Posts Tagged neuropsychiatric symptoms

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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What is Lewy Body Dementia?

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Lewy Body dementia is a type of dementia that leads to progressive decline in thinking, reasoning, and independent function because of abnormal microscopic deposits that gradually destroy certain brain cells. The deposits are called “Lewy bodies” after the neurologist who discovered them.

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Lewy bodies are also found in several other brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease dementia. Many people with Parkinson’s eventually develop problems with thinking and reasoning, and many people with Lewy Body dementia experience movement symptoms, such as hunched posture, rigid muscles, a shuffling walk and trouble initiating movement. This overlap in symptoms and other evidence suggest that dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease dementia may be linked.

Prevalence

Most experts estimate that Lewy Body dementia is the third most common cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, accounting for 10 to 25% of cases.

Symptoms

Hallmark Lewy Body symptoms include:

  • Changes in thinking and reasoning
  • Confusion and alertness that varies significantly from one time of day to another or from one day to the next
  • Parkinson’s symptoms, such as a hunched posture, balance problems, and rigid muscles
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Trouble interpreting visual information
  • Sleep disorders, such as acting out dreams
  • Memory loss that may be less prominent than in Alzheimer’s

Diagnosis

There is no single test — or any combination of tests — that can conclusively diagnose Lewy Body dementia during life. A clinical diagnosis of Lewy Body dementia represents a physician’s best professional judgment about the reason for the person’s symptoms.

Treatment

There are no treatments that can slow or stop the brain cell damage caused by Lewy Body dementia. Current strategies focus on helping symptoms. If your treatment plan includes medications, it’s important to work closely with your physician to identify the drugs that work best for you and the most effective doses.

References, Resources, and Support

http://www.alz.org/dementia/dementia-with-lewy-bodies-symptoms.asp

http://www.lbda.org/

 

 

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Know the 10 Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

It may be hard to know the difference between age-related changes and the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Some people may recognize changes in themselves before anyone else notices. Other times, friends and family will be the first to observe changes in memory, behavior, or abilities.

To help identify problems early, the Alzheimer’s Association has created a list of warning signs for Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Individuals may experience one or more of these in different degrees.

KTTS

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life

One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially in the early stages, is forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over and increasingly needing to rely on memory aids (e.g. reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.

2. Challenges in planning or solving problems

Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficult concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.

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

People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game.

4. Confusion with time or place

People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons, and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.

5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast, which may cause problems with driving.

6. New problems with words in speaking or writing

People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g. calling a “watch” a “hand-clock”).

7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time.

8. Decreased or poor judgment

People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.

9. Withdrawal from work or social activities

A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects, or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.

10. Changes in mood or personality

The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.

 

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