Benefits of walking

Photo : Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

I try to walk everyday for exercise and weight management.  I even wear a pedometer to keep track of my daily steps.  Now, after reading the following article I will be walking to improve my brain health.

Walking Could Improve Neural Connectivity, Lowering Risk of Alzheimer’s in Older Adults

By John Raphael, Nature World News

May 5, 2017

“A new study led by the University of Maryland School of Public Health revealed that walking interventions could improve the neural connectivity in older adults, potentially reducing the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or Alzheimer’s disease.

The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, showed that walking for 30 minutes for four times a week can increase the neural connectivity between the brain’s posterior cingulate cortex (PCC)/precuneus region and other brain regions of patients diagnosed with MCI.

‘The brain’s posterior cingulate cortex (PCC)/precuneus region is a hub of neuronal networks which integrates and disperses signals,’ said Dr. J. Carson Smith, director of the Exercise for Brain Health Laboratory and senior author of the study, in a press release. ‘We know that a loss of connectivity to this hub is associated with memory loss and amyloid accumulation, both signs of MCI and Alzheimer’s.'”

Read more about the benefits of walking


BRiTE Program aids adults with mild memory loss

BRiTE ProgramInnovative program aids older adults with mild memory loss

By Tony Dearing, NJ Advance Media for

April 24, 2017

“Two days a week, Jennie Dorris raises her baton to help an unlikely group of musicians melodize their way to better brain health.

Few of her students have previous musical training. Their concern is more medical. They’ve been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, and the marimba lessons she leads on Mondays and Fridays are part of an innovative wellness program designed to help slow their memory loss.

Research has shown music can be instrumental (pun intended) in keeping our mind sharp as we age.

So when scientists at the University of Pittsburgh set out to create a program aimed specifically at people with MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment), the idea of including a marimba class struck the right chord.

‘We chose these types of instruments because they are very visual, and you can sort of feel like you’re playing a game while you’re learning a melody,’ Dorris says. ‘This is a really unique way to connect with people who want to work on their memory.'”

Read more and view video demonstration

Are you taking an omega-3 supplement?

I always heard that taking an Omega-3 supplement might be good for me, but until I read the following article I didn’t know why.

omega-3 supplementOmega-3 fatty acids good for adult, elderly brain health

By Dr. Joel Fuhrman, for Uinta County Herald

April 16, 2017

“The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, usually obtained from eating fish, are important nutrients for proper brain function, starting with fetal development, and continuing into old age. DHA is most often associated with cognitive functions like learning and memory, and EPA with mood and anti-inflammatory effects.

I recommend taking an omega-3 supplement (preferably one derived from lab-grown algae, rather than eating fish or taking fish oil), since most people have a low intake of DHA and EPA unless eating fish regularly; research has confirmed that vegans tend to have low omega-3 levels.

In adulthood, omega-3 adequacy helps to maintain optimal brain function, prevent depression and lay the groundwork for a healthy brain later in life. A 6-month study of DHA and EPA supplementation in young adults (18-45 years of age) documented improvements in measures of memory.

Additionally, 12 weeks of DHA supplementation was found to improve blood flow to the brains of healthy young adults during a cognitive task.

No matter what your age, maintaining adequate omega-3 stores is crucial now, and for the later life health and functionality of your brain.

…Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are the two most common neurodegenerative diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids appear to be useful for preventing these diseases. Low omega-3 intake and low levels of DHA in the blood are associated with age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

Also, DHA depletion in certain areas of the brain occurs in Alzheimer’s disease. In some studies, low plasma EPA also associated with risk of dementia or cognitive decline.

More recent studies have investigated brain volume, finding that higher blood omega-3 levels are associated with larger brain volumes in older people, implying that abundant DHA and EPA could help to prevent brain shrinkage with age.”

Read more about omega-3 fatty acids

Dr. Fuhrman is a #1 New York Times best-selling author and a board certified family physician specializing in lifestyle and nutritional medicine. The Eat To Live Cookbook offers over 200 unique disease-fighting delicious recipes and his newest book, The End of Heart Disease, offers a detailed plan to prevent and reverse heart disease using a nutrient-dense, plant-rich eating style. Visit his informative website at

The MIND diet may boost brain health

MIND diet

To Help Ward Off Alzheimer’s, Think Before You Eat

“Diets designed to boost brain health, targeted largely at older adults, are a new, noteworthy development in the field of nutrition.

The latest version is the Canadian Brain Health Food Guide, created by scientists in Toronto. Another, the MIND diet, comes from experts at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Both diets draw from a growing body of research suggesting that certain nutrients — mostly found in plant-based foods, whole grains, beans, nuts, vegetable oils and fish — help protect cells in the brain while fighting harmful inflammation and oxidation.

