Category Archives: Dementia

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Rare Blood Type And Dementia Risk

If you have blood type AB, about 4% of the total population do, new research holds a warning for you – you may also have a higher risk of memory problems as you get older. A recent study published online in the journal Neurology found that over nearly three years, those with this blood type were almost two times as likely to show memory issues as those who had type O blood, which is the most common blood type. If you have AB blood, don’t panic, there may be other factors that play a bigger part in your risk for mental impairment than your blood type. Plus the association was small, and needs more work to be confirmed.

For the research, the team gave 30,000-plus subjects over 45 years old a series of memory and thinking tests, and then repeated the tests just about three years later. From this group, there were 495 who scored low enough to fall in the range of having some memory or thinking issues. Their blood types were compared to those of 587 subjects who had normal testing scores. After adjusting for age, race, sex and geography, those who had type AB blood were 82% more likely to have impaired cognitive skills than those who had type O blood.

These findings might not be all that startling based on some other recent work. It’s already known that the AB blood type can impact how your blood clots, and ups the risk of blood vessel related conditions. Researchers earlier in 2014 found that the AB blood type was also associated with a higher risk of debilitating stroke.

At least half the association between stroke and the blood type was related to higher amounts of clotting Factor VIII, a protein in the blood that helps it to stop bleeding. If you have hemophilia, you are deficient in Factor VIII, and if you have too much, your blood forms clots too easily and this can lead to heart attack, stroke or large clots that clog veins.

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Rare Blood Type And Dementia Risk Continued…

In the most recent work, only about 20% of the link between memory problems and type AB blood could be accounted for by the higher levels of Factor VIII. This suggests other reasons for the link, reasons research has yet to identify. Perhaps, the association between type AB blood and vascular issues (stroke and dementia share several risk factors) that research has yet to understand. Interesting that those in the study who had memory and thinking issues were also more apt to smoke and have high blood pressure, conditions like diabetes, heart disease or high cholesterol.

The risk of dementia is much, much higher when connected to other lifestyle factors, such as smoking, not being active, being obese and making unhealthy lifestyle choices. If you’re worried about your own dementia risk, make healthy lifestyle choices now to lower that risk, no matter what type blood you have.

The most important message to take from the work is not worry about what type of blood you have, but instead focus on achieving a healthy lifestyle. Don’t smoke. Exercise regularly and eat a healthy, balanced diet. Also be sure to keep up with your preventive care and screenings, as these are your best weapon to identify something before it takes hold.

Remember too, that to keep your brain healthy and strong going forward, you need to exercise it. Read, play games, engage with others… do something that you find mentally stimulating and you’ll go a long way toward keeping your thinking sharp and your memories clear.

To your good health,

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News On Low Vitamin D Levels And Alzheimer’s Risk

Researchers agree that there’s a connection between vitamin D and the workings of your brain – they’ve even found receptors for the nutrient in many parts of the brain. Now there’s word on vitamin D and Alzheimer’s risk via a study in the journal Neurology, the largest yet, that finds an association between low levels of vitamin D and dementia. Older people who have too little of the sunshine vitamin in their bloodstream may also have two times the risk of developing devastating Alzheimer’s disease as older people who have enough of the vitamin in their body. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia and affects almost 5 million Americans.

Beyond what it does in the brain, vitamin D is needed to maintain healthy bones, to moderate cell growth, and help with immune function and inflammation. You can get this most essential nutrient from a very few food (fatty fish like salmon, turn or mackerel, milk, eggs, cheese) sources, through your skin during sunscreen free exposure to sunlight, or by taking supplements.

The latest research involved over 1,600 healthy adults over the age of 65 who were taking part in the U.S. Cardiovascular Health Study during 1992-1993 and 1999. Samples of their blood were collected at the beginning of the study, and their mental status was assessed about six years later. During the study, 102 cases of Alzheimer’s were diagnosed in the subject pool. The team saw that those who had low levels of vitamin D were about 1.7 times more likely to have Alzheimer’s, and those with severely low (50 nanomoles per liter) levels were 2.2 times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease. These findings are similar to those from other, smaller projects.

