Betsy Agnvall is a features editor for health at AARP Media. She's fascinated by research that helps us understand how to live our lives to the fullest - keeping mind and body strong and sharp. She previously worked as a freelance writer for The Washington Post, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Safety and Health magazine and other publications.

Beyond Ebola—How Safe Is Your Hospital?

The media frenzy over Ebola has focused a glaring spotlight on hospitals across the country this fall. One man has died from the virus in the United States, and a handful of nurses have been infected. And even though the chance of a large-scale U.S. outbreak is tiny, nearly 36 percent of Americans said they are worried that a family member will contract Ebola, according to today’s Washington Post-ABC News poll. Maybe instead of Ebola, though, what we should be concerned about are …

MRI Scans Could Detect Alzheimer’s Early

An MRI scan can detect signs of cognitive decline in the brain before symptoms of memory loss appear, according to a new study published in the online journal Radiology. This new use of a well-known technique has the potential to be used in the very early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers in Switzerland gave MRI brain scans to 148 healthy older men and women — average age, 76 — as well as 65 people with mild cognitive impairment. The researchers then …

Stress, Anxiety Raise Risk of Alzheimer’s for Women

Middle-aged women who are worried, moody, jealous and stressed have double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life as do those with calmer personalities, according to a new Swedish study published in the journal Neurology. Swedish researchers followed 800 women — average age, 46 — for nearly 40 years and gave them personality tests to judge whether they were neurotic, stressed, introverted or extroverted. The researchers also studied hospital records and the results of neurological exams to determine whether …

Brain-Healthy Lifestyle Works to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease; U.S. Dementia Rates Drop

After just two years, older people who exercised, socialized and ate a healthy diet improved their memory, focus and other signs of brain health, according to a breakthrough study presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, this week. In another piece of good news, researchers announced at the conference that dementia rates are dropping in the United States – quite possibly because people are getting the message that healthy living can protect brain health. “These findings show that prevention …

Una nueva prueba podrí­a predecir si los problemas de memoria se convertirán en Alzheimer

In English- Una prueba de sangre que puede predecir si alguien que tiene problemas de memoria desarrollará  la enfermedad de Alzheimer podrí­a estar disponible en un plazo de tan solo dos años, anunciaron investigadores británicos. Al analizar a más de 1,000 pacientes -y realizarles resonancias magnéticas del cerebro a 467- investigadores de King’s College en Londres descubrieron una combinación de 10 proteí­nas que parecen predecir con una exactitud del 87% si las personas con problemas cognitivos leves podrí­an desarrollar el mal de Alzheimer total …

New Test Could Predict Whether Memory Problems Will Become Alzheimer’s

A blood test that can predict whether someone with memory problems will develop Alzheimer’s disease may be available in as little as two years, British researchers announced today. By analyzing more than 1,000 patients – and performing MRI brain scans on 467 – researchers at King’s College in London discovered a combination of 10 proteins that seem to predict with 87 percent accuracy whether people with mild cognitive impairment will develop full-blown Alzheimer’s within a year. Because the research, which was published in …