Low Vitamin D May Double Risk of Dementia

As with so many other perplexing questions about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, researchers are unsure why there seems to be a link between low vitamin D levels and a higher risk of developing these brain diseases. Now one of the largest studies yet finds that link is even more worrisome: Too little of the vitamin may, in fact, double the risk of developing the devastating conditions. The new research, which followed nearly 1,700 adults over the age of 65 for …

‘Alive Inside’: Music + Alzheimer’s = Miracle

  When you speak, you’re mainly using the left hemisphere of your brain. When you look at a painting, it’s the rear of your brain that perceives what you’re seeing. But the brain has no precise center for music. When you listen to music you love, all your gray matter gets into the act: Do a scan of a brain listening to music and virtually the entire thing starts to glow, like embers in a warm hearth. That brain-wide embrace of music …

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 …

Sweet Dreams for Grandma Marty

I began hearing the dog’s squeaky bark after a few days of being transferred from West Hills Hospital to the nearby Topanga Terrace complex for physical therapy. I was to undergo a healing program after a bout with pneumonia and other potentially fatal problems. It was a faint yap that emerged out of the dim shadows down the hall at about 2 in the otherwise muted sounds of a quiet morning.  The slightest noise awakens me, especially unexpected disturbances, and …

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 …

IPod + Alzheimer’s = Miracle! (Plus More New Documentaries)

  Alive Inside (Theaters, July 18) Can music do more to help Alzheimer’s patients than any medication? Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit Music & Memory, makes his case for the affirmative in this deeply moving film in which  patients-some of them unresponsive for years-flicker to life (and sometimes explode into song) the moment they hear music from their past. You’ll rush from the theater to buy an iPod for someone you know.     Life Itself (Theaters, July 4) …