Tag Archives: Alzheimer’s

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.”

 brain

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.

Tony

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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.

Alzheimer’s-Disease-thinkstock-148044781-617x416
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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Cancer Patients Less Likely to Get Alzheimer’s, Study Finds

“…common pathways exist between most cancers and Alzheimer’s disease, but these relationships do not appear to exist with other causes of dementia,” Galvin said.

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Risk for malignancy was also lower in seniors with Alzheimer’s, researchers report.

Gaining insight into two big health concerns, Italian researchers have found that seniors with cancer have a lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease and vice versa.

Studying more than 200,000 older adults in northern Italy, the research team concluded that cancer patients bear a 35 percent lower risk for developing Alzheimer’s, while people with Alzheimer’s have nearly half the risk of getting cancer compared to the general population.

The investigators suggested that the findings could help guide researchers toward better treatments for both illnesses over the long term.

“Practically, our results [indicated that] some genes that have been demonstrated to act in cancer growth and control might also be involved in the [development] of Alzheimer’s disease,” said study lead author Dr. Massimo Musicco, of the National Research Council of Italy’s Institute of Advanced Biomedical Technologies. “And this represents a…

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COCONUT OIL AN INCREDIBLE ALZHEIMER’S TREATMENT

Having lost a loved one to Alzheimer’s, I say any port in a storm.

PACEM

HEALTH/COCONUT – ALZHEIMERS

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While solid scientific studies on the role of coconut oil in the treatment of Alzheimer’s are lacking, several case studies have been presented to the public in recent years that have drawn a positive connection. In these, we learn of Alzheimer’s patients who began taking coconut oil daily and found significant improvements in their condition.

In one such case, a 67-year old British man had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s so serious that any drug treatment would simply be pointless. His son remarked to the Daily Mail that his father couldn’t wash himself, use the toilet, or feed himself. He had lost much of his faculties. After finding a YouTube video from Dr. Mary Newport suggesting coconut oil, he began mixing it in his father’s food. Within a period of six months, his father’s condition dramatically improved—to the point of him having normal conversations, going on walks with…

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The Other Side of Alzheimer’s

Regular readers know I have a strong interest in dementia as I lost an aunt to Alzheimer’s Disease and my mother suffered from dementia in her final years. A lot of my healthy aging activities are aimed at preventing that from happening to me. So I was struck by the story of Charles Schoenfeld. He didn’t get Alzheimer’s, but he took care of his mother who did. I thought it would be worthwhile for readers who might find themselves someday in the position of caregiver to hear what Charles has to say.

As you can see from the previous post, Charles spoke at Aspirus Senior Center on his book A Funny Thing Happened on my way to the Dementia Ward.

alz book
In his own words, “After retiring from a 27 year job as a truck driver, I went to work at North Central Health Care (NCHC), providing care to residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

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What is a Defense For an Aging Brain?

One of the major concerns among the seniors in my acquaintance is declining mental functions. When the Healthy Transitions Program® at Northwestern Memorial had a talk on Alzheimer’s, it was to a packed auditorium. I confess that I share this concern, too, because of the dementia and Alzheimer’s in my family.

Gro Amdam an Arizona State University professor says, “We show that social relationships can heal older brains.”

Professor Gro Amdam, led a 15-member team of scientists from ASU and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences on a three-year research project studying honeybees and trying to turn back the clock on aging, according to AZ central.com.

Amdam’s research showed that the brains of older honeybees turned back the clock when they began caring for baby bees, a task usually done by younger bees.

Such social interventions – how you deal with your surroundings – could be used to treat or slow dementia in humans.

“The older bees who cared for the babies significantly improved their ability to learn new things. Scientists also found molecular changes in their brains, including higher levels of brain proteins that can heal cells. The bees that continued to forage did not show any positive change in brain function, “AZcentral reported.

Older people could slow, and perhaps even overturn, some aspects of brain aging by enjoying social activities that they did when they were younger, she said. Taking care of children may have particularly positive effects, but other activities, such as imaginary play, starting a band or engaging in cooperative two- or multi-player video games, may have similar benefits, Amdam said.


I love the idea of playing. I wrote a post for my blog Willingwheeling about some acrylic design shapes that I ‘play’ with. Please understand that this is pure play. It is not like doing crosswords or sudoku puzzles in an effort to slow aging. Those only build skill at crosswords or sudoku, they don’t grow working memory.

The study above was sponsored by the National Institute on Aging, Pew Charitable Trusts and the Research Council of Norway.

Tony

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How to Reduce Your Chances of Alzheimer’s – Harvard

I have mentioned numerous times how much concern I have regarding dementia and Alzheimer’s disease because two of my close family members suffered from one or the other of them. 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 is the most common form of dementia.

