Posted by WBHI on May 20, 2013 in Think About It
by Alvaro Fernandez for Huffington Post:
These days, we all live under tremendous stress — economic challenges, job demands, family tension, always-on technology and the 24-hour news cycle all contribute to ceaseless worry, many times over things that are completely beyond our personal control. While many have learned to simply “live with it,” this ongoing stress can have a serious negative impact on our ability to think clearly and make good decisions.
Studies show that chronic stress can also be a significant contributing factor to depression, and a recent German study published in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews also linked stress-related depression to a higher risk of cognitive decline and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 17, 2013 in Think About It
by Denise Mann for WebMD:
If Alzheimer’s disease runs in your family, you may be more likely to have brain changes associated with the disorder even before symptoms such as memory and thinking problems occur, according to new research.
An estimated 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, a number expected to increase dramatically as the baby boomer generation ages. The Alzheimer’s Association predicts that the number of people aged 65 and older with the condition will reach 7.1 million by 2025.
To get a better handle on risk for Alzheimer’s disease, researchers at Duke University looked at brain scans of more than 250 adults aged 55 to 89. Some had no signs of memory or thinking problems, while others did.
The researchers also analyzed genes and other markers in spinal fluid that are known to help predict Alzheimer’s risk. A variation in the APOE gene was seen among those participants who were at greater risk for earlier onset of Alzheimer’s. Individuals who had a parent or sibling with Alzheimer’s disease showed silent brain changes, the study found.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 11, 2013 in Think About It
by Vonda J. Sines for Yahoo News:
California researchers have solved one important mystery regarding how Alzheimer’s disease operates. Their discovery of a link between the illness and an overactive enzyme could eventually lead to a way to prevent the disease.
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in California have established a connection between Alzheimer’s and the over-activation of an enzyme dubbed AMPK, according to ScienceDaily. The team, led by Professor Franck Polleux, published its findings in the journal Neuron.
After the California researchers blocked AMPK in mouse models, neurons did not show the loss of synapses typically found in the early phase of Alzheimer’s. Their discovery highlights the potential of developing new therapies to target factors that cause AMPK overactivation in human brains.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 11, 2013 in Think About It
by Gary Joseph LeBlanc for Hernanado Today:
For the most part, when the general public hears the medical term “Parkinson’s Disease,” also known as “PD,” they think of it as simply being a degenerative mobility disorder, which has affected a well known Hollywood Personality, Michael J. Fox. While this calculation is accurate, it is also estimated that 30 percent of Parkinson’s patients develop some form of dementia. This symptom does not usually come to mind since dementia most often does not begin to raise its ugly head until about 10 years after the motor difficulties appear. This is known as “Parkinson’s Disease Dementia,” or “PDD.”
It is estimated that in the United States alone, more than one million people have Parkinson’s Disease. There are approximately 50,000 new cases being diagnosed every year. It mostly attacks people over the age of 50, however, there is also what is called “Juvenile Parkinson’s Disease.” These cases are showing up in people as young as 30.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 6, 2013 in Think About It
by Global Post:
Coffee may cut the risk of dementia by blocking the damage cholesterol can inflict on the body as the drink has already been linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s Disease,research suggests.
A vital barrier between the brain and the main blood supply of rabbits fed a fat-rich diet was protected in those given a caffeine supplement.Experts said it was the “best evidence yet” of coffee’s benefits,BBC health reported.
Caffeine is a safe and readily available drug and its ability to stabilise the blood brain barrier means it could have an important part to play in therapies against neurological disorders.
The “blood brain barrier” is a filter which protects the central nervous system from potentially harmful chemicals carried around in the rest of the bloodstream.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 3, 2013 in Think About It
by Ed Coghlan for American News Report:
Dementia – like the dreaded Alzheimer’s Disease — is a cruel enemy. It robs the patient and often their families of health, memories and time. It is a medical condition that disrupts the way the brain works. Usually it strikes the elderly. And it’s often, but not always, permanent.
“That’s the issue we try to understand right away. Everything is not Alzheimer’s. There are many different types of dementia and it’s important to distinguish what the patient has,” said Dr. Phyllis Hays-Reams. “When we determine which one, that can help us determine the best way to treat it.”
For physicians like Dr. Hayes-Reams of Kaiser Permanente in southern California, this diagnosis is critical. And to understand the patient history, they often need help. “We like to have a family member with us when we meet with the patient, so that we can understand what “normal” looks like,” she said. “We also encourage that the patient is evaluated by a geriatrician or neurologist.”
And that’s when the detective work begins.
Posted by WBHI on Mar 28, 2013 in Think About It
by Melissa Davey for The Sydney Mornig Herald:
Many believe that forgetfulness, regularly misplacing objects and repeating the same stories in old age mark the start of a spiral to dementia.
But researchers who examined more than 200 people aged over 70 with mild cognitive problems such as these found one quarter had returned to normal brain functioning two years later. Those who were creative, interested in new ideas, read widely and travelled were among the most likely to revert to normal, the study found.
Some other factors seemed to relate to cognitive improvement, such as having good control of blood pressure and being free from arthritis, according to the research published in the online journal PLoS One.
The study leader and a professor of neuropsychiatry, Perminder Sachdev, said the findings meant people suffering from mild forgetfulness or slight behaviour changes should see a doctor so that interventions could be implemented early.
Posted by WBHI on Mar 25, 2013 in Think About It
by Lois Alcosser for The Hour:
A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease is shattering. But often the worst part is keeping it a secret. When the message to the caregiver is: “I don’t want anyone to know” a tremendous burden is added. The stigma of any mental illness still exists with the implication that it’s a weakness on the individual’s part, as if having Alzheimer’s is the person’s fault.
The same attitude used to persist with cancer. People didn’t want to mention the word. That finally changed and with the end of secrecy came the opportunity to get down to the monumental task of treatment and potential cure.
“Coming out,” letting family, friends and colleagues know what’s happening and loosening the chains of denial is a liberating decision. Nine times out of ten, people find that almost everyone knows someone affected by the disease and has experiences to share. This openness is necessary to fully understand symptoms, learn about lifestyle changes and bring relief and support to caregivers.
Posted by WBHI on Mar 22, 2013 in Think About It
People who physically act out their dreams while sleeping have a significantly increased risk of developing a specific kind of dementia, a new study contends.
“Dementia with Lewy bodies” is the second most common form of dementia in the elderly. A Lewy body is an accumulation of a type of protein in the brain. Lewy bodies are often seen in people with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, according to the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
For the new study, Mayo Clinic researchers examined the medical records of 75 patients diagnosed with probable dementia with Lewy bodies. They concluded that people are five times more likely to develop this type of dementia if they have a condition called “rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder” than if they have one of the risk factors currently used to make a diagnosis, such as hallucinations or significant fluctuations in attention or alertness.
Posted by WBHI on Mar 19, 2013 in Think About It
More symptoms of depression and lower cognitive status are independently associated with a more rapid decline in the ability to handle tasks of everyday living, according to a study by Columbia University Medical Center researchers in this month’s Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Although these findings are observational, they could suggest that providing mental health treatment for people with Alzheimer’s disease might slow the loss of independence, said senior author Yaakov Stern, PhD, professor of neuropsychology (in neurology, psychiatry, psychology, the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain and the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center) at CUMC.
“This is the first paper to show that declines in function and cognition are inter-related over time, and that the presence of depression is associated with more rapid functional decline,” said Dr. Stern, who also directs the Cognitive Neuroscience Division of the Department of Neurology at CUMC.