From the Washington Post, by Melissa Bailey February 6, 2017
Despite a 99 percent failure rate and a recent setback, Alzheimer’s researchers are plowing ahead with hundreds of experiments — and a boost in federal money — to try to crack a deadly disease that has flummoxed them for decades.
A law passed by Congress in December and signed by President Barack Obama sets aside $3 billion over 10 years to fund research of brain diseases and precision medicine, a shot in the arm for Alzheimer’s research. The law, called the 21st Century Cures Act, also includes prize money to encourage Alzheimer’s experiments.
But billions of dollars have so far made little progress in decoding the memory-robbing disease, which affects 5 million Americans. Alzheimer’s is the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death. Decades of research have not produced a single drug that alters its course.
December began with a major setback: Eli Lilly shared disappointing results of a late-stage clinical trial of its experimental drug solanezumab, which failed to significantly slow Alzheimer’s progression.
But scientists aren’t giving up on the main hypothesis behind Eli Lilly’s trial: that Alzheimer’s can be defeated by using drugs to attack amyloid plaques that build up in the brain. Some scientists believe these cause the disease.
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Association Between Mentally Stimulating Activities in Late Life and the Outcome of Incident Mild Cognitive Impairment, With an Analysis of the APOE ε4 Genotype
From JAMA Neurology, January 30, 2017 (click here for full text PDF article)
Question Does engaging in a mentally stimulating activity in old age associate with neurocognitive function?
Findings In this population-based cohort study, 1929 cognitively normal participants 70 years or older were followed for approximately 4 years. The following activities were associated with significant decreased risk of new-onset mild cognitive impairment: computer use, craft activities, social activities, and playing games.
Meaning Engaging in a mentally stimulating activity even in late life may decrease the risk of mild cognitive impairment.
Abstract (click Read More)
From our friends at the Amen Clinics . . .
Losing your memory or developing brain fog in your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, or even 80’s is NOT normal. Just because it happens to so many people and is somewhat common does not mean that it is normal or healthy. It is a sign of trouble and needs to be taken seriously.
Putting a Memory Rescue Plan in PlaceIf you experience challenges with your memory, it is important to realize that you are on a precipice – you can ignore the fact that you are standing on the edge of that cliff, keep walking and fall off. Or you can get serious about taking better care of your brain, and turn around.
If you want to rescue your memory, here are 7 steps to take:
Love and Protect Your BrainJust as a parent shields a child from harm, it is imperative to take a proactive approach in keeping your brain safe from trouble. As simple as this idea is, most people never really think about brain security. Remember – your brain is soft, your skull is hard. It is critical that you protect your brain from concussions. You can also protect your brain by reducing your exposure to toxins – such as pesticides, molds, carbon monoxide, cleaning products, heavy metals, drugs, and alcohol.
Know and Optimize Your Important NumbersHaving important health numbers at an optimal level is critical to brain function. However, you can’t change what you don’t measure. Be aware of your:
Engage in New LearningResearch is clear that new learning and stimulating lifestyles lead to better cognitive outcomes later in life. If your job does not provide new learning opportunities, create them for yourself – take a class, start a new hobby, learn a new language, begin playing an instrument.
Get Good SleepHealthy sleep is absolutely essential to a brain healthy life. Sleep rejuvenates all the cells in your body, gives brain cells a chance to repair themselves, helps wash away neurodegenerative toxins that build up during the day, and activates neuronal connections that might otherwise deteriorate due to inactivity. Practice good sleep hygiene to optimize your sleep habits.
ExerciseExercise alone is the veritable fountain of youth. The more you exercise, the healthier your blood vessels and blood flow, which leads to overall improved brain function and better memory. Make sure to combine aerobic exercise four to five times per week with weight training two to three times per . . .
I'm a research-driven Boomer with concerns - like many of my friends - about keeping our minds sharp and leaning-in against the age-related mental impairments that impact our parents - and may impact lots of us in the years ahead.
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