Living Longer and Better: Dementia Rates May Drop as We Age

For years we’ve heard a drumbeat of frightening news about an upcoming epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia poised to rob us of our mental faculties. Now two new studies say the future may not be so bleak. Even better, the new research lends credence to the theory that our behavior can improve our chances of keeping our brains healthy in old age. One new study finds that dementia rates have fallen by nearly 25 percent in the last 20 …

Delay Retirement, Delay Onset of Dementia

More older workers than ever say they plan to stay on the job longer to avoid financial hardship in retirement. Now there appears to be a silver lining. New research finds that workers who put off retirement face less risk of developing Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. In the largest study of its kind, researchers in France found that workers who retired at age 65 had about a 15 percent lower risk of developing dementia compared with someone who …

More Proof That an Active Brain Slows Dementia

A  new study adds to the growing evidence that the best way to stay mentally sharp into your 80s and beyond is to keep your brain busy with reading, writing and learning new things. Researchers found that being “cognitively active” both early and later in life was tied to better performance on memory tests among people in their 80s, Reuters reported. Even when brain autopsies were done on study participants who passed away, researchers found those who kept mentally busy …

Is Your Waistline a Stem Cell Warehouse?

If you’ve ever so much as considered liposuction, it’s probably because you want to look more buff. (That is, unless you’re Miami avant-garde performance artist Orestes De La Paz, who made some of his adipose tissue into soap.) Now there may be an additional reason to have excess fat surgically suctioned from your body: The unsightly stuff turns out to be a rich source of stem cells. Someday doctors might be able to use the cells to repair your heart, …

Thanks, Internet, for the Memories

Age UK, a British organization that strives to help older people get more out of digital technology, is hoping to win financial support from Google’s Global Impact Challenge for what could be a revolutionary idea. It wants to help thousands of people in Great Britain reminisce about their past via the Internet, as a way of teaching them about the value of being online and how it can improve their lives and decrease feelings of isolation. And although the project isn’t …

My Interview With NPR About Alzheimer’s and My Dad

I recently spoke about my Dad with NPR’s Jacki Lyden for their Weekend All Things Considered story on Alzheimer’s disease. I told her it was a bittersweet experience for me. I started listening to the show as a young child with Dad, and there I was, 40 years later, at the NPR studio, talking about him and the ways that Alzheimer’s disease  is slowly robbing his brain. The first few notes of the show’s theme song immediately summon warm, secure “all …