Posted by WBHI on May 31, 2012 in Helpful Thinking
by Sharon Arkin, PsyD for Arizona Jewish Post:
Alzheimer’s disease is a dreaded brain disease that afflicts an estimated 5 million Americans — mostly people over 65 — and half of people over 85. Feared more than cancer by most people, Alzheimer’s disease is expected to increase exponentially as the baby boomer generation swells the ranks of the elderly. The disease affects language, memory, orientation, mood and motor functions, with symptoms appearing in different orders and worsening at varying rates. Alzheimer’s duration ranges from two to 20 years and, in its final stages, renders the sufferer totally helpless and unable to communicate.
There is no definitive diagnostic test for Alzheimer’s disease; its presence may be determined via autopsy of the brain. There is no cure, though several drugs have been approved that provide temporary symptomatic relief for some patients. These drugs have side effects that some users find unpleasant. Some non-pharmacological interventions (described below) can slow cognitive decline and improved the physical well-being and quality of life of Alzheimer’s disease sufferers and their caregivers.
by News Medical:
NT-MDT S&L (Ireland) is working in collaboration with the University of Limerick (UL) and a number of other Universities across Europe to develop an instrument, which will be capable of screening patients cells for Alzheimer’s disease.
The University of Limerick scientists have been awarded €5.4 million from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme to develop the device and will lead the European team.
NT-MDT will provide key input into the project and will develop a detection complex from prototype stage through to a commercial table-top device. The project will be called LANIR (Label Free Nanoscopy Using Infra-Red).
Currently there are 7.7 million new cases of dementia each year worldwide, implying that there is a new case of dementia somewhere in the world every four seconds. At present there is no test to screen for this disease. The World Alzheimer Report 2011 identified that the current lack of detection is a significant barrier to improving lives of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Posted by WBHI on May 31, 2012 in Helpful Thinking
by Dementia Today:
It is important to have failure proof Alzheimer’s activities every day for your loved one if his or her level of cognitive ability allows participation. The objective is to offer simple activities, which help reinforce the patient’s self-esteem while relieving boredom and frustration. This, for the caregiver, involves being alert to the preserved abilities of the patient and helping develop and use the skills he or she still has. The more involved Alzheimer’s patients remain with the world around them, the more resourceful they will become at finding ways to keep their world from slipping away.
Emphasize Assets rather than Deficits
The failure proof Alzheimer’s activities described here may be used by anyone who comes in contact with the Alzheimer’s patient: the family caregiver, the companion, the nurse’s aide or the occasional visitor. They are described as failure- free activities because they are adapted to suit the needs and capacity of the person with memory loss, and are to be used in a way that will enable the person to succeed.
Posted by WBHI on May 31, 2012 in Sooner Than You Think
by Medical XPress:
The molecular structure of a protein involved in Alzheimer’s disease – and the surprising discovery that it binds cholesterol – could lead to new therapeutics for the disease, Vanderbilt University investigators report in the June 1 issue of the journal Science.
Charles Sanders, Ph.D., professor of Biochemistry, and colleagues in the Center for Structural Biology determined the structure of part of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) – the source of amyloid-beta, which is believed to trigger Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid-beta clumps together into oligomers that kill neurons, causing dementia and memory loss. The amyloid-beta oligomers eventually form plaques in the brain – one of the hallmarks of the disease.
“Anything that lowers amyloid-beta production should help prevent, or possibly treat, Alzheimer’s disease,” Sanders said.
Posted by WBHI on May 31, 2012 in Helpful Thinking
by Céleste Owen-Jones for BBC News:
Alzheimer’s is thought of as a disease of the elderly. But the early-onset form of the disease can wreak havoc for young people and their families. On a fall day in Westbury, New York state, Brandon Henley, 18, hastily opens the front door of his small house. The nurse his mother has been calling all day has finally arrived to deliver urgently needed anti-seizure medicine.
Behind him, she notices on a recliner a frail man, eyes closed, under many blankets. “Is that your grandfather?” she asks. “No, it’s my father,” says Henley.