How does vitamin D help? Experts think that the vitamin may clear plaques in the brain that are associated with dementia. This has already been shown in the laboratory.

Still these findings are not enough to have your doctor telling you to take vitamin D supplements in order to protect you from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Clinical trials are the next step in the process. Changes in diet, or simply getting out in the sun, may be enough, but no one can be sure. Increasing vitamin D levels may only be part of the Alzheimer’s prevention picture.

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News On Low Vitamin D Levels And Alzheimer’s Risk Continued…

In the meantime, it’s important for all of us to try to stick to a brain healthy (the same as a heart healthy) diet that includes lots of good tasting, good-for-you foods, including those low in saturated fats and cholesterol. Also, being regularly active and doing all you can to keep your blood pressure under control are important strategies in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

Today experts know that you’re more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease if…

- you’re over 65,

- you have a family history (parent or sibling) with the disease,

- you carry genes that are involved with developing Alzheimer’s,

- you’ve had a serious head injury, or repeat injuries,

- you’re black or Hispanic,

- you have other health problems (high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol), or

- you’ve ever had a stroke.

All these up the chances of Alzheimer’s disease; but by no means guarantee you will be affected. What science doesn’t know is what causes some people to develop the plaques and tangles of this disease while others remain unaffected. The condition is likely brought on by many different factors that work together, not any one cause.

To your good health,

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What’s Behind Your Memory Loss

Memory loss affects everyone at some point. Sometimes this is occasional forgetfulness… where you put the keys, why you left a room or the date of an appointment. These types of lapses are very common. But when memory loss begins to cause problems in everyday life, you’ll want to get to the bottom of an issue that’s just as distressing to you as it is to those around you.

Here are the more common reasons behind memory loss in adults.

Medications, both prescription and over the counter can cause problems with your memory. Some known culprits include antidepressants, antihistamines, antianxiety meds, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, sleeping pills and pain medications, especially
those given after a surgical procedure.

Alcohol, tobacco or drugs are linked to loss of memory. For a long time now, we all have known that too much alcohol can impact memory. Smoking hurts memory by cutting the amount of oxygen that gets to the brain – studies show that smokers have trouble with putting names and faces together. Illegal drugs change chemicals
in the brain that make it hard to bring memories to the surface.

Sleep deprivation leads to fatigue, and this interferes with the brain’s ability to consolidate and bring back information. Experts tell us that both the quality and quantity of sleep are vital to how well memory functions.

Depression and stress make it hard to pay attention, to focus and this can impact memory. Stress also gets in the way of concentrating, and the ability to remember suffers. Stress from an emotional trauma can also bring on memory loss.

Nutrient deficiency in vitamins like B1 and B12 can impact memory.

Head injury from a serious blow to the head (as the result of an accident or sports related injury) can hurt the brain and cause both short and log term loss of memory. As you heal the memory may return.

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WARNING: The truth about Moles, Warts and Skintags…

There are so many “scare” stories that it’s sometimes hard to know
what to believe. Which is why this is so timely…

Find out how you, too, can:

- Have freedom from the pain and irritation of your unsightly moles, warts, or skin tags

- Naturally REMOVE moles, warts, or skin tags at the root without any scarring

- Enjoy having clear skin, free from unsightly and painful moles,
warts or skin tags

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What’s Behind Your Memory Loss Continued…

Stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is stopped due to a blockage or a leak in a vessel into the brain. Often the loss is to short-term memory,
while long term memories stay vivid and intact.

Dementia is the progressive loss of memory and other thinking areas that’s severe enough to interfere with daily life. There are many reasons for dementia (blood vessel disease, drug/alcohol abuse, damage to the brain), the one we all know is Alzheimer’s disease.

- Other reasons including an underactive (or overactive) thyroid gland, or an infection like HIV, tuberculosis or syphilis, known to affect the brain.

It is highly likely that your memory loss comes as the result of one of these causes. Only by working closely with your own healthcare team can you figure out what’s going on and get the support and early intervention you need. By doing this now, you are taking an active part in your own health and well being, today and in the future.

