Hearing loss tied to faster brain shrinkage

A new study from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland found that seniors (56-86 years old) with hearing loss are more likely to develop  brain shrinkage--and at a faster rate.The research followed 126 older adults who underwent hearing tests and yearly MRIs to see how their brains changed. At the start of the research, 71 of the participants had normal hearing and 51 had impaired hearing (min. loss of 25 decibels)....more

Brain training has long-lasting benefits for seniors' cognition and everyday function

If you or someone you love is a senior, take note: A new study found that brain training can create lasting improvements to things like processing speed and reasoning, which also helps the quality of daily living.The new study out of Johns Hopkins University did a 10-year follow-up on 2,832 people who had an average age of 73.6 at the start of the study. The participants had been split into 4 groups at the start of the 10-year study.Group 1 was a memory training group. They were taught strategies for remembering word lists, text, sequences and story ideas and details....more

More proof of a link between Alzheimer's and concussions

You've likely heard about the NFL players concussions possibly causing Alzheimer's-like symptoms in retirement.But a new study looked at adults age 70 and older to determine if Alzheimer's-like symptoms were related to earlier concussions.The Minnesota study scanned the brains of 589 people. Of those, 448 had no signs of memory problems, and 141 had MCI (mild cognitive impairment) causing memory and thinking problems. All 589 participants were asked if they'd ever a brain injury that involved loss of consciousness or memory.The results?...more

Why dementia causes learning and memory problems, poor navigation and trouble planning

A Duke grad student just figured out something interesting.The posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), which is one of the first regions of the brain to deteriorate with Alzheimer's, is relatively quiet when the brain is performing well, but steps in to help out when the brain needs help with performance.Since it's one of the first areas to go with dementia, it makes sense that the person would start to have problems planning, learning, remembering and navigating (gets lost)....more

Resolve to follow a brain-healthy diet in 2014

New Year's resolutions are often the result of guilt or shaming. But what if this is the year you focus on health instead of weight loss? I ran across this article on brain health, which we're discovering is more and more tied in to diet and nutrition.Here are some of the highlights:1. Yes to dark chocolate, dried blueberries (and I'd argue fresh blueberries as well) and pumpkin seeds.2. The brain uses 20% of the body's metabolic fuel even though it only makes up 2% of your body's weight....more

Differences due to genetic risk for Alzheimer's can be seen in infants' brains

A new study from Brown and Banner Alzheimer's Institute found that babies who have a certain Alzheimer's gene variant (called APOE-E4) have different brain development than babies without it....more

Study shows brain training can increase multitasking abilities in older adults

A study published in the Sept. 4, 2013 edition of Nature.com found that older adults (ages 60 to 85) significantly increased their ability to multitask with a brain-training video game.The game, called NeuroRacer, created lasting results (measured 6 months later) and showed the incredible plasticity of "the prefrontal cognitive control system in the aging brain."In fact, these older adults scored higher than untrained 20-year-old participants....more

High blood sugar (even in non-diabetics) may cause memory loss

Memory loss; It's not just for diabetics!German researchers have found that even those without diabetes who have high blood sugar may be an increased risk for memory loss.They studied a group of people who:- did not have diabetes or pre-diabetes- had an ave. age of 63- were not overweight- did not consume more than 3.5 servings of alcohol per day-did not already have memory and thinking impairmentsWhen they did memory tests, they found that those who had lower blood sugar levels did better.Here's what I read:...more

Top 3 Ways to Fight Age-Related Cognitive Decline

There's a lot of information about there about how to fight age-related cognitive decline.  The first thing you should know is that it's not "inevitable." Now that scientists know the brain is "plastic" (capable of change at any age) and now that we have noninvasive technology that lets neuroscientists see a brain at work, our knowledge (and hope!) about the aging brain is expanding.Sorry - still no magic pill to fight age-related decline. But there are three PROVEN ways to do it:...more