A recent study at the University of California, Davis found a distinct correlation between the development of amyloid plaque deposits associated with Alzheimer’s disease and serum cholesterol levels.
According to Bruce Reed, lead study author and associate director of the UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center, “The relationship between elevated cholesterol and increased risk of Alzheimer's disease has been known for some time, but the current study is the first to specifically link cholesterol to amyloid deposits in living human study participants.
Books published by the Mayo Clinic can be counted on to present medical information to the layman in a comprehensive yet readable manner. They make the reading experience seem almost as though you are in a conversation with a physician who truly knows how to communicate with his or her patients. The latest title sent to me for review is “Mayo Clinic on Alzheimer’s Disease: Your guide to understanding, treating, coping and caregiving.”
In recent years, stories about Alzheimer’s disease have led a significant number of news broadcasts. Whether the story is about researchers discovering a promising new treatment or daunting statistics about what Alzheimer’s in the future will look like without a cure, few adults haven’t heard about the increasing numbers of people developing the disease.
Research has repeatedly shown that people with diabetes have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, some studies have demonstrated that intra-nasal insulin, sometimes used to treat diabetes, may help improve memory in those already diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This background of knowledge prompted a group of researchers from the University of Arizona to conduct their own research to see if high blood sugar levels in people who have yet to develop diabetes may also increase their chances of developing Alzheimer's.
It’s well known that the aging process generally causes the brain to shrink. But there may be hope. A new study of women’s brains is encouraging in that their data show that easily obtained fish oil seems to preserve brain cells and delay shrinkage.
James Pottala is an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of South Dakota in Sioux Falls and principal biostatistician at Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc. in Richmond, Virginia. Pottala led a study in which researchers looked at 1,111 post-menopausal women from the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study.
It’s natural for caregivers to worry if their loved one is getting sufficient nourishment. People with dementia are often a challenge because they forget to eat, or they may have problems remembering how to transfer food from the plate to their mouths. Some people have trouble chewing and swallowing, especially during later stages of dementia.
Adult children often worry about their aging parents’ eating habits. Sometimes the elders live alone and don’t feel like cooking or even going out to buy groceries. They may have pain issues that keep them from enjoying food, or dentures that make chewing uncomfortable. Depression can be a factor for some people, as can medication side effects. Loneliness, especially for people who have lost a spouse to a nursing home or death, can make eating seem unimportant or unattractive.
Even though many people with dementia can no longer form new memories they can still feel pleasure in the moment. Since researchers have shown that music and color are two areas of life that continue to affect mood and cognitive activity long into dementia, they are key approaches used by many therapists. Music and color can also lighten the mood of a tired caregiver, so why not add some of each to this new year of caregiving?
...Alzheimer's disease is thought to be characterized by a build-up of
amyloid protein in the brain, which clumps together to form toxic,
sticky balls of varying shapes. These amyloid balls latch on to the
surface of nerve cells in the brain by attaching to proteins on the cell
surface called prions, causing the nerve cells to malfunction and