Some things that can help support a flagging memory are lists in the same place, written instructions/cautions, special appliance shutoff devices, frequent reminders and a good deal of support. Being patient and flexible, along with a healthy sense of humor will be important skills to master as you move forward.

To your good health,

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Detox Health Emergency, The Bad and The Good…

Detoxing is much in the news. The benefits to vitality, weight loss and aging are spouted by celebrities and “gurus”, while at the same time research continues to point out the dangers of environmental toxins that are nearly unavoidable these days. Being rid of toxins seems like a smart choice as they are blamed for conditions like autoimmunity, autism, cancer, diabetes and dementia, even heart failure. Yet detox has some dangers (dehydration, blood sugar issues, deficiencies of potassium or sodium, diarrhea) you need to understand as well.

Think of it this way. If you dumped the contents of every drawer in your kitchen onto the floor, it would make a huge mess that would be hard to clean up. That’s what rapid detox does to the body – not a good thing. This is why to be safe, slow, careful, multi-step detox that focuses on long-term goals is best.

It seems that many bodies aren’t equipped to handle the sudden release of toxins from where they’ve been stored. This sets you up for doing harm; your natural detoxing systems are overloaded, they can’t keep up with the amount of substances that have appeared – heavy metals, pesticides and more – in the bloodstream and digestive tract. Anything in the GI tract that gets metabolized back into the body can then do harm to key organs.

There are safe, effective ways to be rid of pollutants, and keep them from re-accumulating in the body. Spring, summer and the fall are all excellent times to begin a gentle detox program. The reason these seasons are good choices is because there are an abundance of fresh veggies and fruits, and warmer weather and longer days keep us naturally more active, and sweating, which is a key part of natural detoxing.

If you begin a detox program, understand that you’re making a serious, long-term commitment. The first step will likely be to adopt a diet that is full of anti-inflammatory and alkalizing foods. These include green veggies, herbs, cruciferous, sulfur rich veggies (broccoli, cabbage, kale) as well as low sugar fruits, sprouted legumes and sea veggies. You’ll want to avoid processed foods, sugars, excess salt and trans fats, artificial ingredients of all types as well as factory farmed meats and nonorganic produce. You must limit (or eliminate) red meat, dairy and gluten.

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Detox Health Emergency, The Bad and The Good Continued…

The next phase involves supplementation with natural therapeutic ingredients (one being modified citrus pectin) that work to clean the circulation and GI tract. When used with diet for one to three weeks these substances help to remove toxins from the blood and GI tract, and get the system ready for deeper cleansing at the organ and tissue level. Targeted nutrients and herbs do the work here.

Safe detoxing is a natural, multi step process that helps keep you from experiencing the detox symptoms, while also giving you energy and antioxidant protection.

It’s also important to remember that detox calls for movement, in order to move those accumulated toxins out of the body. Being active is important because it promotes circulation and helps to keep the lymphatic system clear – you sweat out the toxins. Regular workouts are a way to ensure cells keep getting the nutrients they need while removing waste they don’t.

To your good health,

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Study: Higher Risk Of dementia With Cynicism Linked

Negative thinking is really not very good for your health, not to mention your mental outlook or peace of mind, but it can be surprisingly easy to slip into and hard to shake. New research in the journal Neurology finds that cynical people have a greater chance of developing dementia. Cynicism is a deep mistrust of other people, and psychologists think of this as a kind of chronic anger that comes on over time. The type of cynicism examined as part of the study involved subjects doubting the truth of what people said, believing most of us are motivated by self interest rather than other, more positive drives.

Earlier work in this area has found that those who are cynical are more likely to die sooner and have poorer health than others, but no studies have specifically focused on dementia risk. There has been research that discovered those who are more open and upbeat have a lower risk of dementia, so the opposite is an area worthy of investigation.

The project involved 1,449 subjects of an average age of 71, who took a test for dementia and another to measure how cynical they were. Both were consider3ed reliable measures by experts. Those who agreed with cynical statements on the exam were considered to be highly cynical. Those with the highest level of cynical distrust had a 2.54 times higher risk of having dementia than those with the lower cynicism ratings. The team also examined the results to see if the participants who were highly cynical died earlier than others, but once compounding factors were removed they didn’t, even though earlier work has shown a link between cynicism and earlier death.

