Dementia prevention: Ward off memory loss symptoms by doing this free activity

DEMENTIA symptoms, such as memory loss and problems processing information, could be prevented by volunteering, according to a new study.

According to a new study by the University of Missouri, lending your time and energy to help others could improve cognitive function in older adults.

While previous research had showed a connection between volunteering and physical health, this is the first time it has been linked to mental functioning.

It is thought that volunteering, which often involves following directions, solving problems and being active, stimulates the brain.

The benefits discovered in the research, that was published in the Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences, were particularly prominent in women.

“Cognitive functions, such as memory, working memory, and processing are essential for living an independent life,” said Christine Proulx, from the University of Missouri.

“They’re the tools and methods the brain uses to process information.

“It’s the brain’s working memory and processing capacity that benefit the most from volunteering.”

Working memory – the brain’s ability to temporarily store and manage information – can be impacted as people get older.

Many dementia sufferers find their working memory suffers first, while their long-term memory – such as experiences in childhood or as young adults – tends to stay intact for slightly longer.

Processing capacity, which the study also found to benefit, is how fast the mind is able to take in and store information.

Dementia sufferers can find it increasingly difficult to process new information, and their responses may become delayed.

The researchers looked at the impact of volunteering on the brains of 11,000 adults aged 51 and over.

They found it benefited participants, regardless of the amount of time spent doing it.

“Prior research has shown that older adults with lower levels of education are at greater risk of cognitive decline,” said Proulx.

“Engaging in volunteering might compensate for some of that risk.”

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Do You Think Eating at the Same Time Every Day Helps Dementia? Plus, Additional Break Through in Up-Coming Years

Want to prevent dementia? Eating at the same time every day could fight signs of condition

DEMENTIA affects around 850,000 people in the UK, according to Alzheimer’s Society, but eating at the same time every day could fight the signs and symptoms of the condition.

Dementia is a condition associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning.According to the NHS, signs and symptoms include memory loss, thinking speed, mental sharpness and quickness and difficulties in carrying out daily activities.New research has found eating at the same time every day could help combat neurodegenerative diseases.Huntington’s Disease is another form of dementia which damages certain nerve cells in the brain, and a new study published in the journal ENeuro found a way to improve quality of life for patients diagnosed with the condition.The study, carried out by researchers from The University of California, LA, found regular meals improved brain power and sleep quality in mice with Huntington’s disease – and they believe it will also apply to humans.As part of the research, one group of mice were only given food during a six-hour period then they were most active.The rest were free to eat whenever they liked.Results revealed the mice who were given regular meal plans to have improved gene expression in the striatum and better cardiovascular health.Study author Professor Christopher Colwell said: “After three months of treatment, when mice reached the early disease stage, they showed improvements in their locomotor activity rhythm and sleep awakening time.“Furthermore, we found improved heart rate variability, suggesting their nervous system dysfunction was improved.“Importantly, treated mice exhibited improved motto performance compared to untreated controls.“The data suggests feeding schedules could play a role in the treatment of dementia and could lead to the development of new treatment options for neurodegenerative disorders.”Having or knowing someone with the condition can be devastating, but there are things in place to make life a little easier.

A DRUG to treat Alzheimer’s could be just five years away after a major breakthrough

Scientists found that destroying specific immune cells reduced the formation of a toxic protein which leads to the disease.

This fresh understanding of the way Alzheimer’s works at a molecular level could finally lead to therapies that treat the underlying causes of the devastating illness.

Experts are trying to develop a “disease-modifying” dementia therapy by 2025.

But Professor Michael Heneka, who led the research at the University of Bonn, Germany, said a drug to stop the disease progressing could come sooner.

Amyloid beta is the rogue protein at the heart of the brain-wasting condition.

Almost all previous trials have targeted the clumps of the protein that build up in sufferers damaging their memories.

The research suggests they are fuelled by inflammation which causes the specific immune cells, called microglia, to release specks of a protein called ASC – which stick to the proteins and cause the clumps to develop.

Analysis shows that Alzheimer’s disease is more feared than cancer in those aged over 45.

Tests on cells grown in a laboratory showed that an antibody blocking ASC from binding to amyloid stopped it from forming into clumps, suggesting progression of the illness can be halted.

