From THE JOURNAL of ALZHEIMER'S ASSOCIATION
A recent case series report presented significant improvement in dementia patients after transcranial plus intranasal photobiomodulation (PBM), (Light Therapy) treatments. The phenomenon calls for evidence that the brains were responding to PBM and not to alternative external stimuli. This study utilizes electroencephalography (EEG) to investigate the case of an Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patient experiencing significant improvement in cognition.
The study used 810 nm, 40 Hz pulsed, light-emitting diode (LED) devices combining transcranial plus intranasal PBM to treat the cortical nodes of the default mode network (DMN). The patient had a baseline Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score of 21. He received the PBM intervention for 6 days over a 2 week period. The protocol involved weekly, at home use of a transcranial-intranasal PBM device. The patient was administered the MMSE, the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-cog), the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS-ADL) and resting state electroencephalograms (EEG) at baseline and after 2 weeks.
After only two weeks of treatment, the patient showed significant improvement in the MMSE score from 21 to 24, ADAS-ADL from 43 to 58, and ADAS-cog from 35.33 to 23.34. These cognitive improvements were accompanied by oscillation changes in the delta, theta and alpha frequency bands expressed in EEG readings. The absolute power of alpha frequency increased significantly from 5.1 μV2 to 12.7 μV2, and the peak of the alpha wave oscillation shifted from 8.6 Hz into 9.3 Hz. In addition, the absolute power of delta and theta increased from 1.86 μV2 to 2.9 μV2 and 2.12 μV2 to 3.7 μV2, respectively.
The patient improved significantly in his cognition after 2 weeks of PBM treatments, which the EEG data presented as the overall increase in absolute power across all brain oscillations. The enhanced overall EEG data may be associated with improved DMN function, supporting the potential of transcranial plus intranasal PBM as a safe and effective treatment for AD. EEG can also be a useful complementary tool to recognize the brain’s response to PBM, potentially guiding the adjustment of PBM parameters, for improved clinical outcomes. Further studies are warranted to validate the potential of this PBM intervention.From THE JOURNAL of ALZHEIMER'S ASSOCIATION
Background - Previous mouse-model investigations of photobiomodulation (PBM), light therapy for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have demonstrated biomarker reductions, improved behavior. This is the first human study to investigate the effects of PBM on memory and quality of life (QoL) issues associated with Dementia/AD.
Methods - This was a randomized, single-blind, controlled study of 12 weeks of PBM with a 4-week no-treatment follow-up in 19 participants with impaired memory who responded to a local newspaper advertisement. In-clinic treatment with an 810 nm, light-emitting diode (LED) combined transcranial and intranasal PBM device (total power 515 mW) or sham equivalent was delivered 2x/week for 2 weeks, then weekly for 10 weeks. On non-clinic days during the treatment phase, participants self-administered treatment at home with an 810 nm intranasal device (13 mW) or sham equivalent. Memory and cognition were assessed using MMSE and ADAS-cog at Baseline, at Week 12; and follow-up after 4 weeks of no treatment.
Results - Mean(SD) baseline MMSE and ADAS-cog scores were 18.4(9.37) and 32.1(21.41) in the active group, (n=13, 10M, 3F) compared with 25.8(4.36) and 14.8(7.91) in the sham group (n=6, 5M, 1F). Since these were significantly different (p<0.1 for both), data were analyzed by baseline MMSE. In the baseline MMSE 0-24 subgroup, Week 12 scores were significantly improved for the 8 participants on active treatment: MMSE increased 2.00 points (p=0.03, 2-tailed) and ADAS-cog decreased 5.00 points (p=0.03). The only sham participant in this subgroup dropped out before post-baseline assessment. Slight declines in performance were noted at follow-up after 4 weeks of no treatment. In the baseline MMSE 25-30 subgroup, mean changes at Week 12 in MMSE and ADAS-cog were 1.80 and -2.27 in the active group (n=5), versus 1.50 and -3.67 in the sham group (n=5). None of the within-group or between-group comparisons were statistically significant for this milder group. Qualitative feedback from participants and caregivers in the active group reported better sleep, fewer angry outbursts and decreased anxiety, and wandering. No adverse events related to treatment were reported.
