Tag Archives: Alzheimer’s

To what extent is dementia preventable?

Regular readers know that my family has a history of Alzheimer’s Disease and/or dementia. This is true on both my mother’s and father’s side. So, at 77, I am totally focused on anything that relates to these mental conditions. The following is from the Keck School of Medicine at USC by Erica Rheinschild.

Experts say that one-third of the world’s dementia cases could be prevented by managing lifestyle factors such as hearing loss, hypertension and depression.

 

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This remarkable fact was part of a report by the first Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention and Care that was presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2017 and published in The Lancet. The report also highlighted the beneficial effects of nonpharmacologic interventions such as social contact and exercise for people with dementia. Continue reading

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Could changes in thinking skills be reversible dementia? – Harvard

Regular readers know that I have had a number of Alzheimer’s and dementia occurrences in my immediate family. So, I am especially sensitive to anything related to dementia. The following is from Heidi Godman, Exetutive Editor, Harvard Health Letter.

We use the term “dementia” to describe a number of conditions that cause permanent thinking skills changes, such as memory loss and confusion. The most common kind of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which is characterized by clumping proteins that get tangled in and around brain cells, eventually causing them to die. The second most common type of dementia is vascular dementia, caused by decreased blood flow to the brain from atherosclerosis—the accumulation of fatty deposits on artery walls.

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Once dementia strikes, the damage is permanent, and we don’t have many treatment options. So, before a diagnosis is made, it’s crucial to rule out whether the causes for dementia are actually reversible conditions. Continue reading

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What about Alzheimer’s in the family? Harvard

Regular readers know that my family has suffered at least one case of Alzheimer’s and one or two of general dementia. I think it is fair to say that mental illness damages the entire family either directly or indirectly. It also has implications on individuals’ future mental health.

Harvard Medical School offers some fine counseling on the subject.

Alzheimer’s disease represents a personal health crisis, but it’s also a family concern. What does it mean for your children or siblings if you are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s? What does it mean for you if a close relative develops the condition?

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“People think that if their dad or aunt or uncle had Alzheimer’s disease, they are doomed. But, no, that’s not true,” says Dr. Gad Marshall, assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School. “Even though family history adds to the overall risk, age still usually trumps it quite a bit. It means your risk is higher, but it’s not that much higher, if you consider the absolute numbers.”

Family history by the numbers

Studies of family history say that if you have a close relative who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease—the most common form of dementia in older adults—your risk increases by about 30%. This is a relative risk increase, meaning a 30% hike in your existing risk.

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Extra-virgin olive oil may prevent Alzheimer’s

New research suggests that extra-virgin olive oil – a key component of the Mediterranean diet – may protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. Mouse experiments revealed changes in both cognitive performance and the appearance of nerve cells.

Alzheimer’s disease is estimated to affect approximately 5 million people in the United States. The neurodegenerative disease is progressive and cannot yet be cured or reversed.

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But new research moves closer to a prevention – and potentially reversing – strategy, by studying the effects of extra-virgin olive oil on the cognitive performance and brain health of mice.

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Can gut bacteria affect Alzheimer’s?

As a person who has lost three family members to dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, this new information on the subject knocked me out.

Please see my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits) for more.

Tony

New research finds the microbes in your gut may play a major role in escalating the chronic brain disease. A raft of recent studies has shown that the microbiome is a factor in the development of obesity, type 2 diabetes, asthma, and cardiovascular disease. Now, we can add Alzheimer’s disease to the list. A new […]

via Can Gut Bacteria Affect Alzheimer’s Disease? — Our Better Health

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Are we java junkies? – Infographic

I am a coffee drinker and coffee lover. I wrote about my cold brewing coffee in March. Also, check out my post from Harvard on coffee facts.

This is one of the most informative infographics I can remember seeing. Enjoy!

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Tony

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Dietary Guidelines for Alzheimer’s Prevention

There are some excellent tips here on boosting brain health. As regular readers know, I have both Alzheimer’s and dementia in my family, so anything professing to boost my brain health is music to my ears.

I was impressed with the insights on vitamins with iron and copper, also the suggestion to avoid aluminum cookware and products that contain aluminum.

Naturally, the suggestion to exercise for 120 minutes each week was also good to read. I have written a Page on the brain and exercise which I urge you to read – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits).

