Posts Tagged Neurological Disorders

What’s the Deal with Aluminum?

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Have you ever heard that using aluminum pots or drinking from aluminum cans can increase your risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease? Despite the prevalence of this myth, very few experts believe that everyday sources of aluminum pose any threat. In fact, several studies have failed to confirm any role of aluminum in Alzheimer’s disease.

Some key points to consider:

  • Most researchers and mainstream health care professionals believe, based on current knowledge, that consumption of aluminum is not a significant risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
  • It is unlikely that people can significantly reduce their consumption of aluminum by avoiding aluminum containing cookware, foil, beverage cans, medications, or other products.
  • The exact role (if any) of aluminum in Alzheimer’s disease is still being research and debated.
  • If aluminum exposure had a major impact on risk, scientists would have already gained a clearer picture of its involvement over the decades that they have been studying the issue.
  • Research studies since the 1960s have failed to document a clear role for aluminum in causing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Although the results of some studies have suggested that consumption of aluminum may be linked to Alzheimer’s, just as many studies have found no link between aluminum consumption and Alzheimer’s.

To learn more about myth and Alzheimer’s disease, click here.

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10 Ways to Love Your Brain

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Given the growing evidence that people can reduce their risk of cognitive decline, and in recognition of Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month in June, the Alzheimer’s Association and its experts are sharing 10 Ways to Love Your Brain, tips that may reduce the risk of cognitive decline:

1. Break a sweat. Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body. Several studies have found an association between physical activity and reduced risk of cognitive decline.

2. Hit the books. Formal education in any stage of life will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. For example, take a class at a local college, community center or online.

3. Butt out. Evidence shows that smoking increases risk of cognitive decline. Quitting smoking can reduce that risk to levels comparable to those who have not smoked.

4. Follow your heart. Evidence shows that risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke – obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes – negatively impact your cognitive health. Take care of your heart, and your brain just might follow.

5. Heads up! Brain injury can raise your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Wear a seat belt, use a helmet when playing contact sports or riding a bike, and take steps to prevent falls.

6. Fuel up right. Eat a healthy and balanced diet that is lower in fat and higher in vegetables and fruit to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Although research on diet and cognitive function is limited, certain diets, including Mediterranean and Mediterranean-DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), may contribute to risk reduction.

7. Catch some Zzz’s. Not getting enough sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea may result in problems with memory and thinking.

8. Take care of your mental health. Some studies link a history of depression with increased risk of cognitive decline, so seek medical treatment if you have symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns. Also, try to manage stress.

9. Buddy up. Staying socially engaged may support brain health. Pursue social activities that are meaningful to you. Find ways to be part of your local community – if you love animals, consider volunteering at a local shelter. If you enjoy singing, join a local choir or help at an afterschool program. Or, just share activities with friends and family.

10. Stump yourself. Challenge and activate your mind. Build a piece of furniture. Complete a jigsaw puzzle. Do something artistic. Play games, such as bridge, that make you think strategically. Challenging your mind may have short and long-term benefits for your brain.

To learn more, click here: abam2015_infographic

 

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Spring Conference: Alzheimer’s Association – Greater MI Chapter

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Please join us for our 4th Annual Spring Conference “Breaking Through the Taboo of Alzheimer’s Disease” in collaboration with the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center. This educational conference will take place on Tuesday, June 2nd from 8:00am-3:45pm at the Sterling Inn in Sterling Heights.

This conference will provide an unflinching look at several stigmas surrounding Alzheimer’s disease. The agenda will feature common taboo topics, such as decision making and ethical considerations. In addition, presenters will suggest practical strategies that professionals and family caregivers will find useful to enhance care provision and quality of life.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided. 4.5 Continuing Education Credits will be awarded to professionals.

Don’t delay…the discounted rate offered for early registration will be ending at close of business on Monday, May 11th!

To learn more and to register, please visit http://www.alz.org/gmc. We hope to see you on June 2nd!

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Create a TrialMatch Profile

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Clinical trials are essential to advancing Alzheimer’s disease research at a time when Alzheimer’s is reaching epidemic proportions. Through clinical studies conducted over the last 20 years, scientists have made tremendous strides in understanding how Alzheimer’s affects the brain. It is only through clinical studies that we will develop and test promising new strategies for treatment, prevention, diagnosis, and ultimately a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

Today, the greatest obstacles to developing the next generation of Alzheimer’s treatments is recruiting and retaining clinical trial participants.