The large significant improvements in cognitive functioning, QoL and lack of adverse events suggest that photobiomodulation (PBM), light therapy may show promise in treatment of individuals experiencing Dementia/AD.
– April 24, 2003, Updated 7/12/2005
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is one of the two important fatty acids in fish oils (the other is EPA, eicosapentaenoic acid). We all need these nutrients in our diet for long-term physical and mental health and, as recent research confirms, to reduce our risks of inflammation, heart disease, cancer, and depression. If you’re healthy, I recommend getting them by eating at least three servings per week of oily fish (wild Alaskan salmon, mackerel, sardines, or herring).
If you do take supplements, fish oil is a better source of DHA than algae because it contains these fatty acids in the form that the body requires. The only instance of which I’m aware that algae is regarded as a superior source of DHA is for supplementation of infant formula.
DHA and another fatty acid, AA (arachidonic acid) are found naturally in breast milk, but if mothers can’t nurse, their babies are deprived of these nutrients because infants, especially those born prematurely, can’t manufacture enough in their own bodies for optimal brain development. A number of studies have shown that formulas supplemented with DHA and AA enhance visual acuity in babies; intellectual development appears to be better, too.
Fish oil can’t be used to supplement infant formula because it contains other fats that slow babies’ growth, but in 2001 the FDA approved adding DHA and AA from algae and fungal sources to formulas. DHA and AA- supplemented infant formulas have been sold in Europe and Asia for years.
Taking fish oil supplements usually doesn’t cause side effects but can sometimes cause belching, flatulence, nausea, and diarrhea. Very high doses may result in a slightly fishy body odor. I’ve also heard that taking the capsules can result in a fishy odor on the breath, but I don’t think this is common.
Article by Weil, M.D. Light Therapy Services recommends eating (lake) salmon for brain health.
Note: Many large ocean fish are high in mercury.
GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT NEUROPSYCHOLOGY
What is neuropsychology and how can it be helpful?
Neuropsychology is the study of brain-behavior relationships. Clinical neuropsychologists apply this knowledge to the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of patients with neurological, psychiatric, or other medical conditions.
Neuropsychologists gather a range of information about each patient, including a detailed history and measures of cognitive and behavioral functioning. This information is obtained by review of past medical records, an interview of the patient and family and direct patient assessment. The neuropsychological assessment may yield findings not observable using other techniques, such as brain imaging or gross neurological examination. The information obtained by a neuropsychological evaluation can be instrumental in helping the patient and family cope better with existing behaviors and symptoms.
Who should get a neuropsychological assessment?
Often, patients are referred for neuropsychological assessment by other medical professionals such as neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and primary care physicians. Among the range of reasons why an adult might be referred for a neuropsychological assessment include:
changes or concern about cognitive functioning
changes or concern about personality
changes or concern about behavior
WHO SHOULD SEEK A NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION?
If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, a neuropsychological evaluation should be considered:
Have there been changes or concern about memory or other cognitive functions?
Is there a change or concern about the ability to perform tasks at home or at work?
Is there a change or concern about behavior that affects relationships or daily living?
Is there a change in personality?
Are medications being taken that may be facilitating or impairing cognitive or behavioral functioning?
Has another medical professional recommended a neuropsychological evaluation? There are a range of ways in which neuropsychology may be helpful. Please contact the office directly if you are interested in learning more about this service.
Prior to the first scheduled appointment:
Specialized clinicians will request and review all relevant medical reports, including, but not limited to, neurological, radiological, psychiatric, psychological, and general medical records. Our neuropsychologist will also ask that detailed questionnaires about the patient’s history be completed. Having this information in advance allows for better use of the appointment time and enables our clinicians to develop an appropriate cognitive test battery.
Our clinicians will begin by meeting with the patient and, if the patient agrees, a family member or close friend. At this time, we will ask the client to explain what has been happening in his/her life that has led to the neuropsychological evaluation. With the patient’s permission, our clinicians will also ask for input from the family.
Behavioral and cognitive testing:
The patient will be evaluated alone using a battery of neuropsychological tests, which may include assessments of mood and other behavioral symptoms, as well as cognitive tests of memory, attention, language, reasoning, visual, and other skills. It is important that the patient be well rested, nourished, and equipped with any necessary hearing aids or visual aids, such as glasses or contact lenses.
