Should Doctors Ask If You Own a Gun?

No one questions when a doctor asks if an older, cognitively impaired patient is still driving, and urges family members to take away the car keys for the safety of the patient and everyone else. So why is it any different for a doctor to ask if a patient with similar problems has guns at home that could endanger him or others? There is no difference — it’s simply the doctor’s role in contributing to patient and public safety, argues …

More Proof That an Active Brain Slows Dementia

A  new study adds to the growing evidence that the best way to stay mentally sharp into your 80s and beyond is to keep your brain busy with reading, writing and learning new things. Researchers found that being “cognitively active” both early and later in life was tied to better performance on memory tests among people in their 80s, Reuters reported. Even when brain autopsies were done on study participants who passed away, researchers found those who kept mentally busy …

No, Really, This Video Game Is Making Me Smarter

Which do you think keeps your brain sharper – completing a leisurely crossword puzzle on the computer or playing a fast-paced computer video game that requires you to match fleeting images? Sorry, crossword puzzlers, but the quick-thinking skills needed to play a video game could help slow age-related cognitive decline, a new study finds. Researchers from the University of Iowa tested 681 healthy adults over age 50 who were assigned to play either a video game called “Road Tour” (since …

Hearing Loss May Speed Up Dementia

Here’s a really good reason to get your hearing tested: New research indicates that older Americans with untreated hearing loss experience a faster decline in thinking and memory skills than do those with normal hearing. The study has widespread ramifications, considering that hearing loss affects 30 percent of adults ages 65 to 74, and 47 percent of adults 75 or older, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). At the same time, only 25 to 29 percent of those …

Dementia Study: Calcium Plus Vitamin D Disappoints

Taking calcium pills combined with low-dose vitamin D did not protect older women from dementia, a large new study found, but the researchers think vitamin D alone may offer some help. The study, published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, involved 4,100 women age 65 or older without dementia. Half were given supplements of 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium carbonate combined with 400 international units (IUs) of vitamin D, and half were given a placebo. The women …

Vitamin D Tied to Women’s Brain Health

Women who don’t get enough vitamin D as they age may be more likely to suffer cognitive decline and impairment, two new studies suggest. The studies, published in the Journals of Gerontology, Series A (Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences and Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences), found that vitamin D, often called the sunshine vitamin, seems to play an important role in maintaining brain health in older women. Researchers in France found that among women age 75 or older who were …