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Promising Blood Test Could Detect Alzheimer’s Earlier

Posted by on 11:49 am in News | Comments Off on Promising Blood Test Could Detect Alzheimer’s Earlier

Promising Blood Test Could Detect Alzheimer’s Earlier

A new blood test that looks for lower levels of a certain protein could be the link that scientists need to determine who is at greater risk for Alzheimer’s. The protein Mapkapk5 was lower in people whose cognitive ability decclined over a 10-year period. Mild cognitive decline can lead to dementia. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia. Researchers have been confounded in finding a cure or even effective treatment for dementia and Alzheimer’s and many have turned their attention to detecting the disorder earlier. Their theory is that early detection could be treated before dementia symptoms set in. The blood test study was conducted by British scientists at King’s College London. “Although we are still searching for an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, what we do know is that prevention of the disease is likely to be more effective than trying to reverse it,” said study lead Steven Kiddle, lead author and Biostatistics Research Fellow at the MRC Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre at the college. ‘”he next step will be to confirm whether or not our initial finding is specific for Alzheimer’s disease, as this could lead to the development of a reliable blood test which would help clinicians identify suitable people for prevention trials.” Co-author, Clair Steves, Geriatrician and Senior Lecturer in Twin Research at King’s, added: “We’re very optimistic that our research has the potential to benefit the lives of those who don’t currently have symptoms of Alzheimer’s, but are at risk of developing the disease.” Vials of blood photo by Jaubele and licensed under CC 2.0 Man getting blood drawn photo by Bordecia and licensed under CC...

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Glen Campbell’s Long Good-bye

Posted by on 11:15 am in Care-Giver | 0 comments

Glen Campbell’s Long Good-bye

Those of us who grew up before MTV enjoyed a lot of different types of music because we were exposed to a lot of different artists. With four television channels and a few pop radio stations, you could listen to James Brown, Ray Charles, Tom Jones, the Beatles and Glen Campbell all in the same day. Campbell was always on somebody’s variety show. He would be cutting it up with Flip Wilson or welcoming the Supremes on his own show. He was a guest on Dionne Warwick’s first television special back in September 1969. So when I heard that Campbell is suffering from Alzheimer’s, I was so sad for him. He was a great entertainer and seems to be a good guy. CNN will air a special this Sunday on Campbell and his fight with Alzheimer’s. “Glen Campbell … I’ll Be Me” airs at 9 p.m. ET, June 28 on CNN. Remarkably, even after his diagnosis, he earned a Grammy and was nominated for an Academy Award. I, for one, will be watching, just like I did as a child. He is good...

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Water Can Help Keep Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Down

Posted by on 3:03 pm in Nutrition | 0 comments

Water Can Help Keep Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Down

Now that the hot weather is upon us in most parts of the country, make sure you stay hydrated with good, clean water. It’s so easy to forget to drink up or to substitute soda, coffee drinks or sweet tea for water as we race from appointment to appointment. But water, nutritionists preach, can help keep a lot of the problems that tend to plague African Americans in check. The dehydrated body has a harder time keeping blood flowing properly which can up your blood pressure. The dehydrated body creates more cholesterol to keep cells from losing water. Livestrong explains it like this: “When cells become dehydrated, the cell walls thicken to preserve fluid balance. In the process, cholesterol production is increased, and more cholesterol is released into the circulatory system.” The dehydrated body has a harder time keeping joints lubricated with water and the result can be stiffness and pain in knees and fingers. The typical human loses about 10 cups of water each day just from normal sweating, breathing and going to the bathroom. Replace those lost 5 pints with clean water. Other problems caused by dehydration include food cravings for sweets (something you don’t need if you are trying to keep your weight in check), dry skin and bad breath. You can also get muscle cramps and headaches. African Americans have high blood pressure and high cholesterol in disproportionate numbers. We are also more likely to be obese than Whites and Asians. Drinking water is an easy tool in helping you and your aging body — or that of your elderly loved ones — stay healthy. Do it. Water Photo by Philografy and used under CC License...

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Exercising Can Extend Life

Posted by on 5:01 pm in News | 0 comments

Exercising Can Extend Life

It’s been known for quite some time that exercising has a range of benefits, from keeping weight and blood pressure in check to warding off mood swings and helping to regulate sleep. Two new studies show that exercising can dramatically cut your risk of dying prematurely. In the first study, researchers looked at data from  661,000 mostly middle-aged people over a 14-year period. They found  that people who did not exericise at all were at the highest risk of early death. But those who did 450 minutes a week — or a little more than an hour a day — of moderate exercise were 39 percent less likely to die prematurely than people who never exercised. The second study, out of Australia, tried to determine if moderate exercise was more beneficial than vigorous exercise. They found that people who did moderate exercise substantially reduced their risk for dying early and people who did vigorous exercise had a small, additional reduction in mortality. Read this New York Times article to get more on the two studies. Photo by Lynn Friedman and used under the CC 2.0 License Photo by Ted Eytan and used under the CC 2.0...