Our specialized clinicians will compose a detailed report, including a summary of the history and neuropsychological test results, as well as proposed diagnoses, treatment plans, and recommendations. We will review the information contained in this report with the patient and family (if appropriate) at a scheduled feedback session. Our staff will send copies of the report to other medical professionals and seek to integrate care, as requested by the client
A research team led by Dr. Li-Huei Tsai from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has found that flashing light therapy may reduce the risk of toxic beta amyloid proteins in the brain. The team is currently seeking permission from the FDA to continue studies and have set up a commercial company to help develop the technology to be tested.
Light therapy is an exciting alternative therapy and potential treatment option being researched in mice. This therapy has been proven to restore gamma levels and reduce beta-amyloid levels, the latter of which forms a plaque that clogs the brain and is a distinctive hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
Burns and Byrne, in a study published in the British Medical Journal, found that dementia patients who sat in front of a bright light for two hours each morning slept more deeply and for an average of 40 minutes longer.
A study by a Dutch research group, published June 11, 2008, suggested that bright light therapy in combination with melatonin, improves symptoms of disturbed cognition, mood, behavior, functional abilities and sleep. Light therapy is still in the early research phase, and although it is by no means a cure or treatment option at this point, it is a startlingly simple and exciting concept that could revolutionize the management of such a complex disease.
Stella Aquisto talks about the use of light therapy to treat Alzheimer’s disease patients. Aquisto explains a 12-week study that showed Alzheimer’s patients who underwent light therapy were able to sleep better and had improved speech. The patients were required to wear the headpiece for 15 hours a day, six days a week but results showed many experienced improved memory and independence and some even saw a reduction in incontinence issues.
However, the therapy only works as a continued treatment, researchers found that once the patient stopped wearing the headset, the positive outcomes diminished quickly.
Alzheimer’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this or any other website.
RESEARCH IS ON GOING, GO TO pubmed.com
Make sure you read about heart disease.
Full Spectrum Lights for Better Sleep
Sometimes simple therapies are the best. A good example is light therapy for Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia affect the brain in a way that can cause sleep disturbances. We all know how we feel when we have a sleepless night. We’re cranky, we’re unsocial, and all we want to do the next day is nap.
Very often doctors prescribe medicine for sleep disorders, and drugs do sometimes help. But people with dementia are often over-medicated to begin with. Prescribing more medicine increases the likelihood of drug interactions, and sleep medicines often cause other problems. The Alzheimer’s Association makes this recommendation:
The risks of sleep-inducing medications for older people who are cognitively impaired are considerable. They include increased risk for falls and fractures, confusion, and a decline in the ability to care for oneself. If you find it necessary to use sleep medications, discontinue them after a regular sleep pattern has been re-established.
Most people function on a wake-sleep cycle that corresponds to our 24 hour day. The mechanism that controls that cycle is known as circadian rhythms. Anyone can have that cycle interfered with, resulting in sleep disturbances that are usually very temporary. Jet-lag is a good example of an event that can cause such a disruption; one that many of us have experienced. Getting over jet-lag is usually just a matter of letting your brain adjust to the new time zone. The day-night cycle is mostly responsible for that adjustment, responsible for resetting your circadian rhythms.
Sleep disorders are often associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Insomnia and the related daytime sleepiness are two symptoms that a person with Alzheimer’s often experiences. Sundowning is another. Sundowning is an increased agitation that occurs in the evening and is often accompanied by wandering. Sleep disorders of this type are not a minor problem. It imposes an added burden on a care-partners already difficult position, and wandering can be dangerous and even fatal. Unfortunately, the disruption in the circadian rhythms of a person who has Alzheimer’s disease is not as easy to fix as jet-lag. It doesn’t result from a vacation or business trip, but from brain damage caused by the disease.
Circadian Rhythms and the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus
The suprachiasmatic nucleus is responsible for regulating our circadian rhythms.
