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 10, 2013 in Better Thinking, Think Twice
by Kim Zarzour for York Region:
The human brain is intricate, complex and beautiful. So, too, is a new jewelry design by Richmond Hill jeweler, Mark Lash.
There’s a reason for the similarity.
Mr. Lash, who has created designs for celebrities from Celine Dion and Joan Rivers to Martin Sheen, has taken a very personal interest in his latest design. He wants to use his talents to help save our brains — in particular, the female brain.
That’s because 70 per cent of new Alzheimer’s sufferers are women, and women suffer from stroke, depression and dementia twice as much as men — and yet, most research still focuses on the male brain.
Watching his beloved grandmother succumb to the disease convinced Mr. Lash that this was wrong.
Posted by WBHI on May 8, 2013 in Think It Over
Elevated blood sugar levels may increase a person’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study.
Previous research has suggested that diabetes may be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s, but University of Arizona researchers wanted to examine if high blood sugar levels in people without diabetes may also increase the chances of developing Alzheimer’s.
The study included 124 people, aged 47 to 68, who were diabetes-free and had normal brain function, but did have a family history of Alzheimer’s. The participants underwent scans that revealed metabolic activity in the brain.
Posted by WBHI on May 8, 2013 in Great Minds Think Alike
by Margery D. Rosen for AARP:
Rarely do you find neuroscientists, psychologists and physicians agreeing unequivocally on anything. But here’s an exception: They all say that exercise is hands down the single best thing you can do for your brain. “If we had a pill that could do what exercise does, its sales would put Viagra’s to shame,” says Laura L. Carstensen, director of the Stanford Center on Longevity and author of A Long Bright Future.
The latest research shows that people can continue to learn throughout life. Yes, brain volume shrinks slightly, and some cells die. But the brain continues to make new neurons and fine-tune their connections even very late in life.
Aerobic exercise “reduces the level of brain loss and keeps cognitive abilities sharp,” says John Medina, an affiliate professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine and author of Brain Rules. “It also slashes your lifetime risk of Alzheimer’s in half and your risk of general dementia by 60 percent.”
Posted by WBHI on May 7, 2013 in Better Thinking, Think Twice
by Canada AM:
Women are twice as likely as men to become victims of aging brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. So, why is most of the research done using male brains?
That’s what Lynn Posluns wondered while working as a fundraiser with the Baycrest Foundation, a health centre in Toronto that focuses on aging. She discovered to her surprise that most of the research for brain aging diseases still focuses on men’s brains.
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are scary to anyone, Posluns told CTV’s Canada AM Monday. “But what was more scary was learning that 70 per cent of new Alzheimer’s sufferers would be women, that women suffer from stroke, depression and dementia twice as much as men but the research still focuses on men,” she said.
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 5, 2013 in Think Outside The Box
by Victoria Ward for The Telegraph:
Researchers found that three glasses of bubbly a day could help ward off brain disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
They discovered that a compound found in the black grapes, Pinot noir and Pinot meunier, both of which are used for champagne, helps stave off forgetfulness. Jeremy Spencer, a biochemistry professor at Reading University, said: “Dementia probably starts in the 40s and goes on to the 80s. It is a gradual decline and so the earlier people take these beneficial compounds in champagne, the better.”
It is not the first time scientists have identified health benefits in champagne. In 2009, the same team found that it was as good for the heart as cocoa or red wine polyphenol antioxidants, which are believed to reduce the effects of cell-damaging free radicals in the body.
Posted by WBHI on May 2, 2013 in Think Twice
by Jayne MacAuley for Zoomers:
A gender gap means a research gap for women’s aging brains.
When Lynn Posluns learned that even now, basic-level scientific studies prefer to use male rats for Alzheimer’s disease studies, she wondered why. It turns out hormones in the brains of female rats complicate the studies. (For example, lady rats have to be monitored so scientists know where they are in their menstrual cycle.)
But what good was using only male rats, when 70 per cent of newly diagnosed people with Alzheimer’s disease will be female, Posluns thought. The former director of the Baycrest Foundation decided to found the Women’s Brain Health Initiative to raise money that will fund innovative research into women’s brain aging disorders by foremost institutions throughout the world.
And what better way to showcase the consequences of a woman’s failing brain health than to hold a preview of a captivating Canadian film that shows exactly that. Still Mine, a film co-written and directed by Michael McGowan, premiers in theatres on May 3, 2013.
Posted by WBHI on May 2, 2013 in Great Minds Think Alike
by Chicago Tribune:
Researchers, doctors, drug and biotech companies, and medical institutions worldwide are urgently seeking to better understand the intricacies of brain function — and particularly to develop therapies to prevent or treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
But despite this substantial effort, no drug or therapy can beat the powerful effect that regular physical exercise has in preventing Alzheimer’s and improving brain function — even in those with Alzheimer’s.
One Mayo Clinic study showed that those who regularly engaged in moderate exercise five or six times a week in later life reduced their risk of mild cognitive impairment by 32 percent compared with more sedentary people. Those who began exercising at midlife saw a 39 percent reduction in the risk of mild cognitive impairment.
Posted by WBHI on May 1, 2013 in Think It Over
by Judith Graham for The New York Times:
A large body of research has linked late-life depression to social isolation, poorer health and an increased risk of death. Now, a new study finds that depression is associated with subsequent vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, conditions poised to expand dramatically with the aging population.
The report, published on Wednesday in the British Journal of Psychiatry, is a meta-analysis of 23 previous studies that followed nearly 50,000 older adults over a median of five years.
The researchers found that depressed older adults (defined as those over age 50) were more than twice as likely to develop vascular dementia and 65 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than similarly aged people who weren’t depressed.