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Dementia Blog

Related terms: Chronic Brain Syndrome, DLB

Alzheimer's-Linked Brain Plaques May Arise Decades Before Symptoms

Posted 19 May 2015 by

TUESDAY, May 19, 2015 – Abnormal protein clumps may appear in the brain up to 30 years before people develop Alzheimer's disease, a new study estimates, perhaps providing a window of opportunity to intervene. Scientists have long known that people with Alzheimer's disease show brain "plaques," where pieces of a protein called amyloid abnormally clump together. The new study, published May 19 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, confirms that brain plaques become increasingly common as people age – even when memory and thinking are still intact. However, at all ages, plaques are more common among people with risk factors for Alzheimer's. That includes people who already have milder memory problems, and those who carry a gene variant – APOE4 – that boosts risk for Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia. But, the study authors estimate those brain plaques may ... Read more

Related support groups: Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Diagnosis and Investigation

Serious Concussions Linked to Memory Problems in Retired NFL Players

Posted 18 May 2015 by

MONDAY, May 18, 2015 – National Football League players who suffered concussions serious enough to lose consciousness may be at risk for brain damage that can affect memory later in life, a new study suggests. Specifically, concussions may damage the hippocampus, the brain's memory center. For reasons that are not well understood, a concussion – particularly when accompanied by loss of consciousness – causes this area of the brain to shrink, which in turn causes memory problems, the researchers said. "These findings serve as a potential risk factor for mental changes later in life," said lead researcher Munro Cullum, a neuropsychologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. "We don't know how much the risk is increased," Cullum said. "We also can't predict who is going to have memory problems." Cullum noted that a concussion with loss of consciousness may ... Read more

Related support groups: Dementia, Head Injury, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Head Injury with Loss of Consciousness

'Medical Marijuana' Pill Falls Short in Dementia Study

Posted 13 May 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, May 13, 2015 – So-called medical marijuana pills may not ease the common behavioral symptoms that affect people with dementia, a small study suggests. In a trial of 50 dementia patients, researchers found that pills containing the main active ingredient in marijuana were no better than placebo pills in easing agitation, aggression and wandering. However, that doesn't mean the approach is a failure, the investigators report in the May 13 online edition of Neurology. The researchers say the medical marijuana pills were well-tolerated, so it seems safe to test a higher dose in future studies. The lack of side effects suggests the dose was too low, according to Dr. Marcel Olde Rikkert and his colleagues at Radboud University Medical Center, in the Netherlands. In the United States, more than 5 million people have Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, according ... Read more

Related support groups: Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, Agitation, Agitated State, Cannabis, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Lewy Body Dementia

Healthy Eating May Shield the Aging Brain

Posted 6 May 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, May 6, 2015 – People who eat plenty of fruits and veggies may preserve more of their memory and thinking skills as they grow old, a new large study suggests. The findings, published online May 6 in the journal Neurology, add to a growing body of evidence linking healthy eating habits to a lower risk of dementia. Researchers found that among nearly 28,000 older adults from 40 countries, those who scored in the top 20 percent on a "healthy eating" scale were less likely to show declines in memory, attention and other mental skills over the next five years. Compared with older adults who favored foods like red meat and sweets, the risk of mental decline for the healthiest eating group was about one-quarter lower. Among the people with the healthiest diet, about 14 percent showed declines in thinking, compared to about 18 percent of those with the least healthy diets. The study ... Read more

Related support groups: Obesity, Weight Loss, Dementia, Dietary Supplementation, Alzheimer's Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Arteriosclerotic Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia

Depression Plus Diabetes May Boost Dementia Risk

Posted 15 Apr 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, April 15, 2015 – Depression and diabetes are each hard on the brain, and having both conditions may significantly raise the risk of dementia, according to new research. "What this argues for is, we need to do a better job of both identifying diabetes and depression and then really treating them once identified," said study researcher Dr. Dimitry Davydow, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. His team looked at dementia risk among 2.4 million people in Denmark, age 50 and older, who had depression, type 2 diabetes or both, and compared them with people who had neither condition. The researchers also took into account pre-existing medical conditions, such as cerebral vascular problems, complications such as kidney problems and other ailments. "Even after taking those into account, diabetes ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Diabetes, Type 2, Dementia