This research doesn’t prove that having a negative, cynical attitude toward life brings on bad outcomes to your health. This research wasn’t designed to do that. More work is needed to reproduce the conclusions found here, though the results do compliment a wide body of study that shows how over time, those with high levels of cynical hostility do worse in terms of health. They certainly are not happy people.

The link between an attitude and health outcome is very complex, though doctors will say that poor attitudes can lead patients down a road to poorer health. Author Dr. Hilary Tindle, a professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh was also the lead author on research that looked at the health outcomes of just over 97,000 women and saw that the cynical ones had a higher risk of cancer related death.

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Study: Higher Risk Of dementia With Cynicism Linked Continued…

Cynical people have also been shown to smoke more, workout less and be heavier overall. They have a harder time following medical advice because their cynical thought process refuses to let them believe what anyone tells them. Cynical souls also have greater stress responses, and this suggests a higher heart rate, higher blood pressure peak and a tendency to more inflammation in the immune system. Chronic inflammation is what experts tell us is harmful to your overall health and has been linked to conditions like Crohn’s disease, high cholesterol and even Alzheimer’s.

Previous studies have also shown t hat those who are cynical also have a higher risk of heart disease, cardiovascular issues and death related to cancer. Cardiovascular disease is a condition that can contribute to dementia by damaging the small blood vessels all over the body, and that includes your brain.

It’s always possible to change your cynical attitude… you are not doomed to stay this way, be plagued by damaging, negative thoughts. You can change, just like people do when they stop smoking, go on a diet, cut back drinking or cut out unhealthy relationships. People make changes for the better every day, you can too.

To your good health,

How Music Helps Patients In Dementia

Music can have a truly remarkable impact on dementia patients. There are roughly 5.4 million Americans, right now, coping with Alzheimer’s and other, lesser-known forms of dementia. It’s a terrible disease. What’s intriguing is that music from younger days played to these patients appears to help then recall old memories and perhaps even newer ones. Listening to music has been shown to help older people feel energized, be more talkative and have their memories of familiar days close at hand once more.

Music lets these patients revisit a happy, good time in their lives

We all know the power music has over us. How readily lyrics to a song we haven’t heard in 20 years come back. Experts say there’s no one type of music that works for every brain, a whole lot depends on experiences and personal preference. For dementia, familiarity is key.

The science on music and memory in those whose minds are failing is promising. There’s a 2010 study from Boston University that showed Alzheimer’s patients who did a series of memory tests learned more lyrics when they were accompanied by music than if they were just spoken aloud. Another research project from 2011 at Northwestern University demonstrated that older people who have musical training are excellent at auditory memory.

Music imprints onto the brain at a deeper level than any other experience we have according to well-respected neurologist Oliver Sacks. Matching up special music to everyday tasks can help dementia patients get into a rhythm they use later to bring back the memory. Music also makes its way into the emotional centers of the brain, and these feelings can also bring back memory.

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How Music Helps Patients In Dementia Continued…

The organization Music & Memory has found the most success in terms of elders with dementia by using personalized music selections the patients already like or that are familiar to them, something they’ve enjoyed all their lives. Family members often help with the choices. The non profit organization specializes in teaching caregivers and facilities how to set up personalized music playlists for the patients they care for in order to tap into deeply buried, but beloved memories and bring people back to life once more. There are over 140 Certified Music & Memory Care Facilities in both the U.S. and Canada.

Here’s what using music for elders with dementia can do

Make them feel happier, less agitated, more social, better appetite

Bring a calmer, more supportive energy to the environment.

Behavior management issues ease.

Relationships with residents, staff and family improve, deepen.

Growing evidence of reduced reliance on anti psychotic medications.

The goal of Memory & Music is to get personalized, therapeutic music into elder care facilities, to make this type of therapy the gold standard for treatment in the U.S. and throughout the world. Ambitious, but a worthy goal. You might even try making a personalized music playlist if you have someone in your life who is struggling with dementia, and see if you get the same remarkable results.