The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is the part of the brain that controls circadian rhythms. The SCN is located within the hypothalamus, in the base of the brain. The hypothalamus is that part of the brain that is usually affected first by Alzheimer’s disease (read more….). Researchers at the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research found a marked decrease in the total cell mass of the suprachiasmatic nucleus in older people (80 to 100 years), and an even more pronounced reduction in people with Alzheimer’s disease (mean age 78). This shrinkage could account for the sleep disorders that many people experience as they age (waking in the night or too early in the morning, daytime napping, etc.). These and other disorders common in the elderly are more common and more pronounced in people with Alzheimer’s disease and many other dementias.
There is a direct connection between the eye and the suprachiasmatic nucleus. To make a long story short, light plays a big role in maintaining our circadian rhythms, and light can be used to reset those rhythms when they get out of kilter. The use of light therapy for Alzheimer’s disease can help lessen the sleep disorders that can be so much a part of that and other types of dementia.
Bright Light Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease
One of the characteristics that a circadian rhythm must have to be considered genuine is that it can be reset by an external stimulus. Each day the light/dark cycle and other environmental stimuli help maintain the rhythm so that it stays synchronous with the 24-hour day. If, however, the suprachiasmatic nucleus is destroyed completely, the sleep/awake cycle will be totally disrupted.
We should expect, then, that partial damage to the suprachiasmatic nucleus will effect sleeping patterns, not completely but to some extent. This expectation is in agreement with the clinical findings: People with Alzheimer’s disease and with other types of dementia that result in shrinkage to that part of the brain suffer more sleep disorders than otherwise healthy people of the same age.
An increasing amount of evidence shows that bright, full spectrum light, on the magnitude of 5000 LUX to 10,000 LUX, can reset the circadian rhythm in people suffering from Alzheimer’s. Daily exposure to this type of light helps dementia patients with sleep disorders sleep longer and spend more time in deep sleep. As an added benefit, cognitive deterioration slowed with regular exposure to bright light, and symptoms of depression decreased.
Red light is not the same as full-spectrum (white) light. Full spectrum light contains the blue wavelengths, as well as all other visible wavelengths. The findings of this pilot study are consistent with others that have investigated the effects of bright, white light.
Special note: Researchers have found limited evidence that bright and blue light therapy may cause additional harm to people with pre-existing eye damage (including glaucoma and macular degeneration), and could increase the incidence of age related blindness. Medical professionals recommend people with pre-existing retinal conditions should be tested prior to using any bright or blue light therapy system.
Related Research for Light Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease
Burns and Byrne, in a study reported in the British Medical Journal, found that dementia patients who sat in front of a bright (10 000 lux) light for two hours each morning slept an average of 40 minutes longer, and slept more deeply, than usual. A control group who sat in front of a one hundred lux light slept only about 8 minutes longer. This tendency was not evident during the summer, but the findings can be instructive for the long dark months of winter
A Dutch group reported in the June 11, 2008 issue of JAMA that bright light therapy “ameliorated symptoms of disturbed cognition, mood, behavior, functional abilities, and sleep.” The study was defined to investigate the combined effect of bright light therapy combined with melatonin. Based on the study the researchers conclude that:
…the simple measure of increasing the illumination level in group care facilities ameliorated symptoms of disturbed cognition, mood, behavior, functional abilities, and sleep. Melatonin improved sleep, but its long-term use by elderly individuals can only be recommended in combination with light to suppress adverse effects on mood. The long-term application of whole-day bright light did not have adverse effects, on the contrary, and could be considered for use in care facilities for elderly individuals with dementia.
'Flashing light therapy' for Alzheimer's
By Michelle Roberts Health editor, BBC News online
Image copyright Thinkstock
A flashing light therapy might help ward off Alzheimer's, say US scientists after promising trials in mice.
The Massachusetts team found shining a strobe light into rodents' eyes encouraged protective cells to gobble up the harmful proteins that accumulate in the brain in this type of dementia.
The perfect rate of flashes was 40 per second - a barely perceptible flicker, four times as fast as a disco strobe.
The researchers say the approach should be tested in humans.
They are already seeking permission from the US regulator, the Food and Drugs Administration, and have set up a commercial company to develop the technology.
Build-up of beta amyloid protein is one of the earliest changes seen in the brain in Alzheimer's disease.
It clumps together to form sticky plaques and is thought to cause nerve cell death and memory loss.
Researchers have been looking for ways to prevent plaque formation using drugs, but the results have been disappointing.