The specks have also been seen in scans of brains of those who have died from the disease.

Dr Sara Imarisio, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Researchers are building a picture of the precise interplay between the immune system and the brain, and this new study adds an important piece to this puzzle.

“By using a sophisticated combination of experiments, these researchers have examined the molecular players linking the immune system and the build-up of amyloid protein from all angles. Research like this is crucial for identifying new avenues to explore in the hunt for new treatments that can slow or halt damaging changes in the brain.”

“Drugs that act against the immune system have real potential to limit damage in Alzheimer’s.”

Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, usually starts with forgetfulness and can progress to complete loss of memory causing the greatest distress to families.

Research shows it doubles in prevalence every five years above the age of 65.

But if onset could be delayed by five years, dementia prevalence would be halved.

The breakthrough, published in the journal Nature, comes as researchers at the University of Manchester, supported by Alzheimer’s Research UK, work on drugs designed to target the molecular machinery inside the brain which, if successful, could pave the way for “life-changing treatments” for dementia, including Alzheimer’s.

There are around a dozen antiamyloid drugs currently in late stage trials but, until now, hope has rested on an experimental drug called aducanumab, a monthly antibody infusion that destroys the build up of plaques.

Test results are due to be published by US drug-maker Biogen in 2019.

Nick Fox, Professor of Neurology at the Institute of Neurology, University College London, said: “For late onset disease, slowing onset for a few years is an effective cure because something else may carry you away. We already have evidence we are seeing effects on brain pathology – will that translate into meaningful clinical benefit in a big trial by 2025? Yes, I think so.”

Professor John Hardy, of the Institute of Neurology at UCL, said: “I am optimistic of finding a disease modifying treatment by 2025. Disease modifying, yes.”

There are now 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, 500,000 of them with Alzheimer’s, but that number is expected to rocket to a million by 2025.

 

 

 

 

 

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Why do I Need Focus Factor Nutrition?

FOCUSfactor claims to be ‘America’s no 1. brain health supplement’

research on top-selling cognitive function supplement FOCUSfactor suggests it could improve memory, concentration, and focus in healthy adults.

FOCUSfactor contains a blend of DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol – found in salmon, sardines and the human brain), the long-chain omega-3 fatty acid DHA, vitamins B12, B6 and D3, beta carotene, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidlyserine, and the plant extracts Huperzine

RAVLT and Cog Screen

In the FOCUSfactor trial, Dr Kay used the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT), one of the most commonly used tests of memory in psychopharmacology research.

He also used CogScreen, a computer-administered neuropsychological test battery developed for the Federal Aviation Administration for evaluating the cognitive functioning of pilots and in clinical trials evaluating effects of treatments on cognitive functioning.

“The clinical study demonstrated that, compared to placebo, FOCUSfactor improved abilities referred to as memory, concentration, and focus in healthy adults,” ​he said.

“The most dramatic effects were seen on the initial learning trials of RAVLT and were confirmed by findings on the CogScreen measures of concentration and working memory.   

 

Improved word recall

He added: “Following six weeks of treatment, subjects who received FOCUSfactor had a mean increase in recall of 6.5 words compared to 4.5 words for those who received placebo.

“Subjects who received FOCUSfactor performed significantly better (p = 0.031) on a CogScreen measure of concentration / working memory than subjects who received placebo.”

Focus Factor is a preventative effect to ward off Dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Key Ingredients and Their Functions

  • Choline – This is a molecule that is responsible for nervous system communication. It is commonly found in peanuts, egg yolks, and cauliflower among other foods. Researchers suggest that extra choline in the body will help improve* memory.
  • Vinpocetine – this is an extract obtained periwinkle plant. This substance can protect you from neural damage.
  • Dimethylethanolamine – This is abbreviated as DMAE, is a compound that can be used to treat* depression. Researchers suggest that taking this substance can help one improves* his thinking thus becoming more intelligent.
  • L-glutamine – This is an amino acid that is associated with brain enhancement. This element is included in Focus Factor to supplement the body with more glutamate for neurotransmissions.
  • Docosahexaenoic acid This is abbreviated as DHA, is a type of Omega 3 fatty acid. This ingredient can help reduce* the rate of memory loss more especially in the younger generation.