To Protect Your Aging Brain, Start With Exercise

Posted 14 Apr 2015 by

TUESDAY, April 14, 2015 – There are things people can do to preserve their brain function as they age, a report released Tuesday from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) suggests. "Changes in mental functions and capabilities are a part of aging and occur with everyone," report committee chair Dan Blazer, a professor of psychiatry emeritus at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., said in an IOM news release. "The extent and nature of these changes vary widely and are gradual, and aging can have both positive and negative effects on cognition [thinking skills]. Wisdom and knowledge can increase with age, while memory and attention can decline," he said. But the committee said there are things people can do to promote brain health. These include being physically active, and reducing and managing heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking. It's also ... Read more

Related support groups: Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Arteriosclerotic Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia

Could Obesity Help Protect Against Dementia?

Posted 10 Apr 2015 by

THURSDAY, April 9, 2015 – A new study of nearly 2 million people suggests that those who are overweight or obese in middle age may be less likely to develop dementia than their normal and underweight peers. Overweight and obese people were about 30 percent less likely to develop dementia 15 years later than people of a healthy weight. Conversely, underweight people were 34 percent more likely to develop dementia than those whose weight was normal, according to the study authors. "Our findings were unexpected, that obese and overweight people would be protected," said lead researcher Dr. Nawab Qizilbash, from OXON Epidemiology Ltd. in Madrid, Spain. However, the retrospective study was only able to show an association between obesity and a reduced risk of dementia, not a cause-and-effect relationship. And Qizilbash added that people shouldn't take these preliminary findings as a license ... Read more

Related support groups: Obesity, Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease

Lots of Leafy Greens Might Shield Aging Brains, Study Finds

Posted 30 Mar 2015 by

MONDAY, March 30, 2015 – A single serving of leafy green vegetables each day may help keep dementia away, new research suggests. Researchers evaluated the eating habits and mental ability of more than 950 older adults for an average of five years. Those who consumed one or two servings of foods such as spinach, kale, mustard greens and/or collards daily experienced slower mental deterioration than those who ate no leafy greens at all, the study found. The brain benefits associated with dark leafy greens likely stem from several key nutrients, particularly vitamin K, said study lead author Martha Clare Morris of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. The researchers "observed a protective benefit from just one serving per day of green leafy vegetables," which are known to be rich in vitamin K, added Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist at the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center. Morris ... Read more

Related support groups: Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease

A Sense of Purpose May Benefit Your Brain

Posted 19 Mar 2015 by

THURSDAY, March 19, 2015 – Having a strong sense of purpose in life may lower the likelihood of brain tissue damage in older adults, new research suggests. Autopsies conducted among adults in their 80s revealed that those who felt their lives had meaning had far fewer "macroscopic infarcts" – small areas of dead tissue resulting from blockage of blood flow. This kind of brain tissue damage is believed to boost the risk for developing dementia, movement problems, disability and/or death – many classic characteristics of old age. "We know that negative emotional states like feeling bad, alone or sad are associated with a lot of negative health outcomes, whether or not you actually are alone or why you may be feeling badly," said study co-author Patricia Boyle, a neuropsychologist at the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center in Chicago. Such outcomes can include early death, an increased ... Read more

Related support groups: Dementia, Mild Cognitive Impairment

Researchers Develop Screening for Early Memory Troubles

Posted 18 Mar 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, March 18, 2015 – Researchers say they have developed a new scoring system to help identify seniors who are at high risk for memory and thinking problems that might lead to dementia. "Our goal is to identify memory issues at the earliest possible stages," wrote lead researcher Dr. Ronald Petersen, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The study looked at almost 1,500 people between the ages of 70 and 89. They were all from Minnesota. None had memory or thinking problems at the start of the study. They were given memory and thinking tests every 15 months for an average of almost five years. During that time, 401 (28 percent) of the participants developed early memory and thinking problems. "Understanding what factors can help us predict who will develop this initial stage of memory and thinking problems, called mild cognitive impairment [MCI], is crucial, because people with ... Read more