Amyloid plaques are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease
But Dr Li-Huei Tsai and colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology think they have found another way, using light.
The mice that they studied were genetically engineered to have Alzheimer's-type damage in their brain, Nature journal reports.
When the mice were put in front of the flashing light for an hour, it led to a noticeable reduction in beta amyloid over the next 12 to 24 hours in the parts of the brain that handle vision.
Doing this every day for a week led to even greater reductions.
Likewise, light stimulation direct to the part of the brain that deals with memory - the hippocampus - led to reductions of beta amyloid there.
The researchers say the light works by recruiting the help of resident immune cells called microglia.
Microglia are scavengers. They eat and clear harmful or threatening pathogens - in this instance, beta amyloid.
It is hoped that clearing beta amyloid and stopping more plaques from forming could halt Alzheimer's and its symptoms.
Dr Tsai said: "We are optimistic."
The scientists say, in the future, people could wear special goggles or sit in front of a light-emitting device to get a therapeutic dose of the strobe light.
For the patient, it should be entirely painless and non-invasive.
"We can use a very low intensity, very ambient soft light.
"You can hardly see the flicker itself.
"The set-up is not offensive at all," they said, stressing it should be safe and would not trigger epilepsy in people who were susceptible.
Dr David Reynolds, of Alzheimer's Research, UK said: "Studies like this are valuable in revealing new processes implicated in Alzheimer's disease and opening new avenues for further research.
"While mice used in this study showed some key features of Alzheimer's, it is always important to follow up these findings in people."
Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s Disease: 6 Differences to Remember
By: Jeff Hayward on Monday, July 3rd
View All On One Page (1 of 6)
In the medical world, the terms “Alzheimer’s” and “dementia” are often thrown around, often interchangeably. However, they refer to two different things – one of them being more a category, the other being a specific disease.
While many of the symptoms – including memory loss and confusion – can occur in dementia diseases as well as Alzheimer’s, there are some differences. Knowing what they are can help doctors properly diagnose the problem and administer any available treatments. Here are six ways to differentiate between dementia and Alzheimer’s…
1. Dementia Isn’t a Disease
According to Healthline.com, dementia is a syndrome, unlike its counterpart Alzheimer’s, which is a disease. A syndrome, notes the source, is when a group of symptoms doesn’t lead to a specific diagnosis. “Dementia is an overall term used to describe symptoms that impact memory, performance of daily activities, and communication abilities,” notes the source.
The site acknowledges that symptoms can “overlap,” but it’s important to treat them as separate entities to best address them medically and otherwise. Both young and elderly people can develop either dementia or Alzheimer’s (although the latter is much common in seniors – more on that later).
2. You Can Have More Than One Type of Dementia
While Alzheimer’s actually falls under the dementia umbrella, the Alzheimer’s Association in Chicago notes there’s something called “mixed dementia,” which is when “abnormalities linked to more than one cause of dementia occur simultaneously in the brain”.
The source notes that studies have shown this may occur more than previously thought. This mixed version often involves Alzheimer’s along with what’s known as vascular dementia, which was once known as “post-stroke” dementia and is characterized by impaired judgment and difficulty organizing (as opposed to memory loss).
3. Other Diseases Can Trigger Dementia
While Alzheimer’s is a disease unto itself, dementia symptoms could result from other diseases, notes Alzheimers.net. For example, according to the source, common causes of dementia are Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
The latter example (Creutzfeldt-Jakob) is actually a fatal neurogenerative disease, while Huntington’s results in the death of brain cells (and often emerges in patients in their 30s and 40s, while dementia is often regarded as a condition of aging). Those who have Parkinson’s – most often associated with shaking – will typically develop dementia over a long period of time following the initial diagnosis.
4. Alzheimer’s is Not Reversible
Alzheimers.net explains that once someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the outlook is quite grim. “It is degenerative and incurable at this time,” notes the source. Sources note the average life expectancy of a patient following a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is about 8 to 10-years.
Meanwhile, adds the source, there are some causes of dementia (not already mentioned) such as a negative drug interaction or a vitamin deficiency that can actually be reversed with the right diagnosis and treatment. “Until a proper diagnosis is made, the best approach to any dementia is engagement, communication and loving care,” adds the site.
