Alzheimer’s Disease

Avoiding COVID-19 when following the guidelines seems impossible

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

By now people understand the measures intended to prevent the spread of coronavirus, yet people with certain conditions may not be able to follow these guidelines. Here are some suggestions that may help.

Does air pollution cause Alzheimer’s disease?

It has been known for some time that air pollution causes heart and lung diseases. Now, results from three different studies on populations in different parts of the world show an association between higher levels of air pollution and greater risk of cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

What to eat to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease

A Mediterranean-style diet has been shown to benefit cognitive performance, and one food — fish — stands out as helping lower risk of both cognitive impairment and cognitive decline.

What works best for treating depression and anxiety in dementia?

There is evidence that antidepressants are not effective in older people with dementia. Emerging research suggests that nondrug, psychosocial interventions are the most effective treatments for depression or anxiety in older adults with cognitive impairment.

Trouble with crossword puzzles? Improve your semantic memory

Semantic memory is your store of factual knowledge and the meanings of words. It also helps you recall nonverbal concepts and relationships between words and concepts. And while some aspects of memory may decline with age, semantic memory does not.

A clue to a cure for Alzheimer’s disease

Half of people who live to 85 will develop Alzheimer’s disease — a disturbing statistic. But research into a family in South America has revealed a gene mutation that appears to afford protection, and may lead to a way to treat or possibly even prevent the disease.

Is there a test for Alzheimer’s disease?

Wondering whether a blood test or brain scan can accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s disease? If memory loss is a problem for you or a loved one, consider these points before discussing potential next steps with a doctor.

A poor sense of smell might matter more than you thought

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Loss of the sense of smell affects quality of life and possibly safety, but it can also be a sign of a more serious illness. Researchers found that elderly people with a poor sense of smell were more likely to have certain illnesses, and more likely to die of them.

Brain health rests on heart health: Guidelines for lifestyle changes

The World Health Organization has issued prevention guidelines for preventing dementia. Of note, the guidelines are very similar to those for heart health, reinforcing the known connections between heart health and brain health.

Can an eye exam reveal Alzheimer’s risk?

New research considers whether certain eye conditions may help predict Alzheimer’s disease. The common link? Cardiovascular disease, which is partly preventable.