The Advantages Of Focus Factor

  • This product contains a variety of mineral and vitamins that may enhance* the activities of the brain thus making individuals to think with clarity.
  • Focus Factor is easily and quickly taken without any complications.

The Disadvantages Of Focus Factor

  • Some users have reported some minor side effects such as stomach and gastric upset when they consume the product.

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Neuro Health Review: How Safe And Important Is This Product for Dementia?

Neuro Health is a nootropic formula, which claims to boost* the health of your brain and improve* the cognitive functions. It is made from natural extracts, which are safe and effective. Intake of this product will make you have better concentration and be able to handle tough daily activities. This formula will boost* the flow of blood in your brain, enabling all the essential nutrients to reach the brain cells and lead to a better performance. It will also provide your brain cells with the necessary power for proper functioning. This formula will also enhance* your focus, memory, acuity and concentration.

Neuro Health Ingredients List

The ingredients used in this supplement are all natural extracts, and they work to promote proper functioning of your brain.

  • Green Tea Extracts – It increases* flow of blood in your brain leading to more brain power. It also enhances* memory and overall cognitive abilities.
  • Huperzine A – Enhances* memory and increase* mental alertness.
  • Bacopa Monniera – Improves* cognitive function and boost* your brain health.
  • L- Glutamine – It is an amino acid that delivers proteins in your brain and improve* memory.
  • Vitamin A – It supplies your brain with nutrients.
  • Folic Acid – It boosts* flow of blood in your brain.

Advantages

  • Improve Attention & Concentration Levels
  • Boost Cognition & Motor Activity Skills
  • Improve Learning & Behaviour
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  • Increases energy levels

Disadvantages

  • Causes migraines to some people

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Neuro Health brain supplement is your answer! Neuro Health seems to work on those people who have problems concentrating or retaining memory.

The mix of ingredients is carefully blended to give you improved brain health and functions. You will also be likely to benefit from brain cell repair and maintenance through the vitamins and amino acids present in Neuro Health. The product is also believed to support memory recall and transfer of energy within the mitochondria.

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The Amazing Life Saving Benefits of Coconut Oil

Today, I would like to express how beneficial coconut oil is to everyone. So I will be talking about the extraordinary benefits of coconut oil, as well as, side effects, what all medical uses coconut oil is for and how to take coconut oil.

To date, there are over 1,500 studies proving coconut oil to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Coconut oil benefits and uses go beyond what most people realize.

Most of the fats we consume take longer to digest, but MCFAs found in coconut oil provide the perfect source of energy because they only have to go through a three-step process to be turned into fuel vs. other fats that have to go through a 26-step process!    

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1. Proven Alzheimers Disease Natural Treatment

The digestion of MCFAs by the liver creates ketones that are readily accessible by the brain for energy. Ketones supply energy to the brain without the need of insulin to process glucose into energy.

Recent research has shown that the brain actually creates its own insulin to process glucose and power brain cells. As the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient loses the ability to create its own insulin, the ketones from coconut oil could create an alternate source of energy to help repair brain function.

2. Prevents Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure

Coconut oil is high in natural saturated fats. Saturated fats not only increase the healthy cholesterol (known as HDL cholesterol)  in your body, but also help convert the LDL “bad” cholesterol into good cholesterols.

By increasing the HDL in the body, it helps promote heart health and lower the risk of heart disease. Coconut oil also benefits the heart by lowering high triglycerides.

3. Treats UTI and Kidney Infection and Protects the Liver

Coconut oil has been known to clear up and heal urinary tract infection (UTI) and kidney infections. The MCFAs in the oil work as a natural antibiotic by disrupting the lipid coating on bacteria and killing them. Research also shows that coconut oil directly protects the liver from damage.

Coconut water also helps hydrate and support the healing process. Doctors have even injected coconut water to clear up kidney stones. Coconut is a powerful superfood, which is evident given all these tremendous coconut oil benefits.

4. Reduces Inflammation and Arthritis

In a study in India, the high levels of antioxidants present in virgin coconut oil (VCO) reduced inflammation and treated arthritis more effectively than leading medications.

In another recent study, coconut oil that was harvested with only medium heat was found to suppress inflammatory cells. It worked as both an analgesic and anti-inflammatory.

But, wait that’s not all!

