling and colleagues combined amyloid imaging with an associative memory functional brain imaging paradigm to study older humans who did not exhibit significant memory impairment. Importantly, the researchers found that a significant number of nondemented older individuals exhibited amyloid deposition and abnormal neural activity in key areas of the brain network thought to be involved in successful memory function. These results demonstrate for the first time that amyloid pathology in asymptomatic older humans is linked with aberrant neural responses during the process of memory formation.

“Longitudinal studies are certainly needed, but our findings are consistent with the premise that cognitively intact older individuals with amyloid pathology may already be in the early stages of AD,” explains Dr. Sperling. “The combination of molecular and functional imaging techniques may prove useful in monitoring disease progression prior to significant clinical symptoms, as well as the response to amyloid-modifying therapeutic agents in subjects at-risk for developing AD.”

The researchers include Reisa A. Sperling, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Boston, MA; Peter S. LaViolette, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Boston, MA; Kelly O’Keefe, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Jacqueline O’Brien, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Dorene M. Rentz, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Maija Pihlajamaki, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Gad Marshall, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Bradley T. Hyman, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Dennis J. Selkoe, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Trey Hedden, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Boston, MA; Randy L. Buckner, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Boston, MA, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; J. Alex Becker, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; and Keith A. Johnson, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

Cathleen Genova

Cell Press

Red Cross Making Preparations As Tropical Storm Ida Heads Toward Gulf Coast

The American Red Cross is preparing for Tropical Storm Ida to make landfall along the Gulf Coast, opening shelters in four states.

The Red Cross is opening shelters in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. Residents in those states should heed the warnings of local officials, especially if evacuation orders are issued.

Although recently downgraded from a hurricane, Tropical Storm Ida is packing 70 mph winds and heavy rain and is expected to make landfall along the northern Gulf Coast Tuesday morning and then turn toward the east. Tropical storm warnings are issued from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle and governors in Louisiana and Florida have declared states of emergency.

“Anyone in the path of the storm should make the necessary preparations right away and also register themselves on Safe and Well if they plan on evacuating,” said Joe Becker, senior vice president of Disaster Services for the Red Cross. “Ida is predicted to drop up to six inches of rain along the Gulf Coast.”

The Red Cross also is urging people who may be impacted by the storm to take the necessary steps to get ready.

The Red Cross Safe and Well web site is an online tool that those affected by disaster can use to register their status. If there is no internet access, people can ask a loved one to register for them, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to register. If family members know someone’s telephone number or complete home address, they can search the site for messages posted by those who register.

The Red Cross encourages those who plan to stay in a Red Cross shelter to bring the following items for each member of their family: prescription and emergency medication, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, important documents and other comfort items. Additionally, special items for children and infants, such as diapers, formulas and toys, should be brought, along with other special items for family members who are elderly or disabled.

Those in areas potentially affected by the storm can follow these safety steps if flooding is predicted for their community:

- Listen to area radio and television stations and a NOAA Weather Radio for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress).

- Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

- When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for the area, head for higher ground and stay there.

- Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.

- If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.

- Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.

- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

For more information on what to do to be prepared and stay safe during this storm, visit redcross.

Help people affected by disasters like floods and tropical storms by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for disasters and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to victims of all disasters. Call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting redcross.

American Red Cross

Human Trials Of Universal Flu Vaccine Begin At Oxford University

Clinical trials of a new vaccine that could protect against multiple types of flu are beginning at Oxford University. If successful, the ‘universal’ flu injection would transform the way we vaccinate against influenza and could offer immunity to a bird flu pandemic.

Current vaccines are only effective against certain strains of flu. New formulations have to be developed every year according to which types of flu are thought likely to be circulating that winter.

“This approach to influenza vaccination is unsatisfactory for use against seasonal influenza, and of little use when new types of flu begin to infect humans from birds,” says Dr Sarah Gilbert of the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford. “It leaves manufacturers with a few months to produce the necessary stocks, the vaccine has to be administered to at-risk populations within a short time window, and those receiving the injection will all have to be vaccinated again the following year.”

Existing flu vaccines work by inducing protective antibodies to proteins on the outer surface of the influenza virus. These proteins differ between strains and change over time, so each vaccine only works against a specific strain.

The Oxford scientists led by Dr Gilbert are taking a new approach. They have developed a novel vaccine that targets internal proteins essential to the flu virus that change very little over time or between strains.

