May 14, 2020
Beyond COVID-19: Top Clinical News Headlines

As coronavirus commands headlines, LTC research stays the course

3 leading clinical headlines for the week of May 11th, 2020

 
For weeks, CMS and other leading industry voices have dominated headlines with COVID-19-related updates. Just this week, a report revealed widespread difficulty tracking outbreaks in eldercare facilities. Advocates say the feds aren’t doing enough to provide nursing homes the resources they need to effectively trace infections.
 

Spokespeople from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services promised the public comprehensive data by the end of May. While we wait, SpecialtyRx has rounded up three fascinating long-term care headlines unrelated to the pandemic. Take a much-needed break from the chaos while catching up on the latest clinical findings.

 

PPIs may increase dementia risk

Alzheimer’s researchers have linked long-term use of heartburn medication with increased dementia risk. While the occasional dose doesn’t seem to have an impact, people using proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to treat chronic GERD showed higher dementia rates.
 

Researcher Taher Darreh-Shori states, “Since there’s no effective treatment for the disease, it’s important to avoid risk factors. We therefore want to draw attention to this so that the drugs aren’t used needlessly for a long time.”

 

Autoimmune attack may signal Parkinson’s

A new study suggests that a backfiring immune system may be an early indicator of Parkinson’s. “Early Parkinson’s symptoms, including constipation and mood changes, suggest damage to nerve cells in the brain,” explains Cecilia Lindestam Arlehamn, Ph.D. “It’s understood that a damaged protein called alpha-synuclein builds up…this eventually leads to cell death, causing motor symptoms and cognitive decline.”
 
By detecting such a response, clinicians may be able to diagnose the disease and start treatment sooner, preserving those healthy cells.

 

Low-dose aspirin ineffective for memory care

Despite earlier belief, taking aspirin in small doses does not slow cognitive decline in dementia patients. A study looked at nearly 20,000 people over a span of 5 years.
 
“The risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, dementia or probably Alzheimer’s disease was no different between those who took the aspirin and the cohort given the placebo,” said Joanne Ryan, Ph.D. Researchers plan to expand the study in the future, examining patients for longer periods of time.