Mike Henley is 47. What hair he has left is white. He no longer has teeth and is so thin and pale that it seems he could vanish at any moment. He cannot speak, he cannot walk and no-one knows if he can understand what is going on around him.
Mike Henley has Alzheimer’s disease.
Posted by WBHI on May 30, 2012 in Think Ahead, Think Twice
by Science Daily:
Women in their seventies who exercise and eat healthy amounts of fruits and vegetables have a longer life expectancy, according to research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Researchers at the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University studied 713 women aged 70 to 79 years who took part in the Women’s Health and Aging Studies. This study was designed to evaluate the causes and course of physical disability in older women living in the community.
“A number of studies have measured the positive impact of exercise and healthy eating on life expectancy, but what makes this study unique is that we looked at these two factors together,” explains lead author, Dr. Emily J Nicklett, from the University of Michigan School of Social Work.
Researchers found that the women who were most physically active and had the highest fruit and vegetable consumption were eight times more likely to survive the five-year follow-up period than the women with the lowest rates.
Posted by WBHI on May 30, 2012 in Think Ahead
by Michelle Henderson for Nine News:
Powerful new imaging technology will play a role in the largest-ever disease prevention trial in Australia.
The ASPREE (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) study is investigating the risks and benefits of aspirin in healthy people over 70. The study involving 15,000 Australians and 4,000 people from the US hopes to discover whether a daily low dose of aspirin could help elderly people live well for longer.
New imaging technology at Monash Biomedical Imaging, which officially opened in Melbourne on Wednesday, will be used to undertake a second study associated with the larger trial. Prof John McNeil, head of the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University, said the technology now available would help researchers understand how aspirin works on the brain and carotid arteries.
Posted by WBHI on May 30, 2012 in Great Minds Think Alike
by Gretchen Reynolds for The New York Times:
It’s well established that exercise substantially changes the human brain, affecting both thinking and emotions. But a sophisticated, multifaceted new study suggests that the effects may be more nuanced than many scientists previously believed. Whether you gain all of the potential cognitive and mood benefits from exercise may depend on when and how often you work out, as well as on the genetic makeup of your brain.
For the experiment, published last month in Neuroscience, researchers in the department of psychology and neuroscience at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., recruited 54 adults, ages 18 to 36, from the college and the surrounding community. The volunteers were healthy but generally sedentary; none exercised regularly.
During their first visit to the lab, they completed a series of questionnaires about their health and mood, including how anxious they were both at that moment and in general.
Posted by WBHI on May 29, 2012 in Think It Over
by Michael Fuhrman D.C. for Designs for Health:
Like most folks, I like the occasional sweet indulgence, be it a slice of cheesecake, scoop of Ben and Jerry’s (“Everything but the Kitchen Sink”, please!) or a “Death by Chocolate” type of dessert. The problem occurs when that occasional treat becomes a daily habit. Compound the daily habit with a steady consumption of fructose loaded juices or soft drinks and suddenly we are now looking at a situation that has now become a significant health issue. If we look around as we shop at the local grocery store, this situation may be becoming the rule and not the exception.
While we recognize the outward signs of this type of chronic indulgence; pendulous bellies, double chins and labored breathing, it’s the inward signals that may go unnoticed and may ultimately be the iceberg lying below the surface. Over consumption of fructose is now a primary culprit in the development of obesity, diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome. While I have discussed fructose in past blogs it may behoove us to revisit this subject in the context of brain function and cognition.
To illustrate, a study revealed that laboratory animals fed high amounts of fructose experienced impaired spatial memory. The study therefore demonstrates that a high fructose diet harms the brain as well as the body.
by U.S. News:
Healthy brain nerve connections as you age may be a key to retaining intelligence later in life, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland found that older people with robust brain wiring (white matter, or nerve fibers that connect different, distant brain areas) processed information quickly, a sign of intelligence.
The study of 420 people who were born in 1936 and have been followed since they were 11 years old also found that those with brain wiring in poor condition had slower processing speeds, which also can impact thinking abilities.
The study suggests that deterioration of white matter with age is likely a significant cause of age-related mental decline, and that intelligence is not found in a single part of the brain, researchers said.