Posted by WBHI on Dec 13, 2012 in Think Ahead
by Fiona MacRae for The Daily Mail:
It is often dismissed as a disease of old age. But the fight against Alzheimer’s could start at school and last for life. Research has pinpointed three stages in life which appear to play a key role in keeping Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia at bay.
The first is the length of a person’s education, including the number of years spent at school and university.
Next on the timeline is having a demanding working life. Finally, having a good social life in later years also seems to be important. All help keep the mind sharper for longer, something that should help people keep their independence, as well as give them precious extra months and years to enjoy with their loved ones.
Posted by WBHI on Aug 2, 2012 in Think About It
by Barbara Bronson Gray for U.S. News:
It’s been said that music soothes the savage beast, but if you’re the one playing the instrument it might benefit your brain.
A growing body of evidence suggests that learning to play an instrument and continuing to practice and play it may offer mental benefits throughout life. Hearing has also been shown to be positively affected by making music.
The latest study, published in the July issue of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, shows that musical instrument training may reduce the effects of mental decline associated with aging. The research found that older adults who learned music in childhood and continued to play an instrument for at least 10 years outperformed others in tests of memory and cognitive ability.
It also revealed that sustaining musical activity during advanced age may enhance thinking ability, neutralizing any negative impact of age and even lack of education. It’s unclear, however, whether starting an instrument in adulthood provides any mental advantages.
Posted by WBHI on May 23, 2012 in Come To Think Of It
by Health Canal:
Conventional estimates of dementia incidence in middle-income countries have been too optimistic, suggests one of the largest studies of dementia incidence to date, led by researchers at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry and published online in The Lancet today.
The findings suggest that dementia incidence in middle-income countries might be much the same as in higher-income countries. Moreover, this is the first study to demonstrate that in less developed countries, as in developed nations, education offers substantial protection against dementia.
New estimates generated using a new cross-cultural approach to diagnosing dementia that is sensitive to more mild to moderate cases (the 10/66 Dementia Diagnosis), indicate that incidence is 1.5–2.5 times higher than that calculated using standard DSM-IV criteria.
Posted by WBHI on May 11, 2012 in Think About It
by Dementia Today
GENETIC RISK FACTORS
Scientists who study the genetics of Alzheimer’s distinguish between “familial Alzheimer’s disease,” which runs in families, and “sporadic Alzheimer’s disease”, where no obvious inheritance pattern is seen. True familial Alzheimer’s disease accounts for less than 5% of Alzheimer’s cases. Sporadic Alzheimer’s is much more common.
Familial Alzheimer’s Disease
All Familial Alzheimer’s disease known so far has an early onset, and as many as 50 percent of the cases are now known to be caused by defects in three genes located on three different chromosomes, the structures inside cells that house the genetic code. Some families have mutations in a gene called amyloid precurser protein (APP), which causes an abnormal form of the amyloid protein to be produced. Other families have mutations in a gene called presenilin 1, which causes an abnormal presenilin 1 protein to be produced. Still others have mutations in a very similar gene called presenilin 2, which causes an abnormal presenilin 2 protein to be produced.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 22, 2012 in Think About It
by Paula Spencer Scott for caring.com
Short-term memory loss is one of the most noticeable signs of Alzheimer’s disease. But the disease process usually begins before symptoms are noticed. To assess someone’s risk of becoming one of the more than 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s, it’s helpful to understand the risk factors that increase the odds of developing the condition.
What is Alzheimer’s, and who’s at risk?
Although certain basic lifestyle changes can help delay the onset of the disease in some people, the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease isn’t yet understood. Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurodegenerative brain disorder: Normal brain cell function is gradually destroyed, leading to irreversible declines in memory, cognition, and behavior. But what causes things to go awry remains unknown. It may be that Alzheimer’s has several causes or that the interplay between genetic makeup and certain risk factors determines who’s affected.
Posted by WBHI on Mar 11, 2012 in Think About It, Think Ahead
by Timi Gustafson R.D. for Seattle PI
Exercising the brain as much as exercising the body to keep both fit and healthy has become the new mantra for the aging baby boomer generation. Scientists seem to agree. Studies show that people who were cognitively active throughout their lives are less likely to experience mental decline as they grow older.
Age-related dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease is the most feared health condition among older Americans today, second only to cancer. It is also one of the most significant health threats of the 21st century, according to a report by the Alzheimer’s Association and the Harvard School of Public Health that was first published at an international conference on the subject in Paris, France, last year.
Posted by WBHI on Mar 2, 2012 in Think Ahead
The thought of losing your mind as you grow older is terrifying, made worse that there appeared to be little we could do about it
by Kirsty English for The Mirror
Alzheimer’s strikes fear in all of us. The thought of losing your mind as you grow older is terrifying and made worse by the fact that, before now, there appeared to be little we could do to slow down or avoid Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia.
This week, Mirror columnist Fiona Phillips, 51, talked openly about her experience of Alzheimer’s after losing first her mother Amy and, earlier this month, her father Neville to the disease. She fears that, like her mother who was struck down in her late 50s, she too will start to develop symptoms in the next five years.
Having witnessed Alzheimer’s first hand she knows how sufferers are stripped of self respect, leaving them incapable of performing even the most basic daily tasks.
But according to Jean Carper, 79, an American medical journalist, there could be hope. In her international best selling book, 100 Simple Things You Can Do To Prevent Alzheimer’s, a host of experts reveal scientifically-backed, easy tips about how to head off the disease, ranging from eating vinegar to surfing the net.
Posted by WBHI on Feb 26, 2012 in Think About It, Think Ahead
by Meredith Heagney for The Columbus Dispatch
Reading this newspaper might help you prevent Alzheimer’s disease. So might writing a letter, playing a card game or visiting a library.
Researchers have long believed that cognitive activity could help strengthen the brain’s defenses against the devastating neurological disease. But a new study shows for the first time how that might work. Test subjects who engaged in cognitive exercise over a lifetime had less of a protein that is believed to contribute to brain-cell decline in Alzheimer’s patients.
Researchers at the University of California-Berkeley used brain scans to measure the amount of beta amyloid, a protein that accumulates between nerve cells and reduces brain function. They tested healthy young people, healthy older people and a group of Alzheimer’s patients and found that the healthy older people who exercised their brains throughout their lives had less beta amyloid built up in their brains. That means they should be less likely to contract Alzheimer’s.
Posted by WBHI on Jan 25, 2012 in Think Twice
by Michelle Roberts for BBC News
Although dementia is more common in women, it appears that men are at higher risk of the earliest signs of the disease, according to latest research.
It’s unclear why more men avoid full-blown disease, but understanding this might be key to beating dementia,Archives of Neurology reports. Ultimately, it may even reveal a way to halt dementia, experts hope.
Posted by WBHI on Jan 19, 2012 in Think Outside The Box
by Elizabeth Nolan Brown for BlissTree
With Alzheimer’s and dementia increasing and baby boomers aging, it seems everyone from researchers to video game makers are focused on brain health like never before. And a lot of the results are encouraging: Turns out, ‘cognitive decline’ isn’t totally the crapshoot many once thought it was. A nutritious diet, keeping active, hormones and even a college degree can influence your chances of staying sharp while you age and avoiding Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. But new research indicates that genes do not have an impact on how much brain power you’ll lose over your lifetime and to a much higher degree than ever before estimated.