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2010 Archives: Featured Brain, Cognition & Memory

Monday December 20 - December 26 2010

Adherence to a Mediterranean-type dietary pattern and cognitive decline in a community population. (Am J Clin Nutr. 2010) “The Mediterranean dietary pattern as captured by the MedDiet scoring system may reduce the rate of cognitive decline with older age.”

[Delirium induced by drug treatment.] (Ther Umsch. 2011) “Anticholinergic activity is the mode of action by which drugs cause delirium. Antipsychotic drugs, antidepressants, antihistamines, and of course anticholinergic drugs themselves are the major anticholinergic classes of drugs. In addition some opioids have anticholinergic effects. Other drugs may induce delirium by dehydration (loop diuretics like furosemide) or sedation (benzodiazapines like lorazepam). Elderly people are at especially high risk to develop delirium, because of the multitude of drugs often prescribed to them, because they tend to drink to little, and because their brain is more sensitive to psychoactive drugs.”

Can Vitamin Supplements Protect Your Brain? “Your best defense may be to avoid any vitamin deficiencies. (See the chart below.) These are more common as we age. … No vitamin supplement can ever replace a healthy diet, which provides vitamins, minerals, and a host of other naturally occurring nutrients necessary for your body and brain. You can take a daily multivitamin to ensure that you are getting the recommended daily amounts of all vitamins. But for now, there is not enough evidence to recommend taking extra supplements to revitalize the brain.”

Beneficial Effects of Folic Acid on Enhancement of Memory and Antioxidant Status in Aged Rat Brain. (Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2010)

Cerebral microbleeds, retinopathy, and dementia: The AGES-Reykjavik Study. (Neurology. 2010)

White Matter Damage in Alzheimer Disease and Its Relationship to Gray Matter Atrophy. (Radiology. 2010)

Monday December 13 - December 19 2010

Effects of Ginkgo biloba on cerebral blood flow assessed by quantitative MR perfusion imaging: a pilot study (Neuroradiology 2010)

Early Tests for Alzheimer’s Pose Diagnosis Dilemma

Death and Readmission Rates After Stroke 'Staggering' for Medicare Patients “Almost two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries discharged from hospital after an ischemic stroke die or are readmitted within a year, a new study has found.”

High Levels of 'Good' Cholesterol May Be Associated With Lower Risk of Alzheimer's Disease

 

Monday December 6 - December 12 2010

Could lysine supplementation prevent Alzheimer's dementia? A novel hypothesis. (Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2010)

Long-Term Exposure to Pesticides May Be Linked to Dementia

High School Concussions in the 2008-2009 Academic Year Mechanism, Symptoms, and Management (American Journal of Sports Medicine 2010)

Monday November 29 - December 5 2010

Brain Tissue Loss in People With Alzheimer’s Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment “People with Alzheimer's disease exhibit striking structural changes in the caudate nucleus, a brain structure typically associated with movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease, a new study has found.”

Dementia May Result from Incomplete Memories

Smoking May Thin the Brain “Smokers exhibited cortical thinning in the left medial orbitofrontal cortex. In addition, their cortical thickness measures negatively correlated with the amount of cigarettes smoked per day and the magnitude of lifetime exposure to tobacco smoke. In other words, heavier smoking was associated with more pronounced thinning of cortical tissue. The orbitofrontal cortex has frequently been implicated in drug addiction. The current findings suggest that smoking-related cortical thinning may increase the risk for addictions, including smoking. "Since the brain region in which we found the smoking-associated thinning has been related to impulse control, reward processing and decision making, this might explain how nicotine addiction comes about," explained Dr. Simone Kühn. "In a follow-up study, we plan to explore the rehabilitative effects of quitting smoking on the brain." "The current findings suggest that smoking may have a cumulative effect on the brain," noted John Krystal, M.D., Editor of Biological Psychiatry and Professor and Chair of Psychiatry at Yale University. "This concerning finding highlights the importance of targeting young smokers for antismoking interventions." “

Heavy Drinking Doubles Risk for Essential Tremor Later in Life “The researchers report that patients who developed tremor were significantly more likely to have been drinking often and for a long period. After taking factors into account likely to influence the results, such as lifetime cigarette smoking and depression, they found that those who drank regularly more than doubled their risk for essential tremor.”

Dietary intake of vitamin D and cognition in older women (Neurology 2010) “Weekly dietary intake of vitamin D was associated with cognitive performance in older women.”

Mercury Exposure May Contribute to Alzheimer's Risk “Inorganic mercury, which is still widely used in dental amalgams, is likely a contributing cause of Alzheimer's disease (AD) according to a systematic review of 106 studies published in the November issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. Overall, investigators found that symptoms and features of AD were reproduced or accelerated when mercury was introduced. As a result of these findings, the researchers, led by Harald Walach, PhD, European University Viadrina, in Frankfurt, Germany, are calling for "the removal of mercury from public and ecologic circuits and replacing it wherever possible by less toxic alternatives. This would be a sensible public health measure that is supported by the current data."”

Working With Pesticides May Affect Memory and More

Personality changes in Alzheimer's disease: a systematic review (International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 2010)

The Arsenic Exposure Hypothesis for Alzheimer Disease (Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders 2010)

Chronic high cholesterol diet produces brain damage “The results showed that chronic hypercholesterolemia caused memory impairment, cholinergic dysfunction, inflammation, enhanced cortical beta-amyloid and tau and induced microbleedings, all indications, which resemble an Alzheimer's disease-like pathology.”

Walking Slows the Progression of Alzheimer's Disease

Monday November 22 - November 28 2010

Biology of aging brain (Indian J Pathol Microbiol. 2010)

Caffeine and Migraine

New Insight Into the Cause of Common Dementia

Monday November 15 - November 21 2010

Alzheimer's Disease Inherited Through Maternal Line, Study Finds

Size of Hippocampus May Indicate Early Dementia

Dietary intake of vitamin D and cognition in older women (Neurology 2010) “Weekly dietary intake of vitamin D was associated with cognitive performance in older women.”

Teenage Amphetamine Abuse Affects Adult Brain Cell Function “Many children and teens with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder benefit from taking amphetamines, such as Adderall®, when closely supervised by parents and physicians. However, these drugs are also highly abused by healthy individuals, particularly adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17, a period when the brain continues to develop and mature. … Previous research showed deficits in working memory in adult rats exposed to amphetamines in adolescence. "Our new findings reveal that this change in cognitive behavior may be due in part to long-lasting changes in the function of neurons in the prefrontal cortex," said the study's senior author, Joshua Gulley, PhD. "We hypothesize that this is due to amphetamine disrupting the normal processes of brain development," he said.”

Cognitive function in elderly marathon runners: Cross-sectional data from the marathon trial (apsoem). (Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2010) “These results suggest that extensive endurance exercise training might be beneficial for maintaining cognitive function in elderly persons. Our data demonstrate that beneficial endurance training effects are not linked to the upregulation of the examined neurotrophins. Since we found reduced BDNF-levels in subjects with a positive family history of Alzheimer's disease, we speculate that BDNF-reduction might precede cognitive impairment.”

Delaying the onset of Alzheimer disease: Bilingualism as a form of cognitive reserve. (Neurology. 2010)

Study Finds Brain Bleeding Is Common With Aging “"Drugs that interfere with platelets and blood clotting, such as aspirin, are known to be associated with microbleeds seen in brain imaging studies," Fisher said. "Our findings suggest that aspirin and other platelet medications may have a different effect on the aging brain than on younger brains." Results from the UCI study also indicate that leakiness of brain blood vessels increases with age, he said, despite the fact that a specific barrier (known as the blood-brain barrier) exists to prevent leakiness. The areas of bleeding found in the study were very small and certainly not life-threatening, Fisher said. How they might affect intellectual and neurological function is a subject for further exploration.”

Monday November 8 - November 14 2010

The 32-year relationship between cholesterol and dementia from midlife to late life. (Neurology. 2010) “While there was no association between cholesterol level and dementia when considering all participants over 32 years, a time-dependent decrease in cholesterol over the follow-up was associated with an increased risk of dementia …”

Fish Oil Component Given Up to 5 Hours After Stroke Limits Brain Damage, Study Finds “…Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a component of fish oil, is a powerful therapeutic agent that can protect brain tissue and promote recovery in an experimental model of acute ischemic stroke, even when treatment is delayed by up to five hours. These findings not only target a new stroke treatment approach, but also provide vital information about the length of the therapeutic window. The NIH-funded research is published in the journal, Translational Stroke Research.”

Monday November 1 - November 7 2010

Redefining Alzheimer Disease

Brain Docs Raise Concussion Alarm for Kids' Sports “The risk of concussions from football and some other sports is so serious that a qualified athletic trainer should always be on the field -- at adult and children's games, and even at practice, a major doctors group said Monday. Following that advice from the American Academy of Neurology would be a dramatic change for youth sports programs, most of which don't have certified trainers. The doctors group recognizes it isn't necessarily feasible. One official called it a gold standard to strive for.”

Junior Ice Hockey Study Uncovers Alarming Concussion Rates “"The reluctance to report concussion symptoms may result from cultural factors, as expressed in several of the case studies -- athletes demonstrate perceived toughness to their parents, coaches, team mates and peers by playing through an injury; and the belief of the athlete that he or she is invincible, so winning overrides any consideration of the effect of the injury upon long-term health. It is imperative to bring about a cultural and philosophical change in this regard through stepped-up education efforts and enforcement of concussion protocols. At risk is something far more precious than winning a game, and that is the future health and well being of thousands of young athletes," concluded Dr. Echlin.”

Monday October 25 - October 31 2010

Subclinical Zinc Deficiency in Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease (American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias 2010) “These patients are probably zinc deficient because of nutritional inadequacy.”

Heavy Smoking in Midlife and Long-term Risk of Alzheimer Disease and Vascular Dementia (Arch Intern Med. 2010) “Conclusions In this large cohort, heavy smoking in midlife was associated with a greater than 100% increase in risk of dementia, AD, and VaD more than 2 decades later. These results suggest that the brain is not immune to long-term consequences of heavy smoking. “

Smoking Raises Alzheimer's Risk “Heavy smoking in midlife more than doubles your odds of developing Alzheimer's disease, a Kaiser Permanente study said Monday.”

Alzheimer's Disease Cerebrospinal Fluid Test -- Useful or Useless?

Angiotensin Receptor Blockers: Do They Protect Against Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease in the Elderly? (Aging Health 2010)

Aspirin in Alzheimer’s Disease (Stroke. 2010)

Older Walkers Cut Dementia Risk “The tests showed about 40% had either dementia or a mild cognitive impairment, which can lead to dementia. But people with more gray matter were only half as likely as others to have these problems. There was no benefit for people who walked fewer than 6 miles a week, researchers said. The journal Neurology published the study online.”

Monday October 18 - October 24 2010

Alzheimer's and Its Impact on Women

Grape Derived Polyphenols Attenuate Tau Neuropathology in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease. (J Alzheimers Dis. 2010)

Atrophy in the parahippocampal gyrus as an early biomarker of Alzheimer's disease. (Brain Struct Funct. 2010)

Long Working Hours and Cognitive Function (American Journal of Epidemiology 2010) “This study shows that long working hours may have a negative effect on cognitive performance in middle age.”

