Posts Tagged ‘memory’

Dementia and Acting Out Dreams

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

A recent Mayo Clinic study found a link between acting out dreams and the development of dementia. For details, see the following Mayo Clinic news release:

The strongest predictor of whether a man is developing dementia with Lewy bodies — the second most common form of dementia in the elderly — is whether he acts out his dreams while sleeping, Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered. Patients are five times more likely to have dementia with Lewy bodies if they experience a condition known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder than if they have one of the risk factors now used to make a diagnosis, such as fluctuating cognition or hallucinations, the study found.

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in San Diego. REM sleep behavior disorder is caused by loss of the normal muscle paralysis that occurs during REM sleep. It can appear three decades or more before a diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies is made in males, the researchers say. The link between dementia with Lewy bodies and the sleep disorder is not as strong in women, they add.

“While it is, of course, true that not everyone who has this sleep disorder develops dementia with Lewy bodies, as many as 75 to 80 percent of men with dementia with Lewy bodies in our Mayo database did experience REM sleep behavior disorder. So it is a very powerful marker for the disease," says lead investigator Melissa Murray, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

The study’s findings could improve diagnosis of this dementia, which can lead to beneficial treatment, Dr. Murray says.

“Screening for the sleep disorder in a patient with dementia could help clinicians diagnose either dementia with Lewy bodies or Alzheimer’s disease," she says. "It can sometimes be very difficult to tell the difference between these two dementias, especially in the early stages, but we have found that only 2 to 3 percent of patients with Alzheimer’s disease have a history of this sleep disorder.”

Once the diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies is made, patients can use drugs that can treat cognitive issues, Dr. Murray says. No cure is currently available.

Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and Florida, led by Dr. Murray, examined magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, scans of the brains of 75 patients diagnosed with probable dementia with Lewy bodies. A low-to-high likelihood of dementia was made upon an autopsy examination of the brain.

The researchers checked the patients’ histories to see if the sleep disorder had been diagnosed while under Mayo care. Using this data and the brain scans, they matched a definitive diagnosis of the sleep disorder with a definite diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies five times more often than they could match risk factors, such as loss of brain volume, now used to aid in the diagnosis. The researchers also showed that low-probability dementia with Lewy bodies patients who did not have the sleep disorder had findings characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.

“When there is greater certainty in the diagnosis, we can treat patients accordingly. Dementia with Lewy bodies patients who lack Alzheimer’s-like atrophy on an MRI scan are more likely to respond to therapy — certain classes of drugs — than those who have some Alzheimer’s pathology," Dr. Murray says.

The study’s other key researchers at Mayo include neuroradiologist Kejal Kantarci, M.D., neuropsychologist Tanis J. Ferman, Ph.D., neurologist Bradley F. Boeve, M.D., and neuropathologist Dennis W. Dickson, M.D.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging, the Harry T. Mangurian, Jr., Foundation, and the Robert H. and Clarice Smith and Abigail Van Buren Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program of the Mayo Foundation.

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Sleep and Memory

Monday, March 4th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Recent research published in the journal Nature Neuroscience looked at the effects of lighter sleep — which often accompanies aging — on memory skills. The small study involved 18 young people (average age 20) and 15 older adults (average age 72).

Given a memory test after sleeping, the older persons scored 55 percent lower than the young persons. The researchers think that the older adults remembered less than their younger counterparts during the memory task because the older persons’ sleep was not as deep.

With age, sleep may become lighter due to sleep interruptions caused by aches, pains and/or the need to urinate. However, sleep quality can be improved which might, in turn, lead to better everyday memory function.

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Think Smart

Monday, May 23rd, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Attention senior fitness professionals: You may wish to share the following brain fitness pointer with your older adult physical activity participants – and put it to work for yourself, as well.

Writing for the May 13-15, 2011, edition of USA Weekend, Cara Hedgepeth recently described the book The Winner’s Brain by Jeff Brown, Mark Fenske and Liz Neporent. Its authors maintain that qualities such as motivation are more important than IQ when it comes to achieving success in life.

Just one useful idea presented in The Winner’s Brain involves using a technique called “bookending” in order to help oneself prioritize goals and finish the most important task at hand.
When a number of things are on one’s mind, it can be difficult to focus on the job that needs to be wrapped up first. To utilize bookending, one should mentally employ cue words (such as “now”) to represent the needed bookend. Describing the conscious process, Hedgepeth writes: “Put everything but one task on the other side of that bookend so you can work on accomplishing that one goal. Once you’ve completed that task, lift the bookend and move on to the next.”

For additional ways to help your older adult health-fitness clients maximize their cognitive function, enroll in SFA’s popular professional education program “Brain Fitness for Older Adults.”

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Looking Back — And Forward — With Smiles

Thursday, March 24th, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

During the first quarter of 2011, SFA has begun a number of exciting initiatives including the preparatory stages of two new professional education courses. As these events unfold, look for detailed announcements in Experience! Below are just a few highlights from 2010:

