Stroke takes away 3 out of 5 quality years of life

Yes, if you did the math, that's a 60% loss of quality years.This number was determined by following stroke and TIA (transient ischemic attack) patients for 5 years. The researchers measured the 1,188 patients with "utility" - which is a way to place value on the desirability of health outcomes.For example, with utility:0 = death1 = perfect healthnegative numbers represent "a state worse than death" (which I thought was odd actually)....more

Stress may be the trigger for the onset of Alzheimer's

A new study out of Argentina says that stress may be the cause of the clinical onset of Alzheimer's.A study of people with Alzheimer's - ave. age 73 - (and interviews with their relatives and caregivers) found that a whopping 72% had dealt with a major stresser over the previous 3 years. Only 26 percent of the control group had experienced the same types of stress, grief and sorrow during the time before the onset of symptoms.The main stressers in the 72% were:- 24 people lost a spouse or partner- 15 people lost a child...more

Cognitive enhancing pills have no long-term benefits

A new study says patients have no long-term benefit from using cognitive enhancers to try to improve concentration, memory, alertness and moods.Although there were some short-term benefits to using the pills on one cognition scale, the drugs actually significantly increased the nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and headaches for most people. There were NO benefits on the second cognition scale or on behavior, function and mortality....more

New discovery can determine "normal" age-related memory loss from disease

A breakthrough from Cornell researchers can determine if a person's memory decline is typical age-related cognitive decline or a more serious memory-related disease like Alzheimer's. It also allows them to predict who is likely to develop cognitive impairment using inexpensive and noninvasive procedures.The quick summary:1. Memory problems due to healthy aging are different than memory  problems due to say, dementia. Because of this, there are unique error patterns on neuropsychological memory tests....more

Good hygiene raises Alzheimer's risk?!

I had to go back and read the title because I thought I had misread it: "Better hygiene linked to higher Alzheimer's risk." See for yourself!:

Red meat and Alzheimer's

Not that you need another reason to avoid red meat, but perhaps you'd like to share this article with your steak-loving husband!New evidence points to the idea that red meat may raise our risk for Alzheimer's. That's because red meat raises the level of iron in our brains, which can accelerate the damage done by free radicals.Iron builds up in our gray matter and increases our risk of age-related illnesses, like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.Did you know that having a hysterectomy before menopause can also raise iron levels in the brain?Here's what I read:...more

Dear God, Please Help My Mother Die

I am not a religious person.  I’m not even sure I believe in a higher power, let alone one true God.  Even so, for the past several years I often find myself praying.When I do pray, it is always about my mother who has Alzheimer’s disease....more

Every Time You Go Away You Take A Piece of Me with You

There's no good way to lose a loved one. But I've been thinking lately about the differences between someone going suddenly, and someone going bit by bit. I watched my cousin slip away gradually a few years ago — it was excruciating for her, for me, and for everyone who loved her. At the same time my mother started to go away as well. She has dementia, and it was becoming clear as we were that I would have to step in and start helping mom out. So we moved to Florida. ...more

All the Noise, Noise, Noise, Noise

"And then ... all the noise! All the noise, noise, noise, noise!If there's one thing I hate ... all the noise, noise, noise, noise!"— How The Grinch Stole Christmas, by Dr. SeussI couldn't help it. The nursing home on Sunday afternoon reminded me of this quote from The Grinch. We were visiting in the common room with mom, sitting by the big window and trying to enjoy the view. But we couldn't help but get distracted because of all the noise:...more

Choline intake improves memory and attention in rats (and maybe humans)

So far it's only been tested on rats, but they're actually very similar to humans in many ways (which is why they use them so much). Choline (a vitamin B group nutrient found in things like soy, wheat germ, eggs and beef liver) helps improve attention-holding capacity and long-term memory.In the study, rats were given choline supplements during pregnancy, then their offspring were studied once they became adults.Rats that had the choline supplements in utero did better on memory and attention tests.Rats that had a regular diet in utero did ok, but not as well....more