Sleep Patterns in Midlife Can Affect Memory Later

Like most Americans, I rarely get the doctor-recommended eight hours of sleep every night. Usually, I get too little sleep. Occasionally, I get too much. So I worried when I saw a new study that found that how much women sleep in middle age can affect their memory later in life. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston evaluated the link between sleep duration and memory in more than 15,000 women age 70 and older who were  stroke and …

Sleep Disorder Linked to Brain Disease

Thrashing about while you’re asleep may be a sign of something more troubling than mere restlessness: It could be a predictor of brain disease. A new study suggests that 80 to 90 percent of people who suffer from rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder will eventually develop Parkinson’s or another brain disease. What’s REM sleep behavior disorder? It’s a condition that causes people to act out vivid, intense, even violent dreams. People who have it often yell, punch and kick …

She Was His North Star

His shoulders slump and his head bows as if his very life force has been suddenly drawn out of him. His face reflects the pain and confusion that his mind and heart are toiling with, struggling to grasp a wisp of reality and understand that the impossible has indeed happened. “I just can’t believe it; I can’t fathom it,” he says. “Are you telling me the truth? She’s not available anymore?” This happens every time my dad asks about my …

Should All Older Adults Be Screened for Dementia?

Should older adults be routinely screened for Alzheimer’s disease or memory problems? Maybe, maybe not. A government panel says there’s not yet enough data to recommend either for or against it. The panel’s uncertainty reflects the complexity of the issue at a time when scientists are progressing much faster in their ability to diagnose Alzheimer’s than in their ability to treat it. This news is especially relevant in light of the recent discovery of a blood test that can predict with 90 …

Special Report Explores Caregiving in America

I have been very public about caregiving for my parents over the past several years, but I know that the majority of the 42 million family caregivers in the U.S. aren’t as vocal as I have been about the challenges we face. Thanks to a recent special report in the Washington Post, this “quiet force caring for an aging America,” as it is described, is getting national media attention. Perhaps our voices will not be so quiet as more Americans become …

Can a Take-Home Test Reveal Early Alzheimer’s?

Could a 15-minute test you take with pen and paper provide an early warning of Alzheimer’s or other cognitive problems? Researchers at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center say the simple 22-question test, called the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination, or SAGE, can’t diagnose Alzheimer’s, but it can reveal cognitive impairments at an early, more treatable stage. (To take the test, click here to download.) These impairments “could be related to many conditions like medications, ministrokes, dementia or sleep apnea to …