To your good health,

Slow Walking Speed An Early Sign Of Dementia

A change in walking speed in later life might be an early sign of dementia according to a study appearing in the journal Neurology. Mild cognitive impairment, MCI for short, is the term used for the condition where there is trouble with memory, language, thinking or judgment that’s severe enough to be noticed (by the patient and those around him/her), but not so troubling as to interfere with daily living.

While people with mild cognitive impairment have a higher risk for dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, not everyone who is diagnosed with MCI gets these conditions – some never get any worse, some may even get better over time.

The latest research on MCI included 93 subjects over 70 years old who all lived alone. Of the subjects 54 had no cognitive impairment at all, 31 had non-memory related mild cognitive impairment and 8 had memory related mild cognitive impairment. All the subjects were given thinking and memory tests and had their walking speed monitored in a rather unobtrusive, though remarkable manner.

The study used a new technology that involved installing infrared sensors in the hallway ceilings of subjects’ homes to monitor walking speed over a period of three years. This monitoring method let the researchers get a better idea of how even the most subtle changes in speed might correlate with mild cognitive impairment.

Study subjects were placed in groups based on their walking speed – slow, moderate or fast determined by their average weekly walking speed and how much that speed changed over time. Those who had non-memory mild cognitive impairment were 9 times more likely to be slow walkers. What’s more, the amount of fluctuation in walking speed was also linked to mild cognitive impairment.

More work needs to be done with larger groups of subjects to see if walking speed, or its fluctuations, might predict future memory and thinking problems in older people according to study author Hiroko Dodge, of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. The hope is that if dementia can be detected at its earliest stages, strategies can be developed to maintain independence, offer treatment and perhaps one day, keep the disease from happening at all. Ambitious but worthy all the same.

Mild cognitive impairment is that step between the normal forgetfulness that comes with aging, and something more serious. Some of the mental tasks you might have trouble with include…

- Doing more than one thing at the same time.

- Solving problems or making choices.

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What Your Walking Speeds Says About Dementia Risk… Continued…

- Forgetting events, or conversations, from the recent past.

- Needing longer to do more difficult mental actions.

You may reduce your risk of both mild cognitive impairment and dementia by not smoking and being sure to control both high blood pressure and diabetes. Eating a balanced, low fat diet and getting regular exercise (including mental exercise and socialization) may also bring down your risk.

The research on walking speed as an early sign of dementiawas supported by both the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Intel Corporation. The good news is that MCI is an active area of research interest, though as yet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved no treatments or drugs for this condition.

Health Benefits Of Coffee Could Help Prevent Alzheimers

Once again, the health benefits of coffee may to do more than give you a lift as you start you day. Drinking three cups of coffee each day might just help prevent Alzheimer’s disease for older adults who are already showing sings of problems with memory according to the findings of a new study that appears in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Doctors know that Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Symptoms of this condition include serious memory loss, mental confusion and mood changes that happen very gradually but get worse over time.

The latest research on Alzheimer’s involved 124 subjects who were 65 to 88 years old and living in either Tampa or Miami Florida, and had mild cognitive impairment. Experts recognize that almost 15% of those with this condition do go on to full-blown Alzheimer’s disease each and every year. In fact, the research team sought out such subjects because they were more likely than the general population to develop devastating Alzheimer’s within a short time.

Coffee appeared to be the only source of caffeine for the subjects in the study.

The researchers saw that blood levels of caffeine were more than 50% lower for those with mild cognitive impairment (who later developed Alzheimer’s) when compared to other study subjects whose memory condition didn’t get worse.

No one with mild memory loss who later got Alzheimer’s had an initial blood caffeine level higher than a critical level of 1,200 ng/ml (the equal of several cups of coffee drunk within a few hours before the sample was taken). Those subjects whose memory loss didn’t progress all had higher levels of caffeine in their blood than this.

The study found that those over 65 who had higher amounts of caffeine in their blood were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease from two to four years later than those who had lower levels of caffeine.