Coconut Oil also Prevents & Treats Cancer, Boost Immune System, Improves Memory & Brain Function, Improves Energy and Endurance, Improves Digestion, Reduces Ulcer & Colitis, Helps Gall Bladder Disease & Pancreatitis, Improves Skin Issues, Prevents Gum Disease& Tooth Decay, Prevents Osteoporosis, Improves Type 2 Diabetes, Helps Weight Loss, Builds Muscle & Decreases Body Fat, Benefits Hair Health, Fights Fungal Infections on the Skin & Yeast Infections, Anti-Aging, and Balances Hormones.

Coconut Oil Side Effects

There are rarely any side effects for coconut oil. Occasionally, a contact allergy may occur for certain individuals that are allergic to coconuts.

coconut oil is known for reducing side effects of many medications. For instance, in studies, it reduced the symptoms and side effects of cancer treatments.

How to Take Coconut Oil

I use coconut oil for all of my cooking and baking. It’s the oil of choice, since unrefined, natural, organic coconut oil adds a nice coconut flavor but does not contain the harmful toxins other hydrogenated cooking oils do.

You can also apply it topically directly to your skin or use for essential oils or blends.

Now that I have provided you all the facts and benefits of Coconut Oil, the many medical uses, minimal side effect, and how to use Coconut Oil, as you can see, everyone on earth needs to be using Coconut Oil for a better life that will help us all live longer. Our health is more important than anything. So, don’t hesitate get yours now.

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Dementia and Cognitive Impairment more Prevalent in Rural than Urban Seniors

Increased educational attainment has helped to mitigate cognitive decline among seniors in rural communities, according to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Senior woman learning with her elder care nurse

Ann Arbor, MI, December 12, 2017 – Americans who live in urban areas tend to be healthier than individuals living in rural settings. While this healthcare disparity has been examined for more than a decade, researchers present the first nationally representative study to find that dementia and cognitive impairment have consistently been more prevalent among rural dwelling seniors than urban dwelling seniors.

Their findings, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, further suggest that while lagging behind their urban counterparts, the cognitive health of seniors living in rural areas has benefited from early twentieth century investments in secondary education.

“The incidence of dementia is expected to double by 2050 largely because of the aging cohort of Baby Boomers. While many studies to date have focused on individual-level sources of disparity (e.g. racial and ethnic origins), this is the first study to report a rural-urban differential that behooves the scientific and clinical community to address the attendant factors that confer higher risk for dementia in rural seniors,” explained senior investigator Regina Shih, PhD, of the RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA.

sitting in solitude

Using a nationally representative sample of U.S. community-dwelling older adults, more than 16,000 adults aged 55 years or older were evaluated in 2000 and in 2010. Cognitive function was assessed by a 27-point Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status, using multiple validated tests. A score of 6 or less indicated dementia, 7 to 11 indicated cognitive impairment without dementia (CIND), and a score of 12 or more was considered normal cognitive function. Data were gathered by proxy from 8.6% of respondents with significant cognitive impairment in 2000 and 4.8% in 2010.

Individual sociodemographic characteristics were measured, including: age, gender, race, ethnicity, total number of children, marital status, highest educational attainment, and net total assets in 2000. Health conditions including high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, or psychiatric conditions were taken into account.

Data from 2000 show that cognitive impairment was more prevalent in rural vs. urban areas (7.1% rural vs. 5.4% urban for dementia, and 19.8% rural vs. 15.9% urban for CIND). However, ten years later there were no significant differences in the rates, which had both declined, with a greater decrease in rural than urban areas (5.1% vs. 4.4% and 16.5% vs. 14.9%.  

Concurrent changes in sociodemographic characteristics of rural and urban older adults had also occurred. Racial and ethnic minorities comprised an even larger relative proportion of urban dwellers in 2010, while the proportion of older adults with less than 12 years of education dropped by about half in rural areas between 2000 and 2010.

Once these and other changes were accounted for, the fully adjusted relative risk ratio (RRR) was 60% higher for dementia and 44% higher for CIND in rural areas compared to urban areas in 2000. In 2010, similarly high rural-urban differentials were found: RRRs for dementia and CIND were about 80% and 40% higher, respectively, in rural compared to urban areas.

