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 …

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 …

Building Family: How Guardianship Can Create Community

The Post-it note on the box said, “Little things. Wanna look?” I found it in my grandparents’ dining room, tucked alongside the candles and platters they used on special occasions. At that point, my grandmother, whom I called Dibi, had lived with Alzheimer’s disease for a few years. Ever the charmer, Dibi could hide it well, but those of us who knew her knew the battle was just beginning. I love to think about that box and imagine what was …

When Are You Over the Hill? Try Age 24

Think you should worry about your brain slowing down post-age 50? Too late. It’s already started at age 24. Or at least that’s what a Canadian study of players of a hypercompetitive computer game has found. Apparently our cognitive motor skills – meaning the speed at which we process something and then react to it – peak by age 24, then begin to diminish slowly. But don’t be depressed! We make up for it by becoming more cunning and crafty, …

Alzheimer’s Disease: A Double Whammy for Women

If you are a woman, a new report from the Alzheimer’s Association might just jolt you upright. Consider: Women in their 60s are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease sometime in their lives as they are to develop breast cancer.  They have a 1 in 6 chance of developing the disease. A man’s chances are 1 in 11.  Three out of 5 people with Alzheimer’s are women.  Women are 2.5 times more likely than men to provide the 24-hour, hands-on care at …

New Blood Test May Predict Alzheimer’s, Dementia Risk

A simple blood test that a researcher calls a “game changer” may be able to accurately predict whether older adults will develop dementia. The experimental test, developed by researchers at six universities, was 90 percent accurate at predicting whether adults age 70 and older would develop either mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s within two to three years. The study was published online Sunday in the journal Nature Medicine. The test measures the levels of 10 lipids, or fats, in the bloodstream. …