Risk For Depression Higher If Using These Medications

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1 in 3 U.S. adults takes a medication that lists depression as a side effect.

The research shows that the prevalence of depression among participants rose as they took more medications that list depression as an adverse effect.

“I’m hoping this information will slow the process down a little bit, and that primary care doctors will also take a look at what medications the person is on and … consider that as a potential explanation for the patient’s depression.” – Dr. Mark Olfson

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More insights on Alzheimer’s disease – how some brains are protected

A feature of the brain’s neurons called dendritic spines may protect against dementia, according to new findings.

Neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques appear in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, but not everyone who has these formations goes on to develop the disease. Between 30 and 50 percent of patients with the plaques and tangles do not develop Alzheimer’s disease. Why not? Scientists have been looking for the reasons.

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham found the answer may lie in dendritic spines. The dendritic spines of a neuron help it make connections with other neurons and send information. These parts of the neuron may protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

Dendrites, the branched projections of a neuron that transfer electrochemical stimulation from other neural cells to the cell body, have small membranous protrustions called dendritic spines. Each dendritic spine receives input from a single axon at the synapse. The loss of dendritic spines results in the loss of synapses, which can impair cognition. Logically, subects with normal brains would have healthy dendritic spines, and those with dementia would not. The researchers tested the structures and published the results in the journal Annals of Neurology.

The scientists compared dendritic spines in 21 patients with Alzheimer’s, 8 patients who had Alzheimer’s brain changes but no symptoms, and 12 healthy patients. Using bright-field microscopy, Professor Jeremy Herskowitz and the team took images of the dendritic spines, then used the images to create a 3-D digital reconstruction.

The healthy control subjects had more dendritic spines than the subjects with Alzheimer’s. The subjects with Alzheimer’s brain changes but no symptoms also had more spines than the Alzheimer’s subjects — and almost the same dendritic spine density as the healthy subjects. The group with pathology but no symptoms group had very long dendritic spines, longer than both the other groups.

Longer dendritic spines might indicate greater neuroplasticity — the capacity to change and form new neural connections. Increased neuroplasticity could enable the neurons to bypass plaques and tangles, and still communicate with other neurons. If so, this phenomenon could explain why some people who have Alzheimer’s pathology do not show cognitive impairment.

The research suggests that it may be possible for the brain to rebuild neurons. The information gained in the study may help scientists to develop new therapies, especially when brain changes are detected before symptoms appear.

In 2014, a study at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, published in the journal Science, showed that getting sleep after learning helps neurons form connections, through dendritic branches, that may help brain cells pass information to each other and facilitate long-term memory.

The scientists observed mice that were genetically modified so a particular protein in their brain cells would fluoresce when viewed with a laser scanning microscope. The fluorescence allowed the team to track the growth of new spines along each branch of a dendrite. The mice sprouted new dendritic spines within 6 hours of learning a new task. Different structural changes occurred for different types of learning.

Healthier and more numerous dendritic spines may be a genetic trait, but the brain also may respond to healthy diet and lifestyle. According to Medical News Today, research suggests that as many as a third of dementia cases can be prevented by regular exercise and an active social life.

For more information on Alzheimer’s and dementia, and care choices, see the Guide To Long Term Care.

 

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New Hope That Healthy Gut Bacteria Can Prevent Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s may be more more preventable than previously thought. A new study indicates that healthy bacteria in the digestive tract may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.  

The study, from Lund University in Sweden, finds that unhealthy intestinal bacteria accelerate the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Published in the journal Scientific Reports, the study demonstrates that mice with Alzheimer’s have different gut bacteria than those who do not have the disease.

When a group of bacteria-free mice were exposed to bacteria from rodents with Alzheimer’s, their brains showed the beta-amyloid plaques characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. Bacteria-free mice who were colonized with bacteria from healthy rodents developed significantly fewer brain plaques.

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Many of the body’s immune cells are found in the digestive tract. Scientists hypothesize that bacteria may affect T-cells in the gut that control inflammation, both locally and systemically. And inflammation is a factor in Alzheimer’s disease.

In a 2014 paper published in the journal Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, researchers listed ten different ways that microbes in the gut may contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, including by fungal and bacterial infections in the intestinal tract and by increasing the permeability of the blood-brain barrier.

The composition of bacteria in a person’s digestive tract is determined partly by genetics, but can be affected by lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, stress, and exposure to toxins. A person can increase “friendly” gut bacteria by eating a healthy diet including whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, along with probiotics. This strategy may help to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

For more information on Alzheimer’s disease and how to plan for care, refer to the Guide To Long Term Care.

 

Note: You must insure before being diagnosed, this is true for many diseases like Parkinson’s, dementia/Alzheimer’s and many others.

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Dental services are underused in nursing homes

Residents at long term care facilities often will not go to the dentist even when it’s free.