Related support groups: Dementia, Mild Cognitive Impairment

Antipsychotics May Be Deadlier Than Thought for Dementia Patients

Posted 18 Mar 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, March 18, 2015 – Antipsychotic drugs may increase the risk of premature death in dementia patients more than thought, a new study suggests. The medications are widely used to treat the delusions, hallucinations, agitation and aggression that occur in many people with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that antipsychotic drugs have a significant risk of side effects, the study authors pointed out. For the new study, researchers examined data from nearly 91,000 U.S. veterans who were older than 65 and had dementia. Those who took antipsychotics were more likely to die early, the study found. Among those taking newer, more commonly used antipsychotics, the risk of premature death increased with the dose. "The harms associated with using these drugs in dementia patients are clear, yet clinicians continue to use ... Read more

Related support groups: Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease

Healthy Lifestyle May Guard Against Dementia

Posted 11 Mar 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, March 11, 2015 – A healthy diet, physical activity and brain exercises can help slow mental decline in older people at risk for dementia, a new study suggests. On the other hand, a high body-mass index (BMI) and poor heart health are significant risk factors for age-related dementia, the researchers said. BMI is an estimate of body fat based on height and weight. The study included 1,260 people in Finland, aged 60 to 77, who were considered to be at high risk for dementia. They were randomly selected to receive either regular health advice (the control group) or to be part of an intervention group. Over two years, those in the intervention group met regularly with doctors, nurses and other health professionals who provided advice on healthy eating, strength and heart-healthy exercise, brain training programs and management of metabolic and circulatory risk factors for ... Read more

Related support groups: Obesity, Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment

Exercise's Effect on Brain May Boost Mobility in Old Age

Posted 11 Mar 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, March 11, 2015 – Staying physically active as you age may ward off brain damage that can limit mobility, a small study says. Small areas of brain damage called white matter hyperintensities are seen in MRI scans of many older patients, according to scientists from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Higher levels of this damage have been linked to difficulty walking and other mobility problems, the researchers said. "Preserving motor function is just as important as preserving mental function to maintain independence and quality of life in older age," said lead researcher Debra Fleischman, a professor in the departments of neurological sciences and behavioral sciences. "Our results suggest that daily physical activity may be able to protect motor function from age-related injury to the brain," she added. The study, published March 11 online in the journal Neurology, ... Read more

Related support groups: Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease

Good Heart Health May Help Stave Off Dementia, Study Says

Posted 10 Mar 2015 by

TUESDAY, March 10, 2015 – Good heart health may help protect you against Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia, a new study suggests. Vanderbilt University researchers analyzed data from just over 1,000 people who were followed for 11 years. During that time, 32 participants developed dementia, including 26 with Alzheimer's. People with poorer heart function were two to three times more likely to develop dementia than those with healthy hearts, according to the study recently published online in the journal Circulation. "Heart function could prove to be a major risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer's disease," principal investigator Angela Jefferson, director of the Vanderbilt Memory and Alzheimer's Center, said in a university news release. "A very encouraging aspect of our findings is that heart health is a modifiable risk. You may not be able to change your genetics or ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, Ischemic Heart Disease

Use of Certain Allergy, Depression Meds Tied to Higher Odds for Dementia

Posted 26 Jan 2015 by

MONDAY, Jan. 26, 2015 – Long-term and/or high-dose use of a class of medications used for hay fever, depression and other ills has been linked in a new study to a higher risk of dementia. The drugs – called anticholinergics – include nonprescription diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and tricyclic antidepressants like doxepin (Sinequan). This class of medications also includes older antihistamines like chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) and "antimuscarinic" drugs for bladder control, such as oxybutynin (Ditropan). However, the study could only point to an association between long-term or high-dose use of these drugs and a higher risk of dementia, it could not prove cause-and-effect. Also, the relationship "did not occur at the lowest dosage range but did occur at higher dosages used long-term," said one expert, Dr. Alan Manevitz, a clinical psychiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York ... Read more

Related support groups: Prozac, Celexa, Citalopram, Fluoxetine, Benadryl, Dementia, Claritin, Loratadine, Diphenhydramine, Alzheimer's Disease, Oxybutynin, Doxepin, Chlorpheniramine, Ditropan, Oxytrol, Silenor, Benadryl Allergy, Sarafem, ZzzQuil, Sinequan

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Further Information

Related Condition Support Groups

Alzheimer's Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Lewy Body Dementia, Arteriosclerotic Dementia, Central Nervous System Disorders

Related Drug Support Groups

Haldol, haloperidol, Haldol Decanoate, Hydergine, Gerimal, Hydergine LC, ergoloid mesylates