  • SFA president Janie Clark continued to champion older adult quality of life in her role as an effective advocate for optimal senior fitness programming. She served on the National AFib Support Team, which was sponsored by the pharmaceutical corporation sanofi-aventis to promote a better understanding of atrial fibrillation among laypersons, medical personnel, and health-fitness professionals. She appeared on Retirement Living Television and wrote for EP Lab Digest, the news and clinical update publication for electrophysiology professionals. She also gave interviews for articles in Club Industry magazine, the Chicago Tribune, American Fitness magazine (published by AFAA, the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America), and numerous other media outlets.
  • SFA launched a popular newsletter and website series "Who’s Who in Senior Fitness" which profiles individuals who’ve made key contributions to the field. Upcoming issues of Experience! will feature Kay Van Norman, Jim Evans, and more.
  • The Association signed on to exciting new corporate partnership and distributorship agreements.
  • SFA members achieved numerous worthwhile accomplishments, many of which were documented in Experience! You can access past issues by visiting SFA’s website.
  • SFA’s latest professional education program, Brain Fitness for Older Adults, continued to earn stellar expert reviews, such as the following statement by neuroscientist Dr. Ryan McKim, PsyD: "Drawing on recent neuroscientific research, SFA has designed a thoughtful and progressive training program for senior fitness professionals interested in integrating cognitive fitness into their existing physical activity programs. Recent advances in neuroscience are drawing long overdue attention to the importance of cognitive health. SFA has designed an impressive and well-researched training program for senior fitness professionals."
  • Educational participants gained vital knowledge and expertise from their SFA courses. Below are some commentaries from students who completed their work during the past few months.
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    A compound found in plants such as peppers, carrots and celery may help reduce memory deficits

    Thursday, October 21st, 2010

    Luteolin, a compound found in plants such as peppers, carrots and celery may help reduce memory deficits. The results of a study conducted at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, indicated that luteolin can help protect the brain against inflammation, “a key contributor to age-related memory problems.” Study leader Rodney Johnson added that “these data suggest that consuming a healthy diet has the potential to reduce age-associated inflammation in the brain, which can result in better cognitive health.” For a report from ScienceDaily, please click below.

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    Walking may help protect your “little gray cells”

    Thursday, October 14th, 2010

    Walking may help preserve brain mass and, more importantly, guard against memory loss. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh studied the walking patterns of 299 “dementia-free” elderly participants (average age 78 years). They then tracked their development 9 and 13 years later. Results showed that those participants who walked 6 to 9 miles miles per week had greater gray matter volume and had “cut their risk of developing memory problems in half.” Click below for a news release from the American Academy of Neurology.

     

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    Ah, the Memories

    Friday, September 17th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    Enjoy some memorable mental stimulation by checking out SFA’s September 17 entries on “In the News” (which accompanies this newsletter). The two entries of note concern memory fitness. One is a short report on an interesting scientific study, and the other is just for fun as singer-songwriter Tom Rush performs a tune sure to spark your humor neurons!

     

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    The “Remember Song” from singer-songwriter Tom Rush takes a light-hearted look at senior moments

    Friday, September 17th, 2010

    An extremely popular video of the song has been posted to YouTube and has now been viewed well over 4 million times. Please click below to see it.

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    Men may be more likely that women to have mild cognitive impairment

    Friday, September 17th, 2010

    Men may be 1-1/2 times more likely that women to have mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Ronald Petersen, MD, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN., stated that results from a study of 2,050 people (ages 70 to 89) found that “nearly 14 percent of participants had mild cognitive impairment, about 10 percent had dementia and 76 percent of those tested had normal memory and thinking skills. A total of 19 percent of men had mild cognitive impairment, compared to 14 percent of women.” Click below for a report from ScienceDaily.

     

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    A Neuroscientist on SFA’s Brain Fitness Program

    Tuesday, September 7th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    The American Senior Fitness Association (SFA) is pleased to offer special back-to-school savings on our Brain Fitness for Older Adults professional education program. Details on this time-limited opportunity are provided below. But first, here are the comments of two recent expert reviewers of the program:

  • Neuroscientist Dr. Ryan McKim: "Cognitive fitness and physical fitness are a natural fit. Drawing on recent neuroscientific research, the SFA has designed a thoughtful and progressive training program for senior fitness professionals interested in integrating cognitive fitness exercises into their existing physical activity programs. This powerful combination has the potential to make a significant impact on the health and well-being of older adults." Dr. McKim continues: "Recent advances in neuroscience are drawing long overdue attention to the importance of cognitive health. The SFA has designed an impressive and well-researched training program for senior fitness professionals."
  • Gerontologist Dr. Kathryn Thomas: "The SFA brain fitness materials gracefully strike the balance between rigorous research and practical, actionable information. The materials synthesize an enormous amount of research in a way that is manageable and enjoyable for the reader. I highly recommend the program to anyone wanting to get up to speed and actively involved in the brain fitness movement."
  • Ryan McKim, PsyD, is a clinical neuropsychologist specializing in the assessment of memory and cognitive rehabilitation. At San Francisco’s VA Medical Center, he is investigating neuroplasticity and developing novel strategies for veterans with traumatic brain injuries. Dr. McKim teaches neuropsychological assessment at the California Institute of Integral Studies and is vice president of research & outcomes at NeoCORTA Proactive Brain Fitness.

    Kathryn Thomas, PhD, is a gerontologist whose research has been published in peer reviewed journals and presented at national conferences. Dr. Thomas is an adjunct professor at Georgia State University’s Gerontology Institute and is director of business development at NeoCORTA.

    Call 888-689-6791 to take advantage of special savings on SFA’s Brain Fitness for Older Adults professional education program during our back-to-school event ending September 17, 2010. SFA office hours are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm ET weekdays. For ordering information, click on Special Savings. Be sure to sign in to receive your member discounts.

    SFA, winner of the National Council on Aging’s Best Practice Award for professional education programs, can help you expand your older adult health-fitness services. For details about SFA’s Brain Fitness for Older Adults distance learning course — including selected excerpts from the text — click on Become a Cognitive Fitness Facilitator.

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