Lastly, I have to take issue with the first suggestion about avoiding coconut oil among other saturated fats. Coconut oil is actually a terrifically healthy fat which I have integrated into my daily diet, not only with no ill effects, but very positive ones, including superb cholesterol readings. I am 75 years old and start every day with a tablespoon of coconut oil and peanut butter. I ride my bicycle an average of nearly 20 miles a day year ’round here in Chicago.

Here is my Page – Coconut Oil -Why You Should Include it in Your Diet. Please read that before deciding to follow the doctors’ suggestion on avoiding it.

Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

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“Alzheimer’s disease isn’t a natural part of aging,” notes lead author Neal Barnard, M.D., president of the nonprofit Physicians Committee and an adjunct professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine. “By staying active and moving plant-based foods to the center of our plates, we have a fair shot at rewriting our genetic code for this heart-wrenching , and costly, disease.”

Alzheimer’s Disease International predicts Alzheimer’s rates will triple worldwide by 2050. The Alzheimer’s Association predicts long-term care costs start at $41,000 per year.

The seven guidelines to reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease are:

  • Minimize your intake of saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fat is found primarily in dairy products, meats, and certain oils (coconut and palm oils). Trans fats are found in many snack pastries and fried foods and are listed on labels as “partially hydrogenated oils.”
  • Eat…

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Health Benefits of Pineapple in Arthritis Management and Others

One of the most celebrated uses of pineapple in terms of health is its ability to reduce the inflammation of joints and muscles, particularly those associated with arthritis, a truly debilitating disease that affects millions of people around the world.

As a long time arthritis (hands) sufferer, I drink pineapple juice daily. It’s nice to see all the benefits of this tasty fruit.

Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

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One of the most celebrated uses of pineapple in terms of health is its ability to reduce the inflammation of joints and muscles, particularly those associated with arthritis, a truly debilitating disease that affects millions of people around the world.

Pineapples contain a relatively rare proteolytic enzyme called bromelain, which is primarily associated with breaking down complex proteins, but it also has serious anti-inflammatory effects, and has been positively correlated with reducing the signs and symptoms of arthritis in many test subjects.

Read more . . . .

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Vitamin D May Help Prevent and Treat Diseases Associated with Aging

Researchers reviewed evidence that suggests an association between vitamin D deficiency and chronic diseases associated with aging such as cognitive decline, depression, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and cancer.

Vitamin D is really the rock star of vitamins. I have written about it before:
Vitamin D May Help Prevent and Treat Diseases Associated with Aging
Low Vitamin D Predicts More Severe Strokes, Poor Health Post-stroke
Adding Vitamin D for the Winter Months – Guest Post – Kelli Jennings
How Good is Vitamin D For You? – Infographic
Link Between Vitamin D and Dementia Risk Confirmed

Tony

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Vitamin D may play a vital role in the prevention and treatment of diseases associated with aging, according to researchers at Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing (MNSON). These findings were published in the latest issue of the Journal of Aging and Gerontology.

Researchers reviewed evidence that suggests an association between vitamin D deficiency and chronic diseases associated with aging such as cognitive decline, depression, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and cancer.

“Vitamin D deficiency is a common, serious medical condition that significantly affects the health and well-being of older adults,” said Sue Penckofer, PhD, RN, study author and full professor, MNSON.

Older adults are at risk for vitamin D deficiency due to diet, reduced time outdoors and poor skin absorption of the nutrient. With the number of people ages 65 and older expected to more than double from 2012 to 2060, the problem…

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6 Surprising Things That Affect Your Brain

For some time, the prevailing view of a brain at midlife was that it’s “simply a young brain slowly closing down,” observes Barbara Strauch. But she notes that recent research has shown that middle age is actually a kind of cranial prime time, with a few comedic twists thrown in for fun.

“Researchers have found that — despite some bad habits — the brain is at its peak in those years. As it helps us navigate through our lives, the middle-age brain cuts through the muddle to find solutions, knows whom and what to ignore, when to zig and when to zag,” she writes. “It stays cool. It adjusts.”

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Regular readers know that I feel strongly about brain health and development as I have both Alzheimer’s and dementia in my family. Check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain for more.