5. Early Symptoms can Vary
A blog post from The Mayo Clinic explains there can be some “clear differences” between Alzheimer’s and other forms dementia in the early stages. One form of the syndrome called dementia with Lewy Bodies (which can mimic symptoms of a variety of diseases) does not have the memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s, the clinic explains.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies is actually the second most common form of dementia (following Alzheimer’s), notes the source, and instead of forgetfulness can be marked early on by hallucinations and confusion. However, the source explains as dementia progresses, it can be more difficult to distinguish one type from another.
6. The Onset Age Can Be Different
The Mayo Clinic says that a whopping 95-percent of Alzheimer’s patients are aged 65-or older (that’s based on its assertion that only 5-percent of patients develop what is known as early-onset Alzheimer’s before age 65).
However, as noted earlier, some other diseases that can develop earlier in life can lead to dementia, so symptoms can show up in middle age. However, among younger people (at least in the UK), Alzheimer’s is still the most prevalent form of dementia, followed by vascular dementia, notes youngdementiauk.org.
Surprising Ways You’re Increasing Your Dementia Risk
Even if you have no family history of dementia, there’s a good chance you’re unknowingly putting yourself at risk for developing the condition down the road. Interestingly, it’s more of a condition than a specific disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. It refers to a collection of symptoms related with cognitive decline, including memory loss and impaired judgment.
Alzheimer’s is the type of dementia you can probably recall, but it’s not the only type. It’s not a natural part of the aging cycle, either. Dementia is caused by damage to the brain cells, which can happen in a number of different ways. Here are 10 things you may be doing to increase your dementia risk.
1. Taking certain types of medicine
Experts link certain prescription and over-the-counter medications with increased dementia rates. Anticholinergic drugs, which many adults use for seasonal allergies or overactive bladder, for example, were singled out by a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Benadryl and Tylenol PM users, beware.
2. Living near busy roads
You don’t have to be stuck in traffic to have it slowly kill you. A recent study published in The Lancet found an increase in dementia risk for folks who live close to areas with heavy traffic. Why? High levels of air pollution and noise can eat away at the brain’s connective tissues. Still, it’s an association, not necessarily a cause.
This is pretty broad — and if you’re pretty broad yourself, it can mean an increased risk of neurodegenerative disease. People who have diabetes, high blood pressure, and who are obese all have higher rates of dementia. But the pendulum also swings the other way. Some research from The Lancet shows people who are underweight can increase their risk by up to 34%. Again, it’s an association, so we’ll need more research.
4. Smoking cigarettes
Smoking won’t just lead to lung cancer and emphysema. It can also affect your brain in a serious way. In a study found in Archives of Internal Medicine, out of over 21,000 people involved, smokers were found to have higher rates of both dementia and Alzheimer’s compared to non-smokers.
Too much booze could lead to a type of dementia. It’s not just smoking that could do you in. Research ties alcohol consumption to declines in cognitive health, too. The Alzheimer’s Association explains a disorder called Korsakoff syndrome, which is a chronic lack of vitamin B-1 typically caused by excess drinking. This eventually leads to brain issues, including dementia. The good news: Proper treatment can improve outcomes
5. Being depressed
People with depression are more likely to deal with cognitive decline. A lot of people struggle with depression, which can lead to cognitive degeneration if you don’t properly treat it. The Journal of the Neurological Sciences explains it has to do with changes to the white matter, or physical structures in our brain, over time. So, if you deal with depression, it’s best to get professional help. Treating your depression now will up your chances of staving off dementia in the future.
6. Physical inactivity
Effects of a healthy set of genes.” Simply put, physical inactivity will cause your brain tissues to degenerate, leading to an increased risk of dementia.
7. Not exercising your brain
Challenging yourself mentally may reduce your risk. You can think of your brain as a muscle. If you don’t exercise it, it’ll atrophy. As strange as it sounds, there’s evidence that not using your brain can actually increase dementia risk. In fact, researchers from the University of Cambridge discovered individuals with less education have higher rates of dementia than those with more schooling.