Above and beyond age, race/ethnicity, wealth, and health conditions, the most important factor in reducing the rural-urban disparities over a decades’ time was educational attainment. The researchers found that education was protective against dementia and CIND, yielding between 83% and 89% lower RRR for individuals with more than 12 years of education.

Elderly woman with dementia

“Our findings linking rural adults’ recent gains in cognitive functioning with the improved rates of high school graduation provides a new example of how public investment in education can narrow population health disparities.”

“The absence of any prior evidence about the rates and disparities in dementia and cognitive impairment by rural residence that comes from a large, nationally representative study has certainly hampered the ability of these communities to advocate for continued investment in rural healthcare and long-term care services.”

Dr. Shih added, “”We were heartened to observe that the rural-urban disparities in dementia have narrowed somewhat over time, however there is still a disadvantage that persists among rural seniors. Rural communities are aging more rapidly than urban communities. Given that those communities experience more healthcare and long-term care system challenges, we hope this research sheds light on the need to intervene on the factors that place rural seniors at greater risk for dementia.”

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Does Hearing Loss Contribute to Dementia?

It really doesn’t seem fair: Hearing loss, a troublesome fact of life for more than 48 million Americans, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America, may increase the risk of cognitive problems and even dementia. By the time Americans reach their 70s, two-thirds have hearing loss.

“The general perception is that hearing loss is a relatively part of aging,” says Frank Lin, an otologist and epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. But recent findings, he says, suggest that it may play a much more important role in brain health than we’ve previously thought.

Treating hearing loss more aggressively could help stave off cognitive decline and dementia.  

Lin is the author of several recent studies pointing to a link between hearing and cognitive problems ranging from mild impairment all the way to dementia.

In a 2013 study, he and his colleagues tracked the overall cognitive abilities (including concentration, memory and planning skills) of nearly 2,000 older adults whose average age was 77. After six years, those who began the study with hearing loss severe enough to interfere with conversation were 24 percent more likely than those with normal hearing to see their cognitive abilities diminish. The researchers said, hearing loss seemed to speed up age-related cognitive decline.

Lin and his colleagues monitored the cognitive health of 639 people who were mentally sharp when the study began. The researchers tested the volunteers’ mental abilities regularly, following most for about 12 years, and some for as long as 18 years. The results were striking: The worse the initial hearing loss was, the more likely the person was to develop dementia. Compared with people of normal hearing, those with moderate hearing loss had triple the risk.

Lin is quick to point out that simply being at increased risk does not mean a person is certain to develop dementia.

A recent study, led by Isabelle Mosnier of Assistance Publique-Hopitaux de Paris in France, offers more hope. Mosnier studied a group of 94 people ages 65 to 85 with profound deafness in at least one ear. Each received a cochlear implant followed by twice-weekly auditory rehabilitation. More than 80 percent of those with the lowest cognitive scores showed significant improvement one year after implantation, according to the study published March 12 in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

“The improvement in cognition was huge — about double that seen with any of the current [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] FDA drugs for treating Alzheimer’s.”

“Every doctor knows that hearing loss can result in cognitive problems, but they still don’t focus on it as a priority when they evaluate someone with suspected dementia — which is a big missed opportunity,” Doraiswamy says. “The benefits of correcting hearing loss on cognition are twice as large as the benefits from any cognitive-enhancing drugs now on the market. It should be the first thing we focus on.”

Hearing Aid

4 ways hearing loss can lead to dementia

How might hearing loss contribute to cognitive problems and dementia? Lin suggests four possibilities. The most obvious is a common physiological pathway that contributes to both hearing loss and cognitive decline.

Another possibility has to do with what researchers refer to as “cognitive load” — essentially, that the effort of constantly straining to understand stresses the brain.

“If you put in a lot of effort just to comprehend what you’re hearing, it takes resources that would otherwise be available for encoding [what you hear] in memory,” says Arthur Wingfield, professor of neuroscience at Brandeis University. Research in Wingfield’s lab has documented this effect on a short-term basis. The big question, he says, is whether years of drawing resources away from brain functions such as working memory will eventually reduce the brain’s resilience.

M. Kathleen Pichora-Fuller, a psychologist from the University of Toronto, is conducting research to test the hypothesis that treating hearing loss in those with dementia will help to optimize communication, with positive effects on everyday well-being for the patient and caregivers. “I have no doubt that if a CI [cochlear implant] makes it easier for a person to listen, then they will be able to spend more of their power to do other cognitively demanding tasks.”    

