Several studies released recently – here we will focus on two of them: one a two-year study with a large group of elderly (over 65 years of age) participants and the a broader study tracking neurological changes associated with dementia that included participants of all ages – have raised significant red flags about the use of antidepressants and the increased risk of dementia associated with that. Continue reading
Good Sleep: A Key Factor in Neurological Health
Sleep – how much and the quality of it – has a profound and lifelong impact on the brain. When we get enough sleep and that sleep is deeply restful, the brain does beneficial housecleaning that sweeps away the toxins and waste products that accumulate in the spaces between brain cells during our waking hours.
Many of these toxins, including the beta amyloid proteins associated with Alzheimer’s Disease, if not removed, are directly responsible for neurological damage and decline, resulting in eventual cognitive impairment and dementia. Continue reading
The Layperson’s Guide to Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA)
Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a neurological effect specifically associated with certain types of dementia (Alzheimer’s Disease and frontotemporal dementia are the most common underlying forms of dementia in which PPA occurs) that results in linguistic abilities becoming slowly and progressively impaired until they are completely gone.
Daylight Savings Time and Its Effects on Health, Sleep, and Our Loved Ones with Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease
Here in the United States, most of the country ended Daylight Savings Time (DST) at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 5, 2016, which moved our clocks back an hour.
Both the beginning and end of DST are tough changes on even the healthiest among us. For someone like me who has had hardwired sleep challenges all my life, both the beginning and end of DST are particularly hard for me for about a week until my body and brain adjust to the change. Continue reading
The Neurological Legacy of 9/11 on First Responders: PTSD, Cognitive Impairment, and Dementia
While most reports on the long-term health effects on first responders to the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center in New York City have focused on physical damage – increased rates of severe respiratory conditions and incidences of cancer – often leading to premature death, it has only been within the last month that the long-term neurological effects have been examined and documented. Continue reading
Four Years Gone: Grief, Loss, and the Paradox of Time That Seems Both Immediate and Eternal
Today (August 14, 2016) marks four years since Mama died. It was a Tuesday then. At 5:50 pm, Mama took her last breath.
She went into what would be her death sleep around 1 pm on Sunday, August 12, 2014, with her last words of “I guess they’re going to throw me out now,” suffering, I think, the final heart attack that led to her death.
I assured her that I was not throwing her out, that she was home, and I loved her. It took me several months and writing Fields of Gold: A Love Story before I realized that Mama was back at nursing school at East Tennessee State University, unable to follow all the instructions she was given because of a congenital hearing loss, about to be dismissed from the program because she could not hear the doctors when her back was turned to them (she compensated for her hearing impairment by masterfully reading lips, even with hearing aids, most of her life). Continue reading
The Ever-Increasing Connection Between Diabetes and Dementia
Going Gentle Into That Good Night has and will continue to discussed the connection between lifestyle choices and an increased risk of developing dementia. Some of these lifestyle choices include alcohol abuse and addiction, prescription drug use, abuse, and addiction, illegal drug use and addiction, and “smart drug” use and abuse.
So maybe you’re reading this and thinking, “Well, I don’t make any of those risky lifestyle choices, so I don’t have to worry about neurological damage and developing dementia.” And you would be wrong. Continue reading
How War Damages and Destroys The Brain: Blast Wounds, PTSD, and Neurological Damage & Decline
“War is hell.” General Sherman Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891), who led Union forces through the South during the United States Civil War, made not only this insightful observation on the nature of fighting wars, but also added “War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it;…”
The ultimate purpose of war is malevolent: to maim, to injure, to destroy, and to kill to force one group of people to surrender to another group of people. Continue reading
Military Service, War, and Dementia Risks for Veterans
We pause on Memorial Day 2016 (in the United States) to remember our deceased military veterans.
I also pause to remember all those who have died – especially the civilians who weren’t drafted or who didn’t volunteer, but who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and became collateral damage – because of war because they should not be forgotten either.
However, in light of Memorial Day, it seems fitting that we should also consider how military service and war increase the risks of developing dementia for veterans. Continue reading
A Mixture of Degenerative Neurological Changes Drives the Development of Dementia
This blog stresses over and over that not all dementias are Alzheimer’s Disease (Alzheimer’s Disease is but a single type of dementia), but the Alzheimer’s Association has been quite effective at leading most people to believe that all cognitive impairment and subsequent neurological degeneration is Alzheimer’s Disease.
Not only is this general belief false, but it is also potentially very dangerous to our loved ones with dementia. Continue reading