Tony

Our Better Health

a Care2 favorite by Megan, selected from Experience Life

Brain scientists in recent years have discovered a number of surprising ways that the brain influences our overall health, as well as how our behavior influences the health of our brain. And unlike in the days of old — when scientists believed the brain was “fixed” after childhood, only to start an inexorable decline in the middle to later years — today, research is showing that the brain is perfectly capable of changing, healing and “rewiring” itself to an unexpected degree.

It turns out that the age of your brain may be a lesser influence on its structure than what you do with it. Pursuits that require intense mental focus, like language learning, “switch on” the nucleus basalis, the control mechanism for neuroplasticity.

In short, neuroplasticity means you have some control over your cranial fitness. While brain function naturally deteriorates somewhat…

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U.S. study looks into the benefits of coconut oil on patients with Alzheimer’s

While there is currently no clinical data showing the benefits of coconut oil on the prevention and treatment of dementia, Newport – whose husband Steve was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 51 – said she began to see improvements after starting him on four teaspoons of coconut oil per day.

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Regular readers know that I am totally into coconut oil. I have some every day of my life. Please check out my Page – Coconut Oil – Why You Should Include it in Your Diet.

Tony

Our Better Health

CTVNews.ca Staff   Published Wednesday, October 9, 2013 10:00PM EDT

After studying the effects of ginkgo leaves, vitamin E and painkillers on Alzheimer’s — a disease that affects about 30 million people globally — researchers at the University of South Florida have turned their attention to another possible natural remedy: coconut oil.

In what’s believed to be the first clinical trial of its kind, the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute enrolled 65 individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s to measure the effects of coconut oil — versus placebo – on the disease.

The research was sparked by the five-year efforts of Dr. Mary Newport, who hopes to have results of the study within a year.

Dr. Mary Newport and her husband, Steve, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 51.

Dr. Mary Newport says she began seeing improvements in her husband’s Alzheimer’s after she started giving him four teaspoons of coconut…

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Link Between Vitamin D and Dementia Risk Confirmed

Dementia is one of the greatest challenges of our time, with 44 million cases worldwide – a number expected to triple by 2050 as a result of rapid population ageing. A billion people worldwide are thought to have low vitamin D levels and many older adults may experience poorer health as a result.

Vitamin D is indeed the rockstar of vitamins. I have posted on it numerous times:
How Good is Vitamin D For You – Infographic, Vitamin D Deficiency May Compromise Immune Function, Vitamin D Improves Mood and Blood Pressure in Women with Diabetes, Calcium and Vitamin D Help Hormones Help Bones, Vitamin D and Your Body – Harvard.

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Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a substantially increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in older people, according to the most robust study of its kind ever conducted.

An international team, led by Dr David Llewellyn at the University of Exeter Medical School, found that study participants who were severely Vitamin D deficient were more than twice as likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The team studied elderly Americans who took part in the Cardiovascular Health Study. They discovered that adults in the study who were moderately deficient in vitamin D had a 53 per cent increased risk of developing dementia of any kind, and the risk increased to 125 per cent in those who were severely deficient.

Similar results were recorded for Alzheimer’s disease, with the moderately deficient group 69 per cent more likely to develop this type of dementia, jumping to a 122 per cent increased…

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Study: Eating Baked or Broiled Fish Weekly Boosts Brain Health

Some studies have predicted that lifestyle changes such as a reduction in rates of physical inactivity, smoking and obesity could lead to fewer cases of Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions of cognitive impairment in the elderly. The anti-oxidant effect of omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in high amounts in fish, seeds and nuts, and certain oils, also have been associated with improved health, particularly brain health.

Regular readers know that I am very interested in anything relating to a healthy brain because of the dementia I have seen in my family. Please check out my Page Important Facts About Your Brain for more details on this important topic.

Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

Eating baked or broiled fish once a week is good for the brain, regardless of how much omega-3 fatty acid it contains, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The findings, published online recently in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, add to growing evidence that lifestyle factors contribute to brain health later in life.

Scientists estimate that more than 80 million people will have dementia by 2040, which could become a substantial burden to families and drive up health care costs, noted senior investigator James T. Becker, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, Pitt School of Medicine. Some studies have predicted that lifestyle changes such as a reduction in rates of physical inactivity, smoking and obesity could lead to fewer cases of Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions of cognitive impairment in the elderly. The anti-oxidant effect of omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in high amounts in…

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A Healthy Lifestyle May Deflect Dementia

Earlier studies have observed that each of these lifestyle changes might help fight dementia. But this is the first randomized clinical trial to put those findings to the test, said Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach for the Alzheimer’s Association.