8. Being lazy is bad for your brain
Not surprisingly, being overtly lazy is bad for your brain. Your mother probably told you video games and television can rot your brain. As it turns out, your mom may have been right (as she so often was). There is actual evidence that living like a sloth — or a couch potato, as we often say — can lead to serious problems. In fact, the more advanced your couch potato level, the higher your risk of dementia.Findings from a new study by McMaster University in Ontario show couch potatoes are hurting their brains. Though some people are born with an elevated risk factor for dementia, inactivity can boost the risk for those with no genetic predisposition. Jennifer Heisz, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University and co-author of the study, said in a press release, “The important message here is that being inactive may completely negate the protective
9. Some medications
Your heartburn medication could be doing more harm than good. Struggling with acid reflux? Here’s a heads up: Research links some heartburn medication to dementia. One large study found in The JAMA Network said medicines with proton pump inhibitors, like Prilosec and Prevacid, are tied to increased degenerative disease risks. So, if you’re on one of these, you may want to discuss possible side effects the medication could have in the future.
10. Spending too much time inside
Those who don’t get enough vitamin D are putting themselves at risk. Research confirms a link between vitamin D deficiency and dementia. Individuals with severe deficiencies may actually double their risk, according to a study from the University of Exeter. An easy solution? Get outside in the sun more, and bolster your diet with more fish and vitamin D-rich foods. Keep in mind, though, that it’s still imperative to protect yourself from the sun’s damaging rays.
11. Support your Brain with healthy foods.
Olives and olive oil Do as the Greeks do, and eat meals that involve whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, olive oil, and other healthy fats. Research suggests this may be one of the best ways to fight the degeneration of the brain. And it’s a pretty delicious way to live. Buy organic berries and wash all other fruit and vegetables.
12. Learn something new
Never stop learning new things. Take a formal class or teach yourself a new skill at home. Either way it will strengthen the networks within your brain as NPR reports. Try knitting, woodworking, or a new computer program. As long as you focus on coordination and connecting different parts of your brain through the learning process, you’re on the right track.
13. Get enough z’s
Make sure to get enough sleep every night. Multiple studies link a lack of REM sleep to an increased risk of dementia. So determine how much sleep you need (most adults need about eight hours), set an alarm to remind yourself when its almost time for bed, and start your bedtime routine.
14. Socialize with others
Ditch social media and get some face-time. Develop and maintain relationships with your loved ones. Brains need to connect to others, so communicate with friends and meet new people. Oh, and texting doesn’t count. Even introverts can socialize in a way that feels natural; join a club or volunteer and you’ll create a more structured way to develop relationships.
15. Manage your stress
Stop throughout the day and journal to manage stress. A study by the University of Toronto found that chronic stress is “associated with structural degeneration and impaired functioning of the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.” These areas of the brain are responsible for preventing dementia. So learn to manage your stress in healthy ways, like exercising and journaling, rather than relying on poor habits. Relieving stress by smoking, drinking, or staying inside will just compound your risk of dementia.
Dementia’s Different types
Dementia is a term used to describe severe changes in the brain that cause memory loss. These changes also make it difficult for people to perform basic daily activities. In most people, dementia causes changes in behavior and personality.
Dementia affects three areas of the brain:
Most cases of dementia are caused by a disease and can’t be reversed. Alcohol and drug abuse can sometimes cause dementia. In those cases, it can be possible to reverse the damage in the brain. But according to the Cleveland Clinic, reversal happens in fewer than 20 percent of people with dementia. The key to over coming this disease is early intervention and persistence in keeping a regimental program.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Between 60 and 80 percent of cases of dementia are caused by this disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Early signs of Alzheimer’s disease include depression, forgetting names and recent events, and depressed mood. However, depression is not part of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a separate disorder that must be treated specifically. Occasionally, depressed older adults are misdiagnosed as having Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by brain cell death. As the disease progresses, people experience confusion and mood changes. They also have trouble speaking and walking.
Older adults are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. About 5 percent of cases of Alzheimer’s are early onset Alzheimer’s, occurring in people in their 40s or 50s.
Vascular dementia is the most common type.
Rehabilitation is possible and allows an induvial to function on a daily basis and remain in their home.
The second most common type of dementia is vascular dementia. It’s caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain. Vascular dementia can happen as you age and can be related to atherosclerotic disease or stroke.
Symptoms of vascular dementia can appear slowly or suddenly, depending on what’s causing it. Confusion and disorientation are common early signs. Later on, people also have trouble completing tasks or concentrating for long periods of time.
