Study Finds Biases in Widely Used Dementia Identification Tests

Dementia can be a real snake lurking in the brain of seniors who happen to be our loved ones. Is their memory merely slipping with their added years, or do they really have a cognitive impairment? It’s a tough question for many families. As a member of a family with several instances of dementia, I can attest to that.

Quick tests used in primary care settings to identify whether people are likely to have dementia may often be wrong, according to a study published in the November 28, 2018, online issue of Neurology® Clinical Practice, an official journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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The tests, called brief cognitive assessments, evaluate thinking and memory skills. They help doctors decide who may benefit from a full diagnostic assessment for dementia. The three tests examined in this study were the Mini-Mental State Examination, which looks at orientation to time and place and the ability to remember words, the Memory Impairment Screen, which focuses on the ability to remember words, and Animal Naming, which involves naming as many animals as possible in 60 seconds. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, aging brain, cognition, cognitive decline, dementia, successful aging

Endurance but not resistance training has anti-aging effects – Study

Researchers have discovered evidence that endurance exercise, such as running, swimming, cross-country skiing and cycling, will help you age better than resistance exercise, which involves strength training with weights, as reported in Medical Xpress.

In a study published in the European Heart Journal, researchers in Germany looked at the effects of three types of exercise—endurance training, high intensity interval training and resistance training—on the way cells in the human body age, and they found that endurance and high intensity training both slowed or even reversed cellular aging, but that resistance training did not.

 

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Take home image showing the effects of three types of exercise — endurance training, high intensity interval training and resistance training — on the way cells in the human body age, and they found that endurance and high intensity training both slowed or even reversed cellular aging, but that resistance training did not. Credit: Ulrich Laufs, Christian Werner and the European Heart Journal

Our DNA is organized into chromosomes in all the cells in our bodies. At the end of each chromosome is a repetitive DNA sequence, called a telomere, that caps the chromosome and protects its ends from deteriorating. As we grow older, the telomeres shorten and this is an important molecular mechanism for cell aging, which eventually leads to cell death when the telomere are no longer able to protect the chromosomal DNA. The process of telomere shortening is regulated by several proteins. Among them is the enzyme telomerase that is able to counteract the shortening process and can even add length to the telomeres. Continue reading

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Google Employees Wanted To ‘Suppress’ Conservative News

This is so disappointing. Ever since ‘to google’ became a verb, I have felt total trust in using the search engine for learning more about something. Now, it seems that people working definitely wanted to influence what we found during the last election.

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By Corinne Weaver~

Research has shown that Google has a habit of downranking conservative news in the search rankings. Now The Daily Caller has proof of employees wanting to do so.

The Daily Caller published leaked emails from Google on November 30, which singled out the Caller and Breitbart as “opinion blogs” that should be downranked on Google Search. A Google engineer, Scott Byer, wrote, “How many times did you see the Election now card with items from opinion blogs (Breitbart, Daily Caller) elevated next to legitimate news organizations? That’s something that can and should be fixed.”

He also wanted Google to plan for the election in 2020, saying, “Let’s make sure that we reverse things in four years — demographics will be on our side.”

Other Google employees chimed in with concern that by measuring the news, other sources could be marked as illegitimate as well. One engineer…

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Guidelines for feeling good and functioning well into senior years – GCBH

I just ran across this newly-published set of guidelines for helping seniors succeed in retaining their mental function and well-being as they age. As a senior myself who has a family with a history of Alzheimer’s and dementia I found it to be on point with my own situation.

The Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) is an independent collaborative of scientists, health professionals, scholars, and policy experts from around the world who are working in areas of brain health related to human cognition. The GCBH focuses on brain health relating to people’s ability to think and reason as they age, including aspects of memory, perception and judgment.

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We believe the following suggestions will increase the chances for people to experience or optimize mental well-being. If you are already engaging in these healthy activities, continue to do so, and consider trying something new as well.

FOR INDIVIDUALS:

1. Take the time to develop and strengthen relationships with family and friends. For more about the brain health benefits of strong social ties, see the GCBH report, The Brain and Social Connectedness: GCBH Recommendations on Social Engagement and Brain Health.

Continue reading

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Filed under aging, aging brain, dealing with stress, Exercise, exercise benefits, seniors, stress, successful aging

Happy Birthday, Wonder Woman

Regular readers know that I have a special place in my heart for Wonder Woman. We are about the same age and I discovered her comics as a child back in the 1940’s. I grew up reading her exploits and as a result learning to admire and appreciate strong independent women. I owe her a lot.

