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May 2009

Study Shows Vitamin D Helps Brain Speed up Information Processing

More good news about vitamins and brain function has turned up in a study reported on by the Montreal Gazette. In a story titled, "Vitamin D may boost cognitive function in older brains," a study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry was examined. The research focused on more than 3,000 European men and the levels of vitamin D found in their blood. With a simple test using pen and paper, the researchers found that the men with higher levels of vitamin D performed consistently better when tested on their attention to the task and the speed at which their brain processed information than those with lower levels of the vitamin.

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Study Indicates Alcohol Abuse Responsible for Up to One in Four Dementia Cases

In recent years there have been many studies suggesting that moderate alcohol consumption, generally considered two or fewer drinks per day, is good for the heart and good for the body in general. Alcohol abuse, especially binge drinking, has also made new of late. In general, when we consider binge drinking, we think of young men and women of college age. A sort of right of passage. However an article published by the Telegraph (UK) titled, "Binge-drinking causes up to one in four dementia cases," brings some disturbing news. One in four cases of dementia due to alcohol? Actually, that shouldn't surprise us.

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Inspiration from a Woman With Dementia

My friend and fellow blogger, Leah, wrote this exceptional post and I thought many of you would enjoy reading it. Leah has vascular dementia. She's a teacher - Leah would say a retired teacher, but she is still teaching all of us a great deal. From Leah:

Gaining More Control

"I am getting tired of having dementia… I’m ready to give it back so that I can regain my old self.

Have you ever felt that way?  You may not have dementia.  Arthritis, poor eyesight, or any other health problem may be your bane.  Are you tired of being the way you are?

Get moving.  I forget myself when I get involved with other activities.  It was like that yesterday.  I had a volunteer luncheon to attend.  Being a member of the Board for the Cooperative Ministry on Aging, I was actively involved with preparing for the luncheon, greeting people, handling minor problems like the dancers needing a room in which to dress and an extra table needing to be put up.  NOT ONCE did I think about having dementia!  NOT ONCE did I feel “tired” of being in the condition I am in.  NOT ONCE did I feel sorry about my limitations.  Why?"

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Aging with Options Forum

I received a press release from Volunteers of America about an "Aging with Options" forum. They plan a panel discussion, to be held June 8, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Most of you won't likely be going to this forum, but the site is interesting, and you can join a blog conversation by going to http://volunteersofamerica.wordpress.org  The press release begins:

"Volunteers of America is about to embark on a new effort to transform the way in which healthcare and services are provided to seniors in our country. On June 8, we will be hosting a panel discussion at the National Press Club about the future of care for older Americans and discussing our new Aging with OptionsTM initiative."

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Clinical Data Shows Benefits of Vitamin E and Anti-inflammatories for Alzheimer’s

An article from Reuters Health titled, "Vitamin E, anti-inflammatories show benefit in Alzheimer's disease," points out the results of clinical data suggesting that treating Alzheimer's patients with vitamin E and anti-inflammatory drugs, along with a cholinesterase inhibitor, can slow Alzheimer's induced decline. The data was gathered from 540 patients who were receiving standard treatment with a cholinesterase inhibitor such as Aricept, Exelon or Razadyne. According to the article, a percentage of the Alzheimer's  patients took, in addition to the cholinesterase inhibitor,   vitamin E but no anti-inflammatory, an anti-inflammatory but no vitamin E,  both vitamin E and an anti-inflammatory or neither one.

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Psychoactive Medications Can Kill When Used for Elderly

Jack Halpern's blog "My Elder Advocate" is a valuable resource. This post grabbed me by the throat and I had to share it. It's good to see that this type of abuse is being taken seriously.

Assault With A Deadly Weapon

"On February 18, 2009, Attorney General Jerry Brown announced the arrest of a nurse, physician and a pharmacist of a skilled nursing facility operated by the Kern Valley Healthcare District in Lake Isabella, Kern County. All were charged with elder abuse for forcibly administering psychoactive medications for their own convenience and for causing the deaths of three residents."

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Ten Warning Signs of Alzheimer's Disease

Aging takes its toll, but way too often certain changes people experience are chalked up to "just normal for the aging process." While we don't want to panic every time we have a memory slip, we do want to catch Alzheimer's early, if that is what's happening. There are now drugs that can slow the decline and preserved quality of life for a much longer time. The Alzheimer's Association (www.alz.org) has an excellent list of 10 warning signs. This is well worth checking out.

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Study Shows Structured Exercise Can Improve Quality of Life for People with Alzheimer’s

Recently, some exciting news about improving the quality of life for those who already have Alzheimer's disease came to light in a story on Reuters Health titled, "Exercise calms agitation associated with dementia." While it's generally accepted that anything that's good for the heart is likely good for the brain, and therefore exercise may help stave off Alzheimer's, there hasn't been much information about what exercise could do for people who already have the disease.

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HBO Alzheimer's Series on Amazon

For those of you without HBO or who may have missed the Alzheimer's Project series, you can stream it on your computer. Apart from that, the series will be available on Amazon.com in DVD format June 2. The price is $18.99. This project is worth watching more than once. HBO has done a fine job producing the series. The information is encouraging and vital to our collective knowledge of aging.

How to Find Respite Help for the Caregiver

"Caregivers, you need to take care of yourselves."
You know that. You  hear that and you read that all the time. The problem is, um, just how do you do that? Our elder(s) need you all the time. They can't afford to pay for in-home care. You don't even know where to start when it comes to taking care of yourself. A partial answer is free respite care, provided by people who can sit with your elder while you have some free time. Unfortunately, finding respite care isn't always easy. If you are fortunate enough to live in one of the states with a State Respite Coalition, under the umbrella of the Chapel Hill Training-Outreach Project, Inc., you are in luck. Many states are represented on this site, so please check there first.

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