Recent Blog Articles
I’m too young to have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, right?
Asking about guns in houses where your child plays
Behavioral weight loss interventions: Do they work in primary care?
Who needs treatment for ocular hypertension?
The popularity of microdosing of psychedelics: What does the science say?
AFM: A scary polio-like illness
When can women with early-stage breast cancer skip radiation after lumpectomy?
Palliative care frightens some people: Here’s how it helps
The case of the bad placebo
Taking up adaptive sports
Alzheimer's & Dementia Archive
Screening for cognitive dysfunction
Occasional forgetfulness and memory lapses are often dismissed as a sign of normal aging. But if these episodes become more frequent or problematic, or if they affect daily life, older adults should consult their primary care physician, A doctor can offer an evaluation for mild cognitive impairment. This includes a brief in-office screening test of thinking skills like short-term recall, concentration, attention, ability to juggle multiple tasks, and orientation to time and place.
Hearts and minds
Vascular dementia, which arises from longstanding, cumulative damage to small blood vessels in the brain, may cause or contribute to up to half of cases of dementia. The vessels may thicken or become blocked by blood clots, causing tiny strokes that damage specific parts of the brain important for various thinking abilities. Keeping blood pressure in the recommended range of 120/80 or lower is the best way to prevent vascular dementia.
High-inflammatory diets linked with increased dementia risk
Healthy older adults may have a higher risk for dementia if they follow high-inflammatory diets that include greater amounts of simple sugars, cholesterol, saturated fat, and fried foods.
Poor handgrip strength in midlife liked to cognitive decline
A large study published online June 23, 2022, by JAMA Network Open found that poor handgrip strength in midlife was associated with cognitive decline a decade later.
Doing multiple types of activities improves cognitive health
Studies have shown that doing any one of certain activities, such as staying physically active and maintaining social ties, helps maintain brain health in older adults. A new study suggests that participating in multiple kinds of these activities, several times a week, may help even more.
Improving vision may help prevent dementia
A recent analysis found a link between vision loss and higher risk of dementia. The results suggest improving visual acuity, such as with eyeglasses or cataract removal, might help maintain cognitive fitness in older adults.
Living longer, without dementia
A study published online April 13, 2022, by The BMJ found that those age 65 or older who regularly practiced numerous healthy lifestyle habits lived longer and had fewer years with dementia than those who practiced one or no healthy lifestyle factors.
Do blood tests really help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease?
In May 2022, the FDA approved a blood test to help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. The test looks for amyloid-beta protein, a marker of Alzheimer’s. The blood test is quite accurate, compared with positron emission tomography (PET) brain scans, which are more expensive and complicated. More blood tests, including some that look for tau protein (another marker of Alzheimer’s), also are under development. Other tests used to diagnose Alzheimer’s include computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and a spinal tap.
Spotting memory loss in a loved one
It can be hard to detect a potentially serious type of memory loss in a loved one, especially if small cognitive changes occur over time. It may help to note memory slips that happen consistently or those that seem uncharacteristic for the person. Tracking incidents on a calendar may also help reveal patterns. Potential incidents include consistently forgetting a close family member’s name, important conversations, words for everyday objects, bills that are due, medication times or doses, or routes home from familiar places. Other common issues are frequently having trouble at work, making financial mistakes, or taking medications incorrectly.
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