Archive for Dementia Awareness

How Increasing Lifespan Makes Focusing on Brain Health More Important

Alzheimerā€™s disease and other forms of dementia currently affect 47.5 million people worldwide. In the United States alone, 5.3 million Americans are affected by the disease, and the Alzheimerā€™s Association predicts that this number could more than double to 16 million by the year 2050.

On the other hand, human lifespan has been steadily on the rise since the 19th century. This rise has been largely due in part to medical advancements that have greatly reduced the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and other debilitating conditions. A long life is something many of us strive towards, but increased lifespan seems to be outpacing the increase in long-term cognitive ability since medical advancements for brain health have not accelerated at the same rate that they have for other ailments and chronic conditions.

The majority of scientific research has found that cognitive decline typically begins at age 42, a figure that has remained stagnant for over a century. Though the scientific community is making medical advancements almost daily, there has been no major breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimerā€™s disease, the most notorious brain health issue of our time.

While we anxiously await the day a cure is found for Alzheimerā€™s and other forms of dementia, we advocate that each and every individual take charge of their personal brain health. Engaging in healthy habits is a life-long commitment, but is incredibly important for promoting long-term brain health, improved mood and overall well-being!

As brain health advocates, the Cognitive Therapeutics Methodā„¢ team is always striving to provide the best and most up-to-date information and tips. Read one of our most recent blogs, ā€œ10 Facts You Need to Know to Promote and Harness the Power of Neuroplasticityā€, to learn more about strengthening your brain in your day-to-day activities!

Sources

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/lengthened-lifespan-demands-focus-on-extending-brain_us_58062ef4e4b021af34776265

Innovations in the Alzheimerā€™s Care Environment

Long-term brain health is influenced by more than one factor; everything from a healthy diet to the outside environment can help promote a healthy mind. These factors are also thought to potentially delay the progression of cognitive decline, which is why Jean Makesh is using this concept to reenvision memory care homes for older adults living with Alzheimerā€™s disease.

Typically, memory care centers often feel like a hospital or hotel and fail to convey the hominess that can potentially alleviate anxiety. Jean Makesh is changing that by building care communities that are designed to resemble the warm environment of a familiar neighborhood from the 1930s and ā€˜40s.

Each facility contains indoor courtyards, streets and faux golf courses, along with venues such as a movie theatre, fitness center, spa, library and 24-hour bistro. Although everything is indoors to protect residents from wandering, the environment does not hold them back. Residents can enjoy sitting on their own front porch, which encourages socializing between neighbors.

Fiberoptic ceilings mimic the sunrise and sunset, and display twinkling stars at night, to aid residents with their wake and sleep schedules. At mealtimes, appetite-boosting aromas are dispersed throughout the facility. And if a resident were to become agitated, the anxiety-relieving aroma of frankincense (derived from the gummy sap from Boswellia and Commiphora trees) is introduced into their room.

As a former occupational therapist in the skilled nursing industry, Makesh is well-versed in helping individuals excel at basic activities of daily living. He has meticulously designed every aspect of the facilities to allow people with Alzheimerā€™s or dementia to function at their maximum potential, even going so far as to offer classes on daily living skills. Some clients have even learned to bathe and dress themselves again.

So far, there are three Lantern centers in Ohio, and each one reflects the community that surrounds it. Although this facility may not cure dementia, it provides a safe space for individuals to thrive, promoting independence, well-being and happiness. Makesh does have plans to expand in the future, and until then, we look forward to hearing more about the success of the residents in their day-to-day lives.

Sources

http://seniorplanet.org/an-innovation-in-memory-care-therapy-through-design/

How High Blood Pressure Affects Brain Health

On our Cognitive Therapeutics Method blog, we have often noted the link between heart and brain health, highlighting the importance of exercise in promoting blood flow and keeping aging brains healthier for longer. On October 10th, 2016, the American Heart Association issued a scientific statement emphasizing that high blood pressure is a major risk factor for cognitive impairment, once again solidifying the link between heart health and cognitive functioning, including the risk for developing Alzheimerā€™s or other forms of dementia.

The statement was issued after reviewing multiple studies on the association between blood pressure and the risk for cognitive impairment, concluding that high blood pressure, especially in middle age, is linked to an increased risk of dementia.

Although the warning is founded upon multiple studies, the American Heart Association does acknowledge that it is not clear yet as to whether reducing and controlling high blood pressure will decrease an individualā€™s likelihood of developing dementia. It will benefit the heart in reducing the risk of heart attacks, stroke and other heart diseases, but further studies are needed on the exact cause and effect of high blood pressure on the brain to determine its role in Alzheimerā€™s and dementia.

High blood pressure is not the sole cause of dementia ā€“ diet, drinking and smoking habits, race, gender and countless other factors have been said to play a role in the incidence of dementia.

For the time-being, it is important to live a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle. The Cognitive Therapeutics Methodā„¢ focuses on a healthy diet, physical activity and mentally-engaging activities to promote long-term brain health. To learn more about the Method, visit www.HomeCareAssistance.com/Cognitive-Therapeutics-Method.

Sources

http://newsroom.heart.org/news/high-blood-pressure-and-brain-health-are-linked?preview=381a

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-health-condition-in-midlife-that-can-raise-your-dementia-risk_us_57fcef23e4b0b6a4303578d5

Caffeine May Reduce Risk of Dementia in Older Women

Coffee has been proven to have positive effects on the brain, even going so far as to protect the brain against mild cognitive impairment when consumed in moderate, consistent amounts. A new study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee has added to the growing body of research supporting the brain health benefits of coffee, specifically in women over the age of 65.

