Archive for Alzheimer’s Awareness

How Increasing Lifespan Makes Focusing on Brain Health More Important

Alzheimer’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 Alzheimer’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 Alzheimer’s disease, the most notorious brain health issue of our time.

While we anxiously await the day a cure is found for Alzheimer’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 Method™ team is always striving to provide the best and most up-to-date information and tips. Read one of our most recent blogs, “10 Facts You Need to Know to Promote and Harness the Power of Neuroplasticity”, to learn more about strengthening your brain in your day-to-day activities!


Innovations in the Alzheimer’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 Alzheimer’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 ‘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 Alzheimer’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.


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 Alzheimer’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 individual’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 Alzheimer’s and dementia.

High blood pressure is not the sole cause of dementia – 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 Method™ focuses on a healthy diet, physical activity and mentally-engaging activities to promote long-term brain health. To learn more about the Method, visit


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 Women’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!


New Biochip Blood Test Can Detect Alzheimer’s Risk

Integrated analysis of Alzheimer’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 Alzheimer’s disease, which they claim is just as accurate as existing genetic tests.

Currently, the standard molecular test for Alzheimer’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 Alzheimer’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 Alzheimer’s is increased by 10 times.

The biochip blood test detects a person’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 Alzheimer’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 Alzheimer’s testing and research for a cure to help educate and inform our readers.


Brain Exercises Linked to Decreased Risk of Dementia

Some cognitive training programs have earned a bad reputation in the media, and for good reason. These less reputable companies have made farfetched promises and claims that their products will prevent cognitive decline altogether. We know that complete prevention of dementia cannot be guaranteed, but cognitive training does engage and strengthen the brain, contributing to improved function of cognitive activity. Now, the latest research indicates a link between specific brain exercises and a decreased risk of symptoms associated with dementia.

The results of the Advanced Cognitive Training in Vital Elderly, or ACTIVE study, were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, the world’s largest gathering of Alzheimer’s researchers. The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Nursing Research.

The ACTIVE study followed 2,832 healthy subjects between the ages of 65 to 94 years old for 10 years. The subjects were randomly split into 4 groups: those who completed speed training computer exercises, those who completed either memory or reasoning training with an instructor, or a control group who did not participate in cognitive exercises.

Researchers found that the groups who completed memory or reasoning training did not have a decreased risk for developing dementia, while the group who partook in speed training did have a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Memory training was a classroom-based course designed to teach memory boosting strategies, while reasoning training was a classroom-based course designed to sharpen subjects’ reasoning skills. Speed training included computer exercises that asked users to visually process information more quickly. Subjects completed 10 one-hour training sessions over five weeks with an instructor on hand to assist if needed. Some of these subjects had booster sessions one year later and three years later.

Subjects who underwent the first 10 hours of speed training had a 33% decreased risk of developing dementia within the next ten years. Individuals who received the additional speed training sessions had a 48% decreased risk of developing dementia. However, the study has neither been peer reviewed nor published in a medical journal; therefore, results are preliminary.

Although this study does not report that brain training is a cure-all for dementia, such training could lead the way to enhanced methods of brain stimulation. In fact, the ACTIVE study was reviewed, among other studies, as a part of the research and development effort behind the Cognitive Therapeutics Method™, Home Care Assistance’s cognitive stimulation program. The Cognitive Therapeutics Method is designed to promote brain health through personalized, one-on-one activities performed in the home.

To learn more about the method, visit today.