Brain Scans in Newborns Provide Important Information

Assisted Living Centennial CO

Two recent studies from the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine have discovered some important information regarding the brains of newborns and how they can determine later cognitive development.  One study published in 2013, reports that brain scans of infants can indicate some of the same gene variants found in adults suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and autism.   One of the study authors, Rebecca Knickmeyer, states, “These results suggest that prenatal brain development may be a very important influence on psychiatric risk later in life.”  She added, “This could stimulate an exciting new line of research focused on preventing onset of illness through very early intervention in at-risk individuals.”

The study involved 272 infants who were given an MRI shortly after birth and had their DNA screened for 10 common variations in the seven genes associated with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and depression.  One important finding was the discovery that “brain changes found in adults such as the variation in the APOE gene that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease were very similar to the brain changes in the infants with the same variants.”

Another study from the university released late last year may provide yet more clues as to why some individuals develop cognitive problems later on in life.  The research, which was led by the director of the Early Brain Development Program at UNC’s Dept. of Psychiatry, John H. Gilmore, MD, found “white matter microstructure present at birth and that develops after birth predicts the cognitive function of children at ages 1 and 2.”

Dr. Gilmore explained that this was the first study ever done to measure and describe the development of white matter microstructure in children and its relationship to cognitive development.  During the study, 685 children had diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) scans done on their brains to identify white matter tracts in the brain as well as to describe the organization and maturation of the tracts.

Researchers concentrated on the 12 white matter fiber tracts that are important to cognitive function and studied their relationship to developing cognitive function and their heritability.

Gilmore said “With a better understanding of these relationships, we ultimately hope to be able to identify children at risk for cognitive problems or psychiatric disorders very early and come up with interventions that can help the brain develop in a way to improve function and reduce risk.”

MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan represents the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, home-like atmosphere. 

Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s is Difficult to Do Alone

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The Alzheimer’s Association just released a new survey on June 1 in conjunction with the start of the Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month.  To summarize, the Association found that while 91 percent of respondents agreed that “it often takes a village to provide care for someone living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, far too many caregivers are doing it alone.”

In fact 64 percent of caregivers said they felt isolated or alone in their situation and 84 percent wished they had more support with caregiving tasks, especially from other family members.  However the number one reason people stated that they did offer help was they felt another person had assumed the responsibilities.  Other respondents said they lived too far away to make it practical to assist with daily care.

Ruth Drew, the Director of Family and Information Services for the Alzheimer’s Association, explains that the problem is only going to get worse as life expectancies are getting longer and the number of older Americans is growing.  If there is no cure in the next couple of decades, statistics indicate that Alzheimer’s disease will almost triple by 2050 and increase from the 5.5 million afflicted today to 16 million.  Ms. Drew added that most families are unprepared and have not planned for the devastating toll this disease can inflict.

Please remember that the Alzheimer’s Association is a great resource and can help people navigate the disease with tools such as a 24/7 helpline, videos, infographics, and guidance on financial and legal planning.  Furthermore, families will find tips on long-distance caregiving and care coordination to help families better manage caregiver responsibilities as well as a community resource finder to help connect families with local resources.

At the MorningStar at Jordan’s Reflections Neighborhood, we feel honored to be able to care for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases.  We offer 29 secure studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom suites designed to allow residents to move freely about in spacious surroundings including enclosed courtyards and strolling paths.  Our highly individualized care ensures each resident is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan represents the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, home-like atmosphere. 

Source: alz.org/documents_custom/2017_abam_natl_pr_060117.pdf

 

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month

Assisted Living Centennial CO

June is the Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month and the Alzheimer’s Association®, wants to encourage everyone to take the time to learn the fact about Alzheimer’s disease and its impact on individuals and families nationwide.  On the front page of their website, they have a link for families to share stories and pictures of how the disease has touched their lives.

At MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan, we will again participate in a range of activities to honor the “The Longest Day.”  The event, started by the Alzheimer’s Association, takes place on the summer solstice.  Its goal is to help end Alzheimer’s and to raise funds and awareness for care and support as well as to advance research.

