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Mind & Mood Archive


Does COVID-19 damage the brain?

COVID-19 can damage the brain in many ways. Initially, it can cause brain inflammation that causes confusion, difficulty concentrating, and memory problems. COVID also can cause new psychological disorders such as depression or anxiety. It can even cause people to see and hear things that aren't there and to believe things that aren't true. COVID often damages the brain's autonomic nervous system, leading to abnormalities in heart rate and blood pressure. Additionally, the virus that causes COVID can infect and injure the lining of blood vessels and make blood clot more easily, which can lead to strokes and heart attacks.

What is frontotemporal dementia?

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a brain disorder caused by damage to nerves in certain parts of the brain. It typically affects people in middle age, and is characterized by marked changes in behavior or problems with language.

Want to reduce your risk of dementia? Get your hearing checked today

Dementia occurs more often among older people with higher levels of hearing loss than among those with normal hearing. A new study found that wearing hearing aids reduced the risk for dementia in people who had significant hearing loss.

Managing the unthinkable

One in 10 Americans ages 65 and older has dementia. The condition is likely to progress slowly, offering couples the opportunity to adopt coping strategies that can smooth their path. Early on, you can consider treatment that may temporarily improve memory and thinking problems. People whose partners have been diagnosed should get informed about dementia, attend doctor’s visits, take over certain tasks, keep routines, update legal documents, and join a support group.

It may not be too late to protect against dementia

Older adults can still lower their risk for dementia by taking medication to decrease their high blood pressure, according to a recent study.

You don’t say? The smell of love

Pheromones, the "love chemical," are produced by many animals and insects to attract the opposite sex. It’s possible that humans also may make and process pheromones through vomeronasal organs in our noses.

How to identify anxiety disorders

Some degree of anxiety is normal, but people who regularly struggle with anxiety may have an anxiety disorder. Symptoms can be linked with life changes, a medical condition, and specific situations, like a fear of heights, crowds, and social situations. Recognizing the symptoms can help people seek medical care to find the source of their anxiety and adopt appropriate treatment. Treatment might include medications, psychotherapy, or both.

A pill-free way to treat anxiety

A 2022 study found that taking a mindfulness-based stress reduction course and meditating daily was about as effective as taking medication for reducing symptoms of anxiety. Both strategies seemed to reduce anxiety by about 30% after eight weeks.

Bring a fuzzy memory back into focus

Keeping the brain as healthy as possible might help slow the fuzzy thinking that develops with age-related brain changes. The best way to stay sharp is by living a healthy lifestyle: exercising regularly (at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking), sleeping for seven to nine hours per night, eating a Mediterranean-style diet, managing stress, socializing, and learning new things. Doing crossword puzzles may also help sharpen cognition. So might treatment for underlying health conditions, such as depression or thyroid disease.

Pouring from an empty cup? Three ways to refill emotionally

Burnout — whatever the cause — can lead to depression and anxiety, and affect your relationships and ability to function. But it's possible to replenish your energy and enjoyment of life.

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