Vitamin B12 May Lower Alzheimer's Risk

Forgetfulness — 7 types of normal memory problems

Plasticity of Brain Networks in a Randomized Intervention Trial of Exercise Training in Older Adults (Front Aging Neurosci. 2010) “Therefore the study provides the first evidence for exercise-induced functional plasticity in large-scale brain systems in the aging brain, using functional connectivity techniques, and offers new insight into the role of aerobic fitness in attenuating age-related brain dysfunction.”

Younger Brains Are Easier to Rewire -- Brain Regions Can Switch Functions

Lewy body and parkinsonian dementia: common, but often misdiagnosed conditions. (Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2010 Oct)

Monday October 11 - October 17 2010

Physical activity predicts gray matter volume in late adulthood (Neurology 2010) “Greater amounts of walking are associated with greater gray matter volume, which is in turn associated with a reduced risk of cognitive impairment.”

Study: Older Walkers Cut Dementia Risk “The tests showed about 40% had either dementia or a mild cognitive impairment, which can lead to dementia. But people with more gray matter were only half as likely as others to have these problems. There was no benefit for people who walked fewer than 6 miles a week, researchers said. The journal Neurology published the study online.”

[Cognitive reserve and its relevance for the prevention and diagnosis of dementia.] (Nervenarzt. 2010)"Confronted with progressive neurodegeneration, these active mechanisms help to compensate for brain damage. Individuals with higher CR show more efficient activation for solving the same task, which helps them to preserve normal levels of cognitive performance for a longer period. "

Postconcussion syndrome after mild traumatic brain injury in Western Greece. (J Trauma. 2010)"BACKGROUND: The prevalence of postconcussion syndrome (PCS) in the first weeks after mild traumatic brain injury varies from 40% to 80%. However, as many as 50% of patients report symptoms for up to 3 months and 10% to 15% for more than a year."

Odor Identification and Mortality in Old Age. (Chem Senses. 2010)

Monday October 4 - October 10 2010

Memory Impairment Common in People With a History of Cancer “People with a history of cancer have a 40 percent greater likelihood of experiencing memory problems that interfere with daily functioning, compared with those who have not had cancer, according to results of a new, large study.”

Brain Changes Found in High School Football Players Thought to Be Concussion-Free “The findings represent a dilemma because they suggest athletes may suffer a form of injury that is difficult to diagnose. "The problem is that the usual clinical signs of a head injury are not present," said Larry Leverenz, an expert in athletic training and a clinical professor of health and kinesiology. "There is no sign or symptom that would indicate a need to pull these players out of a practice or game, so they just keep getting hit." … Helmet sensor data indicate impact forces to the head range from 20 to more than 100 Gs. "To give you some perspective, a roller coaster subjects you to about 5 Gs and soccer players may experience up to 20 G accelerations from heading the ball," Nauman said. Head impacts cause the brain to bounce back and forth inside the skull, damaging neurons or surrounding tissue. The trauma can either break nerve fibers called axons or impair signaling junctions between neurons called synapses. The findings suggest the undiagnosed players suffer a different kind of brain injury than players who are diagnosed with a concussion. “

Structural brain changes in aging: courses, causes and cognitive consequences. (Rev Neurosci. 2010)

Angiotensin Receptor Blockers: Do They Protect Against Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease in the Elderly? (Aging Health 2010)

Monday September 27 - October 3 2010

Is there pure vascular dementia in old age? (J Neurol Sci. 2010)

Vitamins B12, B6, and folic acid for cognition in older men. (Neurology. 2010) “The daily supplementation of vitamins B12, B6, and folic acid does not benefit cognitive function in older men, nor does it reduce the risk of cognitive impairment or dementia. Classification of evidence: This study provides Class I evidence that vitamin supplementation with daily doses of 400 µg of B12, 2 mg of folic acid, and 25 mg of B6 over 2 years does not improve cognitive function in hypertensive men aged 75 and older.”

Monday September 20 - September 26 2010

Risk of “silent stroke” in patients older than 60 years: risk assessment and clinical perspectives (Clin Interv Aging. 2010) “Overt stroke, dementia, depression, and aspiration pneumonia were all associated with SBI.”

Midlife Smoking, Apolipoprotein E and Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease: A Population-Based Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Dementia Study. (Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2010) “Conclusion: Midlife smoking was associated with an increased risk of dementia and AD later in life only among those individuals carrying the APOE e4 allele. These results suggest that the association between smoking and AD may be complex and vary according to genotype.”

Longitudinal Associations between Blood Pressure and Dementia in the Very Old. (Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2010) “Conclusion: In this small longitudinal study on the very old, no association between baseline blood pressure and incident dementia was found, but individuals who developed dementia exhibited a greater blood pressure decline. Low blood pressure could be an effect of dementia in the very old.”

Iatrogenic Risk Factors for Alzheimer's Disease: Surgery and Anesthesia. (J Alzheimers Dis. 2010) “Increasing evidence indicates that patients develop post-operative cognitive decline (POCD) following surgery. POCD is characterized by transient short-term decline in cognitive ability evident in the early post-operative period. This initial decline might be associated with increased risk of a delayed cognitive decline associated with dementia 3 to 5 years post-surgery. In some studies, the conversion rate to dementia are up to 70% in patients who are 65 years or older. The factors responsible for the increased risk of dementia are unclear; however, clinical studies investigating the prevalence of POCD and dementia following surgery do not show an association with the type of anesthesia or duration of surgery.”

Neonatal vitamin D status and risk of schizophrenia: a population-based case-control study. (Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010)

Increased risk of schizophrenia following traumatic brain injury: a 5-year follow-up study in Taiwan. (Psychol Med. 2010)

B-Vitamin Supplements May Slow Brain Atrophy in MCI

Monday September 13 - September 19 2010

Mild Memory Loss Is Not a Part of Normal Aging, New Research Finds “"The very early mild cognitive changes once thought to be normal aging are really the first signs of progressive dementia, in particular Alzheimer's disease." said Robert S.Wilson, PhD, neuropsychologist at Rush University Medical Center. "The pathology in the brain related to Alzheimer's and other dementias has a much greater impact on memory function in old age than we previously recognized." “

Moderate Wine Drinking Linked to Preserved Cognitive Function

NGC - Management of Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias (2009)

Progression of brain atrophy and cognitive decline in diabetes mellitus (NEUROLOGY 2010) “Our data show that elderly patients with DM without dementia have accelerated progression of brain atrophy with significant consequences in cognition compared to subjects without DM. Our findings add further evidence to the hypothesis that diabetes exerts deleterious effects on neuronal integrity.”

Basketball-Related Brain Injuries on the Rise “According to the researchers, an "ever-increasing level of competitiveness and intensity of training and play, starting at younger ages, may be contributing to the increase in [traumatic brain injuries]." They suggest that to prevent traumatic brain injuries, age-appropriate basketballs should be used for young children, which may "decrease the rates of concussions and finger-related injuries, and rough play should be discouraged, to minimize collisions." “

Monday September 6 - September 12 2010

Is There an Association Between Low-to-Moderate Alcohol Consumption and Risk of Cognitive Decline? (American Journal of Epidemiology 2010) ”This study did not support the hypothesis that low-to-moderate alcohol consumption prevents cognitive decline. The inverse association between low-to-moderate alcohol intake and cognitive decline observed in other studies may have been due to inclusion of former drinkers in the abstainers reference category.”

Mild Cognitive Impairment Affects 16% of Nondemented Elderly, More Prevalent Among Men

Brain exercises delay mental decline

B vitamins found to halve brain shrinkage in old “Helga Refsum, who also worked on the trial, stressed that vitamins were given in extremely high doses. "This is a drug, not a vitamin intervention," she said. The pills, called "TrioBe Plus" contained around 300 times the recommended daily intake of B12, four times daily advised folate levels and 15 times the recommended amount of B6. Brain scans were taken at the beginning and the end of the trial to monitor the rate of brain shrinkage, or atrophy. The results, published in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) One journal, showed that on average the brains of those taking the vitamin treatment shrank at a rate of 0.76 percent a year, while those taking the dummy pill had an average brain shrinkage of 1.08 percent. People who had the highest levels of homocysteine at the start of the trial benefited the most from the treatment, with their brains shrinking at half the rate of those on the placebo.”

Excessive Drinking May Lead to Poor Brain Health Via Obesity “"While it is fortunate that tobacco use, violent crime, and some other unhealthy behaviors have declined in recent years, heavy drinking has remained relatively stable, and obesity rates have greatly increased," said Tapert. "These findings point to another deleterious outcome of becoming overweight: poor brain health. While it may be that poor brain cell functioning has led to the challenges these men faced with overconsumption of food and alcohol, it is also possible that the obesity itself contributed to poor brain health. If so, weight loss, exercise, and improved self-care in addition to stopping drinking could result in improvements to brain health."”

Atrophy of the parahippocampal gyrus and regional cerebral blood flow in the limbic system in chronic alcoholic patients. (Alcohol. 2010)

Monday August 30 - September 5 2010

5 Signs of Alzheimer's

A Rich Cognitive Life "Squares the Curve" of Decline Leading to Dementia “A new study finds that mentally stimulating activities may "square the curve" of cognitive decline by significantly delaying the onset of dementia, although the reprieve from symptoms may be followed by more rapid deterioration after they appear. The delay in dementia onset and a shorter illness can be seen perhaps as a doubly positive outcome, the researchers say. "We think what a cognitively active lifestyle does is help delay the initial appearance of cognitive impairment in old age and allows a person to have a longer period of cognitive vitality and cognitive independence," lead study author Robert S. Wilson, PhD, from the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center at Rush University in Chicago, Illinois, told Medscape Medical News. "Then, if the person lives long enough and the underlying disease is progressing nonetheless, when dementia does become clinically manifest, we think that this sort of lifestyle is associated with a slightly less protracted course of the disease," he added. "So that at the end of the day, you're spending a lesser proportion of your lifespan in a cognitively dependent, demented state, which I think is what we're all after."”

Cerebral atrophy, apolipoprotein E ?4, and rate of decline in everyday function among patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association 2010)

Berries May Slow Mental Decline From Aging

Attention, Couch Potatoes! Walking Boosts Brain Connectivity, Function “A group of "professional couch potatoes," as one researcher described them, has proven that even moderate exercise -- in this case walking at one's own pace for 40 minutes three times a week -- can enhance the connectivity of important brain circuits, combat declines in brain function associated with aging and increase performance on cognitive tasks.”

Older Adults Experience “destination Amnesia” And Over-Confidence With False Beliefs “"Destination amnesia is characterized by falsely believing you've told someone something, such as believing you've told your daughter about needing a ride to an appointment, when you actually had told a neighbour." Why are older adults more prone to destination memory failures? The ability to focus and pay attention declines with age, so older adults use up most of their attentional resources on the telling of information and don't properly encode the context (ie. who they are speaking to) for later recall.”

Weight loss and incident dementia in elderly Yoruba Nigerians: a 10-year follow-up study. (Int Psychogeriatr. 2010)

Monday August 23 - August 29 2010

Broad Review of FDA Trials Suggests Antidepressants Only Marginally Better than Placebo “A new review of 4 meta-analyses of efficacy trials submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that antidepressants are only "marginally efficacious" compared with placebo and "document profound publication bias that inflates their apparent efficacy." In addition, when the researchers also analyzed the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) trial, "the largest antidepressant effectiveness trial ever conducted," they found that "the effectiveness of antidepressant therapies was probably even lower than the modest one reported...with an apparent progressively increasing dropout rate across each study phase.”

