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March 2014

6 New Discoveries in Alzheimer’s Research

 There are countless studies being conducted in the rush to find a way to better understand and prevent or cure Alzheimer’s disease. Even though 2014 is still young, the results of six studies have made headlines in the Alzheimer’s world so far this year. While these studies don’t provide any definitive answers to the Alzheimer’s question, each represents another step in acquiring the knowledge that will one day defeat the disease.

Read more on HealthCentral about six new discoveries in Alzheimer's research:

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Tai Chi May Boost Brain Size, Increase Memory in Seniors

Tai chi, as described by the Mayo Clinic website, is “… a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. To do tai chi, you perform a series of postures or movements in a slow, graceful manner. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion.”

Read more about Tai Chi on HealthCentral:

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Administration on Aging Programs Assist Caregivers Nationwide

Administration on Aging programs provide assistance for caregivers nationwide - See more at: http://www.healthcentral.com/alzheimers/c/62/153930/administration#sthash.p2PQUiaZ.dpuf

Nearly any family caregiver has felt isolated and alone at one time or another. For many, that feeling is chronic. Friends don’t understand the strain we are under. Some people get no support from their extended family or friends. Where can we turn when there seems to be nowhere to turn? Believe it or not, many resources are at your fingertips on the Administration on Aging website.

Read more on HealthCentral about how the Administration of Aging assists caregivers:

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Emotionally Descriptive Words Can Lose Meaning with Semantic Dementia

Personality change is the hallmark of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), but a small percentage of people with FTD experience an additional problem. They lose the ability to understand the meaning conveyed by words that describe emotion. People who love someone with this variant of FTD, which is called semantic dementia have to live with increased heartache knowing that their loved one is now unable to understand emotionally expressive phrases such as "I'm sad" or "I love you." 

Read more on HealthCentral about emotionally descriptive words and dementia:

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Changes in Gait May Predict Alzheimer's Disease

When you are stuck behind an older woman at the supermarket, do you get impatient at her slow pace? Maybe she simply has all the time in the world and no longer must rush through each day as though she needs to put out a fire. Or maybe she has arthritis or another physical illness that is slowing her down. There’s nothing wrong with being more cautious about movements and slowing a bit as we age. However, for some people, a slow gait, particularly an uneven gait, could be a sign of brain disease such as Alzheimer’s.

Read more about changes in gait and how that may predict Alzheimer's:

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5 Technologies I Would Have Enjoyed During Earlier Caregiving

One type of technology that I found invaluable at the time – and still do – is the personal alarm. I subscribed to a personal alarm service for my neighbor, my uncle and my mother. I can't emphasize enough how much these alarms contributed to peace of mind for my elders and for me, their caregiver. These alarms generally come in bracelet, necklace and clip-on forms, and are easy to use in an emergency. They give an elder some sense of security, without being too intrusive.

Read more on Agingcare about technology and the changes taking place:

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Alzheimer's Affects Genders Differently For Several Reasons

While it’s been known for years that statistically more women than men develop Alzheimer’s disease, the reason was thought to be that, as a group, women have a longer life expectancy than men. Since age is the largest risk factor for Alzheimer’s, it would be expected that more women than men would live to develop the disease as they grow older. Some studies have pointed to hormonal differences as a risk factor, as well. Recently, however, researchers have become convinced that there is more than age and possibly hormones involved in this imbalance between genders.

Read more on HealthCentral about how Alzheimer's affects gender differently:

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Aging Itself Shouldn't Mean Loss of Rights

Dear Carol: My 76-year-old mother lives alone in the family home and she doesn’t want to move. There’s no family in her community anymore though she has good friends as well as her church where she’s very active. She says she feels her age some but is generally happy and she loves her garden. I’d like mom to move from Minnesota to Texas where I live so that I can take care of her. Not only won’t she move to Texas, she won’t even sell her home and move to an apartment in her community. Granted, she’s in very good health for her age, but she has had one bad fall and I worry about her. How can I persuade her to move? Ginny

Read more on Inforum about whether parent should move to please adult child: 

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Preventing or Managing Diabetes Lowers Risk of Cognitive Decline

As far back as 2006, the New York Times was reporting on the deepening link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Now, new results from a study led by researchers from the University of California San Francisco show that there is a link between the risk of cognitive decline and the severity of diabetes. - See more at: http://www.healthcentral.com/alzheimers/c/62/154143/study-preventing#sthash.OiWPtpvo.dpuf

As far back as 2006, the New York Times was reporting on the deepening link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Now, new results from a study led by researchers from the University of California San Francisco show that there is a link between the risk of cognitive decline and the severity of diabetes.
An article on the UCSF website reports on a 9-year long study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

Read more on HealthCentral about managing diabetes lowering risk of dementia:

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Humor Provides Armor Against Caregivers’ Pain

Some situations leave no room for laughter. But some tough times can offer moments of levity if we choose to recognize them. My sister, Beth, and I experienced what to some people may be a rather macabre situation during the three days our mother was going through the death process. If we hadn’t maintained our senses of humor, I’m not sure how we would have handled those sad, seemingly endless days.

Read more on HealthCentral about how humor can provide caregiver's with protect against deepest sorrows:

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