Exploring clinical trial options by yourself can be a steep mountain to climb. Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch helps simplify the process by presenting clinical trial information in an easy to understand format.  In addition, we have staff that are happily waiting to answer your call, and guide you through the process.

Don’t just hope for a cure. Help us find one. Join the millions that are using TrialMatch, and discover the path to tomorrow’s treatments, today.

Want to get started? Visit http://www.alz.org/trialmatch or call 800-272-3900. Watch the video clip below to see the program in action.

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Alzheimer’s Association 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures

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What is Korsakoff Syndrome?

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Korsakoff Syndrome is a chronic memory disorder caused by severe deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B-1). Thiamine helps brain cells produce energy from sugar. When levels fall too low, brain cells cannot generate enough energy to function properly.

Korsakoff syndrome is most commonly caused by alcohol misuse, but can also be associated with AIDS, cancers that have spread throughout the body, chronic infections, poor nutrition and certain other conditions.

Korsakoff syndrome is often — but not always — preceded by an episode of Wernicke encephalopathy, which is an acute brain reaction to severe lack of thiamine. Wernicke encephalopathy is a medical emergency that causes life-threatening brain disruption, profound confusion, staggering and stumbling, lack of coordination, and abnormal involuntary eye movements.

Because the chronic memory loss of Korsakoff syndrome often follows an episode of Wernicke encephalopathy, the chronic disorder is sometimes know as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. But Korsakoff syndrome can also develop in individuals who have not had a clear-cut prior episode of Wernicke encephalopathy.

Korsakoff syndrome and its associated thiamine deficiency is not the only mechanism through which heavy drinking may contribute to chronic thinking changes and cognitive decline. Alcohol misuse may also lead to brain damage through the direct toxic effects of alcohol on brain cells; the biological stress of repeated intoxication and withdrawal; alcohol-related cerebrovascular disease; and head injuries from falls sustained when inebriated.

Causes and Risk Factors

Scientists don’t yet know exactly how Korsakoff syndrome damages the brain. Research has shown that severe thiamine deficiency disrupts several biochemicals that play key roles in carrying signals among brain cells and in storing and retrieving memories. These disruptions destroy brain cells and cause widespread microscopic bleeding and scar tissue.

Most cases of Korsakoff syndrome result from alcohol misuse. Scientists don’t yet know why heavy drinking causes severe thiamine deficiency in some alcoholics, while other may be affected primarily by alcohol’s effects on the liver, stomach, heart, intestines, or other body systems.

Treatment

Some experts recommend that heavy drinkers and others at risk of thiamine deficiency take oral supplements of thiamine and other vitamins under their doctor’s supervision.

Many experts also recommend that anyone with a history of heavy alcohol use who experience symptoms associated with Wernicke encephalopathy, including acute confusion, prolonged nausea and vomiting, unusual fatigue or weakness, or low body temperature or blood pressure, be given injectable thiamine until the clinical picture grows clearer.

Once acute symptoms improve, individuals should be carefully evaluated to determine if their medical history, alcohol use and pattern of memory problems may be consistent with Korsakoff syndrome. For those who develop Korsakoff syndrome, extended treatment with oral thiamine, other vitamins and magnesium may increase chances of symptom improvement.

Abstaining from alcohol is a cornerstone of effective long-term treatment. Those with Korsakoff syndrome have a reduce tolerance for alcohol and may be at high risk for further alcohol-related health problems.

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Celebrate Black History Month by Spreading Alzheimer’s Awareness

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During Black History Month, we celebrate some of our nation’s greatest achievements and honor remarkable, inspirational individuals from all walks of life. This February, spread Alzheimer’s awareness in your effort to recognize Black History Month.

Did you know…

  • Although whites make up the great majority of the over 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease, available research shows that African Americans are at a higher risk. In fact, African Americans are about two times more likely than white Americans to have Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
  • Although the rate of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in African Americans is higher than whites, they are less likely than whites to have a diagnosis of the condition.
  • When they are diagnosed, African Americans are typically diagnosed in the later stages of the disease, when they are more cognitively and physically impaired — and therefore need more medical care.
  • Genetic factors do not appear to account for the greater prevalence of — or greater risk for developing — Alzheimer’s disease. Better management of chronic health conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes, may play an important role in controlling one’s risk.

Do your part by sharing the facts about Alzheimer’s disease. Find everything in the 2014 Facts and Figures report or check out this webpage about African Americans and Alzheimer’s disease.

There is a critical need for African American clinical trial participants. Join a study today through the Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch program and help move research forward tomorrow. Don’t just hope for a cure. Help us find one!

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