Tag Archives: Dementia

Diagnosis: Age-Related Hearing Tied To Dementia

Age-related hearing loss may be linked to an increased risk of cognitive decline. And according to two large studies, … Dr. Ronald Petersen, a Mayo Clinic neurologist, says the exact reason why is not known. It also could be that hearing loss leads to social isolation, which can lead to an increased risk in dementia.

Dr. Petersen recommends getting your hearing assessed every two to three years, especially if you’re noticing signs that your hearing may be deteriorating. The fix could be as simple as needing to get earwax removed.

Dementia Study: A High-Fiber Diet May Lower Risk

Fiber is known for keeping your digestive system healthy and lowering cholesterol levels. Now, study findings suggest it also may protect the brain from dementia.

The study involved approximately 3,700 healthy adults, ages 40 to 64, who completed routine dietary surveys for 16 years. Researchers then monitored the participants for two decades to see which ones developed dementia. The study revealed that people who consumed the most daily fiber had the lowest rates of dementia. The reverse also was true — those who ate the least fiber had the highest rates. Specifically, the low-risk group consumed an average of 20 grams daily, while those with the highest risk averaged only 8 grams. (The USDA recommends that men over age 50 eat 30 grams of fiber daily.)

Dementia: Progress In Treatments (Harvard)

The potential benefit of nonpharmacologic memory-boosting strategies in the mild stages

One study from a group of Boston researchers examined 32 individuals with mild memory problems, half with mild cognitive impairment and half with mild Alzheimer’s disease dementia. They found that both groups improved their memory by simply thinking about the following question when learning new information: “What is one unique characteristic of this item or personal experience that differentiates it from others?” Another study by Boston researchers found that 19 individuals with mild cognitive impairment could improve their ability to remember items at a virtual supermarket by simply thinking systematically about whether items were already in their cupboard before putting them in their shopping cart. Larger studies are needed, however, to determine if such memory strategies are generalizable.

Music, pets, robots, and the environment in the moderate to severe stages

Similarly, there are many nonpharmacological treatments that appear to provide comfort and reduce agitation in individuals with moderate to severe dementia, but larger and more rigorous studies are needed to prove or disprove their efficacy, and thereby promote more widespread utilization.

  • A group of Portuguese clinicians and researchers reviewed more than 100 studies evaluating music-based interventions for people with dementia who had agitation or other behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, finding that the vast majority were efficacious with little or no side effects.
  • A team of neurologists from Florida reviewed the effects of dog therapy and ownership, finding that both were safe and effective approaches to treat chronic and progressive neurological disorders.
  • Other researchers found reductions in anxiety and psychoactive medication use when robot pets were given to individuals with dementia.
  • A review of the built environment (the architecture of the home or facility) concluded that “specific design interventions are beneficial to the outcomes of people with dementia.”

Dementia: Age-Related Eye Diseases Increase Risks

Brain Health: Endurance Exercise Raises Cognition

HEALTH: DEMENTIA SET TO INCREASE 40% BY 2030 (WHO)

More than 55 million people worldwide are living with dementia, a neurological disorder that robs them of their memory and costs the world $1.3 trillion a year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

COMMENTARY:

Preventing Dementia by healthful living habits such as good sleep, diet and exercise would certainly save lots of misery and expense, by preventing dementia. These same habits would also go a long way in preventing auto immune disease, diabetes and chronic stress.

–Dr. C

INFOGRAPHIC: ENHANCING BRAIN HEALTH ACROSS AN INDIVIDUAL’S LIFESPAN

Opportunities for enhancing brain health across the lifespan

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 March 2021

Summary

As we age, there are characteristic changes in our thinking, reasoning and memory skills (referred to as cognitive ageing). However, variation between people in the timing and degree of change experienced suggests that a range of factors determine individual cognitive ageing trajectories. This narrative review considers some of the lifestyle factors that might promote (or harm) cognitive health. The focus on lifestyle factors is because these are potentially modifiable by individuals or may be the targets of behavioural or societal interventions. To support that, the review briefly considers people’s beliefs and attitudes about cognitive ageing; the nature and timing of cognitive changes across the lifespan; and the genetic contributions to cognitive ability level and change. In introducing potentially modifiable determinants, a framing that draws evidence derived from epidemiological studies of dementia is provided, before an overview of lifestyle and behavioural predictors of cognitive health, including education and occupation, diet and activity.

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THE DOCTORS 101 CHRONIC SYMPTOMS & CONDITIONS #32: Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH)

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, NPH, is an important condition. Although uncommon, affecting less than 5% of the population, it is a TREATABLE form of DEMENTIA.

If you or a loved one has been suspected of having Alzheimers or Parkinsons disease, NPH should be considered. It can be ruled out by MRI. Problems with Walking (“ Gait”) is often the first symptom, followed by mild Dementia. Loss of urinary control, incontinence, is often a later symptom.

The classic 3 symptoms are gait problems, dementia and incontinence, Hakim’s triad. A politically incorrect MNEMONIC is “wet, wacky and wobbly”. Gait “deviations”, with a broad based, slow, “stuck to the floor” movement are present almost all the time, and often suggests the more common Parkinson’s disease.

Some difficulty in planning, attention and concentration is present more than half of the time. Frequency of urination and incontinence comes later, but is often present by the time the diagnosis is made. Block in the reabsorption of Cerebrospinal fluid is thought to be the cause.

This produces intermittent elevation of pressure in the brain cavities, the ventricles. Thinning of the cortex follows, and it is this loss of brain tissue that produces the symptoms the diagnosis, usually by a Neurologist, is made by a number of tests, including MRI, and measurements of CSF Pressure.

An interesting test is to remove 30-50 cc of CSF and see if the walking improves. Treatment is with a tube connecting the Ventricles to the abdominal cavity, which restores drainage of the CSF. One of my friends was diagnosed with NPH, and benefitted with treatment. I consulted a neurologist about another of my friends with dementia, and an MRI to rule out NPH was suggested.

Treatability is the main virtue of discovering NPH, rather than another cause of dementia.

–Dr. C.

THE DOCTORS 101 CHRONIC SYMPTOMS / CONDITIONS #29 UNEXPLAINED WEIGHT LOSS

Unexplained weight loss is rare in our society, where weight gain is so common. Weight loss usually occurs in the context of a causative illness, like prolonged diarrhea, where it is not the main symptom, but just an associated problem. However, sometimes the loss of 5 or 10% of the body’s weight can occur in a few months without explanation or clues, and a consultation is needed.

Proper Nutrition is critical for Health, including maintenance of “normal” weight. The Gastrointestinal tract extracts nutrients from the food we eat, and illnesses such as COELIAC DISEASE, or REGIONAL ENTERITIS can prevent proper absorption. Our HORMONES regulate energy and chemical balance, and Thyroid, Parathyroid, Pancreas and Adrenal malfunction can disturb weight Homeostasis.

Chronic infection, such as AIDS and TB can sap energy quietly. NEUROLOGICAL PROBLEMS such as Depression, Dementia or Parkinsons can result in an improper diet, and subsequent weight loss. CANCER is the first thing we worry about when we unexpectedly lose weight, but Neoplasms usually betray themselves with other, more dramatic symptoms.

It is a good idea to regularly check your weight at the same time every day. Almost always it will reassure you by staying the same. Sometimes it will warn you to cut your feasting. Occasionally an unexpected drop in weight will direct you to your Doctor to find an explanation.

–Dr. C.

Read more at Mayo Clinic