A third factor, Wingfield and Lin suggest, is that hearing loss may affect brain structure in a way that contributes to cognitive problems. Brain imaging studies, Wingfield says, show that older adults with hearing loss have less gray matter in the part of their brain that receives and processes sounds from the ears. “It’s not necessarily that you’re losing brain cells,” he adds. Certain structures of brain cells can shrink when they don’t get enough stimulation. This raises the question, Wingfield says, whether getting clearer speech signals to the brain through use of a modern hearing aid might allow these brain structures to recover their previous size and function.

Finally, it seems very likely that social isolation plays a part. Being hard of hearing tends to isolate people from others: When you have to struggle to converse, you’re less likely to want to socialize in groups or go out to restaurants. And being socially isolated has long been recognized as a risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia.

Lin and his colleagues have received the first phase of funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to plan and develop a definitive clinical trial that will monitor a large group of older adults with hearing loss. Half will get best-practice hearing treatment, and the other half will get what Lin calls “watchful waiting.” Over the following three to five years, researchers will track the participants’ cognitive functions. The results won’t be available until 2020 at the earliest.

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Does Obesity Increase Dementia Risk?

People who have a high body mass index (BMI) are more likely to develop dementia than those with a normal weight, according to a new UCL-led study.

The study, published in the Alzheimer’s & Dementia journal, analyzed data from 1.3 million adults living in the United States and Europe. The researchers also found that people near dementia onset, who then go on to develop dementia, tend to have lower body weight than their dementia-free counterparts.

“The BMI-dementia association observed in longitudinal population studies, such as ours, is actually attributable to two processes,” said lead author of the study, Professor Mika Kivimäki (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health). “One is an adverse effect of excess body fat on dementia risk. The other is weight loss due to pre-clinical dementia. For this reason, people who develop dementia may have a higher-than-average body mass index some 20 years before dementia onset, but close to overt dementia have a lower BMI than those who remain healthy.”

“The new study confirms both the adverse effect of obesity as well as weight loss caused by metabolic changes during the pre-dementia stage.”

Past research on how a person’s weight influences their risk of dementia has produced conflicting results. Some findings have suggested that being obese poses a higher dementia risk, but other studies have linked lower weight to increased dementia incidence.

In this study, researchers from across Europe pooled individual-level data from 39 longitudinal population studies from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, and Finland. A total of 1,349,857 dementia-free adults participated in these studies and their weight and height were assessed. Dementia was ascertained using linkage to electronic health records obtained from hospitalization, prescribed medication and death registries.

A total of 6,894 participants developed dementia during up to 38 years of follow-up. Two decades before symptomatic dementia, higher BMI predicted dementia occurrence: each 5-unit increase in BMI was associated with a 16-33% higher risk of this condition (5 BMI units is 14.5kg for a person 5’7″ (170cm) tall, approximately the difference in weight between the overweight and normal weight categories or between the obese and overweight categories). In contrast, the mean level of BMI during pre-clinical stage close to dementia onset was lower compared to that in participants who remained healthy.

In 2015, the number of people with dementia reached almost 45 million, two times more than in 1990. This study suggests that maintaining a healthy weight could prevent, or at least delay, dementia.

Middle age spread raises the risk of dementia by up to a third, a University College London study has found.

A study of more than 1.3 million people found that those with a high body mass index in their 50s were much more likely to develop the neurological condition two decades later.

The research, published in the journal Alzheimer’s And Dementia, found that being overweight leads to a reduced flow of blood to the brain.

Excess body fat is harmful to the cerebrovascular system, the vessels that carry blood to and from the brain. Arteries supply oxygenated blood to the brain, boosting mental function.

Professor Mika Kivimaki, of UCL, explained: “Reduced cerebral flow is obviously one possibility, but there are many other mechanisms, involving for example the quantity and secretory capacity of peripheral white adipose tissue as well as disturbed insulin regulation and its multiple effects on the central nervous system.

“Diabetes, a common consequence of obesity, is associated with numerous metabolic and hemodynamic defects that cause microvascular and macrovascular damage, potentially leading to reduced cerebral flow and impaired vascular reactivity. And so on.