Published in the Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, the study found that higher caffeine intake in older women was associated with a reduced risk of developing dementia or other forms of cognitive impairment.

The study analyzed data from 6,467 post-menopausal women who reported some level of caffeine consumption; all women were participants in the Womenā€™s Health Initiative Memory Study, funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Caffeine intake was estimated from self-reported answers to questions on intake of coffee, tea and cola, including frequency and serving size.

Assessments of cognitive function were performed annually for up to 10 years. Of the participants, 388 women received a diagnosis of probable dementia or another form of cognitive impairment. Self-reported consumption of over 261 milligrams of caffeine per day was associated with a 36 percent reduced risk of dementia. That amount of caffeine is equivalent to two to three eight ounce cups of coffee, five to six eight ounce cups of black tea or seven to eight 12 ounce cans of cola.

After adjusting for risk factors such as hormone therapy, age, race, medical conditions and more, the research team found that individuals who consumed more caffeine than the median amount had lower rates of diagnosis compared to those that consumed less than the median amount. Although the team cannot make a direct link between caffeine consumption and cognitive impairment, their findings add to the growing body of research.

Considering that caffeine is easily incorporated into any diet, these findings are exciting for the field of dementia research. For now, we recommend 1 to 2 cups of coffee daily, as it is best enjoyed in moderation!

Sources

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/caffeine-consumption-in-older-women-seems-to-reduce-risk-of-dementia/2016/10/03/7ae7513c-8714-11e6-92c2-14b64f3d453f_story.html

How Oral Health Impacts Brain Health

Oral health has often been a good indicator of overall physical and mental health, especially in older adults. A study published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society is further exploring the connection between teeth and the brain.

The study used data on 62,333 participants from the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study (JAGES) project. All participants were over the age of 65 and all were determined to be physically and cognitively independent. A baseline survey was conducted between August 2010 and January 2012, and a follow-up survey was administered between January 2013 and December 2013; both surveys consisted of self-administered questionnaires.

The questionnaires included the self-reported number of teeth (20+ natural teeth, 10-19, 1-9 or no natural teeth) and the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology Index of Competence (TMIG-IC), which assesses high-level functional capacity with 13 questions.

The researchers accounted for external factors such as sex, age, medical history, social components and more. They found that participants with fewer than 20 teeth tend to be older than those with more than 20 teeth. They also found that individuals with fewer remaining natural teeth often had a lower socioeconomic status and worse health behaviors.

More importantly, the researchers found that participants with 10 to 19 teeth had a TMIG-IC score that was 0.035 points lower than participants with 20 or more teeth. Participants with 9 teeth or less had significantly lower TMIG-IC scores. The study also found an association between tooth loss and decline in higher-level functional capacity.

The research team believes that there are three potential causes for this association. The first is that tooth loss is often caused by inflammation, and chronic inflammation has been shown to negatively impact physical and cognitive health. Another determinant could be that poor oral health affects an individualā€™s ability to communicate and be social, which affects brain health. Lastly, the research team hypothesized that tooth loss could impact chewing and nutritional intake, thereby affecting physical and cognitive health.

Although there is the possibility for self-reporting bias in this study, the results lean towards an association between poor oral health and cognitive decline. Keep your teeth (and brain!) healthy by flossing and brushing twice per day ā€“ once in the morning and once before bed!

Sources

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jgs.14324/full

http://www.healthinaging.org/news/research-summaries/article:09-13-2016-12-00am-losing-teeth-raises-older-adults-risks-for-physical-and-mental-disability/

New Biochip Blood Test Can Detect Alzheimerā€™s Risk

Integrated analysis of Alzheimerā€™s disease continues to expand and improve, which is essential since early detection can help slow the progression of symptoms. Researchers have now unveiled a new blood test that identifies which patients have an increased risk of Alzheimerā€™s disease, which they claim is just as accurate as existing genetic tests.

Currently, the standard molecular test for Alzheimerā€™s risk analyzes DNA. This new biochip test, developed by Randox Laboratories, can conduct multiple tests on a single blood sample, making it faster and more affordable than the current method.

Scientists agree that the most significant genetic risk factor for Alzheimerā€™s is the apolipoprotein E (ApoE) gene, specifically the version e4 (ApoE4), which plays a role in lipid metabolism. One ApoE gene is inherited from each parent, and it is estimated that 25 percent of the U.S. population inherits one copy of the ApoE4 gene specifically. For those that inherit two copies of the e4 variant, the risk of Alzheimerā€™s is increased by 10 times.

The biochip blood test detects a personā€™s ApoE4 status from a plasma sample. To verify the accuracy of the test, 384 samples were analyzed with the biochip test. The biochip test results were compared to the results of the currently practiced, standard molecular diagnostic test. The outcome of both tests were identical in all cases.

By pairing this test with medical and family history for Alzheimerā€™s risk, doctors will be able to see the bigger picture and help determine a personalized plan for each individual, as well as potentially slow the progression of the disease. The Cognitive Therapeutics Team will continue to look forward to more advancements in the field of Alzheimerā€™s testing and research for a cure to help educate and inform our readers.

Sources

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/312094.php

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160803104047.htm