Years Later, No Magic Bullet Against Alzheimer’s Disease “In the meantime, doctors are in a bind. Should they tell people to do things like walk briskly or eat vegetables — activities that might someday be shown to protect against Alzheimer’s and that certainly cannot hurt? Or should they wait for absolute proof, confirmation that a diet or a drug or an exercise regimen prevents Alzheimer’s? The Alzheimer’s Association tells people to exercise, challenge themselves mentally, remain socially engaged and keep their hearts healthy. Such measures can only help, says Dr. Maria C. Carrillo, a senior director of the organization. But, she said, “The Alzheimer’s Association certainly agrees that there is not enough evidence to say anything definitive about the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and any kind of intervention.” Of course, Dr. Hodes said, there are many reasons to follow practices to improve general health. But, he said, researchers have to be careful about implying that any measures will protect against this degenerative brain disease. “

Eating Berries May Activate the Brain's Natural Housekeeper for Healthy Aging “Poulose said the study provides further evidence to eat foods rich in polyphenolics. Although berries and walnuts are rich sources, many other fruits and vegetables contain these chemicals ? especially those with deep red, orange, or blue colors. Those colors come from pigments termed anthocyanins that are good antioxidants. He emphasized the importance of consuming the whole fruit, which contains the full range of hundreds of healthful chemicals. Frozen berries, which are available year round, also are excellent sources of polyphenolics, he added.”

Is Low Vitamin D Associated with Depression in Elders?

Monday August 16 - August 22 2010

Brain Aging in the Oldest-Old (Curr Gerontol Geriatr Res. 2010)

Oxidative Damage and Progression to Alzheimer's Disease in Patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment. (J Alzheimers Dis. 2010) “These results suggest that accumulation of oxidative damage may start in pre-symptomatic phases of AD pathology and that progression to AD might be related to depletion of antioxidant defenses.”

Dietary Antioxidants and Long-term Risk of Dementia (Arch Neurol. 2010) “Higher intake of foods rich in vitamin E may modestly reduce long-term risk of dementia and AD.”

Looking at Young-Onset Dementia

Monday August 9 - August 15 2010

[Risk factors for Alzheimer disease] (Brain Nerve. 2010)

Dementia: Continuum or distinct entity? (Psychol Aging. 2010)

Gum Inflammation Linked to Alzheimer's Disease “The NYU study offers fresh evidence that gum inflammation may contribute to brain inflammation, neurodegeneration, and Alzheimer's disease.”

Depression Is a Risk Factor and Not an Early Sign of Alzheimer's Disease, Study Suggests

Brain Fitness Programs May Help Frail Elderly Walk Faster, Study Suggests

Spinal-Fluid Test Is Found to Predict Alzheimer’s

Brain may age faster in people whose hearts pump less blood

Guinness Records' oldest living man still enjoys good health after 113 years

Monday August 2 - August 8 2010

Physical Activity and the Risk of Dementia: The Framingham Study (ICAD 2010) “Conclusions: Moderate to heavy physical activity is associated with a reduced risk for dementia, for up to two decades of follow-up. Our data emphasize that a reduced risk of dementia may be one additional health benefit to adults of maintaining at least moderate physical activity.”

Vitamin D and Risk of Cognitive Decline in Elderly Persons (Arch Intern Med. 2010) “Conclusion Low levels of vitamin D were associated with substantial cognitive decline in the elderly population studied over a 6-year period, which raises important new possibilities for treatment and prevention.”

Atherosclerosis, dementia, and Alzheimer disease in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of aging cohort (Annals of Neurology 2010)

Declining Cardiac Function Accelerates Brain Aging “The mechanism for associations between cardiac index and markers of brain aging is unknown. However, the study authors suggest reduced systemic blood flow may contribute to subclinical brain injury because of its impact on cerebral blood flow homeostasis.”

Delirium Linked to Death and Other Poor Outcomes in Elderly Patients

Monday July 19 - August 1 2010 (two weeks, posted August 2)

Niacin Treatment of Stroke Increases Synaptic Plasticity and Axon Growth in Rats. (Stroke. 2010) “CONCLUSIONS: Niacin treatment of stroke promotes synaptic plasticity and axon growth, which is mediated, at least partially, by the brain-derived neurotrophic factor/tropomyosin-related kinase B pathways.”

Effect of Walking Distance on 8-Year Incident Depressive Symptoms in Elderly Men with and without Chronic Disease: The Honolulu-Asia Aging Study. (J Am Geriatr Soc. 2010) “CONCLUSION: Daily physical activity (>/=0.25 mile/day) is significantly associated with lower risk of 8-year incident depressive symptoms in elderly Japanese-American men without chronic disease at baseline.”

Higher Education Level May Help Brain Cope With Dementia

True or False: Old Folks Are Crankier Than Young Folks “The brain contains approximately 100 billion neurons. A common misconception is that tens of thousands of neurons in the brain die each day. In reality, few neurons die over a person's lifetime, but they do shrink. This shrinkage may partially explain why mental functioning slows in middle and older age. In addition to the shrinkage of neurons, starting in middle age the brain begins producing smaller quantities of many neurotransmitters -- chemical messengers that relay information between nerve cells. Brain blood flow is also reduced 15-20% between age 30 and age 70, although the shrinkage of neurons may account for the reduced flow because less tissue requires less blood. Although memory function may decline with age, emotional stability increases, according to a study reported in the Journal of Neuroscience (Volume 26, page 6422). Forget the myth that older people are crankier than younger ones. In fact, the reverse is true: Age brings increased emotional equanimity.”

Walnuts-rich diet improves memory deficits and learning skills in transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease

Age, Alzheimer's disease and dementia in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Ageing. (Brain. 2010)

Medications Found to Cause Long Term Cognitive Impairment of Aging Brain, Study Finds “"Simply put, we have confirmed that anticholinergics, something as seemingly benign as a medication for inability to get a good night's sleep or for motion sickness, can cause or worsen cognitive impairment, specifically long-term mild cognitive impairment which involves gradual memory loss. As a geriatrician I tell my Wishard Healthy Aging Brain Center patients not to take these drugs and I encourage all older adults to talk with their physicians about each and every one of the medications they take," said Malaz Boustani, M.D., IU School of Medicine associate professor of medicine, Regenstrief Institute investigator and IU Center for Aging Research center scientist.”

Vitamin E–Rich Foods May Reduce Long-Term Risk for Dementia “Vitamin E may play a modest role in altering the course of dementia, say researchers. Compared with participants with the lowest intake, investigators found that those patients with higher vitamin E intake were 25% less likely to develop dementia. "When beta-amyloid — a hallmark of pathologic Alzheimer disease — accumulates in the brain, an inflammatory response is likely evoked that produces nitric oxide radicals and downstream neurodegenerative effects," report investigators led by Elizabeth Devore, ScD, from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. "Vitamin E is a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant that may help to inhibit the pathogenesis of dementia."”

Longitudinal association of vitamin B-6, folate, and vitamin B-12 with depressive symptoms among older adults over time (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2010) “Our results support the hypotheses that high total intakes of vitamins B-6 and B-12 are protective of depressive symptoms over time in community-residing older adults.”

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Reduced Odds of MCI: The Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. (J Alzheimers Dis. 2010) “In this study, higher intake of PUFA and MUFA was associated with a reduced likelihood of MCI among elderly persons in the population-based setting.”

Cognitive function and tea consumption in community dwelling older chinese in singapore. (Nutr Health Aging. 2010) “Conclusions: Tea consumption was associated with better cognitive performance in community-living Chinese older adults. The protective effect of tea consumption on cognitive function was not limited to particular type of tea.”

Monday July 12 - July 18 2010

Recurrent depressive symptoms and the incidence of dementia and mild cognitive impairment. (Neurology. 2010)

Moderate Physical Activity Linked to Lower Dementia Risk “Compared with those with lower levels of activity, participants reporting moderate to heavy physical activity had a 45% lower risk for dementia over time.”

What do cognitively intact older people think about the use of electronic tracking devices for people with dementia? A preliminary analysis. (J.Int Psychogeriatr. 2010)

Alzheimer's pathology in primary progressive aphasia. (Neurobiol Aging. 2010)

Don't Hesitate to Get Help With a Dementia Patient

White matter changes and diabetes predict cognitive decline in the elderly (NEUROLOGY 2010)

Autobiographical Memory Task in Assessing Dementia (Arch Neurol. 2010)

Exercise, Vitamin D Seem to Cut Alzheimer's Risk: Researchers “Those who did moderate to heavy amounts of exercise had about a 40 percent reduced risk of developing any type of dementia. People with the lowest levels of physical activity were 45 percent more likely to develop any type of dementia than those who did the most exercise. These trends were strongest in men. … The study found that the risk of cognitive impairment was 42 percent higher in people who were deficient in vitamin D, and 394 percent higher in those with severe vitamin D deficiency.”

Implications for brain reserve in Alzheimer disease (NEUROLOGY 2010)

Excess Weight in Older Women Linked to Diminished Memory “Middle-aged women who are overweight may have yet another motivation to take off those excess pounds: The more a postmenopausal woman weighs, the worse her memory, researchers have found. What's more, the negative impact on memory was more pronounced in "pear-shaped" women who carry excess weight around their hips, and less of a factor in "apple-shaped" women who carry it around their waists, the study authors noted. In the new study, researchers found that for every one point increase in a woman's body mass index (BMI), her score on a standard memory test -- though still in the normal range -- dropped by one point. BMI is a measurement that takes into account height and weight.”

Use of anticholinergics and the risk of cognitive impairment in an African American population (NEUROLOGY 2010)

Regular Tea Consumption May Slow Cognitive Decline “Participants who drank tea 5 to 10 times per year, 1 to 3 times per month, 1 to 4 times per week, or 5 or more times per week had average annual rates of cognitive decline that were 17%, 32%, 37%, and 26% lower, respectively, than those of non-tea-drinkers. "What is interesting here is that there does not seem to be a dose response but, rather, there seems to be a threshold effect," said Dr. Arab. In contrast, only the highest level of coffee consumption was associated with a significantly reduced cognitive decline (20%) in 3MSE and was present for caffeinated as well as decaffeinated coffee consumption.”

Rules Seek to Expand Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s “The current formal criteria for diagnosing Alzheimer’s require steadily progressing dementia — memory loss and an inability to carry out day-to-day activities, like dressing or bathing — along with a pathologist’s report of plaque and another abnormality, known as tangles, in the brain after death. But researchers are now convinced that the disease is present a decade or more before dementia.”

Higher vitamin E intake tied to lower dementia risk “Researchers found that among 5,400 Dutch adults age 55 and older, the one-third who reported the highest vitamin E intake from food were 25 percent less likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, over the next decade than the third with the lowest intakes. The findings, reported in the Archives of Neurology, do not prove that vitamin E itself protects the aging brain. Studies so far have come to conflicting conclusions as to whether vitamin E or other antioxidants may influence older adults' risk of dementia. However, the new study followed participants for a longer period than most previous studies on antioxidants and dementia. And it supports findings from some previous research that dietary vitamin E, in particular, might be related to a lower risk of dementia.”

Monday July 5 - July 11 2010

Food for Thought “The heart-healthy aspects of the Mediterranean diet also may contribute to its ability to slow cognitive decline. The Mediterranean diet promotes healthy blood vessels, and that means improved blood flow to the brain and better cognitive function. By contrast, reduced blood flow through arteries clogged with atherosclerotic plaque can lead to changes in the brain that can impair memory and thinking.”

