Common Sleep and Allergy Medications Linked to Dementia, Alzheimer’s

You may want to check your medicine cabinet after reading this. A new study links long-term use of common medications — including over-the-counter drugs for insomnia and hay fever — to a higher risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Medications in the study included antihistamines found in Benadryl, sleep aids found in Tylenol PM, and certain antidepressants and treatments for bladder control. >> Hidden Dangers of Common Cold Meds Dementia risk in older adults starts to rise after three years of regular use …

Poor Sleep Quality, Sleep Apnea May Raise Dementia Risk

Does your spouse complain that you snore loudly or gasp in your sleep? Better pay attention — and not just for the purposes of marital harmony. A new study finds that people who have breathing problems while sleeping and those who don’t get enough deep sleep are at higher risk for dementia, according to a new study published in the journal Neurology. Scientists are increasingly finding that good sleep is crucial to brain health. Previous studies have suggested sleep quality and duration are connected to memory …

Midlife Diabetes Tied to Memory Problems Later in Life

Having diabetes or prediabetes in midlife is linked to memory problems later in life, according to new research published in Annals of Internal Medicine. In fact, diabetes appears to age the brain about five years faster than normal aging. Johns Hopkins researchers in Baltimore tracked the blood sugar levels and brain health of more than 15,000 adults ages 48 to 67 with regular exams for 20 years and found there was nearly 20 percent greater decline in memory and cognitive function in those with …

Robin Williams’ Suicide Triggered by Type of Dementia?

A gossip website has attributed actor Robin Williams’ suicide to Lewy body dementia, a devastating disease that affects an estimated 1.4 million Americans, most of them men over age 60. Sources told TMZ that Williams’ doctors agree that the dementia was a “key factor” that drove him to suicide, though neither the diagnosis nor the doctors’ statements have been confirmed. >> Famous People We’ve Lost in 2014 Lewy body dementia is the second or third most common type of progressive dementia, according …

Trick or Treat: Does Chocolate Help Brain Health?

A new study this week that linked the antioxidant-rich flavanols in cocoa to improved memory in healthy older adults produced lots of yummy headlines, so  it’s OK to stuff ourselves with leftover Halloween candy, right? Well, not exactly. Study participants — all between the ages of 50 and 69 — saw striking improvements in memory after drinking a special cocoa drink daily for just three months. On average, the memory of 60-year-olds improved to perform more like that of  30- or 40-year-olds, according to …

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 …