“By targeting the internal proteins of the virus, we can come up with a universal flu jab,” explains Dr Gilbert. “The same vaccine would work against all seasonal flu and protect against bird flu.”

Such a universal vaccine would not change from year to year, removing the need for annual immunisations. All ages could receive the injection at any time of year, and manufacturers would be able to produce supplies continuously at a sufficient level.

“Children would be protected, we’d see economic benefits through reduced sickness in people of working age, and the elderly, who respond less well to vaccination, would be better off through lack of exposure to flu,” explains Dr Gilbert.

In the Phase I clinical trial, 12 healthy volunteers are receiving the single injection of the new vaccine. Their immune response will then be monitored over time. Should this trial be successful, further clinical trials will be necessary before the vaccine can be approved. The research is funded by the Wellcome Trust.

The vaccine developed by Dr Gilbert and colleagues induces T cells, part of the body’s immune system, to kill any cells infected by the flu virus, so controlling the infection. The body maintains a low-level T cell response to flu from previous flu infections which the vaccine should boost to levels high enough to protect against subsequent infection.

– A flu pandemic with potentially devastating effects across the world could occur if bird flu acquired the ability to be transmitted between humans. There were four such pandemics in the 20th century, with the 1918 pandemic causing an estimated 40-50 million deaths worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, there have been 385 cases of the H5N1 avian influenza being transmitted from birds to humans since 2003, resulting in 243 deaths.

– Flu caught during the winter months, or seasonal flu, has a huge annual impact worldwide. In the US alone, flu causes illness in tens of millions of people, hundreds of thousands of hospitalisations, and tens of thousands of deaths. It also has a large economic burden. Figures from Europe suggest that flu accounts for around 10% of sick leave, with the cost of lost productivity in France and Germany alone estimated at ?‚¬8.3-12.6 billion per year.

– Oxford University’s Medical Sciences Division is one of the largest biomedical research centres in Europe. It represents almost one-third of Oxford University’s income and expenditure, and two-thirds of its external research income. Oxford’s world-renowned global health programme is a leader in the fight against infectious diseases (such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and avian flu) and other prevalent diseases (such as cancer, stroke, heart disease and diabetes). Key to its success is a long-standing network of dedicated Wellcome Trust-funded research units in Asia (Thailand, Laos and Vietnam) and Kenya, and work at the MRC Unit in The Gambia. Long-term studies of patients around the world are supported by basic science at Oxford and have led to many exciting developments, including potential vaccines for tuberculosis, malaria and HIV, which are in clinical trials.

The Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is the largest charity in the UK. It funds innovative biomedical research, in the UK and internationally, spending around ??600 million each year to support the brightest scientists with the best ideas. The Wellcome Trust supports public debate about biomedical research and its impact on health and wellbeing.

Almost 15 Million Alzheimer’s And Dementia Caregivers In USA Today

There are nearly 15 million people caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in the USA, the Alzheimer’s Association has revealed today. The number of caregivers is 37% higher than estimates published last year, according the 2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.

The authors of the report found that American caregivers gave 17 billion hours of unpaid care, estimated at $202.6 billion. A state with a population of 15 million would be the 5th largest in the USA.

Most individuals over the age of 65 years survive for about four to eight years after they are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, sometimes 20 years. Because of the debilitating effects of the disease and its long duration, family members and friends who care for patients are placed under increasingly intense demands

The longer a caregiver has to look after somebody with Alzheimer’s, the greater their own health issues become, representing a further financial burden of almost $8 billion in raised healthcare costs.

Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, said:

“Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t just affect those with it. It invades families and the lives of everyone around them. It is stressful and heartbreaking to see someone you love trapped in a present where their past is fading and their future too frightening to contemplate. Nearly 15 million dedicated and committed family members and friends are living with this every day.”

5.4 million Americans are thought to be living with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is not a part of normal aging, even though age is its greatest risk factor, the Alzheimer’s Association writes.

Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in America. It is “the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.”

Deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have gone up 66% during the period 2000-2008, compared to minus 3% for major diseases of the heart, minus 29% for HIV/AIDS, minus 20% for stroke, minus 8% for prostate cancer, and minus 3% for breast cancer.

Total payments for health care and long-term services for patients with Alzheimer’s will rise by $11 billion this year compared to last year to $183 billion, the Alzheimer’s Association estimates. Most of this increase will be made up by Medicare and Medicaid costs.

Over the next four decades Medicare costs related to Alzheimer’s and dementias will rise by almost 600% and Medicaid costs by 400% the Alzheimer’s Association believes.

