Understanding Dementia

Dementia is progressive loss of cognitive function, marked by memory problems and confused thinking. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's Disease, a fatal condition that affects more than 5 million Americans. Dementia most often occurs during old age, but is a more severe form of decline than that of normal aging.

Recent posts on Dementia

Mastering Malnutrition

By Mark Corkins M.D. on October 27, 2016 in Your Child’s Health
Malnutrition is an increasing US healthcare concern. The majority of hospitalizations involving malnutrition are among older, African-American, and low income and rural areas.

The Golden Years: Traumatic Stress and Aging

By Shaili Jain M.D. on October 20, 2016 in The Aftermath of Trauma
Recently, I spoke with Dr. Joan Cook, clinical psychologist and Associate Professor in the Yale School of Medicine, about PTSD in older adults.

Personality and the Brain, Part 4

When the bossy left hemisphere is “shushed” and the creative right brain is allowed to “speak,” artistic talent proliferates.

Do “Brain Games” Sharpen Your Mind?

Over the past decade, scientists have zeroed in on “brain training” to improve cognitive skills. But does it work?

Alzheimer's Study Links Triad of Brain Areas with Cognition

By Christopher Bergland on October 07, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
Researchers at Harvard Medical School have discovered that various Alzheimer's disease symptoms are linked to a combination of atrophy factors in three different brain regions.

Caffeine Helps Prevent Memory Loss, Research Shows

By Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN on October 06, 2016 in Cravings
If you're worried about memory loss, new research says caffeine may be your drug of choice.

Coffee: Warding Off Dementia and Identifying Psychopaths

By Rita Watson MPH on September 28, 2016 in With Love and Gratitude
Coffee may ward off dementia and coffee preferences can help identify antisocial behavior.

Memory Loss Associated With Alzheimer's May Be Reversible

By Kevin Murnane, Ph.D. on September 28, 2016 in The Info Monkey
New research holds out hope that the loss of memory function that accompanies Alzheimer's may be preventable and reversible if the disease is caught early enough.

The Golden Years...Not So Golden.

By Ana Nogales on September 28, 2016 in Family Secrets
Think of the last day of your life. How will you feel to reflect on your journey?

$50m Judgment Says Brain Training a Sham

By Richard E. Cytowic M.D. on September 19, 2016 in The Fallible Mind
Letting someone else sharpen your brain sounds great. Except it doesn't work, and you have to do the work yourself. The good news is that it isn't so hard.

Your Left Cerebellar Hemisphere May Play a Role in Cognition

By Christopher Bergland on September 17, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
Traditionally, the cerebellum has been considered a "non-thinking" part of our brain. However, a new study reports that specific cerebellar brain regions are involved in cognition.

Study: More Exercise Isn't Necessarily Better for Your Brain

By Christopher Bergland on September 10, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
Do you hate to exercise? If so, I have good news. A new study reports that you do not have to be an exercise fanatic to reap the neuroprotective benefits of physical activity.

If Alzheimer’s Disease Was Treated Like Cancer

By Mario D Garrett Ph.D. on September 08, 2016 in iAge
Translating The Blue Ribbon Panel of expert advisers basic steps in research applied for dementia. A real set of guidelines for the malady of the 21st century.

Connecting in the Land of Dementia

By The Book Brigade on September 08, 2016 in The Author Speaks
It’s possible to connect with those who have dementia. The trick is to select activities that call on powers of creativity and communication that bypass rational thinking.

Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease Is Easier Than You Think

By Georgia Ede MD on September 07, 2016 in Diagnosis: Diet
The long, slow journey to Alzheimer's Disease begins in your twenties. Find out if you are already on the road to dementia, and how you can change course right now.

Labor Is Love

There are hidden blessings for at-home caretakers of Alzheimer's sufferers

For Those With Alzheimer’s, a Place to Remember

By Ira Hyman Ph.D. on August 26, 2016 in Mental Mishaps
Alzheimer’s disease slowly and invariably steals a person’s past. But we may be able to create environments that help recall it.

Sing Your Heart Out in the Old Age Home

By Temma Ehrenfeld on August 16, 2016 in Open Gently
To help someone with dementia, load up a Mp3 player with her favorite songs and give her a set of headphones, as long as there is staff to supervise. When you visit, sing.

Understanding Elder Abuse (Part Two)

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on August 10, 2016 in Media Spotlight
As more Baby Boomers reach retirement age, the demand for help and the burden this places on family members, will mean more cases of elder abuse as well.

The Neuroprotective Powers of Exercise Should Motivate You

By Christopher Bergland on August 06, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
Do you need a new source of motivation to become more physically active? If so, there is growing evidence that exercise increases brain size and reduces dementia risk as you age.

A Billionaire Looks at Death

By Robin Marantz Henig on July 29, 2016 in Cusp
Finding out by chance George Soros' interest in end-of-life decision-making and why it's important.

Why Is Poor Balance Strongly Correlated With Dementia Risk?

A first-of-its-kind study has identified a strong link between poor balance and the risk of dementia in older age. What is the neuroscience behind this correlation?

If We Only Had a Brain: Participate in a Clinical Trial

By Greg O'Brien on July 26, 2016 in On Pluto
Just a few keyboard swipes could put the U.S. on the road to triumph over Alzheimer’s. If you're experiencing memory loss that disrupts your daily life, seek help. Take the test.

Education and the Aging Brain

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on July 06, 2016 in Media Spotlight
A new study explores the value of higher education in helping seniors stay mentally active and avoid serious health problems such as Alzheimer's disease.

Yes, Benzos Are Bad for You

By Allen J Frances M.D. on July 01, 2016 in Saving Normal
The benzos are dangerously seductive – easy and pleasant to start, but frequently addictive and almost impossible to stop. They do little good and cause much harm.

5 Keys to Providing Quality Dementia Care at Home

Quality dementia care is the source of my mother's contentment and having a team of caregivers is key to my father's very survival. Here's how we've created our pleasant journey.

The Health Benefits of Socializing

By Angela K. Troyer Ph.D., C.Psych. on June 30, 2016 in Living With Mild Cognitive Impairment
Connecting with friends can improve your brain health and may even lower your risk of dementia.

The Bright Side of Dementia

Dementia is devastating, but somehow we’ve turned my mother's journey, our journey, into a treasure hunt. Here are some of the blessings we've discovered.

Pain, Ambiguous Loss and Acceptance

Acceptance can be learning to accept that pain, right now, is reality, while simultaneously fighting for a better future.