It's Been A Week

It's been a week. Mom went into the hospital last Monday after a fall. We heard first that she broke her hip. And then that she had a slight bleed on the brain. A CAT scan showed that the break was an old one. They were able to narrow the time of injury down — it could have happened any time from six weeks to six or more years ago. I guess only Star Trek or CSI gets more precise than that. Paging Grissom and McCoy, stat....more

MAJOR breakthrough with new drug for Alzheimer's

A new drug called NitroMemantine reverses the loss of brain connections in people with Alzheimer's.By combining two medicines that are already approved by the FDA, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute has created this breakthrough drug that restores the synapses (the connections between neurons) that were lost as the disease progressed.It's the breakdown of these synapses that leads to memory loss and cognitive decline....more

I Draw the Line at Led Zeppelin (and Billy Joel and ... and ...)

We listen to the radio a lot in the car when we're out and about. I get sick of all the Kelly Clarkson/Taylor Swift/Katy Perry stuff on the pop station that my daughter likes, so we frequently switch to the oldies station — my mom, who has dementia, actually perks up and recognizes all of her favorite artists from times past, like the Bee Gees, Bruce Springsteen, Beach Boys, and the Eagles....more

Saying Goodbye to Caregiving

My mom married my stepfather over 20 years ago. When I first met him, he was strong, forceful, overwhelming. He was a lawyer and liked to bark at people. We didn't get along, but he loved my mother. It was so obvious, and she loved him back.  He was almost 15 years older than her, but it didn't make any difference.  They got married and we all learned to live together. It helped that I was an adult, although barely - I was in college and no longer lived at home full time. ...more

Nuclear tests from the '60s show adult brains DO generate new neurons

Proof that our brains are not stagnant comes from a very strange source: a process based on the amount of carbon-14 found in humans as a result of nuclear testing in the 1960s.Here's how it works: Thanks (or rather, no thanks!) to the above-ground nuclear bomb testing we did in the 1960s, we've had more carbon-14 in our atmosphere. But when they banned nuclear tests in 1963, the carbon-14 started decreasing....more

Highly educated patients with mild cognitive impairment cope better when it comes Alzheimer's than less educated

Turns out an education does more than just prep you for the real world; it also preps your brain to fight Alzheimer's.A new study found that people with mild cognitive impairment who were highly educated fared much better when it progressed to Alzheimer's than their less-educated counterparts. Apparently, the more you use your brain, the more it increases your cognitive reserve levels.In this case, higher education meant more than 12 years of school.Here's the study:

Food supplement fights degenerative brain disorders

What do oysters, beef and soy have in common?Apparently the three naturally produce phosphatidylserine, which is proven to improve cognition and slow memory loss.And a recent study found that it also improves the functoning of 2400+ genes, like those that cause Parkinson's and Familial Dysautonomia (FD), and delays the death of existing nerve cells....more

New research says mediterranean diet better than low-fat diet for aging brains

A new study out of Spain indicates that older people at risk for vascular dementia improve more with a Mediterranean diet (with extra virgin olive oil or added mixed nuts) than with a low-fat diet that is typically recommended to prevent strokes.So what is it about a Med diet that's so great? - lots of fruits and veggies- very few dairy products- moderate red wine intake- little red meat intake- main source of fat is virgin olive oil\- lots of nuts and pulses foods (think lentils)...more

Why your brain is like a sea star (formerly known as a "starfish")

Unlike sea stars, we can't grown a new arm when one is removed. Yet.But our brain has a pretty amazing way of recreating itself in several ways to help compensate for an injury. For example:1. When part of the brain is damaged, the information can be rerouted through a different part of the brain.2. Different parts of the brain kick in to help out in certain situations, even if it's not their primary "job."...more

Clenching you fist helps you remember

A research team at Montclair State University has found that clenching your RIGHT hand appears to create a stronger memory (of an event or action), and clenching your LEFT hand hells you recall it later.They don't know yet if this works with visual stimuli - like spaticial tasks or remembering people's faces.Why does this work? The theory is that clenching a fist activiates a certain region of the brain associated with memories.Here's the study: