Posted by WBHI on Dec 31, 2010 in Helpful Thinking
by Pam Belluck for The New York Times
Margaret Nance was, to put it mildly, a difficult case. Agitated, combative, often reluctant to eat, she would hit staff members and fellow residents at nursing homes, several of which kicked her out. But when Beatitudes nursing home agreed to an urgent plea to accept her, all that changed.
Disregarding typical nursing-home rules, Beatitudes allowed Ms. Nance, 96 and afflicted with Alzheimer’s, to sleep, be bathed and dine whenever she wanted, even at 2 a.m. She could eat anything, too, no matter how unhealthy, including unlimited chocolate. And she was given a baby doll, a move that seemed so jarring that a supervisor initially objected until she saw how calm Ms. Nance became when she rocked, caressed and fed her “baby,” often agreeing to eat herself after the doll “ate” several spoonfuls.
Dementia patients at Beatitudes are allowed practically anything that brings comfort, even an alcoholic “nip at night,” said Tena Alonzo, director of research. “Whatever your vice is, we’re your folks,” she said. Once, Ms. Alonzo said: “The state tried to cite us for having chocolate on the nursing chart. They were like, ‘It’s not a medication.’ Yes, it is. It’s better than Xanax.”
It is an unusual posture for a nursing home, but Beatitudes is actually following some of the latest science. Research suggests that creating positive emotional experiences for Alzheimer’s patients diminishes distress and behavior problems. In fact, science is weighing in on many aspects of taking care of dementia patients, applying evidence-based research to what used to be considered subjective and ad hoc.
by Roni Caryn Rabin for The New York Times
Could HDL cholesterol — the good kind linked to lower heart disease risk — also protect people from dementia?
A new study reports that older New York City residents who had very high blood levels of high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, the so-called “good” cholesterol, were at less than half the risk of developing dementia over time than those with the lowest levels.
The people who reaped the benefit had very high HDL blood levels that exceeded 56 milligrams per deciliter of blood, the study reported. They developed 60 percent fewer cases of Alzheimer’s disease than people with the lowest HDL levels, of 38 milligrams or below. The differences between the two groups held even after the researchers adjusted the figures to account for other causal factors that influence the development of dementia, like vascular disease, as well as age, sex, education level and genes that predispose to Alzheimer’s.
“We think it’s a causal relationship,” said Dr. Christiane Reitz, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor of neurology at Columbia University’s Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain. “At the baseline, when we recruited these people, they didn’t have cognitive problems. We followed them, and they developed dementia during the follow-up period.”
Posted by WBHI on Dec 14, 2010 in Think About It
by John Phillip for Natural News
Health conscious individuals understand the importance of maintaining proper vitamin D blood levels to dramatically lower the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, cancer and many autoimmune conditions. Researchers have now made an important connection between vitamin D status and advancing degrees of cognitive impairment.
Proper levels of the sunshine vitamin are critical to maintain optimal brain health, and the risk of cognitive decline is doubled in aging adults with the lowest circulating blood readings of vitamin D. Many people have difficulty obtaining sufficient vitamin D from diet or sun exposure and must supplement to lower the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer`s disease.
Study Shows That Vitamin D is Critical to Brain Health
It is a common misconception that loss of cognitive abilities is a normal part of the aging process. Fortunately a steady decline in one`s ability to learn, comprehend and develop and retain new memories is not inevitable and is well within our control. The results of a study published in the journal Neurology show that vitamin D intake is associated with a decreased incidence of cognitive impairment.
Vitamin D is shown to bond with neuronal receptors in the brain and prevents neurodegeneration. The vitamin is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that protects cellular damage that leads to brain cell death and loss of vital cognitive abilities. The study authors concluded:“our findings showed an association between vitamin D deficiency and global cognitive impairment. These results are congruent with fundamental research and add to the growing body of evidence in favor of the neurological action of vitamin D”.