The New Scientist Magazine, September 3, 2012 issue explains the sugar-Alzheimer’s link as the condition by which our muscle, fat, and liver cells stop responding to insulin.
The cells no longer metabolize glucose properly thereby leading to insulin resistance or pre-diabetes.
This, then causes the pancreas to produce excess amounts of insulin even as excess glucose builds up in the blood causing insulin spikes which overwhelm the brain.
Insulin also regulates neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine, which are crucial for memory and learning and is also important for the function and growth of blood vessels, which supply oxygen and glucose to the brain.
There’s also research tying brain dysfunction directly to excess sugar consumption. In a 2012 study, UCLA scientists fed rats a heavy ration of fructose (which makes up roughly a half of both table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup) and noted both insulin resistance and impaired brain function within six weeks. Interestingly, they found both insulin function and brain performance to improve in the sugar-fed rats when they were also fed omega-3 fatty acids. In other words, another quirk of the American diet, deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids, seems to make us more vulnerable to the onslaught of sweets.
Another facet of our diets, lots of cheap added fats, may also trigger insulin problems and brain dysfunction. New Scientist flags yet another recent study, this one from University of Washington researchers, finding that rats fed a high-fat diet for a year lost their ability to regulate insulin, developed diabetes, and showed signs of brain deterioration.
Government subsidies of corn and sugar have made these commodities incredibly inexpensive for the food industry which puts sweeteners in almost everything we eat.
This, at the same time Alzheimer’s costs $200 billion a year in health care alone.
The results published online May 18 in the journal Annals of Neurology has shown that the cognitive function of older women who ate monounsaturated fats was better than those who ate saturated and trans fats.
Compared with those women who ate the lowest amounts of saturated fats, women in the highest saturated-fat category showed worse overall cognition and memory over the four years of testing. Women who ate the most mono-unsaturated fats, which can be found in olive oil, had better patterns of cognitive scores over time. Trans fats weren’t associated with changes in cognition over time, the researchers reported.
With diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia on the rise, the benefits could be greater that simply better memories and improved cognition.
Preventive measures to stem the increase of debilitating brain illness could benefit millions.
Alzheimer’s statistics projected for 2050 show the grim reality that will be faced by many.
11 million additional people will have the condition in the United States.
115.4 million will have it worldwide, compared to the current figure of about 35.6 million.
$1.1 trillion will be spent in the U.S. on caregiving costs, compared with $200 billion this year.
The new strategy supports a $7.9 million dollar study on an insulin nasal spray treatment. Separately, researchers will work on the first-ever Alzheimer’s prevention trial in people with a genetic predisposition to develop the condition. The strategy also offers solutions for collaborating across federal and state agencies and for informing the public through a one-stop website, www.alzheimers.gov.
“The plan gives us a blueprint to build on our research efforts,” U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday at the announcement of the government’s new plan. “These actions are the cornerstone of an ambitious and aggressive agenda.”
Forgetfulness is a part of everyone’s life, but when should you worry that it may be the symptom of something worse?
Here are 5 signs that your forgetfulness may be a sign of something more serious.
Your memory problems frighten you.
You’ve changed how you work or play because of memory problems.
Friends or family point out mistakes and/or express concern.
You notice friends or family starting to cover for you.
You find it hard to make choices.
“For many people with early dementia, the nature of the memory problems frighten them or cause a strong emotional reaction,” Robbins says. The fear tends to stem from knowing in your gut that something’s “just not right.”
Other examples: You’re uneasy because you can’t explain how your car keys wound up in the refrigerator — and it’s the second or third time you’ve found them in an odd spot. Or you’re driving down the road and suddenly have no idea where you are or where you’re heading — and a few moments later, you realize you’re on the same old road to work.
Talk to your physician about your concerns and help him/her to create a baseline of your mental health to monitor any changes or reason for concern.
Studies find that even mild activity is better than no activity when it comes to preventing Alzheimer’s.
For those whom may be too frail for swimming or gym activities it appears as though light housework and gardening can be effective ways to keep active and avoid the disease.
The study, which was published this week in the journal Neurology, included 716 dementia-free men and women in their 70s and 80s. Compared with the most active people, those with the lowest levels of overall physical activity had more than double the risk of going on to develop Alzheimer’s. Greater physical activity was also associated with a slower rate of aging-related memory and cognitive decline.
“This suggests that people in their 80s who can’t participate in formal exercise still get a benefit by leading a more active lifestyle,” says lead author Dr. Aron S. Buchman, associate professor of neurological sciences at Rush University Medical Center, in Chicago. “You don’t have to get a membership in the local YMCA. If you walk up some more steps, stand up and do the dishes more, you stand to benefit because it’s incremental and adds up over the course of a full day.”
There is no causal relationship between mental exercise and decreasing the incidence of Alzheimer’s and dementia, however, using your brain does increase overall neural stimulation and growth.
Many studies do find that being mentally active is associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. But the standard caveat applies: association does not prove cause and effect, and there is always the chance that the mentally active people who never got Alzheimer’s simply had healthier brains to begin with.
Even, so, researchers say, there is no harm in telling people to try to stay engaged.
Extended study and learning new things can help overall wellness by contributing to increased confidence, social activity and independence which greatly improves the lives of the elderly.
Although no one wants to look at caring for an ill loved one as a burden, however, there is no denying the overwhelming financial cost involved.
Unpaid caregivers are a huge part of the economy which is growing every year with the increase in Alzheimer’s and dementia cases as baby boomers age.
There is an urgent need to address this national emergency.
Caring for a family member with the personality-draining disease can take a hefty financial and emotional toll. Nearly 15 million people fall into the role of unpaid caregiver for those sick with dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Add it all up, and it comes to about 17 billion hours of unpaid care valued at $202 billion in 2010 alone.
So to help with the staggering cost of care, the Obama Administration has included $26 million in the proposed 2013 budget. That money will go to education, outreach and support for families affected by the disease.
Some of the most hardened criminals come to the aid of ailing inmates, helping them with the most intimate of care with compassion and patience.
Dementia in prison is an underreported but fast-growing phenomenon, one that many prisons are desperately unprepared to handle. It is an unforeseen consequence of get-tough-on-crime policies — long sentences that have created a large population of aging prisoners. About 10 percent of the 1.6 million inmates in America’s prisons are serving life sentences; another 11 percent are serving over 20 years.
This blog is for consumers of health care and medical services. Basically, it’s for everyone. For health issues you should always see a doctor or qualified medical professional - we are not dispensing medical advice. You should, however, be an educated consumer, so we offer information to help you start the process to become educated and to ask important questions. There are many excellent resources on the web, along with all sorts of conflicting opinions and advice. The key is to use a wide variety of resources to learn and access information, so you can ask the important questions when you are with your doctor or health professional.