A Cambridge University study published last year found that being overweight in middle-age makes the brain age by 10 years. The study, which scanned 473 brains, found changes in the brain structure of overweight people which are normally seen in those far older.

The volume of white matter – the tissue that connects areas of the brain and allows information to be communicated between regions – shrunk far more in those with a Body Mass Index above 25.

Human brains naturally shrink with age, but scientists are increasingly recognizing that obesity – already linked to conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease – may also affect the onset and progression of brain ageing.

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Holiday planning: Alzheimer’s, other dementias create special needs for families

The holiday season is quickly approaching, and families are making plans to

Enjoying the Visit

celebrate them. The hustle and bustle of the season often fills the household with an added measure of stress. Shopping has to be done. Dinner parties and other special functions begin to fill the family schedule. Those things are enough to cause headaches for any family.

But what about families caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia? How will they cope with the holidays, when members of their families don’t see the world the same as they once did? What if the added activities elevate the level of anxiety for their loved ones? What should they do?

Two words for families: simplify and prioritize.

“Don’t attempt to do everything you did in the past,” “You will need to simplify and prioritize traditions. It may help to have a family planning session, including young children, well in advance to discuss everyone’s needs, expectations and roles.”

One way to simplify and prioritize, is to put everything on a large kitchen calendar.

“Before you write a party or event on the calendar, make sure you really want to attend and that it is worth the effort. The fewer events, the fewer things you have to make plans for, which frees up valuable time.

The family caregivers see the changes in their loved ones. Family members who come around infrequently may not be prepared to see their ailing loved ones in their current condition.  An open line of communication is important.

“Prepare your visitors for changes in the mood or the behavior of the person with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.“Let them know what time and what type of visit are best for that person and for you. Share communication techniques with your visitors. And, be sure to turn off the television. It’s important to remember to be calm and quiet. It’s also wise to prepare distractions beforehand. Old family photos, old scrapbooks, folding clothes, wrapping pennies, matching buttons, matching socks are things that should be in your bag of tricks to have ready should a distraction be needed, if your loved one gets upset or agitated.”

“Learn to say ‘yes’ to offers of help, such as shopping, wrapping, writing cards or preparing your favorite recipe. Keep this practice of saying ‘yes’ even after the holidays are over.”

“Do something special for yourself,”  “Go out for lunch or shopping with a friend or family member. Schedule a manicure, a hair dressing appointment or a massage before or after the holidays. Put yourself high on your gift list. Get as much sleep as possible. Exercise as much as possible. Laugh. Eat breakfast. Try to relax every now and then. Close your eyes and imagine you are somewhere quiet and peaceful, like at the beach. Use all of your senses to focus on it. When you take care of yourself, you are taking care of your loved one.”

And, change the way you’ve handled holidays in the past.

“Avoid those traditions which bring more awareness of loss than pleasure.” “Focus on traditions which still bring joy and warmth. Try to remember that things can’t be exactly like they were. Life has changed for you. So, you do not have to live up to either the expectations you sense in others or those you have of yourself. Set your own limits early and be clear about them to others. There will be other holidays, when your hands won’t be so full.”

If planned out well, the holidays can be a time of creating new traditions and new moments of joy for all involved.

“Holidays have long been a time of conflicting emotions.” “Along with stressful and frantic rushing around, there are the beautiful shared occasions with family members and friends. But, when we add to that the care of an Alzheimer patient and the emotional and physical exhaustion of a caregiver, holidays can be overwhelming. Because the holidays, in particular, can be a time to rekindle beautiful memories and to enjoy the moment, it is important to approach them with the understanding that some of the traditions we shared in the past will need to be different.”

As a coping mechanism, Jones says it’s important to focus on the true meaning of the holiday season.

“The holidays are about sharing, caring, giving and loving.” “They are about giving thanks for the past, reliving and giving thanks for those memories. And, as we reflect on our memories and traditions, we are sharing the joy of the past with our parents and grandparents as well as with our future generations.

“When the hustle and bustle and exhaustion of the holidays are over, hopefully, those moments of joy, pleasure, remembering, smiling and loving during the holiday season will have been captured in our memories for many years to come – even as our own children will celebrate the holiday season one day with their families.”

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