Testosterone may not help memory after menopause

Does mild cognitive impairment increase the risk of developing postoperative cognitive dysfunction? (The American Journal of Surgery 2010) “These preliminary findings suggest that surgery negatively impacts attention/concentration in patients with MCI but not in normal individuals. This is the first study that identified a specific subgroup of patients who are predisposed to POCD.”

Alzheimer's Disease Frequently Asked Questions

The Little Flaw in the Longevity-Gene Study That Could Be a Big Problem “Remember that Science study from last week linking a whole bunch of genes—including unexpectedly powerful ones—to extreme old age in centenarians? NEWSWEEK reported that a number of outside experts thought it sounded too good to be true, perhaps because of an error in the way the genes were identified that could cause false-positive results. … “UPDATE: Within an hour of this story's publication, the Science study's authors released a statement which a BU spokeswoman described as appearing "because of your inquiry and a similar one from the New York Times concerning methodology used to test 2 of the 150 genetic variants." Here is what the statement says: "Since the publication of our study in Science, which was extensively peer-reviewed, a question has been raised about two elements of the findings. One has to do with two of the 150 genetic variants included in the prediction model, while the other is related to the criteria used to determine the significance of the individual variants. On the first concern, we have been made aware that there is a technical error in the lab test used on approximately 10% of the centenarian sample that involved the two of the 150 variants. Our preliminary analysis of this issue suggests that the apparent error would not effect the overall accuracy of the model. Because the issue has been raised since the publication of the paper, we are now closely re-examining the analysis. Another question that was raised concerns the criteria used to determine if an association between a genetic variant and exceptional longevity was statistically significant. We used standard criteria for the analysis, and we are confident that the appropriate threshold was used."”

Cognitive performance among the elderly in relation to the intake of plant foods. The Hordaland Health Study. (Br J Nutr. 2010) “For individual plant foods, the positive cognitive associations of carrots, cruciferous vegetables, citrus fruits and high-fibre bread were most pronounced. The only negative cognitive association was with increased intake of white bread. In the elderly, a diet rich in plant foods is associated with better performance in several cognitive abilities in a dose-dependent manner.”

Memory Problems Not The Only Predictor Of Later Mild Cognitive Impairment

Depression Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

Monday June 28 - July 4 2010

Alzheimer's Imaging Study Identifies Changes in Brain's White Matter “Results indicated that the two groups did not differ in the tissue volumes of several gray matter regions know to contribute to memory function. However, the high-risk group showed decreased integrity in white matter tracts that inter-connect gray matter regions involved in memory function. Both the axonal and myelin integrity of these white matter tracts were reduced.”

Differences in Brain Structure and Function in Older Adults with Self-Reported Disabling and Nondisabling Chronic Low Back Pain (Pain Medicine 2010)

The role of lipoproteins and inflammation in cognitive decline: Do they interact? (Neurobiol Aging. 2010)

Compound Found in Red Wine Neutralizes Toxicity of Proteins Related to Alzheimer's

Childhood Malnutrition Could Weaken Brain Function in Elderly “According to the study, women who suffered from childhood hunger were 35 percent more likely to have cognitive impairment at age 65 or older, while men who suffered from childhood hunger had a 29 percent higher chance.”

Predictors of fatigue in patients with heart failure. (J Clin Nurs. 2010)

Will you live to 100? Scientists pinpoint 19 markers that tell you if you will have a long life

Might You Live to 100? Gene Test Tells

Young player had brain damage more often seen in NFL veterans

Physically Active Teenagers at Reduced Risk for Late-Life Cognitive Impairment “"Our study show that women who are regularly physically active at any age have lower risk of cognitive impairment than those who are inactive but that being physically active at teenage is most important in preventing cognitive impairment," study investigator Laura E. Middleton, PhD, said in a statement.”

Cortical thickness is associated with different apolipoprotein E genotypes in healthy elderly adults. (Neurosci Lett. 2010)

New study of centenarians links certain genetic variations to a long lifespan

Could Teen Exercise Pay Dividends in Less Cognitive Impairment as a Senior? “The prevalence of cognitive impairment was significantly lower in women aged 65 and older who reported they were physically active as teens than in those who were inactive in their teen years, the study found. "If we want to optimally prevent dementia, it's important to start physical activity as early in life as possible," said principal investigator Laura Middleton of the Heart and Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. “

Effectiveness of a specific care plan in patients with Alzheimer’s disease: cluster randomised trial (PLASA study) (BMJ. 2010)

Monday June 21 - June 27 2010

Con: Can biomarkers be gold standards in Alzheimer’s disease?

Pro: Can biomarkers be gold standards in Alzheimer’s disease?

Lowering risk of Alzheimer’s disease (Current Psychiatry 2010) “The potential benefits of modifying an individual’s AD risk factors likely will depend on his or her genetic makeup, environment, and lifestyle. Even so, counseling patients to exercise more and improve their diets—such as by eating more fish, fruits, and vegetables and less saturated fat—might help protect the brain. Your ongoing efforts to manage hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and diabetes also may reduce their AD risk.”

People Who Care for Family Members With Dementia Report Frequent Abuse

No Proof Healthy Lifestyle Prevents Alzheimer's “"I think the panel is duly cautious," he says, noting that they followed the edict to review rigorously the science and accept only conclusive evidence. "But I think they are less optimistic than what would be warranted," he says. Likewise, Maria Carrillo, PhD, senior director of medical and scientific relations for the Alzheimer's Association, says the conclusions should not discourage people. "Our first reaction is that we understand there are no definitive answers [for preventing Alzheimer's disease] and we've been saying that." But the panel, she says, "actually laid out a fantastic research agenda for getting those answers." Meanwhile, she says, people should continue to follow good healthy habits -- especially those designed to minimize heart disease. "There is evidence that reducing those risks can improve your brain health," she says. Daviglus agrees. "We should advise the public to continue to have a healthy lifestyle and to keep cardiovascular disease risk factors controlled," she says.”

This Is Your Brain. Aging.

Monday June 14 - June 20 2010

Healthy Diet Could Slow Or Reverse Early Effects Of Alzheimer's Disease “Pratico also emphasized that the researchers believe that in addition to switching to a healthy diet, patients diagnosed with MCI or Alzheimer's also need a regiment of physical as well as mental exercises.”

Faster rate of cognitive decline in essential tremor cases than controls: a prospective study (European Journal of Neurology 2010)

Mental Workouts Slow MS Memory Loss “"This study shows that a mentally active lifestyle might reduce the harmful effects of brain damage on learning and memory," study author James Sumowski, Ph.D., was quoted as saying.”

Mobile Phone Use and the Risk for Malignant Brain Tumors: A Case-Control Study on Deceased Cases and Controls (Neuroepidemiology 2010) “This investigation confirmed our previous results of an association between mobile phone use and malignant brain tumors.”

Cerebrospinal Fluid Abnormalities and Rate of Decline in Everyday Function Across the Dementia Spectrum: Normal Aging, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and Alzheimer Disease. (Arch Neurol. 2010)

Monday May 31 - June 13 2010 (two weeks)

CPAP Therapy Provides a Memory Boost for Adults With Sleep Apnea

Effect of Folic Acid, with or without Other B Vitamins, on Cognitive Decline: Meta-Analysis of Randomized Trials (American Journal of Medicine 2010) “Randomized trials show no effect of folic acid, with or without other B vitamins, on cognitive function within 3 years of the start of treatment. Trials of longer duration, recording the incidence of dementia, as well as cognitive decline, are needed.”

Upper and Lower Extremity Motor Performance and Functional Impairment in Alzheimer's Disease (American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias 2010)

Visceral fat is associated with lower brain volume in healthy middle-aged adults (Annals of Neurology 2010)

Mental decline from diabetes can start in middle age “The study confirmed the findings of earlier research, by Knopman and others, of an association between diabetes and declines in such mental functions as the ability to think quickly and recall words, but this is the first project to test memory and demonstrate how quickly the drop-off can occur.”

Apple juice improves behavior but not cognition in Alzheimer's patients “"The modest, but statistically significant, impact of apple juice on the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia in this study adds to the body of evidence supporting the usefulness of nutritional approaches, including fruit and vegetable juices, in delaying the onset and progression of Alzheimer's Disease, even in the face of known genetic risk factors," write the authors, Ruth Remington, RN, PhD, Amy Chan, PhD, Alicia Lepore, MS, Elizabeth Kotlya, MS, and Thomas B. Shea, PhD, "As in prior studies with vitamin supplements, it indicates that nutritional supplementation can be effective even during the late stages of AD."”

Alzheimer's Disease and Other Forms of Dementia

Genetics of dementia (Acta Neurologica Scandinavica 2010)

Alzheimer’s Stalks a Colombian Family

Monday May 24 - May 30 2010

Effects of high-dose B vitamin complex with vitamin C and minerals on subjective mood and performance in healthy males. (Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2010) “CONCLUSIONS: Healthy members of the general population may benefit from augmented levels of vitamins/minerals via direct dietary supplementation. Specifically, supplementation led to improved ratings of stress, mental health and vigour and improved cognitive performance during intense mental processing.”

Increased Fructose Intake as a Risk Factor For Dementia. (J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2010)

Dementia incidence continues to increase with age in the oldest old: the 90+ study. (Ann Neurol. 2010)

Increasing incidence of dementia in the oldest old: evidence and implications. (Alzheimers Res Ther. 2010)

The flavanol (-)-epicatechin prevents stroke damage through the Nrf2/HO1 pathway. (J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2010) “Epidemiologic studies have shown that foods rich in polyphenols, such as flavanols, can lower the risk of ischemic heart disease; however, the mechanism of protection has not been clearly established. In this study, we investigated whether epicatechin (EC), a flavanol in cocoa and tea, is protective against brain ischemic damage in mice.”

Selective effects of aging on brain white matter microstructure: a diffusion tensor imaging tractography study. (Neuroimage. 2010)

Cumulative effects of concussions in athletes revealed by electrophysiological abnormalities on visual working memory. (J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2010) “The latter finding adds to previous evidence of disproportionately worse outcome in athletes presenting with a history of three or more concussions relative to those with fewer concussions.”

Previous adult attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder symptoms and risk of dementia with Lewy bodies: a case-control study. (Eur J Neurol. 2010) “Conclusion: We found a higher risk of DLB in patients with preceding adult ADHD symptoms. To date, there is no clear explanation for the association found; however, further investigation will widen our understanding about both disorders.”

Exceptional Parental Longevity Associated with Lower Risk of Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Decline. (J Am Geriatr Soc. 2010) “OBJECTIVES: To determine whether offspring of parents with exceptional longevity (OPEL) have a lower rate of dementia than offspring of parents with usual survival (OPUS). … CONCLUSION: OPEL develop dementia and Alzheimer's disease at a significantly lower rate than OPUS. Demographic and medical confounders do not explain this result. Factors associated with longevity may protect against dementia and Alzheimer's disease.”

Are You Being Served? Prescribing Practices For Demented Patients

Monday May 17 - May 23 2010

Ablation of AF Reduces Risk of Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia

In the Green of Health: Just 5 Minutes of 'Green Exercise' Optimal for Good Mental Health

Evidence that volume of anterior medial temporal lobe is reduced in seniors destined for mild cognitive impairment (Neurobiology of Aging 2010)

Abdominal Fat at Middle Age Associated With Greater Risk of Dementia: Obesity Linked to Lower Total Brain Volume “"More importantly our data suggests a stronger connection between central obesity, particularly the visceral fat component of abdominal obesity, and risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease," Dr. Seshadri added.”