Both have yielded preliminary, promising results in observational studies. The Canadian version — similar to the Mediterranean diet but adapted to Western eating habits — is associated with a 36 percent reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The MIND diet — a hybrid of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) — lowered the risk of Alzheimer’s by 53 percent.”

Read more about warding off Alzheimer’s and the MIND diet

Dementia rate declines in the US

dementia rate
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Dramatic decline in dementia seen among older adults in the US

by Sharon Begley

November 21, 2016

“The percent of older US adults with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, declined from 11.6 percent in 2000 to 8.8 percent in 2012, a decrease of nearly a quarter, scientists reported on Monday.

Why it matters:

It had been thought that the baby boomers’ march toward old age would triple the number of Alzheimer’s patients by 2050. These new numbers not only portend a lesser burden on the health care system (and families) but also suggest that something has changed over the generations — and identifying that change could drive down dementia rates even further.

You’ll want to know:

That’s a significant decline: If the rate of dementia in 2012 had been what it was in 2000, ‘there would be well more than 1 million additional people with dementia,’ said John Haaga, director of the National Institute on Aging’s behavioral and social research, who was not involved in the study. As it is, an estimated 5 million Americans 65 and older are afflicted with Alzheimer’s or other dementia.

The nitty gritty:

Researchers led by Dr. Kenneth Langa of the University of Michigan analyzed data on more than 10,500 Health and Retirement Study participants aged 65 or older in 2000 and 2012.

The percent of seniors with dementia fell to 8.8 percent in 2012; accounting for the greater proportion of those who were 85 years or older, the decline was even greater: to 8.6 percent, the team reported in JAMA Internal Medicine.

One possible factor is education.”  Read more

Babysitting grandchildren may actually be good for your health

Babysitting Grandchildren Could Lower Risk for Alzheimer’s

by Alissa Sauer for

July 27, 2016

There’s nothing like grandchildren to keep older adults active and joyful. A recent study shows that spending a moderate amount of time with grandkids may actually prevent Alzheimer’s disease by increasing brain function and memory.

“In addition to boosting brain power, babysitting has been linked to decreased rates of depression. Learn more about the correlation between babysitting and senior health and get some ideas on fun things to do with your grandchildren.

How Babysitting Grandchildren Could Lower Risk for Alzheimer’s

Researchers from the Women’s Health Aging Project in Australia observed the cognitive function of over 180 women who cared for grandchildren. The results showed that postmenopausal women who spend one day a week caring for their grandchildren may have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders. However, those that spend five days a week or more caring for little ones may have a higher risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders.

This is the first study to examine the role of grandparenting on cognition. While the reason for the correlation is not clear, it is thought that regular social interaction can have a positive effect on the mental health of seniors and lower their risk for Alzheimer’s. Caring for grandchildren can help to prevent the social isolation that can cause depression, and even an earlier death.

In addition to preventing Alzheimer’s and avoiding social isolation, other research suggests that a strong grandchild and grandparent bond has anti-depressive benefits for both seniors and children. A study from the Institute on Aging at Boston College observed the habits of 376 grandparents and 340 children for 19 years. They found that the closer the relationship between the two, the less likely either were to develop depression and that grandparents who both gave and received support had the fewest symptoms of depression.”

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Alissa Sauer has been dedicated to writing articles about Alzheimer’s research and senior living for over four years. With a Communications Degree from the University of Illinois, Alissa strives to help families understand and manage the changes that often accompany caring for a senior loved one.


Caregiver support…can I find the real me again?

A new purpose: life after caregivingMagazine September/October 2016

by Joene Nelson Werner, Healthy Living Made Simple

September/October 2016

“With one last breath, my life changed.  I had been a 24/7 caregiver to my husband of over 48 years, and in a moment, I became a person without a cause.  While my days had been consumed, leaving no time for myself, suddenly there was no responsibility or accountability to anyone or anything.  A gradual beginning, an abrupt end. What does one do with the freedom that comes from losing one’s purpose?

The Aftermath

He passed November 17 from complications due to Alzheimer’s disease; the last three weeks moved like a train wreck.  It happened so quickly I was left trying to wrap my mind around it.  The holidays were a blur.  I felt so alone and misunderstood.  After several months, my mind still spiraled–no longer a caregiver, no longer a wife.

A year earlier, I tearfully shared with my Alzheimer’s caregiver support group: I’d lost me. Would I ever find the real me again?  I wasn’t sure who I was, where I was or if I’d reclaim my past life.  The years of caregiving with Alzheimer’s were like an out-of-body experience and upon my husband’s death, I was jolted back to reality. Caregiving consumes your identity.  Unconditionally putting another first, I had become programmed.  Being able to put myself first was strange.  It was difficult to accept that I had my ‘me time’ back.”

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