Archive for the ‘Alzheimer’s disease’ Category

Benefits of Detecting Alzheimer’s Disease Early

August 9, 2015

earlydetect1The early symptoms of Alzheimer’s are so similar to those of natural aging that the disease is often diagnosed too late for effective treatment.

Individuals may experience one or more of these signs in different degrees:

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life, especially forgetting recently learned information.
  • Finding it hard to follow a plan or solve problems; difficulty concentrating and taking much longer to do things than they did before.

    Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.

  • Losing track of dates, seasons and the passage of time; trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately; forgetting where they are or how they got there.
  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships, including difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast.
  • Trouble following or joining a conversation, struggling with vocabulary.

    Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.

  • Changes in judgment or decision-making.
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities.
  • Changes in mood and personality. People can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful, anxious, or easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.

There is no single test that can show whether a person has Alzheimer’s but a skilled physician can diagnose Alzheimer’s with more than 90 percent accuracy. Diagnosis typically will include a thorough medical history, mental status testing and a physical and neurological exam, including blood tests and brain imaging to rule out other causes of dementia-like symptoms.

Benefits of early Alzheimer’s detection:

  • You can get the maximum benefit from available treatments which provide some relief of symptoms and help you maintain a level of independence longer.
  • You can increase the chances of participating in clinical drug trials that help advance research.
  • You may have more time to plan for the future in terms of your care, transportation, living options, financial and legal matters.
  • You can participate in building the right care team and social support network.
  • You and your loved ones can take advantage of available care and support services that might make it easier for you and your family to live the best life possible with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Concerned about Alzheimer’s for yourself or a loved one? Optiminds professional brain training skills center has earned a reputation for helping people of all ages improve memory and cognitive skills. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

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MSU Researcher Working on Natural Treatment for Alzheimer’s

April 9, 2015

Berries2A plant that has been used for hundreds of years in Indian, Ayurvedic, Unani and African medicine may hold the secret for stopping the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and maybe even preventing the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.

Muraleedharan Nair, a natural products chemist in the horticulture department at Michigan State University, has patented a botanical compound called withanamides. This compound is derived from the ancient plant known as Ashwagandha, which is an herbal remedy used to lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, alter the immune system and calm the brain.

Withanamides is believed to work by neutralizing the damaging effects of a byproduct of the protein that triggers plaque buildup that signals the early stages of Alzheimer’s. It is this plaque buildup that starts to kill brain cells in the frontal lobe and erase memories before it moves deeper into the brain. Withanamides would help prevent Alzheimer’s at an earlier stage than some of the solutions currently being worked on by pharmaceutical companies.

Withanamides has been tested in mouse trials and is currently in clinical trials, after which it will hopefully be submitted for FDA approval. Because it has already been deemed a “food safe plant,” it should require fewer hurdles to meet compliance.

If you are looking for ways to keep your brain healthy, Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math, cognitive skills and memory of students of all ages. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Facts About Alzheimer’s

February 16, 2015

AlzRise2The number of Alzheimer’s cases continues to increase every year as our population grows older. Following are some basic facts about this devastating disease as reported in a recent AARP Bulletin:

  • Alzheimer’s disease is a common form of dementia, a collective term for a number of conditions marked by a loss of mental abilities.
  • The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 5.2 million Americans had Alzheimer’s disease in 2014.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Alzheimer’s sufferers are women. While young people can develop Alzheimer’s, the disease is most common among people over 65.
  • Alzheimer’s currently costs the U.S. some $214 billion annually. One study estimates that 42 percent of families that include someone with Alzheimer’s spend more than $20,000 a year for care.
  • Recent studies show that the cost of caring for Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias has surpassed the cost of treatment for cancer patients or victims of heart disease. One reason is that the disease can linger for years, meaning extremely high long-term costs for both government insurance programs and families.
  • The number of Alzheimer’s cases continues to increase every year as the population grows older.
  • Alzheimer’s lags behind other diseases when it comes to federal funding for research on prevention and treatment.

Optiminds offers adults and seniors customized brain training programs designed to stimulate targeted areas of the brain. Our programs include mental/emotional exercises, visualization techniques and computerized drills along with recommendations on diet and physical exercise tailored to older adults.

Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Blood Tests for Alzheimer’s On the Horizon

December 16, 2014

AlzBloodStill in early stages of development at the National Institute on Aging, a new blood test for Alzheimer’s appears to detect the disease as many as 10 years before clinical diagnosis is possible, much sooner than other tests in development.

The test could soon be used to identify and treat patients with Alzheimer’s earlier in their disease progression. Those people could participate in clinical trials to help find new treatments. Already, the test distinguishes between patients and healthy elderly with 100 percent accuracy.

In separate research at Georgetown University, a blood test has been developed that can predict with 90 percent certainty whether a senior will suffer from dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease within the next few years. The test would be an improvement over expensive MRIs and PET scans currently used to diagnose Alzheimers, but which are limited in their diagnostic ability.

The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease affects thinking, memory, behavior and autonomy. It is estimated that by 2050 135 million people globally will have dementia.

Optiminds offers customized brain fitness programs to help seniors take brain performance to new levels by strengthening nerve cells and improving cognitive power. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Signs of Early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease

July 9, 2014

Early-onset Alzheimer’s is an uncommon form of dementia that strikes people younger than age 65. While it has been known to develop between ages 30 and 40, it is more common to see someone in his or her 50s who has the disease. Of the more than 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s, about 5 percent, or approximately 200,000 people, are diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Some cases of early-onset Alzheimer’s have no known cause, but most cases are inherited, a type known as familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD).

Getting an accurate diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s can be a long and frustrating process. The disease affects each person differently and symptoms will vary.

Sometimes symptoms may be incorrectly attributed to stress or there may be conflicting diagnoses from different health care professionals. It could start to show up as problems at work or home, or as lost relationships or jobs.

For most people with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, the early symptoms will closely mirror those of other forms of Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Forgetting important things, particularly newly learned information or important dates
  • Asking for the same information again and again
  • Difficulty solving basic problems, such as keeping track of bills or following a favorite recipe
  • Losing track of the date or time of year
  • Losing track of where you are and how you got there
  • Difficulty with depth perception or other vision problems
  • Difficulty joining conversations or finding the right word for something
  • Misplacing things and not being able to retrace your steps to find it
  • Increasingly poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from work and social situations
  • Changes in mood and personality

Because there is no one test that confirms Alzheimer’s disease, a diagnosis is only made after a comprehensive medical evaluation.

To keep your brain in tip top shape, our Optiminds fitness programs can help you take your brain’s performance to new levels by strengthening nerve cells and improving cognitive power.

Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. We also have specialists in college counseling and athletic college prep counseling on our staff. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Alzheimer’s Update

May 16, 2014

seniorcomputer1Every 67 seconds someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s disease. An estimated 5.2 million Americans currently have Alzheimer’s disease, including approximately 200,000 individuals younger than age 65 who have younger-onset Alzheimer’s.

The number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will escalate rapidly in coming years as the baby boom generation ages. By 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease may nearly triple, from 5 million to as many as 16 million, barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent, slow or stop the disease.

Alzheimer’s is especially hard on women. Of the 5 million people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s in the United States, 3.2 million are women and 1.8 million are men. A woman’s estimated lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s at age 65 is 1 in 6, compared with nearly 1 in 11 for a man. Not only are women more likely to have Alzheimer’s, they are also more likely to be caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most expensive condition in the nation. In 2014, the direct costs to American society of caring for those with Alzheimer’s will total an estimated $214 billion, including $150 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid. Despite these staggering figures, Alzheimer’s will cost an estimated $1.2 trillion (in today’s dollars) in 2050.

A lifestyle that focuses on physical activity and a healthy diet may help support brain health and prevent Alzheimer’s. You may also want to take advantage of Optiminds’ customized brain training programs for seniors. A mix of mental/emotional exercises, visualization techniques and computerized drills, these programs are designed to increase mental capacity and help you process information better and more quickly.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ by calling us at (248) 496-0150 or email Dr. Stewart at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And visit our website at optiminds.com to learn more about us.

Get Moving to Strengthen Your Brain

April 14, 2014

As we age, our brains shrink a little, but they continue to create new neurons and fine-tune neural connections as long as we are alive. So if you want to increase the new growth, start exercising.

Aerobic exercise boosts blood flow to the brain, which encourages the release of a chemical called “brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF stimulates the formation of new neurons near the hippocampus, which is the area involved in memory, learning and the ability to plan and make decisions. It also repairs cell damage and strengthens the synapses that connect brain cells.