Alzheimer’s accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases. In fact, Alzheimer’s is the second most feared disease, behind only cancer. So, I am not alone in my concern. Although it is said a person with Alzheimer’s can live from two to 20 years, my understanding is that few make it beyond 7 years. Harvard Medical School has released a new study on it.

They point to age, gender and family history as factors outside our control regarding the disease. On a positive note, everything I support in this blog works to lower Alzheimer’s risk – exercise, watching your weight and eating right.

Harvard said, “While there are no surefire ways to prevent Alzheimer’s, by following the five steps below you may lower your risk for this disease — and enhance your overall health as well.

1. Maintain a healthy weight. Cut back on calories and increase physical activity if you need to shed some pounds.

2. Check your waistline. To accurately measure your waistline, use a tape measure around the narrowest portion of your waist (usually at the height of the navel and lowest rib). A National Institutes of Health panel recommends waist measurements of no more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.

3. Eat mindfully. Emphasize colorful, vitamin-packed vegetables and fruits; whole grains; fish, lean poultry, tofu, and beans and other legumes as protein sources; plus healthy fats. Cut down on unnecessary calories from sweets, sodas, refined grains like white bread or white rice, unhealthy fats, fried and fast foods, and mindless snacking. Keep a close eye on portion sizes, too.

4. Exercise regularly. This simple step does great things for your body. Regular physical activity helps control weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, biking, rowing), can also help chip away total body fat and abdominal fat over time. Aim for 2 1/2 to 5 hours weekly of brisk walking (at 4 mph). Or try a vigorous exercise like jogging (at 6 mph) for half that time.

5. Keep an eye on important health numbers. In addition to watching your weight and waistline, ask your doctor whether your cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and blood sugar are within healthy ranges. Exercise, weight loss if needed, and medications (if necessary) can help keep these numbers on target.” For more on ways to prevent Alzheimer’s you can order A Guide to Alzheimer’s Disease from Harvard.

Tony

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How Good is Hemp Seed For You?

I have run across any number of fascinating food items to add to my culinary vocabulary at Costco, seemingly an unlikely place for such discoveries. The discoveries include chia seeds, black rice, quinoa, and roasted seaweed to name a few. You can click the links to read about them.

On my latest trip I encountered yet another grain that can also qualify as a super food – Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds. Frankly, they were as new to me as were many of the above.

The bag boasted Source of Omega 3’s, 11 grams of protein per serving, all natural super food. “Hemp seeds are a terrific source of essential amino acids like our Quinoa, making them a complete source of protein.” Pretty impressive stuff.

Andrea Cespedes writing for the Livestrong Group said, “Hemp seeds are a source of Omega-3 fatty acids and high quality protein. Sprinkle the tiny, ivory seeds on salads or cereal, add them to yogurt, include them in baked goods or mix them into smoothies. They have a nutty taste, reminiscent of sesame seeds. Adding hemp seeds to your diet offers multiple nutritional benefits.

“A two tablespoon serving of hemp seeds contains 160 calories. Hemp seeds are approximately 12 percent carbohydrates, meaning this serving size contains about five grams of carbohydrates. Two tablespoons of hemp seeds provides just one gram of fiber.

“Hemp seeds contain 10 grams of fat per 2-tablespoon serving, almost all of which is heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Hemp seeds provide significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. This type of unsaturated fat helps with brain development and function and protects against heart disease.
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Don’t Mistake Drug Side Effects for Alzheimer’s Signals

As a person who has lost family members to Alzheimer’s and has real concerns about succumbing to the disease himself, I was gratified to read the article in the Wall Street Journal about how dozens of drugs have side effects that look like Alzheimer’s but aren’t.

Over 100 different drugs have side effects that can mimic Alzheimer’s in some people, according to a superb article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal.

The Journal lists antihistimines, sleeping pills, painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs, anti-psychotic drugs, cholesterol drugs, older antidepressants, incontinence drugs, acid-reflux drugs, blood-pressure drugs, tranquilizers, heart drugs, stomach drugs, and Parkinson’s drugs as all possible sources of symptoms that can be analyzed as Alzheimer’s symptoms.

“I have had people referred to me with a clear history of dementia and when I started to peel back the medications, they were much better,” Gary Kennedy, chief of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y. told the Journal’s Melinda Beck.

Experts as well as primary care physicians are often fooled by the symptoms generated by these drugs, according to the chief of biological psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

Autopsy studies of nearly 1,000 dementia patients at 30 top centers supported by the National Institute on Aging from 2005 to 2010 found that between 17% and 30% of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease had been misdiagnosed and had other conditions.

So, if you or a loved one are experiencing mental fogginess, loss of memory or other ‘typical’ Alzheimer’s symptoms, take heart. Don’t be too hasty in jumping to the Alzheimer’s conclusion. Check out all the medicines currently being prescribed as their side effects may be leading you down the wrong path.

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.

Tony

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