The first appearance of Wonder Woman was her introduction into All Star Comics in December 1941.

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Her first actual book was in Sensation Comics in January 1941.

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The first comic in her name came out a year later.

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In the story the ‘birth’ of Diana came about in a special way. Her mother, Hippolyte created a statue of a little girl out of clay and Aphrodite gave the statue life.

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Unlike most comic heroes, Wonder Woman came from a very intellectual background. You can check out Jill Lepore’s book – The Secret History of Wonder Woman on Amazon.

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Tony

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Tufts on healthy fast food choices

I have been out of the working world for some years, but I remember when I was I found myself dining on fast foods a lot more often than was healthy. Now that I am retired, I can usually fix something for myself that is simple and nutritious so I have lost my reliance on quick fixes.

It may be easier than it once was to find quick-service choices that fit into a healthy dietary pattern, according to the Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter.

Fast food restaurants are relatively inexpensive, consistent, quick, familiar, and, for the most part, challenging places to eat if one wants to follow a healthy diet.

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According to the 2018 Fast Food Industry Analysis, one of the biggest forces acting on the fast food industry in America is the shifting of consumers’ tastes towards healthier options. According to the National Restaurant Association, the number of adults who say they are trying to choose healthier items at restaurants is on the rise. To meet this demand, a number of fast food chains have started including some healthier options on their menus (while simultaneously adding other less-healthful choices). Additionally, new franchises have launched concepts based on potentially healthier ingredients; vegetarian main courses and vegetable sides are becoming more common; and some major chains are promising to source fresher ingredients with less additives, purchase free-range chickens, and make other changes to lure health- and environmentally-conscious consumers to their counters. The extent to which these changes are actually improving health remains unclear. Continue reading

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Weekend funnies

Here is another batch of fascinating and sometimes funny items I stumbled upon in my web wanderings last week. I hope you have a great weekend!

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Tony

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Eyes provide new lens for Alzheimer’s screening

At the risk of repeating myself I have a strong interest in any form of dementia and especially Alzheimer’s Disease as I have had at least three close family members succumb – and I am a senior citizen.  the folowing is from the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Alzheimer’s disease is difficult to diagnose as well as treat,  but researchers now have a promising new screening tool using the window to the brain:  the eye.

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A study of 3,877 randomly selected patients found a significant link between three degenerative eye diseases – age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma – and Alzheimer’s disease.

The results offer physicians a new way to detect  those at higher risk of this disorder, which causes memory loss and other symptoms of cognitive decline. Continue reading

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Filed under aging brain, brain, brain function, dementia, eyes

Some mid-week pun fun …

Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving celebration. Here are a few fun items I found.

Remember, if you don’t pay your exorcist, you can get repossessed.

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Tony

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Want to cut down on meat-eating? Here are alternatives from Tufts

If you are feeling uncomfortable with the amount of meat you are eating, but don’t want to short yourself on protein, here are some good alternative ideas from Tufts Medical Center.

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A. Katie Fort, a dietetic intern at Frances Stern Nutrition Center at Tufts Medical Center, explains: “There is a growing body of data that demonstrates the health benefits of eating less meat and more plant-based foods. Though meat is an excellent source of protein, you get adequate amounts of protein from other foods. Here are some good ones: Continue reading

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Shoveling snow is dangerous

REBLOGGING THIS IN CASE YOU MISSED IT.

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

I wanted to post this early to remind you about the nature of snow shoveling. The sight of snow can be a beautiful thing, but the nitty gritty of it is otherwise. Driving a car over snow is treacherous, ditto trying to navigate a bicycle. But the worst can be removing it. Shoveling snow is dangerous work.

While I strongly support calorie burning exercises to build up your cardiovascular system and other benefits, it is important to know your limits. If you are not currently working out or don’t consider yourself to be “in condition,” please think twice before you grab that snow shovel and race out to clear the walk.

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The American Journal of Emergency Medicine reported that more than 195,000 people were treated in U.S. Emergency Rooms for snow-shovel-related incidents from 1990 to 2006. This is an average of 11,500 individuals per…

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Sweetened drinks more risky than other sugary foods for diabetes – Study

Public health strategies to cut sweetened drink consumption could be useful, say researchers.

