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Aging

Dementia sufferers may begin to lose awareness of memory problems 2-3 years before onset

People who will develop dementia may begin to lose awareness of their memory problems two to three years before the actual onset of the disease, according to a new study published in the August 26, 2015, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study also found that several dementia-related brain changes, or pathologies, are associated with the decline in memory awareness. “Our findings suggest that unawareness of one’s memory problems is an inevitable feature of late-life dementia, driven by a buildup of dementia-related changes in the brain,” said study author Robert S. Wilson, PhD, with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “Lack of awareness of memory loss is common in dementia, but we haven’t known muc...

For Longer Cognitive Health, Exercise the Brain!

A study published this week in JAMA Neurology adds to the already large body of evidence indicating that people who engage in vigorous mental activity throughout their lives tend to slide more slowly into cognitive impairment than those whose brains sit on the couch eating bonbons. But it remains uncertain whether “lifetime intellectual enrichment,” as the study authors called it, is cogno-protective in and of itself, as opposed to a surrogate marker for some other protective factor. The issue is important because clever entrepreneurs are increasingly hawking “brain training” products, billed as helping to prevent age-related cognitive decline, to the worried middle-aged well. Lumosity is the best known but there are many others. The evidence base that these games a...

Researchers develop potential route to new therapies for treatment of Parkinson’s disease

A biologist and a psychologist at the University of York have joined forces with a drug discovery group at Lundbeck in Denmark to develop a potential route to new therapies for the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Dr Chris Elliott, of the Department of Biology, and Dr Alex Wade, of the Department of Psychology, have devised a technique that could both provide an early warning of the disease and result in therapies to mitigate its symptoms. In research reported in Human Molecular Genetics, they created a more sensitive test which detected neurological changes before degeneration of the nervous system became apparent.

AAN: Chemical Exposure at Work May Cause Neurological Problems Later in Life

People who are exposed to paint, glue or degreaser fumes at work may experience memory and thinking problems in retirement, decades after their exposure, according to a study published in the May 13, 2014, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. “Our findings are particularly important because exposure to solvents is very common, even in industrialized countries like the United States.” said study author Erika L. Sabbath, ScD, of Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. “Solvents pose a real risk to the present and future cognitive health of workers, and as retirement ages go up, the length of time that people are exposed is going up, too.” The study involved 2,143 retirees from the French national utility company. Rese...

Older people with memory and thinking problems may have lower risk of dying from cancer

Older people who are starting to have memory and thinking problems, but do not yet have dementia may have a lower risk of dying from cancer than people who have no memory and thinking problems, according to a study published in the April 9, 2014, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. “Studies have shown that people with Alzheimer’s disease are less likely to develop cancer, but we don’t know the reason for that link,” said study author Julián Benito-León, MD, PhD, of University Hospital 12 of October in Madrid, Spain. “One possibility is that cancer is underdiagnosed in people with dementia, possibly because they are less likely to mention their symptoms or caregivers and doctors are focused on the problems cause...

AAN: People who develop diabetes in middle age are more likely to have brain cell loss in old age

People who develop diabetes and high blood pressure in middle age are more likely to have brain cell loss and other damage to the brain, as well as problems with memory and thinking skills, than people who never have diabetes or high blood pressure or who develop it in old age, according to a new study published in the March 19, 2014, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Middle age was defined as age 40 to 64 and old age as age 65 and older. “Potentially, if we can prevent or control diabetes and high blood pressure in middle age, we can prevent or delay the brain damage that occurs decades later and leads to memory and thinking problems and dementia,” said study author Rosebud O. Roberts, MB, ChB, MS, of the Mayo Clinic in Roche...

Omega 3 Fish Oil May Keep Brain Volume Up Through Aging, Preserving Years of Brain Health

People with higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil may also have larger brain volumes in old age equivalent to preserving one to two years of brain health, according to a study published in the January 22, 2014, online issue ofNeurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Shrinking brain volume is a sign of Alzheimer’s disease as well as normal aging. For the study, the levels of omega-3 fatty acids EPA+DHA in red blood cells were tested in 1,111 women who were part of the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study. Eight years later, when the women were an average age of 78, MRI scans were taken to measure their brain volume. Those with higher levels of omega-3s had larger total brain volumes eight years later. Those with twice as high l...

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