Posted by WBHI on Apr 3, 2013 in Great Minds Think Alike
by Heidi Godman for Harvard Health:
Physical and mental activities are both important for protecting your thinking skills and warding off dementia. But does one trump the other? It’s an interesting question, one that occurs to me when I’m doing a crossword puzzle or cruising through my neighborhood with the funny-looking walk that my kids make fun of. Can I preserve my thinking skills if I do more of one activity than the other, such as more crossword puzzles or more walking?
I posed the question to Dr. Scott McGinnis, an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School. As I write in the April issue of the Harvard Health Letter, he said it was a difficult question to answer because few solid studies have addressed it.
That may be changing. A study published yesterday inJAMA Internal Medicine tried to tease out whether physical or mental activity was better for brain health. Researchers recruited 126 older adults who felt that their memory or thinking skills had recently gotten worse, and divided them into four groups.
Posted by WBHI on Mar 26, 2013 in Great Minds Think Alike
by Paula Johnson for U~T San Diego:
Many people believe aging is symbiotic with memory loss. The words dementia and Alzheimer’s disease weigh heavy on our hearts. We fear it will happen to us or even scarier – to our loved ones. We think if we do not talk about it, it will never become a reality or we make jokes about getting older and losing our minds to lighten the mood.
This aloof and fearful attitude stems from the belief that there is nothing we can do to improve our brain function. Although there currently isn’t a cure for memory loss you can still activate neuroplasticity (which is how the brain heals) at any age.
The acronym, B.R.A.I.N. – beliefs, relationships, activities, ignite and nutrition are five areas you can work on to slow memory loss.
by Bonnie Miller Rubin for Chicago Tribune:
Everyone will exhibit some kind of cognitive decline with advancing years. But the idea that we can shield ourselves from the most devastating brain diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, is an intriguing prospect and an area of great interest to scientists and an aging population.
In a new study published last week in the journal Neurology, researchers identified a group of elderly men with no mental impairments to find out about their relatives’ brains. We turned to the study’s lead author, Jeremy Silverman, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, to tell us more.
Q: How did you conduct the study?
Posted by WBHI on Jul 20, 2012 in Think About It
by Medical XPress:
Dementia and cognitive impairment are important public health issues, due to the morbidity associated with deteriorating memory, and the cost of caring for patients by both families and health services.
Previous studies have suggested that physical activity may be protective against dementia and cognitive impairment; however results have been conflicting. Many studies in this area have been limited by small sample sizes and short follow-up times.
New research, which aimed to measure the association between physical activity and onset of dementia and cognitive impairment, has found no association.
Posted by WBHI on Jul 15, 2012 in Great Minds Think Alike
by Healthday for iVillage:
Evidence is mounting that exercise provides some protection from memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, with three new studies showing that a variety of physical activities are associated with healthier brains in older adults.
One study found that normally sedentary older adults who walked at a moderate pace three times a week for a year boosted the size of the brain region involved with memory.
A second study found that twice-weekly resistance (weight) training helped women with mild signs of mental decline improve their scores on thinking and memory tests. And the third showed that exercise done for strength and balance also improved memory.
None of the findings offer a clear-cut prescription for thwarting mental declines and Alzheimer’s, but taken together, the growing body of research strongly suggests that physical activity is essential for healthy brain aging, and may help prevent Alzheimer’s, said Heather Snyder, senior associate director of medical and scientific relations for the Alzheimer’s Association.
by Salynn Boyles for WebMD
Social, Mental, and Physical Engagements Help Maintain Memory
Newly minted octogenarian Burt Garrett says he doesn’t actively work to keep his mind and memory sharp, but a new research review suggests that he’s doing a lot of things right. Days before his 80th birthday earlier this month, Garrett drove from his home outside Athens, Ga., to the Georgia coast, and then — on a whim — crossed the state into the Florida Panhandle to bicycle along the shore at St. George Island State Park.
The roughly 1,000 mile, three-day trip was not unusual for Garrett, who also plays golf, likes to hike, and says there aren’t enough hours in the day to do the things he wants to do. ”I stay pretty busy,” he tells WebMD. “Other than trying to stay in decent physical shape, I don’t really work at it. Crossword puzzles frustrate me and I’ve never gotten into Sudoku.”
People like Garrett who remain physically, socially, and mentally engaged as they grow older just may have found the secret to successful aging, according to the new review, published this week in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 18, 2012 in Great Minds Think Alike
by My San Antonio
Daily physical activity may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline, even in people over the age of 80, according to a new study by neurological researchers from Rush University Medical Center published Wednesday in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
“The results of our study indicate that all physical activities including exercise as well as other activities such as cooking, washing the dishes, and cleaning are associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Aron S. Buckman, lead author of the study and associate professor of neurological sciences at Rush. “These results provide support for efforts to encourage all types of physical activity even in very old adults who might not be able to participate in formal exercise, but can still benefit from a more active lifestyle.”
Posted by WBHI on Mar 21, 2012 in Think About It
by Dr. Veronica Anderson for Huffington Post
As people become older, brain aging and the risk of developing a degenerative disease become serious concerns. Dementia is a primary cause of disability in the elderly and is associated with significant impairment of life quality and increased health care costs.
The degeneration of the brain associated with aging is caused by several disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, fronto-temporal dementia and other less common types of neuro-degenerative diseases. Symptoms include significant memory loss, a reduction of reasoning skills and impairment of judgement, which can lead to a severely-impaired social life and require in-home or hospital care.
Although the medical community widely accepted the belief that significant degeneration occurs in the brain only after the age of 65, recent research studies revealed that negative changes in the nervous tissues start as early as the 50s or even earlier. Once degenerative alterations have occurred, there are usually very few therapeutic options to effectively regain brain functionality due to their irreversibility. This is why early preventive interventions are especially important to delay the onset of symptoms, prevent mental decline and preserve brain functionality.
1. Lowering Homocysteine Levels May Slow Down Mental Decline
Posted by WBHI on Mar 18, 2012 in Think Ahead
by Helping You Care
A recently published study has found that when approximately 60,000 adults were tested and ranked — as high, middle or low — for their level of cardiorespiratory fitness, those with medium or high levels of fitness had less than half the risk of dying from dementia over a 17 year follow-up period than the participants with a low level of fitness.
The study was conducted by Rui Liu, PhD, now a postdoctoral fellow at the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, and her colleagues. The study was published in the February 2012 issue of the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.
This study is one of the first to examine the relationship between objectively measured cardiorespiratory fitness levels and dementia-related deaths in a large sample, including more than 45,000 men and nearly 15,000 women.
Several other, previous studies have also linked exercise and fitness to lower risks of mental decline and dementia. However this is one of the first studies to measure fitness through objective cardiorespiratory stress tests rather than merely self-reported exercise levels, which may be open to over- or under-estimation and error.
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.”