Caffeine May Slow Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias, Restore Cognitive Function, According to New Evidence

Monday May 10 - May 16 2010

Frontotemporal dementia presenting as pathological gambling. (Nat Rev Neurol. 2010)

Longitudinal Changes in Cortical Thickness Associated with Normal Aging. (Neuroimage. 2010)

Why Women Have More Alzheimer's Disease Than Men: Gender and Mitochondrial Toxicity of Amyloid-beta Peptide. (J Alzheimers Dis. 2010)

Interventions to Reduce Cognitive Decline in Aging. (Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. 2010)

Dementia can steal ability to discern flavors

Treating Common Irregular Heartbeat Might Also Ward Off Alzheimer's “By treating the common irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation in a certain way, doctors might also help prevent Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, new research finds. In atrial fibrillation, the upper chambers of the heart beat chaotically, causing blood to pool and increasing the potential of clots, stroke, heart failure and death.”

Monday May 3 - May 9 2010

Cognitive exercise and its role in cognitive function in older adults. (Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2010)

Lowering Midlife Levels of Systolic Blood Pressure as a Public Health Strategy to Reduce Late-Life Dementia. Perspective From the Honolulu Heart Program/Honolulu Asia Aging Study (Hypertension. 2010)

How Dark Chocolate May Guard Against Brain Injury from Stroke

Two-Year Study Finds No Brain Benefit for Fish Oil “Numerous studies have shown that people who eat more fish have better mental function, and are less likely to develop dementia. "The problem with a lot of these studies of course is there are lots of reasons why people eat more fish," Dr. Dangour pointed out. To better answer the question of whether fish oil, in and of itself, benefits the brain, Dr. Dangour and his team randomly assigned 748 men and women in their 70s - all free of cognitive impairment at baseline -- to take 200 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) plus 300 mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) every day for two years or an olive oil placebo capsule. In an April 21st online article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers report that neither group showed any change in cognitive function over the 24-month trial, as measured by a battery of tests of mental function. “

Monday April 26 - May 2 2010

Beneficial effects of docosahexaenoic acid on cognition in age-related cognitive decline (Alzheimer's and Dementia 2010) “Twenty-four week supplementation with 900 mg/d DHA improved learning and memory function in ARCD and is a beneficial supplement that supports cognitive health with aging.”

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Cognitive Impairment in Older Women “Vitamin D deficiency is common in the general population but is rampant among the elderly. According to Dr. Annweiler, it is estimated that 70% to 80% of individuals older than 75 years are vitamin D deficient. Currently, adequate intakes of vitamin D for 51- to 70-year-olds are 400 IU per day and 600 IU for those older than 70 years to maintain a 25OHD level of 30 ng/mL or more. However, Dr. Annweiler noted that these recommendations are based primarily on preservation of bone health alone. The reason the elderly are more vulnerable to vitamin D deficiency than younger individuals are several-fold and include decreased exposure to sunlight and inadequate dietary intake. In addition, said Dr. Annweiler, the skin of older people is not as efficient at synthesizing UV-B rays into vitamin D. "This study provides more evidence to support [vitamin D] supplementation in our elderly patients to normalize serum concentrations and help sustain good health. Although we are not certain yet, it may be that this will also be a viable way to prevent or treat cognitive impairment and possibly turn out to be a new management strategy for dementia," said Dr. Annweiler.”

Mediterranean Diet Helps Protect Aging Brain “Eating a Mediterranean diet may help keep your brain healthy as you age, findings from an ongoing study show. "This diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, fish, olive oil, lower meat consumption, and moderate wine and non-refined grain intake," study author Dr. Christy Tangney, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said in a news release from the American Society for Nutrition. Rather than asking people to avoid certain foods, the study found data that "adults over age 65 should look to include more olive oil, legumes, nuts, and seeds in their diet in order to improve their recall times and other cognitive skills, such as identifying symbols and numbers," Tangney said.”

Prevent Alzheimer's? No evidence you can

Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease and Cognitive Decline (NIH Draft Statement)

Monday April 19 - April 25 2010

Food Combination and Alzheimer Disease Risk

Is risk of Alzheimer disease a reason to use dietary supplements?

Combination of Physical Exercise and Computer Use Protective Against MCI in Late Life “At this point the mechanism is unclear, he added. However, some researchers have suggested that mentally stimulating activities may enhance synaptic response, whereas physical exercise may increase blood flow to the brain and the 2 in combination may have a synergistic effect. However, added Dr. Geda, at this point the mechanism remains speculative.”

Serum C-reactive protein is linked to cerebral microstructural integrity and cognitive function (NEUROLOGY 2010)

Foods That Fight Alzheimer's Disease

Formula Predicts Alzheimer's Longevity

Abnormal Heart Rhythm Linked to Alzheimer's “People with atrial fibrillation, a form of abnormal heart rhythm, are more likely than others to develop dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, a new study finds. The presence of atrial fibrillation also predicted higher death rates in dementia patients, especially among younger patients in the group studied, meaning under the age of 70. "This leaves us with the finding that atrial fibrillation, independent of everything else, is a risk factor [for dementia]," said Dr. Gary Kennedy, director of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "This is adding one more brick in the road toward understanding that cardiovascular disease is a major risk factor for dementia."”

Monday April 12 - April 19 2010

Aluminum in the diet and Alzheimer's disease: from current epidemiology to possible disease-modifying treatment. (J Alzheimers Dis. 2010)

Resveratrol protects against experimental stroke: Putative neuroprotective role of heme oxygenase 1. (Exp Neurol. 2010)

What Is Semantic Dementia? (Arch Neurol. 2010)

Relationship of Cortical Atrophy to Fatigue in Patients With Multiple Sclerosis (Arch Neurol. 2010) “Conclusions Cortical atrophy of the parietal lobe had the strongest relationship with fatigue. Given the implications of the posterior parietal cortex in motor planning and integration of information from different sources, our preliminary results suggest that dysfunctions in higher-order aspects of motor control may have a role in determining fatigue in MS.”

Reduced Lean Mass in Early Alzheimer Disease and Its Association With Brain Atrophy (Arch Neurol. 2010) “Conclusion Loss of lean mass is accelerated in AD and is associated with brain atrophy and cognitive performance, perhaps as a direct or indirect consequence of AD pathophysiology or through shared mechanisms common to both AD and sarcopenia.”

A 10-year follow-up of hippocampal volume on magnetic resonance imaging in early dementia and cognitive decline. (Brain. 2010) “We found an increased risk to develop incident dementia per standard deviation faster rate of decline in hippocampal volume [left hippocampus 1.6 (95% confidence interval 1.2-2.3, right hippocampus 1.6 (95% confidence interval 1.2-2.1)]. Furthermore, decline in hippocampal volume predicted onset of clinical dementia when corrected for baseline hippocampal volume. In people who remained free of dementia during the whole follow-up period, we found that decline in hippocampal volume paralleled, and preceded, specific decline in delayed word recall. No associations were found in this sample between rate of hippocampal atrophy, Mini Mental State Examination and tests of executive function. Our results suggest that rate of hippocampal atrophy is an early marker of incipient memory decline and dementia, and could be of additional value when compared with a single hippocampal volume measurement as a surrogate biomarker of dementia.”

Frontotemporal lobar degeneration: epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis and management. (CNS Drugs. 2010)

DASH Diet Fuels the Brain “A new study shows the DASH diet in combination with regular exercise improved mental activity by 30% in overweight adults compared with those who didn’t diet or exercise. The DASH diet was developed by the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension study and emphasizes low-fat dairy products and low-cholesterol foods as well as carbohydrates and fruits and vegetables. Researchers say high blood pressure affects about 50% of adults aged 60 and older and increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of mental decline like dementia. Lifestyle modifications, such as diet and exercise, have been shown to lower blood pressure and improve brain activity, but they say this is the first study to look at the combined effects of diet and exercise on brainpower in overweight people with high blood pressure.”

Diet can sharply cut Alzheimer's risk: study “"Diet is probably the easiest way to modify disease risk," said Gu, whose study appears in Archives of Neurology. She said because there are no cures for Alzheimer's, prevention is key, especially as the population ages. … Those least likely to develop the disease ate more olive oil-based salad dressing, nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, fruits, and dark and green leafy vegetables and ate less red meat, organ meat or high-fat dairy products. "People who adhered mostly to this dietary pattern compared to others have about a 40 percent reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease," Gu said. She said the diet likely works in two ways. Because it is rich in heart-healthy foods, it may be protecting the brain from strokes that could make it more vulnerable to Alzheimer's disease. But it also may be that the nutrients -- such as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and folate -- directly protect the brain.”

Monday April 5 - April 11 2010

When, where, and how the corpus callosum changes in MCI and AD (NEUROLOGY 2010) “Conclusions: Callosal changes are already present in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and mild Alzheimer disease (AD). The precocious involvement of the anterior callosal subregion in amnestic MCI extends to posterior regions in mild AD. Two different mechanisms might contribute to the white matter changes in mild AD: wallerian degeneration in posterior subregions of the corpus callosum (suggested by increased axial diffusivity without fractional anisotropy modifications) and a retrogenesis process in the anterior callosal subregions (suggested by increased radial diffusivity without axial diffusivity modifications).”

Daytime sleepiness is associated with dementia and cognitive decline in older Italian adults: A population-based study (Sleep Medicine 2010) “Insomnia, the most common sleep complaint in our sample, was not associated with the presence of cognitive decline. As opposed to insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness was significantly related to dementia. Further studies are needed in order to investigate the direction of this association and to evaluate the possible role of daytime somnolence as an early marker of neurodegenerative disease, particularly Alzheimer’s disease, in some older adults.”

New AF Predicts Diagnosis of Alzheimer's, Other Dementias “Onset of atrial fibrillation (AF) in a community population followed for five years predicted development of dementia of any kind during the same period, and it also predicted each of four dementia subtypes independently, including Alzheimer's disease [1].”

Relationship between atrophy and -amyloid deposition in Alzheimer disease (Annals of Neurology 2010) “There is a strong relationship between -amyloid deposition and atrophy very early in the disease process. As the disease progresses to mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer disease clinical stages, pathological events other than, and probably downstream from, aggregated -amyloid deposition might be responsible for the ongoing atrophic process. These findings suggest that antiamyloid therapy should be administered very early in the disease evolution to minimize synaptic and neuronal loss.”

