An Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis in one in every three Australians could be a sign of brain dead.
Key points:The ABC’s Inside Story: Hidden Brain airs at 7:30pm on Thursday, September 13The ABC is running a series of interviews with scientists, doctors and others about Alzheimer’sThe Alzheimer’s Association of Australia is asking the public to donate to its research projectThe ABC has been tracking people who have died after undergoing a brain scan using a smartphone app, the Hidden Brain website, and an app that allows people to enter their phone number.
The first interview was with Dr David Anderson, an Australian Neurological Institute expert who has studied the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
“I was surprised that the majority of patients in my study had symptoms of a cognitive impairment that didn’t include memory loss, but it did involve the cognitive impairment of not having a functioning brain,” Dr Anderson said.
“What’s fascinating is that in some cases it was quite clear that this was a direct result of brain damage.”
Dr Anderson said people were often asked if they were “a brain dead person”, but in many cases, people were saying that they were a “hidden brain”.
“They’re not aware that they’re a brain dead, they’re not thinking about their condition, they don’t understand why they’re having this condition,” he said.
He said this was one of the most frustrating aspects of the diagnosis.
“When we ask people what they think is a cause of their cognitive impairment, they typically say that they’ve suffered some sort of brain injury or some kind of neurodegenerative condition,” Dr Jonathan Edwards said.
Dr Edwards, an Alzheimer’s specialist, is also a consultant psychiatrist at the University of Queensland.
“People are often asked what the underlying cause is, and there’s a common misconception that they have a genetic disease, or that they may have some kind and complex disease,” he told the ABC.
“It is actually much more complex than that.”
Many people with Alzheimer’s have a variety of factors, including genetics, lifestyle, medication, other things that can play a role in the disease process, but most people with dementia have some sort and degree of dementia, or a genetic, environmental or lifestyle issue.
“Dr Edwards said people often asked him if he was “a hidden brain”, and he said that was not true.”
If you ask people how they feel about their cognitive status, they usually think of cognitive impairment or cognitive decline,” he explained.”
So they’re often quite positive about that.
“Dr Jonathan Edwards has a team of researchers looking into the brain and what causes Alzheimer’s, but the findings have not been peer reviewed.
He explained that a significant number of people who had the first brain scan with the app did not suffer from Alzheimer’s at the time.”
We did have a very small number of patients who had dementia in the first year, but that wasn’t a significant enough sample size to really say that we’ve established that there was a significant link,” he added.
Dr Anderson is also looking into how the iPhone app could be used in the future to diagnose Alzheimer’s and what steps the Apple firm could take to improve the experience.
Dr Jonathan said the findings had been published in the Journal of Alzheimer Health and Rehabilitation and he hoped to make the app available to other researchers.”
The fact that we can do a little bit of research to see what the findings might be is exciting,” he says.”
There’s a lot of potential that the iPhone application could help.
“Topics:death-and-life-issues,australia,laboratory-science,biomedical-informatics,science-and -technology,health,aussies,united-statesFirst posted September 13, 2018 11:21:36More stories from Western Australia