How does music affect memory and can it really help people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease? … Read More
Failing memory is a serious concern as we grow older. While medical solutions for memory loss remain elusive, diet, exercise, socialization and lifelong learning can push back cognitive impairment.
What is dementia? It refers to memory loss and other cognitive problems that are severe enough to interrupt a person’s daily life. Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies are all types of dementia.
More than 5 million Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s disease—the most common form of dementia. By 2050, that number is expected to rise to 16 million Americans.
In Alzheimer’s disease, abnormal proteins called tau and beta-amyloid clump together to form deposits in the brain. These deposits gradually damage nerve cells and destroy areas of the brain. Vascular dementia often occurs after a stroke that damages blood vessels in the brain. The damaged vessels prevent enough blood from reaching brain tissues. People who have dementia with Lewy bodies have an abnormal buildup of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. It’s possible to have a combination of these different dementia types, known as “mixed dementia.”
Dementia symptoms vary by type, but can include difficulty remembering names and events, trouble communicating, depression, poor judgment, confusion, behavior changes, and sleep disturbances. People who are suspected of having dementia will undergo a series of dementia tests, or Alzheimer’s tests, to determine whether they have lost memory and cognitive function. Doctors will ask the person and his or her family members about any memory problems and trouble completing daily activities.
Other tests involve evaluating memory, attention, problem-solving, and language skills. During these tests, the health care provider will ask the person a series of questions and assign tasks, such as remembering the names of common objects or drawing a face of a clock. Brain scans such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or positron emission tomography (PET) may also be done to assess brain structure and function.
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People who have Alzheimer’s disease typically go through distinct phases in which symptoms gradually worsen. However, not everyone will go through all of the Alzheimer’s stages, nor progress through them at the same rate. For example, recent research has provided some evidence that in Alzheimer’s disease, the signs of dementia … Read More
Do you feel as if you’ve been experiencing more short-term memory loss lately? Interestingly, what many of us think of as short-term memory—for example, recalling in the afternoon what we had for breakfast that morning—is actually defined by scientists as long-term memory.
Short-term memory is technically limited to information learned and … Read More
About one-third of adults age 65 and older are family caregivers, many of whom are looking after relatives with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Unfortunately, dementia care can be a heavy load for caregivers. The stress of looking after someone with dementia can take its toll, particularly as … Read More
Moderate drinking (one or two glasses a day) shouldn’t affect your cognitive function and may even provide some mild benefits. But chronic alcohol abuse can lead to alcohol-induced dementia due to the combined toxic effects of alcohol and the nutritional deficiencies often associated with alcoholism. In fact, heavy drinking (more … Read More
You probably know that regular exercise lowers the risk of mild cognitive impairment, or “pre-dementia,” and Alzheimer’s, but do you know which exercise is best for brain health? Step off the treadmill and pick up some iron because newer research shows strength training outperforms aerobics when it comes to improving … Read More
Although Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are not yet entirely preventable, you can learn to boost your ability to organize information, cement it in your mind, and recall it more easily. The following tips on how to improve memory are among the most accessible steps you can take … Read More
Anyone who has seen the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on a loved one knows it’s a devastating condition—one that that compromises not only the ability to remember and to think but to take care of oneself. But what is Alzheimer’s?
The Alzheimer’s Association provides a direct and stark definition of … Read More
As you get older, it’s natural to be concerned about the possibility that you or a loved one will begin showing signs of dementia. In fact, among adults who are age 65 or older, one in nine will develop Alzheimer’s disease (AD), according to the Alzheimer’s Association. How can you … Read More
Think your low-fat diet is protecting your brain? Think again. Healthy fats are vital to brain function and the prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s, and a low-fat diet can deprive your brain of essential nutrients. … Read More