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What the Aging of Black America Means For You

Posted by on 8:38 pm in News | 0 comments

What the Aging of Black America Means For You

Just this week, the following happened: A valued colleague where I work made the decision to return home to Michigan to care for her 101-year-old mother A cousin is balancing her teen daughter’s glee at getting her learner’s permit with the wear of both her parents’ continued convalescence after stays at separate nursing homes My mother fell, the second time in about six months and just days after I asked her caregivers at her assisted living home to look into getting her a walker because her gait is increasingly unsteady. I await the neurological reports as I make plans to fly back across country to see for myself All across America the adult children or grandchildren of the country’s aged are balancing raising their own families, preparing for their own retirement and the care of aging parents or other loved ones. In Black America, where the elderly are sicker and with fewer of their own resources and where the adult children are struggling to stay in the middle class after the Great Recession or fighting to get back in the workforce after nearly a decade of high unemployment, the picture is especially bleak. The cost of assisted living facilities can easily run $3,000 a month and Medicaid beds are getting harder and harder to come by as states cut their budgets and some facilities prioritize those seniors who can pay cash rather than taking subsidies from the federal government. Aging in place is something that has been the plan of choice for many African Americans who traditionally preferred family care over institutional care, but it is taking on new urgency as the sheer number of elders in the US continues to skyrocket. By 2050 – 35 years from now – one fifth of the United States population will be 65 or older. That is, there will 88 million seniors. And the great untold story is more than 30 percent of them will be those Brown and Black seniors with limited resources and family reserves. States, local communities and advocates for the aged are trying to imagine what the America of 2050 will look like and how we can figure out a successful plan for those of us – yes, we will be the seniors then – to stay in our homes longer. The Atlantic Magazine recently took a look at what that world might look like. Hint: elders in middle class communities such as the Beacon Hill neighborhood in Boston are creating collectives to help seniors stay and die in their homes. Black America needs to take note. Read the Atlantic Magazine piece here. Photo by Robert Allen under Creative Commons License 2.0 Street sign photo by Bart Heird under Creative Commons License...

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Get Involved: The Longest Day Alzheimer’s Fundraiser

Posted by on 9:01 pm in News | 0 comments

Get Involved: The Longest Day Alzheimer’s Fundraiser

As every caretaker knows, helping an aging spouse, parent or other loved one calls for some long days. On June 21, the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere, people living with Alzheimer’s and their caretakers will be in the spotlight as thousands of people join together to raise money and awareness about this form of dementia. Teams are forming all across the country to raise at least $1,600 each to go toward research, care and support through the Alzheimer’s Association. The way it works is like this: you can join a team or start one of your own. Teams are registered and then the team members go to work asking friends and families to donate toward the cause. They can donate to an individual, to a team or to an event – such as a 5K walk/run or a golf tournament.  The teams work together to raise the funds and put on an event to honor loved ones who have been touched with the disease. Get all the information on the day and how to find a team or start a team from the Alzheimer’s...

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Mediterranean Diet Fights Memory Decay

Posted by on 8:27 pm in News, Nutrition | 0 comments

Mediterranean Diet Fights Memory Decay

It’s been known for a while that the Mediterranean diet is good for your heart, but now new findings show that it can help stave off memory loss as you age. The diet, known for its use of olive oil, leafy green vegetables, plenty of fresh fruit, fish, whole grains and nuts, can improve cognitive function and reduce the risk for dementia, according to the study, which was released in May in the JAMA Internal Medicine. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Barcelona in Spain. It is the first clinical, randomized study and tracked mental acuity of healthy seniors who were on the Mediterranean diet, plus an additional serving of nuts or extra virgin olive oil daily. Another group of seniors were put on a low-fat diet. After fours years, the seniors who ate the low-fat diet had worse results on cognitive tests and those seniors who at the Mediterranean diet did not see cognitive decline. Listen to this NPR story on the study. So how can you get more of the foods from the Mediterranean into your daily diet or those of your aging parents or other loved ones? Look for foods that are familiar to people who may have grown up with a Southern diet. Feeding them couscous right off the bat might be too radical. But meals such as grilled shrimp served over a salad with cherry tomatoes and white beans – flavored with a light dressing of extra virgin olive oil, a tablespoon of lemon juice and salt and pepper — would be a Mediterranean take on a summer salad. Grilled salmon over a Greek salad of lettuce, sliced red onion, black olives, large diced Roma tomatoes, diced cucumber, torn pieces of garlic bread with an olive oil-based vinaigrette is a filling meal for lunch or dinner. A lot of elders in the Black community grew up eat sardines – they are high in protein and inexpensive. Try mixing in a can of tomato sauce-packed sardines with a whole-wheat fettuccini tossed with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice and sautéed chopped garlic. Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on top to set it off. It is quick, simple, filling and has most of the healthy foods that make up the core of the Mediterranean diet. A small bowl of fresh strawberries afterward would be the perfect dessert, especially with a dollop of non-fat sour cream sprinkled with a bit of brown sugar and pecans. Bam! Done. Or you could pull some ideas from the other side of the Mediterranean in North Africa. Try the Libyan omelet known as Shakshouka, which are eggs poached in a tomato sauce with chili peppers, onions and spiced with cumin. Egyptians as well as people from Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria also love this dish. A simple side dish for carrot lovers is this Libyan mix of carrot, cumin, coriander and garlic. At better grocery stores you can pick fresh dolmas, which are grape leaves stuffed with a rice mixture of crushed red tomatoes, onion, parsley, dill, salt, pepper and Mediterranean spices. Some dolmas might contain ground beef; others are strictly vegetarian. The bonus part is they are highly portable and can be eaten cold and on the run. Four nice-size dolmas and a side salad is a filling lunch....