Researchers Identify Secrets to Happiness, Depression Among Oldest of Old

Worsening Memory Associated With Later Alzheimer's Disease “In addition, having memory impairment at the beginning of the study and mild cognitive impairment at the first follow-up increased the risk for conversion to any dementia or dementia related to Alzheimer's disease at the second follow-up; these individuals had the greatest risk for developing dementia. "Not all subjects with subsequent dementia will experience or report subjective memory impairment at the pre-mild cognitive impairment stage," they conclude. "However, if subjective memory impairment is present in a subject without cognitive impairment as evidenced by neuropsychological test results, it may inform about the risk for dementia and may contribute to individual decisions about diagnostic procedures and interventions to lower the risk factors for Alzheimer's disease based on current knowledge." “

Slideshow: When a Loved One Has Alzheimer's Disease

Untreated Poor Vision: A Contributing Factor to Late-life Dementia

Progression of Atrophy in Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders. (Neurotox Res. 2010)

Monday March 29 - April 4 2010

Taking The Guesswork Out Of Diagnosing Early-Stage Alzheimer's Disease

Apple Juice Improved Behavioral But Not Cognitive Symptoms in Moderate-to-Late Stage Alzheimer’s Disease in an Open-Label Pilot Study (American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias 2010)

Omega-3 fatty acids: potential role in the management of early Alzheimer’s disease (Clinical Interventions in Aging 2010)

Neurogenesis in the aged and neurodegenerative brain. (Apoptosis. 2010)

Promoting successful cognitive aging: a comprehensive review. (J Alzheimers Dis. 2010)

Cognitive decline in incident Alzheimer disease in a community population. (Neurology. 2010) “In comparison to the no cognitive impairment group, the annual rate of decline was increased more than twofold in mild cognitive impairment (estimate = 0.086, SE = 0.011, p < 0.001) and more than fourfold in AD (estimate = 0.173, SE = 0.020, p < 0.001). Results did not reliably vary by race, sex, or age. CONCLUSIONS: Alzheimer disease has a devastating impact on cognition, even in its prodromal stages, with comparable effects in African American and white persons.”

Effects of age on axon terminals forming axosomatic and axodendritic inhibitory synapses in prefrontal cortex. (Neuroscience. 2010)

Your Aging Brain: What’s Normal, What’s Not

Living to 100: What's the Secret?

Monday March 22 - March 28 2010

Caffeine as a Protective Factor in Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. (J Alzheimers Dis. 2010)

Caffeine Intake and Dementia: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. (J Alzheimers Dis. 2010)

A cognitive training intervention increases resting cerebral blood flow in healthy older adults. (Front Hum Neurosci. 2010)

[Do dementia patients living at home live longer than in a nursing home?] (Z Gerontol Geriatr. 2010) “Our investigation shows that a clear difference exists in the survival period of dementia patients, according to whether they have lived at home or in a senior citizen's home. Patients in senior citizen's homes had a higher relative dying risk of around 53.1% (hazard ratio), than for those cared for at home (p=0.047).”

Mechanisms of n-3 fatty acid-mediated development and maintenance of learning memory performance. (J Nutr Biochem. 2010)

Trajectories of Brain Aging in Middle-Aged and Older Adults: Regional and Individual Differences. (Neuroimage. 2010)

Brain Function May Drop Quickly Before Alzheimer's “The scores of people with mild cognitive impairment declined twice as fast each year as did scores of those with no memory problems. The scores for people with Alzheimer's declined four times as fast as those of participants with no cognitive problems, the study found. The results are in the March 23 issue of Neurology. "The changes in rate of decline occur as the brain atrophies due to the disease, first mainly in the hippocampus during the initial symptomatic stage, referred to as mild cognitive impairment, then in the temporal, parietal and frontal cortex during the dementing illness phase of Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. David S. Knopman, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who wrote an editorial accompanying the study.”

Monday March 15 - March 21 2010

DHA May Prevent Age-Related Dementia. (J Nutr. 2010) “This review addresses the potential of one promising candidate, the (n-3) fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which appears to slow pathogenesis of AD and possibly vascular dementia. DHA is pleiotropic, acting at multiple steps to reduce the production of the beta-amyloid peptide, widely believed to initiate AD. DHA moderates some of the kinases that hyperphosphorylate the tau-protein, a component of the neurofibrillary tangle. DHA may help suppress insulin/neurotrophic factor signaling deficits, neuroinflammation, and oxidative damage that contribute to synaptic loss and neuronal dysfunction in dementia. Finally, DHA increases brain levels of neuroprotective brain-derived neurotrophic factor and reduces the (n-6) fatty acid arachidonate and its prostaglandin metabolites that have been implicated in promoting AD. Clinical trials suggest that DHA or fish oil alone can slow early stages of progression, but these effects may be apolipoprotein E genotype specific, and larger trials with very early stages are required to prove efficacy.”

Selenoproteins and the aging brain. (Mech Ageing Dev. 2010)

Longitudinal Examination of Obesity and Cognitive Function: Results from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (Neuroepidemiology 2010) “Conclusion: Obesity indices showed similar associations to cognitive function, and further work is needed to clarify the physiological mechanisms that link obesity to poor neurocognitive outcome.”

Dietary fatty acids in dementia and predementia syndromes: Epidemiological evidence and possible underlying mechanisms (Ageing Research Reviews 2010) “These data together with epidemiological evidence support a possible role of fatty acid intake in maintaining adequate cognitive functioning and possibly for the prevention and management of cognitive decline and dementia, but not when the AD process has already taken over.”

Brain Plaques May Explain Higher Risk of Alzheimer's Based on Mom's History “Aided by a new version of a brain scanning technique, the researchers discovered a far greater number of protein clumps linked to the disease among healthy adult children of parents with Alzheimer's compared to counterparts with no family history of dementia. The average increase in these clumps, called amyloid-beta plaques, was particularly striking among study volunteers whose mothers had been diagnosed with the disease. The plaques appeared throughout most regions of the brain.”

Brain scans show signs of early Alzheimer's: study “Brain scans of all 42 showed that those whose parents -- either fathers or mothers -- had Alzheimer's were more likely to have amyloid plaques in their brains. This was especially true of people whose mothers had Alzheimer's. "They have pretty much 20 percent more amyloid beta deposits in their brains. In other words, they had an almost four times greater risk for amyloid beta pathology," Moscone said in a telephone interview. The finding confirms other studies that suggest having a mother with Alzheimer's may be a greater risk factor. "It looks like if you have maternal history of Alzheimer's disease, the risk of amyloid beta plaque and a reduction in brain activity is much greater as compared to having a father affected," Moscone said.”

Early Warning Signs: When to Call the Doctor about Alzheimer's

Monday March 8 - March 14 2010

Unraveling Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's 'Epidemic' Hitting Minorities Hardest “Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, and blacks and Hispanics are at highest risk of developing the disease, a new report finds. The report, 2010 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures, from the Alzheimer's Association, finds that black Americans are about two times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than whites, and Hispanics face about 1.5 times the risk. "Alzheimer's is continuing to be on the rise," said Maria Carrillo, the association's senior director of medical and scientific relations. "So many people are affected by it across the country, but we are rallying to highlight the disparities that exist in populations," she said. Much of the increase in Alzheimer's is because of increasing high blood pressure and diabetes, which increase the odds of developing Alzheimer's in all populations. "African-Americans and Hispanics are particularly vulnerable, because the proportion of these two risk factors is higher even still," Carrillo said. "We can actually do something about this increased risk with better management of the conditions."”

Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Preventing Psychotic Disorders (Medscape Psychiatry & Mental Health 2010) “Many patients who develop a psychotic disorder have a history of prior change in behavior, mood, cognition, and overall function. It is unknown how many adolescents and young adults actually present for treatment with subthreshold psychosis. When they do, we have limited means of treating them. More typically, patients come for psychiatric treatment once they have become psychotic. It would be ideal to be able to systematically identify patients at risk and prevent progression of illness, and several research groups have endeavored to do that. That said, interventions typically employed are antipsychotics, antidepressants, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. The use of antipsychotics is particularly controversial because of their adverse-effect profile and the knowledge that a substantial proportion of patients in a pre-psychotic state never go on to develop psychosis. … Seventy-six of 81 participants (93.8%) completed the intervention. By study's end at 12 months, 2 of 41 individuals (4.9%) in the PUFA group and 11 of 40 (27.5%) in the placebo group had transitioned to psychotic disorder (P = .007). … Care must be taken to not generalize this outcome to the treatment of psychotic disorders in general, in which the utility of PUFAs, used as a monotherapy or adjunctively, remains unclear.”

DASH diet, exercise, calorie restriction may help improve mental function, heart health in overweight, hypertensive adults

DASH Diet Fuels the Brain “A new study shows the DASH diet in combination with regular exercise improved mental activity by 30% in overweight adults compared with those who didn’t diet or exercise. The DASH diet was developed by the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension study and emphasizes low-fat dairy products and low-cholesterol foods as well as carbohydrates and fruits and vegetables. Researchers say high blood pressure affects about 50% of adults aged 60 and older and increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of mental decline like dementia. Lifestyle modifications, such as diet and exercise, have been shown to lower blood pressure and improve brain activity, but they say this is the first study to look at the combined effects of diet and exercise on brainpower in overweight people with high blood pressure.”

Positive Effects of Physical Training in Activity of Daily Living-Dependent Older Adults. (Exp Aging Res. 2010)

Brain Fitness Games Improve Delayed Memory in Elderly Adults “Elderly adults who play brain fitness games that exercise global aspects of memory show improvements in the domain of delayed memory at 6 months compared with a slight decline in active controls, according to preliminary findings presented here at the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry 2010 Annual Meeting.”

Diet, Exercise Can Improve Thinking “The group that ate well and exercised regularly had an overall 30 percent improvement in mental function by the end of the four-month period, the researchers noted. Physical activity does seem to have a direct effect on brain cells, Smith said. "There are neurochemical changes that happen with exercise, he said. There is increased production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which stimulates connection with other brain cells, he said, but also there is some evidence that it helps grow new brain cells." And the combination of good eating and exercise also produced the expected physical advances. Diet-and-exercise participants lost an average of 19 pounds and lowered systolic blood pressure (the higher of the 120/80 reading) by 16 points and diastolic pressure by 10 points by the end of the four-month program. Some experts believe the study has shortcomings, however. It's a well-done study, but one that has flaws, said Dr. Donald LaVan, a clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and a spokesman for the American Heart Association. "Its entirely too small," LaVan said. "I would call it a keyhole study, suggestive but nothing definitive. Also, it did not have a control group to look at the effect of exercise alone. We need a bigger study with a longer duration and a control group for exercise alone." Nothing in the study should deter anyone from exercising for the sake of the mind as well as the body, LaVan said.”

Vitamin D Lifts Mood During Cold Weather Months “"There is evidence to suggest that vitamin D supplementation may decrease insulin resistance," said Dr. Penckofer. "If we can stabilize insulin levels, we may be able to simply and cost effectively improve blood sugar control and reduce symptoms of depression for these women." “

Radiation dose-volume effects in the brain. (Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2010) “We have reviewed the published data regarding radiotherapy (RT)-induced brain injury. Radiation necrosis appears a median of 1-2 years after RT; however, cognitive decline develops over many years. The incidence and severity is dose and volume dependent and can also be increased by chemotherapy, age, diabetes, and spatial factors.”

Normal cognitive decline or dementia? (Practitioner. 2010)

Prevalence of dementia disorders in the oldest-old: an autopsy study. (Acta Neuropathol. 2010)

Monday March 1 - March 7 2010

Antihypertensive Treatments, Cognitive Decline, and Dementia. (J Alzheimers Dis. 2010) “Antihypertensive treatments could be beneficial to cognitive function by lowering blood pressure and/or by specific neuroprotective effect. Three main antihypertensive subclasses have been associated with a beneficial effect on cognitive function beyond blood pressure reduction (calcium channel blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor, angiotensin-AT1-receptor-blockers).”

