A 6 year research lead by Dr. David Llewellyn and his team at the University of Exeter Medical School, concluded that low levels of vitamin D in older people are linked to the risk of developing dementia. Vitamin D can be found in foods, such as oily fish, supplements, or exposure to sunlight, however elderly people have less efficient skin and must be supplement in other ways. The team found that in 1,169 subjects with sufficient levels of vitamin D, there is a 1 in 10 chance of developing dementia. In 70 subjects with deficiency, there was a 1 in 5 risk of getting dementia. They cannot say that low vitamin D causes dementia but it is worthwhile to continue studying the connection. What are your thoughts on the association of dementia risk with low vitamin D?
For additional information, please see BBC News.
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How often do you laugh? Studies have shown laughter is beneficial in increasing blood flow to areas of the brain reducing stress and anxiety, but a new study presented at the recent Experimental Biology meeting found that humor showed beneficial effects in memory loss as well. The results of the EEG in seniors were tested for visual recognition, learning ability and recall memory tests showed improvements as well as reduced cortisol in their brains, believed to help avoid memory brain cell death. What are some strategies to help increase laughter in your life and for your patients?
For additional information, please visit Medical Daily
Cognitive decline and memory problems of Alzheimer’s disease may be related to a failure in the brain’s stress response system. The protein (REST) is found in the brains of developing fetuses and regulates by switching off genes to keep fetal neurons in an immature state until enough development is needed for proper brain function. REST is the most active gene regulator in elderly brains and appears to protect neurons in healthy older people from age-related stresses. People with Alzheimer’s, mild cognitive impairment, and other types of dementia have a depletion of REST in the key brain regions associated with memory. Dr. Yankner, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and lead author, and his team discovered REST switches off genes that promote cell death, protects neurons from normal aging, inflammation and oxidative stress. The researchers analyzed the brains of young adults ages 20 to 35 and found they contained little REST, while healthy adults between ages 73 to 106 had plenty. Possible development of new drugs for dementia may be seen in the future once more research and findings are established for REST protein. What are your thoughts about this research?
For additional information, please see The New York Times.
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The Mediterranean Diet has shown to be beneficial in reducing the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in elderly patients. The PREDIMED (Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea) cardiovascular prevention trial was a multicenter trial in Spain involving 3,451 participants, aged 55-80 years old, who were randomized into three groups: a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts, or a control diet low in fats. The participants were asked not to increase their physical activity and were also given food advice from dieticians on which foods to eat. Median 4.1 years follow-up showed people eating a Mediterranean diet supplemented with EVOO had a relative reduction of 40% in diabetes risk compared with the control group, while people eating a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts had a relative reduction of 18%. How often do you discuss Mediterranean diet with your patients? What other chronic conditions benefit from the Mediterranean diet based on the recent research?
For additional information, please see JAMA.
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The results of the largest study ever completed on cognitive exercise were published today in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, revealing encouraging effects for the elderly population. The study included approximately 3,000 adults and analyzed results based on three brain training programs—processing speed, memory and reasoning capacity. The patients were divided into four groups, three training groups who received 10 to 12 sessions lasting 60–75 minutes plus a control group who came in for regular cognitive testing. Five years after the sessions were completed the training groups exhibited improved cognitive results compared to the control group. Even ten years after training the results persisted, although gains in memory did seem to decline. The training groups didn’t just test better based on particular study results; they also reported having an easier time with daily activities when compared to the control group.
What activities do you perform to keep your brain sharp? How much time would you be willing to set aside to dedicate to brain training?
For more information visit Reuters
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