Three Ways Caregivers Can Use Music Therapeutically

As a music therapist, I worked for many years with older adults and children with special needs using music as a tool to achieve non-musical goals. I used music to encourage expression and social interaction, physical activity and movement, brain stimulation, healing, verbal expression and communication, expression of emotions, reminiscence and even achieve simple eye contact. I created a hand-chime choir with my adult day services center participants who traveled around performing for their peers at other centers. One of …

Mediterranean Diet Beats Low-Fat to Cut Heart Disease

Which diet would you rather follow to protect against heart disease and stroke – the Mediterranean diet, which stresses fish, nuts, olive oil, beans, fresh veggies and wine, or a low-fat diet, which basically makes you cranky and miserable? We all know the answer to this one, and now science backs us up. A major study in Spain of nearly 7,450 adults ages 55 to 80 who were at high risk for heart disease found that those who followed a …

Romance Lives On, Despite Alzheimer’s

I returned home from an extended business trip last night and, as I feared, I’m not sure my beloved Dad remembered me. As Alzheimer’s continues to slowly take over his brain, Daddy’s ability to remember key people in his life has been fading. But there are two people he still knows without fail. I guess I should say two souls really, because one is his dog, Jackson. The other is the love of his life, Patricia – my Mom. Dad …

Why Southern Food Is Bad for Your Brain

The South is called the Stroke Belt because its residents are more likely to have a stroke than are people in other parts of the country. And now University of Alabama researchers think they know why: It’s all that fried chicken, bacon, ham, pies and sweet tea. The researchers, who presented their results at the International Stroke Conference last week, found that those who ate typical Southern food six times a week had a 41 percent increased risk of stroke …

Is Coated Aspirin Really Better for You?

Experts have told us for years that coated aspirin is easier on the stomach, but few have questioned whether that coating might, in fact, reduce aspirin’s heart benefits. Now, though, a new study from the University of Pennsylvania – partly funded by Bayer, a major supplier of safety-coated (also called enteric-coated) aspirin – finds that the coating may reduce or delay aspirin’s effect in the blood. The study, published last week in the journal Circulation, had been designed to discover whether some …

Winter Kills: Even Mild Ones Cause More Deaths

It doesn’t matter whether you spend winter shoveling snow in Massachusetts or walking on the beach in California, you’re more likely to die of heart-related issues in the winter months, a new study finds. Cardiac researchers with Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles reported this week that it’s not the climate that causes heart-related deaths to spike in the winter, it’s just the season. Basically, winter is bad for your heart. Compared to the summer months, people are 26 to …