Vascular dementia can cause vision problems and sometimes hallucinations as well.
Lewy body dementia
Dementia with Lewy bodies
Dementia with Lewy bodies, also known as Lewy body dementia, is caused by protein deposits in nerve cells. This interrupts chemical messages in the brain and causes memory loss and disorientation.
People with this type of dementia also experience visual hallucinations and have trouble falling asleep at night or fall asleep unexpectedly during the day. They also might faint or become lost or disoriented.
Dementia with Lewy bodies shares many symptoms with Parkinson and Alzheimer diseases. For example, many people develop trembling in their hands, have trouble walking, and feel weak.
Parkinson’s disease is being researched to reestablishing speech.
Many people with advanced Parkinson’s disease will develop dementia. Early signs of this type of dementia are problems with reasoning and judgment. For example, a person with Parkinson’s disease dementia might have trouble understanding visual information or remembering how to do simple daily tasks. They may even have confusing or frightening hallucinations.
This type of dementia can also cause a person to be irritable. Many people become depressed or paranoid as the disease progresses. Others have trouble speaking and might forget words or get lost during a conversation.Bottom of Form
Frontotemporal dementia, research is being done on re-establishing these functions.
Frontotemporal dementia is a name used to describe several types of dementia, all with one thing in common: They affect the front and side parts of the brain, which are the areas that control language and behavior. It’s also known as Pick’s disease.
Frontotemporal dementia affects people as young as 45 years old. Although scientists don’t know what causes it, it does run in families and people with it have mutations in certain genes, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.
This dementia causes loss of inhibitions and motivation, as well as compulsive behavior. It also causes people to have problems with speech, including forgetting the meaning of common words.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is one of the rarest forms of dementia. Only 1 in 1 million people are diagnosed with it every year, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. CJD progresses very quickly, and people often die within a year of diagnosis.
Symptoms of CJD are similar to other forms of dementia. Some people experience agitation, while others suffer from depression. Confusion and loss of memory are also common. CJD affects the body as well, causing twitching and muscle stiffness.
Wernicke’s disease, or Wernicke’s encephalopathy, is a type of brain disorder that’s caused by a lack of vitamin B-1, leading to bleeding in the lower sections of the brain. Wernicke’s disease can cause physical symptoms like double vision and a loss of muscle coordination. At a certain point, the physical symptoms of untreated Wernicke’s disease tend to decrease, and the signs of Korsakoff syndrome start to appear.
Korsakoff syndrome is a memory disorder caused by advanced Wernicke’s disease. People with Korsakoff syndrome may have trouble:
learning new skills
The two conditions are linked and are usually grouped together as one condition, known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. It’s technically not a form of dementia. However, symptoms are similar to dementia, and it’s often classified with dementia.
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome can be a result of malnutrition or chronic infections. However, the most common cause for this vitamin deficiency is alcoholism.
Sometimes people with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome make up information to fill in the gaps in their memories without realizing what they’re doing.
Mixed dementia refers to a situation where a person has more than one type of dementia. Mixed dementia is very common, and the most common combination is vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s. According to the Jersey Alzheimer’s Association, up to 45 percent of people with dementia have mixed dementia but don’t know it.
Mixed dementia can cause different symptoms in different people. Some people experience memory loss and disorientation first, while others have behavior and mood changes. Most people with mixed dementia will have difficulty speaking and walking as the disease progresses.
Normal pressure hydrocephalus
Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is a condition that causes a person to build up excess fluid in the brain’s ventricles. The ventricles are fluid-filled spaces designed to cushion a person’s brain and spinal cord. They rely on just the right amount of fluid to work properly. When the fluid builds up excessively, it places extra pressure on the brain. This can cause damage that leads to dementia symptoms. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, an estimated 5 percent of dementia cases are due to NPH.
Some of the potential causes of NPH include:
previous brain surgeries
However, sometimes doctors don’t know the cause of NPH. Symptoms include:
changes in mood
loss of bowel or bladder control
Seeking treatment as early as possible can help a doctor intervene before additional brain damage occurs. Normal pressure hydrocephalus is one of the types of dementia that can sometimes be cured with surgery.