Study: Hearing Aids May Help Protect Brain Health

For several years, studies have linked hearing loss and dementia, but no major study has addressed the big question: Could using hearing aids reduce the risk of cognitive decline? Now an important new French study finds that older adults who use hearing aids experience the same rate of cognitive decline as their peers with normal hearing. In other words, while hearing loss is associated with accelerated cognitive decline, hearing aids can slow that from happening, researchers say. The study, published …

A Simple Solution for Remembering Names

You’ve probably heard the tips. Visualize something about the person that will remind you of the name: Rose — the woman wearing the pink sweater. Spike — the guy with the hair. Repeat the name either mentally or out loud. But that doesn’t always help. Maybe you’re at a business meeting with new clients. They’re all dressed alike. They all look alike, for that matter. Who’s who? What did he say? Or a cocktail party. Even social chatter can be uncomfortable …

Brain Health Is Important Today…and Even More So Tomorrow

The average person lives to be 78 today, which is three decades longer than a century ago. Scientists say they will soon be able to extend life well beyond 120. Many billionaires, particularly from Silicon Valley, are spending millions annually to disrupt death. Even Google set up Calico (California Life Co.) in September 2013 to reverse-engineer the biology that controls lifespan and “devise interventions that enable people to lead longer and healthier lives.” The longer we live, the higher the …

Can You Pass the One-Leg Test for Brain Health?

Here’s a quick, do-it-yourself test for brain health: See how long you can stay balanced on one leg. If you can’t hold that flamingo position for at least 20 seconds, it could indicate damage to small blood vessels in your brain even if you have no other symptoms, new research finds. That damage could put you at high risk for stroke and cognitive decline. A stroke is caused by a clot or bleeding in the brain that interrupts blood flow. …

Worried Someone You Know May Have Diminished Financial Capacity?

What are the early warning signs of dementia? That’s a question professionals who work in the financial services industry have increasingly asked me since AARP released a report, entitled Protecting Older Investors: The Challenge of Diminished Capacity, on protecting investors who have diminished capacity. The report raised awareness among many financial professionals concerned about the decision-making capacity of their clients. Just to give some sense of how much of a potential problem this is, there are about 41.5 million Americans age …

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 …