Posted by WBHI on May 18, 2013 in Think Ahead
by DNA India:
Heavy drinkers who smoke have more problems with their memory, ability to think quickly and efficiently, and problem-solving skills, a study has suggested.
The study looks at the interactive effects of smoking status and age on neurocognition in one-month-abstinent alcohol dependent (AD) individuals in treatment.
“Several factors – nutrition, exercise, comorbid medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, psychiatric conditions such as depressive disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder, and genetic predispositions – may also influence cognitive functioning during early abstinence,” Timothy C. Durazzo, assistant professor in the department of radiology and biomedical imageing at the University of California San Francisco, and corresponding author for the study, said.
Posted by WBHI on May 13, 2013 in Think Ahead
by Jeff Hansel for Post Bulletin:
Researchers at Mayo Clinic continue to unravel dementia-related puzzles, taking steps toward one day effectively treating Alzheimer’s and other memory diseases.
The key, say scientists at Mayo in Rochester, seems to lie in a “treatment window” of more than a decade, from the time the disease takes root in the brain until the moment a person first shows outward symptoms.
“Our study suggests that plaques in the brain that are linked to a decline in memory and thinking abilities, called beta amyloid, take about 15 years to build up and then plateau,” Mayo radiologist Dr. Clifford Jack was quoted as saying in February, when the “treatment window” first was announced.
The study reviewed brain scans of plaque buildup in 260 people, age 70 to 92. Treatment of plaque buildup after it plateaus might not be effective, Jack said in an interview earlier this year. But earlier than that, during the treatment window, it could be. That means early diagnosis will provide more time to treat the disease once an effective treatment is found.
Posted by WBHI on May 7, 2013 in Think Ahead
by Philip Moeller for U.S. News & World Report:
As life spans continue to lengthen, it’s becoming increasingly clear that our brains as well as our bodies are amazingly resilient and adaptive. Even 90-year-olds can build new muscle mass through physical exercise. So can their brains, although what’s being developed is not new muscle but new synapses. And while some of the exercise that produces these effects is physical, most of it is mental.
Last year, when U.S. News reported and wrote the e-book, “How to Live to 100,” expert after expert extolled the benefits of continued strenuous mental and physical exercise into and throughout old age. These are not new benefits. But what is new is the accumulating evidence for how dramatically these activities can promote healthy aging, help ward off physical and cognitive decline and illnesses, and add years to our lives.
Posted by WBHI on May 1, 2013 in Think Ahead
by Bradley J. Fikes for UT San Diegeo:
If there’s a fountain of youth, or at least a switch to delay aging, it might be in the hypothalamus. A study in the journal Nature found that in mice, the hypothalamus contains mechanisms that control aging.
Researchers led by Dongsheng Cai of Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that a signalling pathway related to immunity, called nuclear factor kB, or NF-kB, can speed up or slow aging. The study says the findings could possibly be applied for developing treatments for aging-related diseases in people.
The study is “interesting and provocative,” said Costantino Iadecola, director of the Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medical College. The idea that such a small region of the brain influences aging throughout the whole body has great implications, he said by email.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 19, 2013 in Think Ahead
by Geoff Michaels for News FX:
Alzheimer’s disease is most often characterised by memory loss. There is growing interest in looking at changes, including memory problems, that occur in the years before full-blown Alzheimer’s disease sets in. For if people with Alzheimer’s disease can be identified before the condition takes hold, it may be that early intervention could help slow the progress of dementia.
Between 1979 and 2006, researchers at the University of Kansas studied a group of 444 individuals who did not have Alzheimer’s disease at the start of the study. Each had a thorough assessment on enrolment which covered global cognition, verbal memory, visuospatial skill and working memory.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 19, 2013 in Think Ahead
by Geoff Michaels for News Fix:
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, may have a very long period of onset. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) has already been established as a condition which precedes dementia. In MCI, individuals have cognitive test results that are below normal, but they are still capable of undertaking the majority of everyday activities (unlike those with dementia). Around 10-20% of those with MCI will progress to dementia each year.
Researchers at the University of Bonn have identified a condition that precedes even MCI and is also linked to a higher risk of dementia. With subjective memory impairment (SMI), an individual has problems with their memory that they are aware of and these may, or may not, cause concern.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 13, 2013 in Think Ahead
by International News Network:
Researchers have linked feeling of loneliness to an increased risk of developing dementia in later life.
The researchers tracked the long-term health and wellbeing of more than 2000 people with no signs of dementia and living independently for three years.
All the participants were taking part in the Amsterdam Study of the Elderly (AMSTEL), which is looking at the risk factors for depression, dementia, and higher than expected death rates among the elderly.
At the end of this period, the mental health and wellbeing of all participants was assessed using a series of validated tests. They were also quizzed about their physical health, their ability to carry out routine daily tasks, and specifically asked if they felt lonely. Finally, they were formally tested for signs of dementia.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 7, 2013 in Think Ahead
by Business Standard:
Scientists have developed a new brain-imaging tool that along with stroke risk assessment can identify signs of cognitive decline early on in individuals who don’t yet show symptoms of dementia.
The connection between stroke risk and cognitive decline has been well established. Individuals with higher stroke risk, as measured by factors like high blood pressure, have traditionally performed worse on tests of memory, attention and abstract reasoning.
The new study demonstrated that not only stroke risk, but also the burden of plaques and tangles, as measured by a University of California, Los Angeles brain scan, may influence cognitive decline. The imaging tool used in the study was developed at UCLA and reveals early evidence of amyloid beta “plaques” and neurofibrillary tau “tangles” in the brain – the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.
Posted by WBHI on Mar 27, 2013 in Think Ahead
by Doug Brunk for Clinical Psychiatry News:
Robust behavioral changes are not common in presymptomatic familial Alzheimer’s disease, but increases in certain behaviors such as agitation, apathy, and appetitive changes can accompany early cognitive changes, results from a large ongoing study demonstrated.
The findings “are consistent with observations in late-onset Alzheimer’s disease and support behavioral changes in familial Alzheimer’s disease being a state associated with incipient Alzheimer’s pathology rather than a life-long disposition,” Dr. John M. Ringman said at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.
“It’s well established now that the neuropathology of Alzheimer’s disease begins 15-20 years prior to overt symptoms,” said Dr. Ringman, a neurologist at the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Symptoms of depression, anxiety, apathy, and irritability are more frequent in persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Further studies suggest that the presence of such symptoms in the context of MCI may better predict who will progress to develop Alzheimer’s disease.”
Posted by WBHI on Mar 11, 2013 in Think Ahead
by Anne Eldridge for Courier-Journal:
If you have read this blog before, you know that my mother has dementia. Sadly, her condition is largely self-inflicted, caused by a lifetime of bad habits.
My mother loved all foods fried, white and/or cheesy. She never exercised, drank regularly and smoked fairly heavily until her heart valve replacement. A few years later, she fell, hit her head and had a stroke caused by the blood that pooled in her brain because her blood was too thin. Dementia followed close behind.
I’m sure it never occurred to my mother that her bad habits could lead to dementia—heart attack, lung cancer maybe, but not dementia. I think she might have been more careful if she had realized the likelihood that her death would not be a catastrophic event but a slow nursing home decline.
And, I’ll bet that most parents don’t realize that they can influence their children’s experience of old age. It’s true, according to my colleague at the University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics, Gilbert Liu, M.D., division chief of General Pediatrics. With that in mind, Dr. Liu offers this advice to grandparents, who often are able to guide their children’s parenting and grandchildren’s lifestyle choices.