How Much Memory Loss Is Normal? Misplacing keys or forgetting who was in that movie you just saw doesn’t necessarily mean you need a one-way ticket to the Alzheimer’s ward, but it could be more than ‘just aging,’ Jane Brody at the New York Times writes. Mild cognitive impairment comes from “subtle deficits in cognitive function” and results in things like difficulty finding words, remembering names, or following one’s train of thought. According to Mayo Clinic neurologist Ronald C. Petersen, mild cognitive impairment has been found in 10- to 20 percent of people 65+ and, while not always a precursor to more severe brain diseases, it often is.
In general, “mild cognitive impairment lasts about seven years before it begins to interfere with the activities of daily life.” —Dr. Barry Reisberg, professor of psychiatry at New York University
No drug to treat mild cognitive impairment is approved by the FDA yet, but Reisberg and Petersen say there are medications that can temporarily slow its progress (mostly drugs also used to treat Alzheimer’s). Brain games can also help stave off these cognitive issues—but regular physical exercise seems to help most of all.
The Way We Lunch: From three martinis to 10 desk-pushups—we’ve come a long way in how we spend that midday meal (to the benefit of our bodies but the chagrin of our bartenders, surely). But more and more, research shows how sitting all day can be a health hazard. At the Washington Post, fitness experts recommend simple and inexpensive ways to work out behind your desk in small bursts throughout the day …
Heir Apparent(ly Not): Most boomers I know can hardly fathom being able to retire, let alone leave a pile of money behind to their kids. But for those who can afford to think about such things, turns out inheritance isn’t a terribly popular idea these days. A survey of millionaire boomers by investment firm U.S. Trust found only 49 percent felt it important to leave an inheritance when they die. The reasons they gave ranged from fear the kids would become lazy or squander the money to worries about unexpected medical costs to just wanting to enjoy their savings themselves. What do you think?
Quick Hits: FDA advisory panels are looking into whether women using popular bone drugs like Fosamax and Boniva should take “drug holidays” to ward off potential side effects that can come with long-term use, like jaw damage and femur fractures … A study published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine says both mild and severe cognitive impairment contribute to increased risk of death in people over 60 … and the CDC says half of Americans will experience mental illness in their lifetimes.