« September 2016 | Main | November 2016 »

A recent AARP survey discovered that 93% of Americans find maintaining brain health to be very important, however very few know the best ways to make this happen. When asked how to maintain brain health, results showed that many of the methods that are scientifically proven to improve or maintain brain health ranked as low priority areas for most respondents. Since I had some questions about the survey, I asked Lynn Mento, Senior Vice President of AARP Membership, to help me out. Read more →

Dear Carol: My mother is 78 and has always been physically healthy and mentally sharp. During her last physical exam, she told her doctor about some annoying incontinence issues, and her cholesterol numbers were up, as well. After much discussion, her doctor put her on a drug for incontinence and one for cholesterol. Over the course of a few weeks, we both noticed that Mom's memory took a nosedive. Her pleasant personality has become argumentative, and she's impatient and anxious. We checked with her doctor, but he says that these drugs rarely cause problems and he wants her to keep taking them, claiming this is just a sign of age. Could we be in denial about Mom's age and unfairly be blaming her new issues on the drugs? — TL Read more →

Nearly all of us know that if we don’t use our muscles as we age, we’ll lose muscle mass. The same theory seems to hold true when it comes to keeping our minds sharp. Computer games, word games, crossword puzzles, Sudoku and other challenging mental pursuits have been advised as methods of keeping the mind healthy as we age. Now, a recent study has shown that by pursuing life-long learning, even people who are genetically at risk for Alzheimer’s disease may be able to stave off symptoms for years. Read more →

In general, awareness about Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia is a positive step forward. The downside is that many normal people over 50 worry that they are developing Alzheimer’s if they have even occasional glitches in cognition. Should you worry when… Read more →

Loneliness can be a plague for the elderly and ill. Yet visiting with someone who doesn’t feel well, and may have limited cognition, can be tricky. Some nervousness or reluctance is natural, but a few considerations can help to make things go smoothly. Read more →

Most of us know that positive thinking is supposed to enhance our lives but thinking positively, especially for some personalities, can be easier said than done. Life can be hard. If you have dementia or another terminal illness, or if you provide care for someone who does, thinking positively can seem impossible.Yet, many studies have shown that negative thinking can cause havoc with our health. Read more →

Depression in the elderly is not unusual, and can be brought on by any number of factors, ranging from physical issues or cognitive issues to life events. Spouses, adult children, and friends can take steps to help. These steps include: Read more →

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cognitive and Neural Systems have found evidence that long-term testing starting well before any signs of Alzheimer’s symptoms are evident could be a valuable tool in detecting which people will need intervention with therapeutic drugs that are now in clinical trials. This type of intervention could possibly halt or even reverse cognitive damage while the patient is still symptom-free. The long-term testing would be done in conjunction with brain scans. Read more →

Accepting this current failure to produce a drug that is of real help to people with the disease has been a struggle for researchers at large. There are still many questions about exactly what triggers Alzheimer’s disease and whether or not there is just one cause or if there are several. Researchers will continue to try to solve the puzzle. Most likely they will eventually develop a method that can reliably prevent or cure Alzheimer’s through pharmaceutical intervention. Meanwhile, as is often the case, acceptance of this current failure has led to studies that seem to have produced some hope on a more basic level. Read more →

Fear and anxiety are two disturbing symptoms exhibited by many people with Alzheimer’s disease. These symptoms are completely understandable, considering the fact that people with dementia are often confused about their surroundings. Confusion that won’t go away leads to fear and fearful people tend to be anxious. This need to calm anxiety and feel safe can lead people with Alzheimer’s to a behavior called shadowing. Read more →