Caffeine as a Protective Factor in Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. (J Alzheimers Dis. 2010)

Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease - Are We in a Dead-End Road? (Neurodegener Dis. 2010) “Background: Diagnostic criteria separating vascular dementia from other dementias, particularly Alzheimer's disease (AD) neglect the real world in which most AD cases present with at least some vascular brain lesions. Most importantly, vascular lesions, even if subtle, exert significant effects on the patients' cognitive functioning if they coexist with AD pathology.”

A Purposeful Life May Stave Off Alzheimer's “"More social activity, more physical activity, higher cognitive activities, high purpose in life -- all these psychosocial factors seem to be linked with longer life, decreased mortality, decreased disability and provide important clues to a public health approach to try to increase independence in older people in later life," Buchman said. Greg M. Cole, a neuroscientist at the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System, wondered if the study is really measuring depression, not a purposeful life. "I am unclear about how low scores on the purpose-in-life measures can be separated from mild depression," Cole said. "Depression has been repeatedly associated with increased Alzheimer's disease risk. So psychiatrists can make a distinction, but they seem likely closely related."”

Purpose in Life May Reduce Alzheimer's Risk “Elderly people with a strong sense of purpose in life are almost 2½ times less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease (AD), report researchers. The new finding adds to emerging data suggesting that psychological and experiential factors are associated with cognitive impairment. "Our results suggest that positive factors, such as having a sense of goal-directedness that guides behavior, may provide a buffer against negative health outcomes, particularly in old age," coauthor Lisa Barnes, PhD, from the Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois, told Medscape Psychiatry.”

Vision and Dementia (video)

Results Of Pilot Study Published In Journal Of Alzheimer's Disease Reveal That Meditation Improves Cognition In Those With Memory Loss

Monday February 22 - February 28 2010

Can Nutrients Prevent or Delay Onset of Alzheimer's Disease? (Alzheimers Dis. 2010) “The literature reinforces the need for early intervention in AD and suggests that multi-nutritional intervention, targeting multiple aspects of the neurodegenerative process during the earliest possible phase in the development of the disease, is likely to have the greatest therapeutic potential.”

Association Between Acute Care and Critical Illness Hospitalization and Cognitive Function in Older Adults (JAMA. 2010) “Objectives To determine whether decline in cognitive function was greater among older individuals who experienced acute care or critical illness hospitalizations relative to those not hospitalized and to determine whether the risk for incident dementia differed by these exposures. … Conclusions Among a cohort of older adults without dementia at baseline, those who experienced acute care hospitalization and critical illness hospitalization had a greater likelihood of cognitive decline compared with those who had no hospitalization. Noncritical illness hospitalization was significantly associated with the development of dementia.”

Healthy Brain Aging: A Road Map. (Clin Geriatr Med. 2010) “Increasing evidence points to the potential risk roles of vascular factors and disorders (eg, midlife obesity, dyslipidemia, diabetes, high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, and cerebrovascular lesions) and the potential protective roles of psychosocial factors (eg, higher education, regular exercise, healthy diet, intellectually challenging leisure activities, and active socially integrated lifestyle) in the pathogenic process and clinical manifestation of dementing disorders. Optimal control of vascular risk factors, secondary prevention of stroke, and manipulation of lifestyle factors have demonstrated efficacy in prevention of stroke and myocardial infarction. Thus, adding dementia prevention and brain function preservation as goals to already existing or planned prevention efforts is appropriate and necessary. Age must be taken into account when assessing the likely effect of such interventions against dementia, which underscores the need to begin prevention efforts early in patients' lives.”

Dementia in Extreme Elderly Population Expected to Become Epidemic “Dr. Corrada explained, "Our findings show dementia incidence rates almost double every five years in those 90 and older." Researchers found the overall incidence rate based on 770 person-years of follow-up was 18.2% per year. Rates increased with age from 12.7% per year in the 90-94 age group, to 21.2% per year in the 95-99 age group, to 40.7% per year in the 100+ age group. Incidence rates were very similar for men and women. Previous results from The 90+ Study found higher estimates of dementia prevalence in women (45%) compared to men (28%), a result also seen in other similar studies.”

Dementia incidence continues to increase with age in the oldest old: The 90+ study (Annals of Neurology 2010)

APOE predicts amyloid-beta but not tau Alzheimer pathology in cognitively normal aging (Annals of Neurology 2010) “Increasing cerebral A deposition with age is the pathobiological phenotype of APOE4.”

APOE predicts amyloid-beta but not tau Alzheimer pathology in cognitively normal aging (Annals of Neurology 2010) “Increasing cerebral A deposition with age is the pathobiological phenotype of APOE4.”

Cognitive function and risk of stroke in elderly men. (J.Neurology. 2010) “CONCLUSION: Impaired performance in elderly men measured by Trail Making Test B, a cognitive test especially reflecting subcortico-frontal activities, was an independent predictor of subsequent brain infarction in this community-based sample of elderly men. Our results extend previous findings of cognitive decline as an independent predictor of stroke and indicate that the risk of brain infarction is increased already in the subclinical phase of cognitive deficit.”

Iron Leads to Memory Impairment that is Associated with a Decrease in Acetylcholinesterase Pathways. (Curr Neurovasc Res. 2010)

Vascular Risk Profiles for Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease in Very Old People: A Population-Based Longitudinal Study. (J Alzheimers Dis. 2010) “These data suggest that aggregation of atherosclerotic- and hypoperfusion-related vascular factors increases the risk of dementia in very old people. Severe cerebral atherosclerosis and insufficient perfusion are involved in the development of dementia including AD.”

Healthy Brain Aging: A Road Map (Clinics in Geriatric Medicine 2010)

Monday February 15 - February 21 2010

Effects of Apolipoprotein E-E4 and -E2 in Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia in Shanghai: SCOBHI-P (American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias 2010) “Conclusions: APOE- 4 increases and - 2 decreases the risk of dementia vs normal cognition. Similar trends were observed for amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI).”

Correlation of Longitudinal Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarkers With Cognitive Decline in Healthy Older Adults (Arch Neurol. 2010)

The risks of copper toxicity contributing to cognitive decline in the aging population and to Alzheimer's disease. (J Am Coll Nutr. 2009) “Food copper (organic copper) is processed by the liver and is transported and sequestered in a safe manner. Inorganic copper, such as that in drinking water and copper supplements, largely bypasses the liver and enters the free copper pool of the blood directly. This copper is potentially toxic because it may penetrate the blood/brain barrier.”

Volume Loss of the Medial Temporal Lobe Structures in Subjective Memory Impairment (Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders 2010) “Conclusion: Volume reduction of bilateral hippocampus, bilateral EC and right amygdala supports the concept of SMI as a very early manifestation of AD prior to MCI. SMI may indicate awareness of a degenerative process that can still be functionally compensated.”

Untreated Poor Vision: A Contributing Factor to Late-Life Dementia. (Am J Epidemiol. 2010)

Verbal memory impairment in subcortical ischemic vascular disease A descriptive analysis in CADASIL. (Neurobiol Aging. 2010)

Changes in Mobility Among Older Adults with Psychometrically Defined Mild Cognitive Impairment. (Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2010)

[Relearning vocabulary. A comparative analysis between a case of dementia and Alzheimer's dis ease with predominant compromise of language.] (Rev Neurol. 2010)

Effects of a Physical Training Programme on Cognitive Function and Walking Efficiency in Elderly Persons with Dementia (Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2010)

Monday February 8 - February 14 2010

Failure to Engage Spatial Working Memory Contributes to Age-related Declines in Visuomotor Learning. (J Cogn Neurosci. 2010) “These findings suggest that a failure to effectively engage SWM processes during learning contributes to age-related deficits in visuomotor adaptation.”

Hypertension, Executive Dysfunction, and Progression to Dementia (Arch Neurol. 2010) “Conclusions Hypertension predicts progression to dementia in older subjects with executive dysfunction but not memory dysfunction. Control of hypertension could prevent progression to dementia in one-third of the subjects with cognitive impairment, no dementia.”

Outcome over seven years of healthy adults with and without subjective cognitive impairment. (Alzheimers Dement. 2010)

Depression predicts cognitive disorders in older primary care patients. (J Clin Psychiatry. 2010)

Mediterranean Diet, Physical Activity, Cognitive Function, and Dementia Risk “In the New York study, both the Mediterranean-style diet and physical activity reduced dementia risk, whereas in the Bordeaux study, the diet helped maintain global cognitive function but did not affect dementia risk. The Bordeaux study may have been underpowered. On the other hand, the New York study had a high percentage of Latino and black participants, and therefore the findings may not generalize well to the rest of the U.S. or the world. Moreover, as an editorial author notes, whether these late-life lifestyle modifications reflect midlife lifestyle changes is unclear, thus further confounding the results. Most dementia prevention or treatment interventions being investigated consist of new investigational drugs or supplements. Too few large, prospective, carefully designed population studies have tested the extent to which common midlife and late-life lifestyle modifications affect cognitive function and dementia risk. We need larger, longer-duration, prospective population studies and clinical trials of such lifestyle modifications. Results of these studies can be used to better educate patients earlier in life and to reinforce such common-sense interventions.”

Mediterranean diet may help prevent dementia, study says “Eating a diet rich in healthy fats and limiting dairy and meat could do more than keep your heart healthier. It could also help keep you thinking clearly. New research shows that sticking to the Mediterranean diet, previously shown to reduce heart and other health issues, also may help lower the risk of having small areas of dead tissue linked to thinking problems. Known as brain infarcts, they're involved in vascular dementia, the second most common form of dementia, after Alzheimer's disease. … A Mediterranean diet includes a lot of fruit, vegetables and fish, olive oil, legumes and cereals, and fewer dishes containing dairy, meat, poultry, and saturated fatty acids than other diets. It also involves small to moderate amounts of alcohol. … Researchers found that people who most closely followed a Mediterranean-like diet were 36 percent less likely to have areas of brain damage, compared with those whose eating habits were furthest from the diet. The study shows association, not causation, meaning there could be some other factors linking the Mediterranean diet to resilience against this form of brain damage.”

Memory lapses are common and increase with age; when do they signal Alzheimer's?

Monday February 1 - February 7 2010

Magnesium Supplement Helps Boost Brainpower “New research finds that an increase in brain magnesium improves learning and memory in young and old rats. The study, published in the January 28th issue of the journal Neuron, suggests that increasing magnesium intake may be a valid strategy to enhance cognitive abilities and supports speculation that inadequate levels of magnesium impair cognitive function, leading to faster deterioration of memory in aging humans. … "Our findings suggest that elevating brain magnesium content via increasing magnesium intake might be a useful new strategy to enhance cognitive abilities," explains Dr. Liu. "Moreover, half the population of industrialized countries has a magnesium deficit, which increases with aging. This may very well contribute to age-dependent memory decline; increasing magnesium intake might prevent or reduce such decline."”

Reduced Brain Gray Matter Concentration Found in Patients With Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Memory Failing? You May Be at Higher Risk for Stroke

Atrial fibrillation is independently associated with senile, vascular, and Alzheimer's dementia. (Heart Rhythm. 2009) “CONCLUSION: AF was independently associated with all forms of dementia.”

Cigarette Smoking A Risk For Alzheimer's Disease According To Study

Concussions extra dangerous to teen brains

Patterns of Loss of Basic Activities of Daily Living in Alzheimer Patients: A Cross-Sectional Study of the French REAL Cohort (Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2010) “For 53% of women, the sets of losses were included within each other or were identical, adding losses in physical ambulation, grooming, bathing, dressing, toilet and feeding, respectively. For 47% of men, a similar sequence was identified, with loss of dressing occurring secondly.”