This year’s The Longest Day Events at MorningStar will include starting the day off with a Pancake Breakfast.  During the morning, we will show “Alive Inside,” a moving documentary that follows social worker Dan Cohen as he uses the healing power of music to unlock memory in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

We will also listen to a discussion from John H. Gilmore, MD, the director of the Early Brain Development Program in the UNC Department of Psychiatry.  Gilmore is the senior author of a study that is trying to identify cognitive problems and psychiatric disorders very early and to develop appropriate interventions.  Another highlight of the day will be a showing of the Glen Campbell Story, I’ll Be Me.  The film documents his amazing “Goodbye Tour” as he and his family attempt to navigate the wildly unpredictable nature of his progressing Alzheimer’s disease using love, laughter and music as their medicine of choice.

Furthermore, the day will include tasty treats such as “Lavender Smoothies on the Lanai” and “Blueberry Bingo”.  For more information on our day’s activities or to learn more about MorningStar at Jordan’s loving community, please visit our website.

MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan represents the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, home-like atmosphere.      

Your Loved One Deserves the Best Memory Care

Memory Care Living

Along with an increased awareness of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases, there has been a move to advance best care practices for those suffering from the disease over the last couple of decades.  In addition to medications that can help slow down the progression of the disease, many specialists in the field have worked to improve the approaches to care.

At MorningStar at Jordan, our Reflections Neighborhood is dedicated to the individualized care of those suffering from Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related diseases.  Our holistic care begins with the utmost respect and compassion for our special residents that is borne out of a deep understanding of the disease.   Furthermore, we recognize that a prognosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia is frightening to not only the individual but to their family and strive to provide support for them as well.

Our Reflections Neighborhood is equipped to care for your family member at the onset of the disease as well as in the most advanced stages.  Our community has secure outdoor space reserved for our memory care residents and we provide assistance in whatever way your loved one needs us including eating and daily personal care activities.  Right from the start, we interview the family so we may become familiar with the resident’s personal preferences, background, and hobbies, and then design a care plan suited around their needs.

Our care techniques include a variety of multi-sensory cues designed to calm and awaken memories as well as to support the person’s capabilities and affirm their dignity and value.  We strive to make each day as special as possible for our memory care residents and we have a wonderful team of caregivers that put their hearts and souls into helping us achieve that goal.  Please contact us to learn more about MorningStar at Jordan’s quality memory care.

At MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan, we represent the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, homey community.      

Is There a Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?

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There is often confusion between the definition of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia is not a specific disease.  Rather it is the overall term used to describe a wide range of symptoms that cause a decline in memory and other cognitive skills that reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.

Alzheimer’s disease accounts for up to 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases, while vascular dementia, which is caused by the damage from a stroke, is the second most common cause.  Other types of dementia may be a result of Huntington’s, Parkinson’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob diseases, and a person may have more than one form of dementia.  Thyroid problems, vitamin deficiencies, brain tumors, medication side effects as well as depression, excessive alcohol us and even infectious diseases can cause dementia-like symptoms; however in these cases, once the problem is correctly diagnosed, it is reversible.  This is why health care providers state the importance of getting a professional evaluation to determine the cause of your or your loved one’s symptoms.

In addition getting an accurate diagnosis at the onset of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia allows the person to receive the maximum benefit from the available treatments.  Furthermore, it gives the person time to plan for their future.

At MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan, we offer 55 suites for assisted living and 29 secure suites devoted to the individualized care for residents with memory impairment from Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.  Conveniently located in historic Centennial, we are near hospitals, banks, shopping malls, grocery stores and restaurants.  We offer residents a lifestyle of comfort, wellness and community and provide a whole range of resort-style amenities and wellness programs.

At MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan, we represent the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, homey community.      