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Root Vegetables: Old School Nutrition

Posted by on 2:41 pm in Nutrition | Comments Off on Root Vegetables: Old School Nutrition

Root Vegetables: Old School Nutrition

If you are struggling to eat more vegetables and get more natural fiber in your diet, think about returning to your roots. Fifty years ago, many black families had gardens — even if they lived in urban areas. They grew staples from down home: turnips, carrots, beets and onions among other delicacies. Getting your hands in the earth was both financially and physically beneficial. Even if you are green thumb-challenged, getting these super vegetables on your table is as easy as hitting the local farmers market or the corner grocery. If you live in a food desert, where stores that sell fresh fruits and vegetables are scarce, think about planting some of these root vegetables yourself. The health benefits are extraordinary. Carrots are high in beta-carotene and other anti-oxidants that help the body fight off disease. Beets are high in minerals and vitamins, including A, B, C and folic acid. Beets are also high fiber and rich in iron that strengthen the blood. They help to cleanse the body and can help with sex drive as well. Turnips can keep blood pressure low and help decrease the risk of diabetes, obesity and hearth disease. Onions are high in Vitamin C and they can also assist in regulating blood sugar. For centuries they’ve been used to heal infections and reduce inflammation. For middle-age people looking to maintain their health, adding these root vegetables can  lower the risk for so many disease that can plague you in your elder years. Keep your knees and heart healthier by incorporating root vegetables in your diet. These vegetables can also help with the very problems that are known to increase your risk of dementia – obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Curious? Try this super simple recipe for roasted root vegetables, courstesy of the U.S. Agriculture department. Photo courtesy of Le Living and co and licensed under CC 2.0 Photo courtesy of Gunnar Magnusson – Root Vegetables and licensed under CC...

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ID Thieves Love Seniors

Posted by on 8:06 pm in News | 0 comments

ID Thieves Love Seniors

In February Health insurer Anthem, an independent Blue Cross Blue Shield service provider,  reported that at least 8.8 million people could be victims of a massive data breach in which the names, dates of birth, social security numbers and other sensitive material could have been harvested. That same month in Indianapolis, police busted an identity theft ring targeting elderly people in at least one nursing home. Police found more than $100,000 in money and merchandise stolen from victims. The culprits opened fraudulent credit cards in the seniors names and went on shopping sprees. The victims of the thieves ranged in age from 80 to 90.   And in California just this month, police arrested a woman who they said burglarized senior citizens living in a senior citizen apartment complex near Fresno. The woman was identified as an employee at the apartment complex who made off with jewelry and other items and who opened fraudulent credit cards in her victims’ names. Seniors are prime targets for identity thieves because they may not be actively monitoring their credit or may be too trusting of people looking to work scams on them to gain their identity or money. LockLife, a credit monitoring and identity protection company, say there are other reasons why seniors are often on ID thieves hit lists: they might not report the crime because they are embarrassed they were had; they might have a large nest egg that is tempting for con artists and increased use of Medicare might mean sensitive information – such as social security numbers and birthdates – are in the hands of more and more people at doctors offices or assisted living facilities. LifeLock has several suggestions for seniors or their care-givers to keep ID theft at bay: Don’t carry your social security card Never give out Medicare or Medicaid information over the phone or in answer to an email Pick up new checks at the bank rather than have them mailed For more tips, click here. If you or your loved one is an Anthem customer — as my own mother is — go online to sign up for free credit monitoring to make sure someone is not out shopping with credit cards created in their victims names. Credit cards by Sean MacEntee license under CC...

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Vitamin B12 Deficient in Many Elders

Posted by on 10:39 pm in Nutrition | 0 comments

Vitamin B12 Deficient in Many Elders

Deficiencies in the level of B12 can cause serious problems for seniors, including but not limited to cognitive problems, anemia, poor circulation and balance issues. As a person ages, their ability to absorb Vitamin B12 is reduced, even if they are eating meat and dairy products. Find out more about how this deficiency can harm seniors from A Place for Mom.

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