A University of Buffalo study reviewed dental and medical records of over 2,500 residents at a nursing and rehabilitation center. Only 10 percent of them got a dental examination while in the facility.

The State of New York requires long term care facilities to offer dental services at admission and yearly during a patient’s stay.

For the patients in the study, the average length of stay was two years, but almost half of them were there for less than a month. Among patients who stayed less than a month, only 7 percent took advantage of available dental services. Use of the dentists rose to 30 percent among those who stayed a month to two years, and to 55 percent for those who stayed longer than two years.

Involved family members could encourage residents to get a dental checkup. For more information on paying for nursing home costs, see Who Pays for Long Term Care at Guide To Long Term Care.

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Blood type and dementia

Researchers have found that one particular blood type increases your risk for dementia.
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There are different blood types in humans.  The most common is Type O positive; 37 out of 100 people are Type O+.  Type O negative is less common, 6 out of every 100.

The second most common is Type A positive, which occurs in 34 of 100 people. Type A negative appears in around 6 of 100 people.

Type B positive is next at 10 out of 100 people. Type B negative is found in 2 of 100.

The most uncommon blood type is AB.  AB positive occurs in 4 people out of 100 and AB negative is extremely rare at 1 of 100 people.
Researchers at at the University of Vermont College of Medicine found that the AB blood type is at the greatest risk for developing dementia. AB blood type raises your risk of developing dementia by 82%! This blood group has higher than average levels of Factor VIII, which causes your blood to clot faster. High blood levels of Factor VIII are associated with a high risk for cognitive problems, impaired thinking, and memory loss.

If you don’t know your blood type, you can get a blood test from your doctor.

Even if you have Type AB blood, you can lower your risk of developing dementia. There is a Factor VIII which will determine how high your levels are. For people who have elevated Factor VIII, there are sometimes underlying conditions that aggravate it: copper deficiencies; diabetes; inflammation; and advanced age (aging naturally increases blood clotting factors).

If Factor VIII levels are elevated, doctors sometimes prescribe blood thinners. There are also natural ways to decrease blood clotting factors. These include: making sure you have enough copper in your diet; taking vitamin E; and nattokinase (best taken under the advice of a physician).

More studies are needed on the association of dementia with Type AB. However, having another blood type doesn’t mean you have no risk of dementia. The same risk factors that predispose you to heart attack and stroke – such as obesity, diabetes, and inflammation – also raise your risk for dementia. Healthy diet and lifestyle to help get these factors under control can help reduce your risk of cognitive decline, no matter what your blood type is.

Find out more about Alzheimer’s and dementia at Guide To Long Term Care.


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Can eating fish reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s?

A recent study published in JAMA found that eating fish once or twice weekly may help to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in people who have the APOE e4 gene. (APOE e4 increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s but does not cause it; people without APOE e4 can have the disease.) Researchers studied the autopsied brains of 286 people who filled out an annual food frequency questionnaire during the years before they died.

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The study showed that those individuals who ate regularly ate seafood had lower density of neuritic plaques, less severe and widespread neurofibrillary tangles, and a 47% lower incidence of neuropathologically defined Alzheimer’s disease.

Dementia-related pathologies assessed were Alzheimer disease, Lewy bodies, and the number of macroinfarcts and microinfarcts.

One concern about eating fish is concentration of mercury in the tissues, and there were higher brain levels of mercury in those who ate fish regularly. However, the presence of mercury in the brain did not correlate with dementia or other brain pathology.

Consumption of fish oil supplements did not seem to play a significant role.

The study only found this diety correlation among APOE e4 carriers. Though the study indicates that one seafood meal a week is beneficial, it does not indicate that the more you eat, the lower the risk.

In other studies referenced in the article, the Mediterranean-style diet (rich in fruit, vegetables, legumes, cereals, and olive oil and including some poultry, little red meat, and regular fish intake) has been associated with better cognitive health and a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Consumption of fatty fish and fish oils has been associated with cognitive benefits, especially for brain development in infants and children. Intakes of fish or omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with slowing cognitive decline and decreasing risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia in older adults.

One in every three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. To find out more, and to prepare for the disabilities that come with aging, see Alzheimer’s on Guide To Long Term Care.

 


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Benzodiazepine Sedatives May Cause Dementia

Evidence Strengthening that Common Benzodiazepine Sedatives May Cause Dementia

A meta-analysis of scientific studies found that the risk of dementia increased 22% with every additional twenty daily doses of benzodiazepine medications that people took annually, according to a study in PLoS One.

The association between long-term benzodiazepine use and risk of dementia remains controversial. Therefore, current study aimed to quantify this association, and to explore a potential dose–response pattern. READ MORE

NOTE: Benzodiazepine by any other name: Diazepam, Alprazolam, Clonazepam, Lorazepam (more names)


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