Despite decades of research and promising developments, there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. One or more of the drugs currently being tested may offer hope, but the results of those studies are still a few years away. In the meantime, there are Alzheimer’s treatment options that can help … 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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Aerobic exercise may be the kind of workout most closely associated with brain health benefits. Think about the circulation boost you get from a brisk walk or game of tennis. But strength training with weights, machines, resistance bands or your own body weight (think push-ups) also may help improve cognition.
It … Read More
It’s no surprise that fruits and vegetables play a dominant role in brain-healthy patterns of eating, just as they do in healthy diets for your body as a whole. But it may be that eating fruits and vegetables helps protect your brain beyond general health benefits. Specific types of produce … Read More
While a definitive link between body weight and memory loss has not yet been established, a number of studies suggest that controlling your weight may be a good way to protect your brain.
A high body mass index (BMI, a ratio of height to weight that is used to measure obesity), … Read More
Because Alzheimer’s disease continues to get worse over time, it’s often thought of as unfolding in stages. This can be helpful, but it’s important to understand that when it comes to the stages of Alzheimer’s, the symptoms and rate of progression can vary from person to person.
There are different systems … Read More
Do you take vitamins for memory? Research suggests you should! For people with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s – or those who have a family history of either – be sure to add these B vitamins in your daily supplement pile. … Read More
Most older adults have some memory slips, but mild cognitive impairment crosses the line from normal lapses into excessive memory changes. MCI is the stage that comes after age-associated memory impairment, and it sometimes—but not always—leads to dementia.
Currently, as many as 15 to 20 percent of Americans aged 65 and … Read More
A hybrid of the DASH and Mediterranean diets—appropriately called the MIND diet —that factors in the latest research on cognition and nutrition may protect memory and thinking even better. Martha Clare Morris, ScD, of Rush University, and colleagues developed the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet score, which particularly … Read More
Several large, well-designed studies have concluded that exercise is good for the brain. Even moderate exercise, such as walking, when done regularly, has proven benefits for mental function. The evidence is convincing that regular physical activity (walking, bicycling, swimming) improves mental function. A few studies also suggest that it may … Read More
The typical Alzheimer’s case progresses gradually, with steady deterioration over as many as 20 years, although some people have a more rapid course. This progression has been categorized into stages of Alzheimer’s for diagnostic purposes, although, in reality, an individual with AD may have some overlap of features common to … Read More