Yummy News! Cocoa May Help Keep Brain Healthy

When the press release hit email in-boxes, health editors across the country – including yours truly – were certainly dancing a jig. “Chocolate May Help Keep Brain Healthy,” said the release headline. “Drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day may help older people keep their brains healthy and their thinking skills sharp.” Obviously, fantastic news. The study, published in the respected journal Neurology, comes from the hallowed halls of Harvard. So it was with something close to glee that …

Sex, Alzheimer’s and Boomers: Trouble for Nursing Homes

Romance – for many, it’s one of life’s great pleasures. But for those living in a nursing home sex can get a bit more complicated. Having Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia calls into question whether the individuals involved have the ability to give legal consent. Nursing homes regularly struggle to make that call, and this problem will only grow worse as the number of older Americans grows as the the boomer generation joins their ranks. Related: Sex and …

Can Flossing Protect You From Alzheimer’s?

All those times the dentist nagged you to floss more? Maybe this will convince you to try harder. A new British study suggests that the bacteria from gum disease contributes to Alzheimer’s disease. First, some caveats: It was a small study – just 10 brain samples from people who died of Alzheimer’s, compared with 10 samples from people who died from other causes not dementia-related. Related: Blood Pressure Meds May Be Boosting Brain Power Also, the study, published in May …

Sex and Dementia: What Are Our Rights When We’re Not Ourselves Any More?

A recent Bloomberg article recapped an incident in a nursing home in which an employee walked in on two elderly residents, both diagnosed with dementia, having intercourse. The man was in his late 70s, the woman in her late 80s. The employee, a nurse, called for help and separated the two, but not without the woman clawing and screaming at them. It’s a delicate subject and the zone is completely gray. The incident led to the male patient being removed …

Blood Pressure Meds May Be Boosting Brain Power

If you take medications for high blood pressure and need encouragement to stay on them,  here’s a great incentive: some meds that lower blood pressure may actually be helping boost brain power. Scientists have known for years that controlling high blood pressure is linked to better brain health. Numerous studies have confirmed that what’s good for the heart is also good for the brain. But now new research published yesterday in BMJ Open suggests that some drugs that lower blood …

I Just Had a Senior Moment. Should I Worry?

We all have moments when we wonder if we’re losing our minds. Where did I park the car? What was the name of that movie? Is that girl in the store the neighbor’s daughter? And most of the time we tell ourselves – and our friends and family – that these mental blips are a normal part of aging. Usually, they are just that. But sometimes the memory lapses seem more serious. We start forgetting things that we normally wouldn’t. …