Loneliness Is Bad for Your Brain

Feeling lonely is dangerous for your brain health, according to a new study presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference this week. Lonely older adults are not only more likely to experience declines in mobility and physical limitations; they are also more likely to have memory problems and are at higher risk for dementia, says Nancy Donovan, geriatric psychiatrist with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Donovan and her colleagues studied 8,300 men and women 65 and older and found that …

New Ways to Predict Who Will Get Alzheimer’s Disease

Researchers still don’t have a treatment or cure for Alzheimer’s, but they’re coming closer to being able to predict who will develop the disease that robs the minds of millions of Americans every year. One long-term study presented this week at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Washington found that a combination of memory tests, brain scans and body fluids can predict with about 80 percent accuracy whether a person without memory problems will develop the disease. Scientists at Johns Hopkins …

Facing Facts About Hearing Loss

May was Better Hearing Month, and I did a lot of radio interviews, some on behalf of AARP, others for my new book, Living Better With Hearing Loss: A Guide to Health, Happiness, Love, Sex, Work, Friends … and Hearing Aids. As I heard myself repeating the statistics in one interview after another, I was unhappily reminded of the magnitude of the numbers of people with hearing loss, and the blithe dismissal with which it is generally treated. The prime example …

Why Our Young Adults Do the Things They Do

About a decade ago, Frances Jensen’s sweet-natured 15-year-old son returned home from a friend’s house with his hair dyed black and announced he was planning to add red streaks. Jensen’s reaction was typical of countless parents who suddenly confront a stranger living in their house. “I was gobsmacked. Is this really my child?” she writes. While many of us would just start ranting, Jensen, then a Harvard Medical School neurology professor and researcher, was inspired by the incident to start …

Tough Job? You May Reap Brain-Health Rewards Later

Ever feel like you’ve worked so hard that your brain needs a break at the end of the day? Or that you’ve negotiated your way through so many political minefields that you feel you should get a peace prize? Although it may seem as if your workplace is frying your brain, it turns out the mental demands of work help protect your memory and thinking skills later in life, at least according to one new study published in the journal …

When Mom Can Hear and You Can’t

As my mother got older, our roles reversed, as they will when a parent reaches the ninth and even 10th decade. But there was one way in which she grew stronger, while I grew weaker. She could hear, and I couldn’t. In her 80s, my mother’s mind and body succumbed to aging. She developed dementia, she had frequent falls and was often wheelchair bound. She and my father had moved south to a retirement community, so as not to be …