Why We Brag About Our Children

My mother was so proud of her adult children that even an offhanded “How’s the family?” launched her into a detailed accounting. My little sister repeatedly listened to this litany and threatened to print a brochure on the family. “Mom could just hand them out and save time,” she joked. The “brochure” of the 21st century is Facebook and email, where many parents share – okay, brag – about their children’s achievements. Not that bragging in cyberspace stops us in …

New Guidelines Aim to Reduce Women’s Stroke Risk

Older women have a higher risk of stroke than men and should strive to reduce that risk, say the first guidelines aimed specifically at preventing stroke in women. Women share many of the same risk factors for stroke with men, but their chances of having a stroke can be increased by hormones, pregnancy and childbirth, said Cheryl Bushnell, M.D., associate professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., who led the team of experts who developed the …

Good News About Exercise: It’s Never too Late to Start

Need inspiration to head out to that Turkey Trot in the frightful weather? A new study finds that regular physical activity later in life boosts the likelihood of healthy aging up to sevenfold. What’s more, the findings, published yesterday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, show that it’s never too late to start. “Significant health benefits were even seen among participants who became physically active relatively late in life,” wrote the study authors, led by Mark Hamer of the …

ICU Brain Effect: A Long Stay Causes Dementia

A long stay in a hospital’s intensive care unit, where patients are often heavily sedated, seems to have a traumatic effect on brain function for as long as a year after patients leave the hospital, new research finds. The study, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that one out of three ICU patients suffers mental effects similar to moderate traumatic brain injury, and one in four has impairments similar to a mild stage of Alzheimer’s disease. …

Facing the Enemy Within

I was telling my wife Cinelli about a Carole King album called Tapestry I had purchased online when I was stopped by the word “album.” I couldn’t say it. I said “alume” and “abul” and “alome,” but not “album.” It just wouldn’t come out. It was not only annoying, it was eerie. “What’s going on?” asked Cinelli, studying me. By then the word had popped back into my head. “I’m trying to say album,” I replied. “There, I said it! …

Making Sense of Alzheimer’s: 9 Books for Kids

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can be mind-boggling and confusing to kids. Their grandparents, great-grandparents or family friend may act “weird” and yet look normal. How do you explain what’s happening to children? A 17-year-old college student recently emailed me about a children’s book on Alzheimer’s he has coauthored. Why Did Grandma Put Her Underwear in the Refrigerator? is based on Max Wallack‘s experience with his great-grandmother (“Great Grams”).  She lived with his family from the time he was 6 until …