The findings suggest that fruit and other foods containing fructose seem to have no harmful effect on blood glucose levels, while sweetened drinks and some other foods that add excess “nutrient poor” energy to diets may have harmful effects.

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“These findings might help guide recommendations on important food sources of fructose in the prevention and management of diabetes,” said Dr. John Sievenpiper, the study’s lead author and a researcher in the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Center of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada. “But the level of evidence is low and more high quality studies are needed.”

The role of sugars in the development of diabetes and heart disease attracts widespread debate and increasing evidence suggests that fructose could be particularly harmful to health.

Fructose occurs naturally in a range of foods, including whole fruits and vegetables, natural fruit juices and honey. It is also added to foods, such as soft drinks, breakfast cereals, baked goods, sweets, and desserts as ‘free sugars’.

Current dietary guidelines recommend reducing free sugars, especially fructose from sweetened beverages, but it is unclear whether this holds for all food sources of these sugars. Continue reading

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Filed under diabetes, fructose, sugar, sugary soda, sugary soft drinks, Type 2 diabetes

Psychological Differences Between Those Who Love and Those Who Loathe Black Friday Shopping

Foll disclosure: I don’t loathe it, but I wouldn’t go out on Black Friday shopping with your money. I do know folks who get up at Midnight and plunge right in. The following is what Neuroscience News has to say about Black Friday shopping.

Summary: Researchers consider why some people enjoy the thrill of Black Friday shopping, and why others don’t. Enjoyment of the social aspects of shopping may determine whether you are a fan of the day, or not. Source: The Conversation.

If the thought of taking part in the annual ritual of Black Friday gives you cold chills rather than a rush of excitement, you’re not alone. For every avid bargain hunter who plans for the day as if training for a marathon, there’s someone else who stays home, secure in the knowledge that no one will trample them, shove them or invade their personal space just to get this season’s hottest deals.

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NeuroscienceNews.com image is adapted from The Conversation news release.

It’s not just a lack of appreciation for bargains that drives this disconnect. Psychology research indicates that several factors determine which side of the shop-‘til-you-drop divide you land on. Some people just aren’t wired to enjoy the more social aspects of shopping.

What you prioritize plays in

Continue reading

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Exercise and you

This is one of those one picture is worth a thousand words posts. As a guy turning 79 in January, I feel like living proof of that. Get out and move that body. You don’t have to get hard core, you can walk. Walking is simple weight-bearing exercise that benefits your bones as well as your brains. Check out my Page – Why you should walk more to learn more.

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Also, feel free to check out my Page – Important facts about your brain and exercise benefits,

Tony

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Simple items to strengthen your core – Harvard

I have said it more than once, I am not a health club kind of guy. Exercise is great, I just don’t like the restricted atmosphere I feel in a health club. So I was thrilled to run across this item from Harvard Medical School on simple items you can use for exercise without going to one.

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You needn’t spend a cent on fancy equipment to get a good core workout. Many core exercises rely on your body weight alone. But with the help of some simple equipment, you can diversify and ramp up your workouts.

The following items can help you put a new twist on your core exercises. Most of them can already be found around your house or are available at low cost from a sporting goods store.

  • Chair. Choose a sturdy chair that won’t tip over easily. A plain wooden dining chair without arms or heavy padding works well.
  • Mat. Use a nonslip, well-padded mat. Yoga mats are readily available. A thick carpet or towels will do in a pinch.
  • Yoga strap. This is a non-elastic cotton or nylon strap of six feet or longer that helps you position your body properly during certain stretches, or while doing the easier variation of a stretch. Choose a strap with a D-ring or buckle fastener on one end. This allows you to put a loop around your foot or leg and then grasp the other end of the strap.
  • Medicine balls. Similar in size to a soccer ball or basketball, medicine balls come in different weights. Some have a handle on top. A 4-pound to 6-pound medicine ball is a good start for most people.
  • Bosu. A Bosu Balance Trainer is essentially half a stability ball mounted on a heavy rubber platform that holds the ball firmly in place.

For more ways to challenge your core muscles, purchase Core Exercises, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

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Weekend funnies …

Here’s hoping you had a great Thanksgiving holiday and have a wonderful holiday weekend ahead. I guess these aren’t actually ha ha funnies, but fun.

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Tony

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