Posted by WBHI on Mar 19, 2013 in Think It Over
by Carolyn Gregoire for Huffington Post:
Chronic stress has been shown to increase the risk of a number of negative health outcomes, including heart disease, cancer and dementia. The means by which stress contributes to the development of these conditions, however, aren’t as clear. But Swedish scientist Sara K. Bengtsson of Umea University may have an answer to the question of why chronic stress contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.
Bengtsson’s research thesis, which she will publicly defend at Umea University later this month, suggests that the elevated levels of stress steroids in the brain during periods of stress have the power to inhibit general brain activity.
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.
Posted by WBHI on Sep 4, 2012 in Think About It
by Dr. Judith Black for The Intelligencer:
Lifestyle factors can play an important role in protecting your brain as you age. The health of your brain, like the health of your body, depends on many factors. Some factors such as your genes, are out of your control, but there are many powerful lifestyle factors you can control or adjust.
If you are an older adult, or the caretaker of an aging parent or grandparent, a few key factors will help you get and remain “brain healthy.” They include:
Early detection makes a big difference for both the person living with Alzheimer’s disease and the caregiver. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, early detection enables an individual to plan for the future by finding ways to reduce stress while at the same time getting personal affairs in order. Making legal, financial and care decisions, beginning treatment and enrolling in clinical studies where they are available help when there is an early diagnosis.
by Rebecca Smith for The Daily Telegraph:
They are the grandparents whose quick wit, Scrabble skills and verbal dexterity routinely belie their age and leave relations struggling to keep up.
Now scientists have discovered that they are among a group of octogenarian “super-agers” who have brains like people 30 years younger.
MRI scans have found that some people in their eighties have more developed sections of the brain associated with memory, attention and thinking skills.
The researchers believe that for some people the rare ability to withstand the effects of ageing is in the genes, while for others it may be down to a combination of genes and a healthy way of life. It is hoped that the discovery, by Northwestern University in Chicago, could lead to new approaches to the treatment of dementia.
Posted by WBHI on Aug 14, 2012 in Think About It
by Linda Sickler for Savannah Now:
Growing older is interesting.
So says Judith Horstman, the author of “The Scientific American Healthy Aging Brain: The Neuroscience of Making the Most of Your Mature Mind.”
“In the beginning of the book, I say aging is not a disease — it’s what happens if we’re lucky to live long enough,” she says. “It’s a reward.” In fact, a Gallup poll of more than 300,000 people found that many say they are happier in their early 70s than any other time except their early 20s, and most say they don’t regret their lives, Horstman says. “The myth of unhappy old people is untrue,” she says.
“Being healthy and flexible is a big part of that,” Horstman says. “If you stop changing, you’re dead.”
Many people dread aging because of fears of dementia and other brain disorders. Fortunately, in most cases, the outlook is much brighter.
Posted by WBHI on Jul 3, 2012 in Great Minds Think Alike
by Sarah Wickllne for Daily Rx:
The risk of dementia is higher in diabetic patients that also have depression. Healthy diet, exercise and treatment for depression may help lower this risk significantly.
A recent study crunched the numbers of patients with both diabetes and depression against those with diabetes alone. Diabetes patients have a 20 percent chance of also having depression and that group has twice the rate of dementia.
Wayne Katon, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Washington Medical School, led a team to investigate the risk of dementia in type II diabetes patients that also have depression.Previous research has shown that depression is a risk factor for dementia. Dr.Katon’s team set out to determine whether depression was an even greater risk factor for dementia in patients with type II diabetes.
Is it possible to keep your brain as fit as your body?
by Angela Haupt for U.S. News
Charles Snelling spent six years taking care of his Alzheimer’s-stricken wife, Adrienne, helpless as he watched the disease steal his college sweetheart. In March, after six decades of marriage, Snelling killed his longtime partner, and then he killed himself. Both were 81. “After apparently reaching the point where he could no longer bear to see the love of his life deteriorate further, our father ended our mother’s life and then took his own life as well,” his children said in a statement. “This is a total shock to everyone in the family, but we know he acted out of deep devotion and profound love.”
Indeed, Alzheimer’s disease unleashes a devastating, sometimes unmanageable burden. It is a leading cause of disability and death, with numbers poised to explode in coming years as the older population grows. (Symptoms typically first appear after age 60.)
By 2050, an estimated 16 million people will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the most common type of dementia, and roughly 5.4 million Americans are living with the condition, according to a March report by the Alzheimer’s Association, a nonprofit advocacy group. One person develops the disease every second. It’s the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, and the 5th for those age 65 and older. And there’s no cure. “We should be very worried,” says Reisa Sperling, director of the Center for Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
STRONG evidence suggests that a combination of healthy changes to lifestyle can have a huge impact on reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
by Science Network
The conference titled “Lifestyle Approaches for the Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease” organised by the McCusker Alzheimer’s Foundation gathered international Alzheimer’s disease (AD) experts who one way or another all reached towards the same conclusion.
McGill University (Montreal) Dr Serge Gauthier says, “Keeping an active brain, being physically active and having a healthy diet—although are things that are generally advised to anybody—strongly suggest to also have protective effects on the brain and delay the onset of AD for at least five years in the general population”.
“Although we can’t tell whether eating one food more than another, or doing one type of physical/mental exercises more than others, is more beneficial to the brain our research shows that a combined approach grouping all those things together can reduce risk factors of AD, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Posted by WBHI on Mar 13, 2012 in Think Ahead
Dementia Has Many Of Same Causes As Heart Disease
by David S. Martin for CNN
Late-life dementia has a lot in common with heart disease — and many of the same causes, according to an article published Tuesday in Nature Reviews Neurology.
Like heart disease, the cognitive impairment that accompanies aging is usually the result of a combination of lifestyle and other factors, the article says. Diabetes, obesity, untreated hypertension, sedentary lifestyle and stress are all linked to both heart disease and dementia.
Other factors linked to dementia: untreated obstructive sleep apnea, clinical depression, bipolar disorder, vitamin B12 deficiency, post traumatic stress disorder, head trauma, brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen, and the ApoE, or Alzheimer’s, gene.
Lead author Dr. Majd Fotuhi says the latest research shows dementia can be delayed, stopped and sometimes even reversed with lifestyle changes.
Posted by WBHI on Mar 8, 2012 in Think Ahead
by Melissa Repko for The Dallas Morning News
Bronwen Zilmer has three generations of Alzheimer’s disease in her family. She hopes not to be the fourth.
Her great-grandmother and grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease. Her father’s illness was diagnosed at 56, and he died at 63. She’s now 35.
After her father’s death, the Highland Village, Texas, resident and mother of two began running half marathons, taking fish-oil supplements and eating more fish in hopes of avoiding the memory-robbing illness.
“People are desperate to avoid it and desperate to find some kind of treatment or cure,” she says. “If somebody told me, ‘Do these 10 things and I’ll assure you that you won’t get Alzheimer’s disease,’ I would do it.”