Robert Egge, Vice President for Public Policy for the Alzheimer’s Association, said:

“The projected rise in Alzheimer’s incidence will become an enormous balloon payment for the nation a payment that will exceed 1 trillion dollars by 2050. It is clear our government must make a smart commitment in order make these costs unnecessary.”

Early detection and intervention of Alzheimer’s disease has significant benefits for both patients and caregivers. Early interventions and improved treatments are currently our greatest hopes in dealing with or halting brain damage.

Beth Kallmyer, senior director of constituent services, said:

“For people affected by irreversible cognitive decline or dementia, a formal and documented diagnosis helps the individual and their family explain and expect behaviors, and opens doors to vital care and support services. A diagnosis can help reduce the anxiety and emotional burden experienced by opening access to valuable support services.”

If patients are diagnosed early they are more likely to have a prompt evaluation and treatment of reversible or treatable causes of cognitive impairment. Families which are affected by the disease also have more time to ponder over available medical and non-medical services, as well as taking part in clinical trials.

“2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures” (PDF)

Source: Alzheimer’s Association

Medistem Reports Rheumatoid Arthritis Patient Success Using Adult Stem Cell Protocol

Medistem Inc. (PINKSHEETS: MEDS). Medistem Inc. together with the Stem Cell Institute reported publication in the peer reviewed journal Cellular Immunology its paper titled “Autologous stromal vascular fraction cells: A tool for facilitating tolerance in rheumatic disease,” which describes the first use of a patient’s own fat stem cells for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

In collaboration with the company Vet-Stem Inc, the University of Western Ontario, and The University of California San Diego, Medistem scientists detailed the scientific rationale for use of patient’s own fat derived stem cells for “reprogramming” the immune system of patients with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. A case report of a 67-year-old American woman who recovered from rheumatoid arthritis after intravenous treatment with adult stem cells is provided.

“We have been treating companion animals for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis for over five years, achieving and publishing excellent efficacy data,” said Robert Harman, CEO of Vet-Stem. “Medistem’s identification of potential mechanisms of action, as well as translation of this technology into the clinic, supports the importance of our findings.”

Medistem previously identified and filed intellectual property covering the co-purification of high concentrations of T regulatory cells using protocols that enrich for adipose derived stem cells, a finding that was later confirmed and published by Diane Mathis’s group from Harvard University (Feuerer et al. Nat Med. 2009 Aug;15(8):930-9). T regulatory cells are used by the body to control autoimmunity, which is explained in this video by Thomas Ichim, the CEO of Medistem.

“We are very excited that Medistem’s protocol for isolation of a patient’s own fat derived stem cells and T regulatory cells, which produced promising results in multiple sclerosis, appears to be useful in rheumatoid arthritis, another autoimmune disease,” said Neil Riordan, Chairman of Medistem.

In a 2009 paper Medistem together with Vet-Stem and University of California San Diego reported substantial clinical improvement in a small group of multiple sclerosis patients treated using a similar protocol. The paper is available here.

Medistem Inc.

Alzheimer’s Society Memory Campaign Boosts Dementia Diagnosis

Newly released research from Alzheimer’s Society shows that 1 in 7 GPs have noticed more people asking about memory problems since the launch of its Worried About Your Memory? campaign. Up to two thirds of people with dementia never receive a diagnosis. Campaign materials, distributed in GP surgeries across the country, sought to address this. Findings from a new survey show that up to half of the respondents who requested the Worried About Your Memory? materials went on to receive a diagnosis.

Dementia affects as many as half a million in England alone. The recently published National Dementia Strategy for England highlighted the need to raise awareness, improve diagnosis and provide dementia training. This new research from Alzheimer’s Society confirms the importance of these priorities to GPs. Ninety two per cent agreed that it is important to diagnose dementia early but nearly a quarter said they did not feel they’d had sufficient basic and post-qualification training to help diagnose and manage dementia. Over half also wanted further information on local support services for people with dementia and 30% wanted advice on when to refer for treatment.

Neil Hunt, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, says,
‘Dementia is not a natural part of ageing it is caused by diseases of the brain and robs people of their lives. The Worried About Your Memory? campaign has made some inroads into improved awareness and diagnosis. However, this must be followed through in the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy for England. We need to see ongoing improvements in diagnosis and widespread training of healthcare professionals so that people are directed towards the support they need.’