In short, exercise reduces the level of brain loss, keeps us cognitively sharp and reduces our risk of Alzheimer’s disease. And regular exercise can pump up your brainpower regardless of your age. So if, for example, you are 55 years old and have never exercised, it’s not too late.

In a classic study, people aged 60 to 79 were asked to complete a six-month walking program. At the conclusion of the study, participants showed an increase in the size of the hippocampus, and levels of BDNF comparable to levels normally found in people almost two years younger.

Aim for about two and a half hours of brisk activity a week. Walking is great but if you have mobility issues, try walking in the pool, riding a stationary bike or practicing yoga or tai chi.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. Be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Study Ties Saturated Fat to Alzheimer’s Risk

January 23, 2014

brainfood1A recent study found that dietary saturated fat cut the body’s levels of a key chemical—apolipoprotein E (ApoE)—that helps protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

Study participants who received a high-saturated-fat, high-sugar diet showed a change in their ApoE that made it less able to help clear the amyloid. If left loose in the brain, amyloid beta proteins are more likely to form plaques that interfere with neuron function, the kind of plaques found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Diet also directly affected the amount of loose amyloid beta found in cerebrospinal fluid. People on a high-saturated-fat diet had higher levels of amyloid beta in their spinal fluid, while people on a low-saturated-fat diet actually saw a decline in such levels.

While this study is preliminary, it adds another small piece to the growing evidence that taking good care of your heart is probably good for your brain too. We tend to focus on diet in terms of weight and heart health, but often overlook that diet is critical for healthy brain aging. In addition, many of the things the brain needs to function properly—fatty acids and certain amino acids, for example—come only from food.

People focus on diet in terms of weight and heart health, but they overlook that nutrition can be key to cognitive function as well. According to research team member Suzanne Craft, a professor of medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, “Diet is a very underappreciated factor in terms of brain function. It’s quite well accepted for your heart and your cholesterol and your blood, but diet is also critical for a healthy brain aging. Many of the things the brain needs to function properly—fatty acids, certain amino acids— come only from food.”

Optiminds’ brain fitness programs take brain performance to new levels by strengthening nerve cells, and improving cognitive power and concentration. Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

The Restorative Powers of Sleep

November 9, 2013

soundsleep3We know that people who don’t get enough shut-eye have trouble learning and making decisions, and are slower to react. But despite decades of research, scientists have not been able to agree on the basic purpose of sleep, with explanations ranging from processing memory to saving energy to regulating the body.

But now, the long held assumption that sleep serves a vital function has gained new support with a recent study by scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center suggesting that when we close our eyes, our brains go on a cleaning spree.

The research team had previously found a plumbing network in mouse brains that flushes out cellular waste. For the new study, the scientists injected the brains of mice with beta-amyloid, a substance that builds up in Alzheimer’s disease, and followed its movement. They determined that the potentially neurotoxic substance was removed faster from the brains of sleeping mice than awake mice.

The team also noticed that brain cells tend to shrink during sleep, which widens the space between the cells. This allows waste to pass through that space more easily.

Scientists say there is reason to think the same “housekeeping” process happens in humans. Among other things, the results may provide new clues to slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other mind disorders.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Research Shows Exercise Is Good for Your Brain

October 9, 2013

Neuroscientists, psychologists and physicians all agree—Exercise is the best thing you can do for your brain. Laura Carstensen, a professor of psychology at Stanford University and director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, concurs: “If we had a pill that could do what exercise does, its sales would put Viagra’s to shame.”

Research continues to show that cognitive decline is not inevitable. Brain volume may shrink as we age, but the brain continues to make new neurons and fine-tune neural connections as long as we live.

Aerobic exercise, for example, reduces the level of brain loss and keeps cognitive abilities sharp. It slashes the lifetime risk of Alzheimer’s in half and the risk of general dementia by 60 percent.

Exercise boosts blood flow to the brain, spurring the release of a chemical that stimulates the formation of new neurons in the hippocampus, the area involved in memory, learning and the ability to plan and make decisions. This same chemical also repairs cell damage and strengthens synapses, which connect brain cells.

exercisebrain3It’s never too late for your brain to benefit from exercise either. A now-classic study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that people 60 to 79 years of age who completed a six-month program of walking briskly on a regular basis showed an increase in the size of the hippocampus—the first time scientists have been able to demonstrate this.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.


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