No one understands how coffee might help delay the development of Alzheimer’s, but researcher Chuanhai Cao, PhD, a neuroscientist at the University of South Florida’s College of Pharmacy and Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute, expects it involves beta amyloid, a protein that is found in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s disease. It doesn’t cause disease, but with advancing age, the protein accumulates in the brain because it no longer is sufficiently metabolized. Caffeine stops the production of beta amyloid, leaving your system to metabolize just what’s already available.

It’s also possible since attention is an important component of memory, and we know that caffeine increases attention, this may well be the mechanism at work.

Coffee just might have other health benefits too.

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Delay Alzheimer’s Disease With This Popular Beverage… Continued…

Research has already shown that it may bring down the risk of Parkinson’s disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and even breast cancer.

So if you enjoy coffee, keep right on drinking it according to study lead author Cao. Even if you’re having memory problems now, there’s no reason to stop drinking coffee and it may well delay the onset of more serious disease. Still to come is more research where caffeine is examined in randomized clinical trials.

For those now in their 30s (and over), you might want to start enjoying a few cups of coffee if you’re especially concerned about Alzheimer’s risk. Aim for a moderate intake, on average three, 8 ounce cups of coffee per day after you’ve had breakfast. It’s not that the health benefits of coffee will completely prevent Alzheimer’s, but moderate consumption may appreciably lower your risk of the disease, or perhaps even delay its onset.

New Possible Ways To Prevent Alzheimers Disease

When looking at possible ways to prevent alzheimers earlier research has suggested a link between being active and keeping your brain healthy as you get older. And we also know that exercise offers lots of health benefits that older adults truly need.  New research in the journal Neurology finds that elderly subjects who move around more, even if it’s simple pottering around the house or working in the garden, are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than seniors who aren’t as active, who sit more. Now this isn’t to say being active lowers the risk of such a devastating disease, the truth is experts aren’t sure if early stages of disease have people slowing down, being more sedentary than they used to be.

What’s more, it’s important to understand that we’re not talking activity that works up a sweat here… but rather just moving around doing day-to-day chores might be enough to make a difference in brain health.

This latest research included 716 subjects (602 females) participating in the Rush Memory and Aging Project who were dementia free, at an average age of 82 when the study started. Their daily activity was tracked for up to ten days with a device that measures movement known as an actigraph. It’s a non-obtrusive, watch-sized instrument that can be worn 24 hours a day.

The team of researchers then watched the study participants for signs of future disease. Over an average 4 years of follow up, 71 of the subjects developed measurable signs of devastating Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers looked back at their statistics to see where the risk of disease fell based on the activity of the subjects. Those who were most active had an 8% risk of having signs of Alzheimer’s, while the risk jumped to 18% for those who had been least active.

Of course the study did contain far more women than men, so the results might not apply to everyone. What’s more the actigraph the subjects wore isn’t able to distinguish between different activities.

While no one can say that being active and better thinking are related, the findings do encourage seniors (all of us in fact) to an active lifestyle, even in your older years. Even if you can’t “exercise” as you used to… getting up for any kind of movement is going to be beneficial to your body according to study lead Dr. Aron Buchman, who is an associate professor of neurological sciences at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center.

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Lower Alzheimer’s Risk With Everyday Activities… Continued…

Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects 5.4 million Americans and is the most common form of dementia. This disease starts slowly; usually (but not always) after age 60, with unnoticed changes taking place in the parts of the brain that manage thought, memory and language. A person might not be able to recall an event or a name they know. Over time the symptoms get worse, with patients being unable to do everyday tasks until they need round the clock care and attention.

By the year 2030, estimates predict that the number of American adults over 65 years old will double – that’s 80 million people. All at higher risk of devastating, debilitating Alzheimer’s disease. Given these numbers, the study authors feel the findings have pretty significant implications for public health. An epidemic may well be in the works… slowly but steadily approaching as more and more of us age. Not only will a rising numbers suffering with Alzheimer’s impact countless family members and friends of patients, but also a healthcare system understaffed and struggling to cope. Meaning that finding new ways to prevent alzheimer’s disease will become more and more important.