Care Services Minister Phil Hope says,
‘The success of the Worried About Your Memory? campaign is a step forward in making sure people are better informed about dementia. It is also helping to tackle the stigma associated with the disease, so more people feel they can come forward for earlier diagnosis. But there’s lots more to do. I want to see more national and local information made available and our work on the National Dementia Strategy will help make that happen.’

Dr Barbara Woodhatch, a GP from Islington, says,
‘Awareness raising campaigns like Worried About Your Memory? can really help make a difference to diagnosis rates, as this research shows. However, the data also highlights how important it is to back this up with structured dementia training for GPs to help them refer people and provide them with information about local services.’

- 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 will die with dementia.

- Alzheimer’s Society research shows dementia costs the UK ??17 billion. This figure is predicted to treble in the next 30 years.

- 570,000 people have a form of dementia in England, more than half have Alzheimer’s disease. In less than 20 years nearly a million people will be living with dementia. This will soar to 1.7 million people in UK by 2051.

- Dementia is not a natural part of ageing; it is caused by diseases of the brain and robs people of their lives.

- Alzheimer’s Society champions the rights of people living with dementia and those who care for them. Alzheimer’s Society works in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

- Alzheimer’s Society needs to raise money to care for people today and to find a cure for tomorrow. You can donate now by calling 0845 306 0898 or visiting alzheimers

- Alzheimer’s Society provides a National Dementia Helpline, the number is 0845 300 0336

About memory problems

Although memory problems are common and factors such as age, tiredness, stress, depression and some physical illnesses can affect it, Alzheimer’s Society is encouraging people to seek advice and help if the following occur:

- It’s a struggle to remember recent events, although it’s easy to recall things that happened in the past
- It’s hard to follow conversations or programmes on TV
- Regularly forgetting the names of friends or everyday objects
- Inability to recall things heard, seen or read
- Difficulty in making decisions
- Repeat themselves in conversation or lose the thread of what they are saying
- Have problems thinking and reasoning
- Feel anxious and depressed or angry about their forgetfulness
- Find that other people start to comment on their forgetfulness

About the Worried About Your Memory? Campaign

- The Worried About Your Memory? campaign was rolled out across England, Wales and Northern Ireland in May 2008 (following a previous pilot).

- 42,550 GPs received a dementia CD Rom and 10,752 GP surgeries received 50 leaflets, a poster and a dispenser. Further leaflets have been sent each quarter.

- To date 12,000 people have requested further information, 50,000 booklets have been downloaded from the website and 1,800 enquiries have been made to Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Helpline.

- The Worried About Your Memory? campaign has also been rolled-out through pharmacies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from January to June 2009

- Alzheimer’s Society conducted research in January 2009 to evaluate the success of the Worried About Your Memory? campaign. Surveys were sent to GP surgeries that received the Worried About Your Memory? materials and members of the public who have requested the Worried About Your Memory? booklet. 1,817 GPs and 524 members of the public responded to the survey.

- The Worried About Your Memory? campaign is supported by funding from the Department of Health in England

- The Worried About Your Memory? campaign is supported by funding from Eisai Limited, Novartis Limited, Pfizer Limited and Shire Pharmaceuticals Limited in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Alzheimer’s Society
Devon House
58 St Katherine’s Way
London, . E1W 1JX
United Kingdom

Cimzia(R) Filed With EMEA For Treatment Of Rheumatoid Arthritis, Europe

UCB announced that a Marketing Authorisation Application (MAA) has been submitted to the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) requesting the approval of Cimzia® (certolizumab pegol) as a subcutaneous treatment for adults with moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and has been accepted for review. Subject to approval, Cimzia® will be the first and only PEGylated, Fc-Free anti-TNF (Tumour Necrosis Factor alpha) biologic therapy available in Europe for the treatment of RA.

“Along with a fast onset of action, Cimzia® has been shown to rapidly reduce the rate of progression of joint damage and to improve measurements of patients’ physical function,” said Olav Hellebo, President of Inflammation Operations for UCB. “With millions of people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis across the globe, Cimzia®, when approved, will provide a new and effective treatment option for this debilitating condition.”

The MAA filing is based on UCB’s clinical programme with data from more than 2,300 patients involved in several multi-centre placebo-controlled Phase III trials totaling over 4,000 patient-years of experience. Cimzia® has been studied at two or four week dosing intervals, and administered together with methotrexate (MTX) or as monotherapy.

In the RAPID trials, Cimzia® together with MTX demonstrated a rapid and significant reduction in the signs and symptoms of active RA as early as Week 1 and inhibited progression of structural damage, with results maintained through to week 52 (p