I have both Alzheimer’s and dementia in my family so I am deeply interested in the subject of the healthy brain. Check out my Page: Important Facts About Your Brain – (and Exercise) for starters. You can also search both Alzheimer‘s and dementia for more.

 

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Older folks who began eating right, exercising did better on memory and problem-solving tests in study.

Seniors at risk for dementia may help safeguard their memory and ability to think by adopting a healthier lifestyle, a new study from Finland suggests.

Older people who began eating right, exercising, playing “brain games” and socializing more often performed better on memory and problem-solving tests than people who maintained their habits, the researchers said.

Earlier studies have observed that each of these lifestyle changes might help fight dementia. But this is the first randomized clinical trial to put those findings to the test, said Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach for the Alzheimer’s Association.

“This is the first study to definitively show that changing your lifestyle will reduce your risk for cognitive decline,” Fargo said.

The study involved 1,260 people aged 60 to 77 at risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

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Music From iPods Helps Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients

To clarify: Dementia is not a disease but a group of different diseases characterized by the gradual worsening of cognitive abilities. Dementia is seen across all ethnic groups and increasingly so with advancing age. Among 65–69-year-olds, about 2 percent are afflicted, with this figure doubling for every five years of age. Alzheimer’s accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases.

Regular readers know that I lost an aunt to Alzheimer’s and my mother suffered from dementia late in her life, so all aspects of these aberrations are important to me.

I ran across a fascinating article in Agingcare.com about a project started by a social worker who was also a music fan. Dan Cohen “asked his local nursing home if he could come in and bring some digital music players with custom-made playlists to patients. Through trial and error, he learned what songs each patient liked and the ones they didn’t, then he remixed the play list accordingly. Every two weeks for 18 months, the patients Cohen worked with received updated songs. And he taught caregivers how to create playlists too.”

Cohen found immediate success. “Patients who used to be easily agitated soon seemed docile when a caregiver put headphones on them and encouraged them to listen. Others who were unresponsive suddenly lit up with awareness, and the ones who barely spoke suddenly wanted to converse.“

Now, after six years, Cohen’s small experiment has become a non-profit called Music and Memory. It has introduced iPods to over 50 nursing homes and assisted living centers in the U.S. and Canada. A documentary on it has become a viral sensation.

“The evidence isn’t just observational. Brain scans show that when people listen to music that’s autobiographical, music that evokes an important place, time or emotion for the listener, regions of the brain become stimulated, particularly the brain’s memory maker, the medial prefrontal cortex. That’s an important factor for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia.”

Concetta Tomaino, D.A., executive director and co-founder of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Functions in New York says that it isn’t just Alzheimer’s and dementia patients who can benefit from this kind of music therapy.

She says, “ … when the auditory system is stimulated it can even override pain signals, providing relief in a way medicine sometimes cannot. Chemical changes occur, too, when patients hear music. Scientific evidence shows that listening to music you enjoy increases serotonin in the brain and decreases the stress hormone cortisol.”

Tony

I was not able to find a link for Cohen’s Music and Memory group. The film was done several years ago.

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Alzheimer’s Deaths May Be Drastically Under-reported

While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently ranks Alzheimer’s Number Six among the leading causes of death in the U.S. Investigators now say the illness more accurately sits atop the list alongside killers Ranked  One and Number Two: heart disease and cancer, reports HealthDay, a service of the U .S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

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An analysis of two aging studies published in the journal Neurology tallied fatalities among nearly 2,600 seniors 65 and older from the mid-1990s up until 2013.

All were initially dementia-free although annual clinical testing revealed that almost 22 percent ultimately developed Alzheimer’s a diagnosis that appeared to triple or even quadruple the rate of death.

Upon death, approximately 90 percent were autopsied and because all were organ donors, the cause of mortality was clearly noted in each case. Number crunching on a national scale revealed that among all Americans 75 and up, Alzheimer’s likely accounted for more than 500,000 deaths in 2010 five to six times higher than figures previously reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2013, Alzheimer’s care cost $203 billion in the U.S. Costs are expected to climb past $1 trillion by 2050.

Tony

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