Sources:.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp; well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/08/16/ask-well-is-dementia-the-same-as-alzheimers-disease/?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fask-well&action=click&contentCollection=well&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=12&pgtype=collection

 

Frequent Walks May Help Slow the Decline of Alzheimer’s

 

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A recent article from the New York Times reports on a study that achieved modest improvement in the physical decline and memory loss for some people in the early-stages of Alzheimer’s.  Conducted by the University of Kansas, it is one of the first studies to use physical activity as an experimental treatment for dementia and their results suggest frequent, brisk walks may help to “bolster physical abilities and slow memory loss”

While the improvements were not universal in all study participants, researchers are now considering the question of why exercise helps some people with dementia and not others.  We know earlier studies support a correlation between regular physical exercise and improved memory and also find that active seniors are less likely to develop mild cognitive decline, which is a frequent precursor to Alzheimer’s.  This may be due to the fact that brain scans show physically active older people have more volume in their brain’s hippocampus (the part of the brain linked to memory function) than their sedentary peers.

Until this study, most of the research has involved trying to prove whether or not exercise can help to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s.   In this new research, published by PLOSOne, it considers whether or not exercise can help to improve the trajectory of the disease.  The participants were all older adults who had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and were still in the early stages.  They also had the ability to walk well.

The research “assessed the effect of 26 weeks (6 months) of a supervised aerobic exercise program on memory, executive function, functional ability and depression in early AD.”  The conclusion drawn from the study suggests that the exercise fitness gains produced not only improved memory performance but reduced hippocampal atrophy.  It is still unclear why only some of the participants’ fitness endurance and brain activity improved.  Researchers speculate that perhaps a specific exercise program may be more beneficial to a wider group of participants.

At MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan, we represent the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.  Please contact us to schedule a tour.    

Sources:nytimes.com/2017/03/01/well/move/frequent-brisk-walks-may-aid-those-with-early alzheimers.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fwell&action=click&contentCollection=well&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0170547

 

Positive Attitude about Aging May Help Keep You Healthy

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An interesting study discovered that if you believe growing older is a negative thing, you may be more likely to develop brain changes typically associated with Alzheimer’s disease.  However the research, which was published in the American Psychological Association’s journal, Psychology and Aging, suggests that if a person shifts their thinking to more positive feelings on aging; it could actually help to mitigate the damages of Alzheimer’s.

Becca Levy, an associate professor of public health and psychology at the Yale School of Public Health and the study’s leader said, “We believe it is the stress generated by the negative beliefs about aging that individuals sometimes internalize from society that can result in pathological brain changes,” She goes on to explain that while the findings are concerning, “it is encouraging to realize that these negative beliefs about aging can be mitigated, and positive beliefs about aging can be reinforced, so that the adverse impact is not inevitable.”

The study examined several negative views such as the belief that elderly people are sickly and have little to contribute.  Positive beliefs included thinking that older people can lead vibrant lives and be engaged in society.  Other types of negative beliefs included ideas such as elderly people cannot concentrate well and are absent-minded.

All of the participants were a part of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, which is a long-term study out of Baltimore.  The first part of the study was conducted with 52 men and women who answered surveys about their opinions on aging.  Participants were also given regular MRI brain scans to check for signs of Alzheimer’s.  Those who answered questions about aging more negatively were found to have a “greater decline in the volume of the hippocampus, a part of the brain critical for memory.”  This is important as “the hippocampus is one of the first areas of the brain to shrink in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.”

The other component of the study was to conduct brain autopsies on 74 participants who had died.  Researchers found that the brains of those who had held more negative beliefs about aging had more plaques and tangles in their brain, which is a sign of Alzheimer’s.

The findings suggest to researchers that the U.S.’s negative view on aging as compared to other countries such as India, where it is seen more favorably, could contribute to Alzheimer’s being five times more prevalent in America.  Of course positive thinking is no guarantee for good brain health but it sure makes us feel better.

MorningStar at Arrowhead represents the best in senior living with a unique mission statement “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We have built our foundation on honoring God, valuing our seniors and hiring staff with a felt calling to serve to create a true home for residents amid a beautiful, serene setting. To experience firsthand the finest senior living in the Phoenix area, contact us to schedule a tour.

Sources:alzinfo.org/articles/research/negative-beliefs-about-aging-could-prime-the-brain-for-alzheimers/ Becca R. Levy, Martin D. Slade, Luigi Ferrucci, et al: “A Culture-Brain Link: Negative Age Stereotypes Predict Alzheimer’s-Disease Biomarkers.” Psychology and Aging, 12/2015