Caregivers of elderly or disabled loved ones work hard. There’s no getting around the sacrifices of time, energy, private life and often financial wellbeing that caregivers, be it family or professional, often make. However, the rewards that accompany this self-sacrifice can be priceless.
Typically, when we think of the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease we think of memory problems. Words go missing, names escape your grasp and tasks to be done are forgotten. Now, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have shown that making mental maps of where we have been and where we are going is a process the brain may lose before memory problems begin to show. People with these early symptoms can no longer navigate even a familiar area as they once did.
When our elders are suffering from physical pain, mental stress, loneliness or the effects of ageism in our society, the result can be depression. Research done at Sweden’s Umeå University and reported on by Medical News Today finds that when group activities were introduced into the elders’ environments, depressive symptoms were often improved and the need for medication reduced or eliminated.
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.
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."
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.
According to new research, the long-held theory that diabetes may cause Alzheimer’s could prove to be the reverse, at least in some cases. Scientists from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai published, in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia, their study results that suggest that Alzheimer’s disease (AD) impairs insulin signaling in the area of the brain that is responsible for regulating metabolism. This, in turn, makes a person with Alzheimer’s disease more susceptible to diabetes. Until now, an abundance of studies, including one that lasted nine years, concluded that diabetes significantly increased a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, while avoiding diabetes or keeping it under control lowered one’s risk.
Multiple studies have shown that stress, and anxiety which is often at the core of our stress, can lead to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Now, a recent study has shown that anxiety and stress can increase the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) turning into Alzheimer’s disease, as well. People with mild cognitive impairment are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than the general population. Therefore, these findings suggest that while lowering stress is good for all of us, it’s vital for those who have MCI to keep stress levels low in order to decrease their risk of developing full-blown Alzheimer’s disease.
...Boches says that, "Many of the known risk factors for Alzheimer's, like age, obesity and diabetes, increase inflammation in the brain and we think that could be another risk factor…There is already evidence that the immune system is on high alert in people with Alzheimer's and we think that an extra trigger, like an infection, could tip the balance and make immune cells switch from being protective to harmful."
Fructose has been tagged for years as a harmful part of the Western high-sugar, fast food diet. A recent study conducted by UCLA life scientists may show us a way toward mitigating the damage done in the past while we try to improve how we eat. This study has shown that Omega-3 fatty acids, known as docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, seem to reverse the harmful genetic changes caused by fructose.