Research Feed

Is Forgetfulness A Precursor of Alzheimer's or Are There Other Signs?

FAtherSon5...While these statistics are scary, you shouldn’t let them cloud the reality that many of us will age normally and will not develop AD, or any other type of dementia. Certainly, we will have some memory changes as we age. Improvements in our lifestyle may help mitigate some of those. Other changes we’ll just have to live with. So what is normal memory loss and when should we worry? What if you momentarily forgot an old friend’s name? What if it routinely takes time to remember where you left your car keys, or your glasses? Are these glitches something to be worried about? In most cases, no.

Read full article on HealthCentral about forgetfulness and how it fits in with Alzheimer's:

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Optimistic Thinking May Help Preserve Memory and Judgement

ProudIt should come as no surprise that optimistic thinking is, for the most part, better for one’s health than negative thinking. In fact, negative thinking has been connected to poor health for some time. A recent study confirms what was previously suspected, linking optimistic thinking to the preservation of memory and good judgement. Both of those traits bode well for staving off, if  not preventing, Alzheimer’s disease. Research conducted by the University of Michigan has linked an optimistic outlook to taking better care of ourselves overall, which may explain the effect that optimism has on Alzheimer’s risk.

Read more on HealthCentral about how positive thinking can help preserve our cognitive abilities:

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Pain Management as We Age: An Interview With Denis Patterson, D.O.

Exercise11ThinkstockPain management can be a problem for aging bodies. With the current focus on removing opioids as a go-to solution, doctors are working hard to provide alternatives for their patients. Denis Patterson, D.O., is a Board Certified Pain Medicine, Physical Medicine, and Rehabilitation physician. He is also the founder and owner of Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists in Reno, Nevada. I’ve had questions for some time about what doctors suggest for pain management of aging bodies, regardless of whether the pain stems from old injuries or a current issue such as severe arthritis. So I asked Dr. Patterson if he would be willing to provide us with information from the perspective of a specialist. He did so in this email interview.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how a lot of pain can be managed without opioids:

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An amazing book of stories that will touch your heart and encourage you, especially if you are a caregiver. Carol  Bradley Bursack also has an excellent website devoted to the elderly and their caregivers. - Carol Heilman


Alzheimer's: Leaky Blood-Brain Barrier One More Step in Understanding Development of Disease

Brain12The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a collection of cells and cellular components that line the walls of blood vessels in the brain. This barrier is an important part of brain health because it separates the brain from circulating blood. A study led by Walter H. Backes, Ph.D., a professor in medical physics at Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands, has found that the blood-brain barrier was leakier in a group of people with Alzheimer’s disease than in those without the disease. This new information could add to the accumulation of evidence that early detection of Alzheimer’s is the key to defeating it. In fact, most of the drugs now going through trails need to be taken in the pre-symptom stage of the disease in order to be effective. The goal is to one day be able to start interventions early enough to stop or reverse damage from the disease before symptoms start.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the new information on BBB that could help end Alzheimer's:

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Mid-life Exercise: Being Vigilant May Have Beneficial Effects on Brain Later in Life

Exercise10Once you’ve reached your 70s, will you look back and thank your middle-aged self for spending another hour each day on social media rather than jogging around your neighborhood? According to new research, the answer is no: you’re more likely to wish that you’d had more self-discipline. A long-term study of more than 3,000 twins by researchers at the University of Helsinki found that midlife, moderately vigorous physical activity is associated with better cognition as we reach old age.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how mid-life exercise can help your brain when you are older:

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Folic Acid May Aid Elders During Heat Waves

FanHeatThe type of heat exhaustion or mild dehydration that a middle aged caregiver may feel during a heat wave is uncomfortable, but the same occurrence could be deadly for an elder. Because of the seriousness of overheating, some older people take a prescription drug that helps increase blood flow to the skin which in turn helps them cool off. Recently, Penn State researchers published information suggesting that folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, may be an inexpensive alternative for prescription drugs for the elderly during heat waves. Folic acid also increases skin blood flow and has been shown to reduce cardiovascular events, as well.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how folic acid may help your elder stay safe in extreme heat:

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Tai Chi Reduces Falls and Improves Brain Function In Elders

TaiChi2The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people over 65. I can attest to that since frequent falls - as in nearly daily - were partly responsible for the final decision that my mother and I jointly made for her to join my dad in a nearby nursing home. I doubt that I could have talked my mother into learning tai chi. However, I have been doing my own rather modified version of yoga and a regular session of meditation for decades and am considering learning tai chi so to help maintain my sense of balance as I age.

Read complete article on HealthCentral about how Tai Chi helps us age well:

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Thinking About Donating Your Body to Science? Here's the Scoop

Researcher3Many people sign a form to have body tissue or organs donated to others after their death. They often have this information recorded on their driver’s license to expedite procedures necessary in case of an accident. But far fewer choose to donate their whole body for scientific research — despite the fact that this type of donation is vital to help train new doctors, as well as to develop cures for diseases.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about donating one's body to research:

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Alzheimer's Apathy Preventable with Stimulation

Fatherson4smallLack of enjoyable, stimulating activity can lead to apathy for anyone but particularly those with Alzheimer’s disease. According to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), apathy is one of the most common neurobehavioral symptoms in dementia. Strong, focused stimulation can help people with Alzheimer’s disease overcome apathy. People with mild dementia will decline more quickly into severe dementia if they also suffer from apathy, therefore engaging, stimulating activities are especially vital to this group.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how stimulating activity can help offset common apathy in those living with Alzheimer's:

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Gene Therapy Delivered by Modified Virus Provides Hope for Alzheimer's Cure

BRain15...In continuing efforts to find a genetic route to cure Alzheimer’s, the findings of one study could revolutionize the numbers given above. This study involves a treatment that delivers a modified virus to a gene in the brain that could wipe out the damage being done by developing Alzheimer’s before any symptoms occur. The virus, which is called a lentivirus vector, is already used in gene therapy. Researchers from Imperial College London, have shown how using this modified virus to deliver a gene, known as PGC1-alpha, to the brain cells of mice destroys the progression of AD.

Read full article on HealthCentral a virus that may help the AD fight before symptoms show:

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