The United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report with the statistics about Alzheimer’s disease from 1999-2014 this week. It appears that because of better treatments and ways to manage other diseases such as cancer and heart disease, death rates from these disorders are declining and as a result, deaths due to Alzheimer’s disease are on the rise. In fact, the condition is the seventh leading cause of death in Canada, and the likelihood of dying of Alzheimer’s disease after being diagnosed is 80% higher than it was in 1999.
Omega 3’s are a group of fatty acids (FA’s) with anti-inflammatory properties. A recent study used single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scan, which measures the brain’s blood flow, to determine the association between blood levels of two omega-3 FA’s, EPA and DHA, and the amount of blood flow to the brain. Researchers tested 166 randomly-selected participants for their Omega-3 Index (O3I) and divided them into two groups: those with an above-average and a below-average O3I.
A recent study out of Western University and the Lawson Health Research Institute used multitasking principles to determine whether older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) were at risk of developing dementia. Walking is generally considered to be an automatic function, which means we can walk without consciously thinking about the process; however, if a task is truly automatic, we are able to multitask, or perform the action simultaneously with another task that requires conscious cognitive function.
Communication and socializing can become difficult for people with dementia; many conflicts between persons with dementia and their care partners are a result of misunderstandings or the lack of skills to communicate feelings or needs. These conflicts may be a source of stress and emotional distress for both parties; however, a recent study indicates that these skills can be developed and maintained with practice.
Vascular cognitive impairment refers to impaired brain function due to blood vessel damage in the brain, and is the second leading cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. “It is well established that regular aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular health and cerebrovascular health,” lead author Teresa Liu-Ambrose wrote, explaining that hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes, and high cholesterol can harm blood flow to the brain; the risk of developing these disorders can be decreased by engaging in moderate-intensity physical activity.