Monday January 25 - January 31 2010

Losing Sleep, Losing Brain? “Chronic and severely stressful situations, like those connected to depression and posttraumatic stress disorder, have been associated with smaller volumes in "stress sensitive" brain regions, such as the cingulate region of the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus, a brain region involved in memory formation. A new study, published by Elsevier in Biological Psychiatry, suggests that chronic insomnia may be another condition associated with reduced cortical volume.”

Systematic review of statins for the prevention of vascular dementia or dementia. (Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2010) “Conclusion: Study design differences among the studies and methodological shortcomings may have resulted in different outcomes. On the basis of these conflicting results, statins could not be recommended as a preventative treatment for dementia.”

Effects of Exercise Programs to Prevent Decline in Health-Related Quality of Life in Highly Deconditioned Institutionalized Elderly Persons (Arch Intern Med. 2010) “Conclusion Adapted exercise programs can slow down the decline in health-related quality of life among heterogeneous, institutionalized elderly persons. “

Physical Activity Associated With Healthier Aging: Links Between Exercise and Cognitive Function, Bone Density and Overall Health

Physical Activity and Incident Cognitive Impairment in Elderly Persons (Arch Intern Med. 2010) “Conclusion Moderate or high physical activity is associated with a reduced incidence of cognitive impairment after 2 years in a large population-based cohort of elderly subjects.”

Physical Activity at Midlife in Relation to Successful Survival in Women at Age 70 Years or Older (Arch Intern Med. 2010) “Conclusion These data provide evidence that higher levels of midlife physical activity are associated with exceptional health status among women who survive to older ages and corroborate the potential role of physical activity in improving overall health.”

Resistance Training and Executive Functions (Arch Intern Med. 2010) “Conclusion Twelve months of once-weekly or twice-weekly resistance training benefited the executive cognitive function of selective attention and conflict resolution among senior women.”

Very Mild to Severe Dementia and Mortality: A 14-Year Follow-Up – The Odense Study (Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2010) “Conclusion: Dementia increased the risk of death. Even in the very early stages of dementia the risk of death was increased.”

Patterns of Loss of Basic Activities of Daily Living in Alzheimer Patients: A Cross-Sectional Study of the French REAL Cohort (Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2010)

Association of C-Reactive Protein With Cognitive Impairment (Arch Neurol. 2010) “Conclusions High hsCRP may be a marker of memory and visuospatial impairment in the elderly.”

Early menopause can result in earlier onset dementia

Early- versus Late-Onset Alzheimer's Disease: More than Age Alone. (J Alzheimers Dis. 2010)

Cognitive and Cardiovascular Benefits of Docosahexaenoic Acid in Aging and Cognitive Decline. (Curr Alzheimer Res. 2010) “Collectively, data reveal a potentially beneficial role for DHA in preventing or ameliorating cognitive decline and cardiovascular disease in the aged.”

Hormone Therapy Helpful in Women With Alzheimer's “Hormone treatment appears to improve mood and reduce cognitive decline in female Alzheimer's disease patients without an apolipoprotein E e4 (ApoE) allele, Norwegian researchers report. As lead author Dr. Arnhild Valen-Sendstad told Reuters Health by email, "Elderly women with Alzheimer's disease and with no contraindicative factors, and especially those without a genotype apolipoprotein E e4, will profit from hormone therapy with estradiol/norethisterone."”

Weights Improve Seniors' Brain Function “"We were able to demonstrate that simple training with weights that seniors can easily handle improved ability to make accurate decisions quickly," Dr. Liu-Ambrose was quoted as saying. "Additionally, we found that the exercises led to increased walking speed, a predictor of considerable reduction in mortality." Previous studies have shown that aerobic exercise training, such as walking or swimming enhances brain and cognitive function. However, seniors with limited mobility are unable to benefit from this type of exercise. Cognitive decline among seniors is a pressing health care issue and is a key risk factor for falls. Approximately 30 percent of B.C. seniors experience a fall each year, and fall-related hip fractures account for more than 4,000 injures each year at a cost of $75 million to the health care system.”

Drowsiness, Staring, And Other Mental Lapses May Signal Alzheimer's Disease “Older people who have "mental lapses," or times when their thinking seems disorganized or illogical or when they stare into space, may be more likely to have Alzheimer's disease than people who do not have these lapses, according to a study published in the January 19, 2010, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. These mental lapses, also called cognitive fluctuations, are common in a type of dementia called dementia with Lewy bodies, but researchers previously did not know how frequently they occurred in people with Alzheimer's disease and, equally important, what effect fluctuations might have on their thinking abilities or assessment scores.”

Running enhances spatial pattern separation in mice (PNAS 2010)

Running Boosts Brainpower “Running may do more than improve your cardiovascular fitness and overall physique. It might actually make you smarter. Scientists reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences say that running has a profound impact on the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory. Adult mice that voluntarily used running wheels increased their number of brain cells and performed better at spatial learning tests than non-exercising mice, they discovered.”

Monday January 18 - January 24 2010

Telomere length and cognitive function in community-dwelling elders: Findings from the Health ABC Study. (Neurobiol Aging. 2009)

Stressful Caregiving Can Increase Stroke Risk, Especially Among Men “Spouses who are under significant stress caring for an ailing partner face an increased risk for stroke, with that risk being especially elevated among African American men, according to results of a new study. The study linked a high degree of caregiver strain to an overall 13.62% estimated 10-year risk of stroke, but that risk was 26.9% among African American male caregivers. Although in general male caregivers in the study showed less strain than female caregivers, those who reported high stress levels probably do not tap into family or community services for help, said the study's lead author, William E. Haley, PhD, from the School of Aging Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa. "Men who are caregivers tend not to provide care all on their own; they often hire people to help and rely on family assistance," Dr. Haley said. "What we think is happening here is that this subgroup of highly strained African American men probably lack these supports from family and other services," he added, and they would likely benefit from individual counseling.”

Cognitive Fluctuations Signal Onset of Alzheimer's “A total of 12% of patients experienced cognitive fluctuations, defined as having 3 or 4 indicators, including daytime somnolence, daytime sleep of more than 2 hours, illogical or disorganized thinking, and staring spells. Of the 216 participants diagnosed as having mild dementia, 25 had mental lapses. Of the 295 with no dementia, only 2 experienced such lapses. After controlling for age and alertness level, those with cognitive fluctuations were 4.6 times more likely to have dementia (95% confidence interval, 2.05 – 10.40). The risk of having a CDR of 0.5, very mild dementia, was 13.4 times higher, and the risk of having a CDR of 1, mild dementia, was 34 times higher for those with cognitive fluctuations vs those without. Performance for those with cognitive fluctuations was decreased across individual neuropsychological tests and in composite scores, the study authors note.”

Physical Frailty Is Associated with Incident Mild Cognitive Impairment in Community- Based Older Persons. (J Am Geriatr Soc. 2010) “CONCLUSION: Physical frailty is associated with risk of MCI and a rapid rate of cognitive decline in aging.”

Monday January 11 - January 17 2010

Brain tissue volumes in relation to cognitive function and risk of dementia (Neurobiology of Aging 2010)

Longevity Gene Could Slow Dementia

Donepezil Treatment and Changes in Hippocampal Structure in Very Mild Alzheimer Disease (Arch Neurol. 2010) “Conclusions Treatment with donepezil did not alter the progression of hippocampal deformation in subjects with DAT in this study. Small sample size may have contributed to this outcome.”

Benefit of Memantine in Treating Alzheimer's Disease Not Proven, Study Finds “There is no scientific proof that patients with moderate or severe Alzheimer's disease benefit from drugs containing the agent memantine. This is the conclusion in the final report that the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) published in September 2009.”

Blueberry Supplementation Improves Memory in Older Adults (dagger). (J Agric Food Chem. 2010) “The findings of this preliminary study suggest that moderate-term blueberry supplementation can confer neurocognitive benefit and establish a basis for more comprehensive human trials to study preventive potential and neuronal mechanisms.”

Reduced gray matter volume in normal adults with a maternal family history of Alzheimer disease (NEUROLOGY 2010) “Conclusions: Overall, maternal family history of Alzheimer disease (AD) in cognitively normal individuals is associated with lower gray matter volume in AD-vulnerable brain regions. These data complement and extend reports of cerebral metabolic differences in subjects with a maternal family history.”

Physical Exercise, Aging, and Mild Cognitive Impairment (Arch Neurol. 2010) “Conclusion In this population-based case-control study, any frequency of moderate exercise performed in midlife or late life was associated with a reduced odds of having MCI.”

Effects of Aerobic Exercise on Mild Cognitive Impairment (Arch Neurol. 2010) “Conclusions This study provides support, using rigorous controlled methodology, for a potent nonpharmacologic intervention that improves executive control processes for older women at high risk of cognitive decline.”

Association of C-Reactive Protein With Cognitive Impairment (Arch Neurol. 2010) “Conclusions High hsCRP may be a marker of memory and visuospatial impairment in the elderly. The role of APOE 4 requires further exploration. “

APOE 4 Genotype and Longitudinal Changes in Cerebral Blood Flow in Normal Aging (Arch Neurol. 2010) “Conclusions Our findings suggest that APOE 4–mediated risk for Alzheimer disease is associated with widespread decline in rCBF over time that precedes the onset of dementia. Accelerated rates of decline in brain function in APOE 4 carriers may contribute to an increased risk for Alzheimer disease and a younger age at onset.”

Green tea averts age-dependent decline of hippocampal signaling systems related to antioxidant defenses and survival. (Free Radic Biol Med. 2010)

Increased iron and free radical generation in preclinical Alzheimer disease and mild cognitive impairment. (Alzheimers Dis. 2010)

Loss of Smell Could Be Early Sign of Alzheimer's “People with Alzheimer's are already known to suffer from loss of smell. But the new research pinpoints a direct link between development of amyloid plaques -- the bits of gunk in the brain that cause Alzheimer's disease -- and a worsening sense of smell.”

Hypertension Linked To Dementia In Older Women “The small blood vessels in the brain are especially susceptible to damage from even moderately elevated blood pressure - resulting in damage to the white matter served by those vessels. The brain's white matter is composed of whitish myelin-coated axons (nerve cell appendages) that allow nerve cells to communicate with each other and help the regions of the brain work together. Several studies have found that damage to white matter, as indicated by the presence of WMLs, seems to be an independent risk factor for dementia. The current study reinforces earlier research showing that hypertension plays a role in causing dementia, suggesting that preventing hypertension from developing - through weight loss, exercise or other lifestyle changes - would be beneficial.”

Dementia risk for older people with diabetes and memory problems

Friday January 1 - January 10 2010

Healthy Older Adults With Subjective Memory Loss May Be at Increased Risk for MCI and Dementia “Forgot where you put your car keys? Having trouble recalling your colleague's name? If so, this may be a symptom of subjective cognitive impairment (SCI), the earliest sign of cognitive decline marked by situations such as when a person recognizes they can't remember a name like they used to or where they recently placed important objects the way they used to. Studies have shown that SCI is experienced by between one-quarter and one-half of the population over the age of 65. … A new study, published in the January 11, 2010, issue of the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia, finds that healthy older adults reporting SCI are 4.5 times more likely to progress to the more advanced memory-loss stages of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia than those free of SCI.”

Outcome over seven years of healthy adults with and without subjective cognitive impairment (Alzheimer's & Dementia 2010)

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