Articles Posted in Cognitive Issues

Alzheimer’s disease is extremely prevalent in the United States. It is sixth in the leading causes of all deaths and fifth in the leading causes of death in people 65 years of age and older. The disease is characterized by continuous deterioration in mental, functional, and behavioral abilities. Currently, approximately 5.4 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. However, this number is expected to increase to a million persons with Alzheimer’s disease per year by 2050 due to the baby boom generation, resulting in a total prevalence of an estimated 11 to 16 million people affected by this disease.

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Most of the older adult population worldwide experiences cognitive decline with age. Disability is often associated with cognitive impairment; thus, interventions for preventing cognitive decline are critically needed. Sarcopenia is the age-related deterioration of skeletal muscle mass that is highly prevalent and a crucial problem among the elderly. Studies have shown that sarcopenia and cognitive impairment are related to frailty. Thus, prevention of sarcopenia is imperative for mitigating age-related healthcare issues.
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According to an article published in The Jerusalem Post, researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU), Rambam Medical Center, and Harvard University have found a biological blood marker associated with Alzheimer’s disease that has the potential to be used as a tool to administer an effective diagnostic blood test for dementia. TAU head researcher Professor Illana Gozes says, “We hope that in the future, it will be possible to use our discovery to develop a simple blood test for this serious disease even in its early stages.”

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Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is currently the sixth leading cause of death among United States’ older adult population. An estimated 5.4 million elderly people suffer from this disease. Among the ten primary causes of death in the United States, Alzheimer’s disease has the biggest sex difference, with a far greater number of women than men dying from this disease. Many studies have been done to explore the medication that could postpone the onset of the disease by just five years, potentially cutting health care costs to Medicare significantly. The medication that has received the greatest attention in the Alzheimer’s disease research domain is hormone therapy (HT).

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Falling is a serious issue in nursing homes and leads to deleterious consequences. Every year, 4% of falls result in fractures and 11% result in soft tissue damage. Patients who fall experience functional loss, self-imposed functional limitations due to fear of falling, and restraint from activity imposed by care givers.

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With the welcoming of the New Year, most of us have probably made at least one resolution for 2016.  While resolutions that revolve around the improvements in physical health are important—such as going to the gym more often and losing weight—resolutions that focus on the improvement of mental health are just as important, too.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Mental health is an integral part of health; indeed, there is no health without mental health.” A large number of studies support this statement. According to a study from 2012 published in The BMJ, for example, poor mental health is highly associated with increased risk of death from cardiovascular illness and cancer.  Another study reported by Medical News Today showed that mental illness was significantly associated to higher risk of heart disease and stroke. Older adult residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are vulnerable to declines in mental health and must be given the proper care to maintain every aspect of their quality of life.

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As older adults continue to age, they become more vulnerable not only to diseases and disability, but also to cognitive frailty. Cognitive frailty is defined as the simultaneous development of physical frailty and cognitive impairment. An older adult who experiences late-life depression can be susceptible to both physical frailty and cognitive impairment, especially speed of processing and executive functioning.

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Although dementia is prevalent among the older adult population, a recent study has found that singing or listening to music can be beneficial to older adults with this cognitive disease.  Many older adults that live in assisted living facilities and nursing homes suffer from dementia.  The illness not only affects cognitive abilities, but also mood and behavior. According to a new study conducted at the University of Helsinki, Finland and published In the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the use of music can improve dementia care for patients in different stages of the disease.

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It is well known that maintaining a physically active lifestyle is beneficial to health, but new research shows a further advantage—older adults who walk or jog more often perform better on memory tasks than their sedentary counterparts. The study, published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, implied that physical activity could prevent age-related memory decline and neurodegenerative dementias like Alzheimer’s disease.

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A recent study published in Neurology has shown that walking speed of older adults can be indicative of their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.  The researchers hypothesized that slow walking speed may be associated with plaque buildup in the brain, even if an older adult does not show external symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

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