Archive for January, 2012

The nicotine patch may present a treatment for Mild Cognitive Impairment and early Alzheimer’s disease. This study is new but the idea is old and there are other studies. Before you run off and ask for the patch or chew nicotine gum, let’s put this in the context of current medical treatment. The only FDA approved treatments for Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s disease are medications known as cholinesterase inhibitors (Namenda is not approved for early changes and works through an entirely different neurotransmitter). These medications have been available since 1993. They work by increasing the amount of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine has important actions on cognitive functions such as attention and some forms of memory. It is one of the neurotransmitters that act on the frontal cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus – structures very important to attention, […]

Jan. 30 2012: Remembering What not to Forget Description: Aging and memory, Improve memory, Sharpen your brain skills Where: Foxfire Country Club, Davis Blvd; Kings Way, Time: 6pm-social hr, 6:30 dinner, 7:15-talk Contact: Carol Hollenbeck 261-8520 and also January 31, 2012 Where: Naples Healthcare Assoc., Hilton Ballroom When: 4:30 pm-6:30 pm Contact: Pearl at Naples H.C Assoc. 596-1111 Feb 2, 2012 : Managing your Memory Description: Aging and memory, Improve memory, Sharpen your brain skills Where: Minor League Club @ Cub @ Pelican Bay When: 11:30 – 1:30 Contact: Mike Kelly 908-233-2263 Feb. 8, 2012: Remembering What not to Forget Description: Aging and memory, Improve memory, Sharpen your brain skills Where: Naples Center When: 1:30-3pm Contact: John Guerra (FGCU) 287-5196 Feb. 9, 2012: Assessing and Treating Progressive Memory Loss Where: Naples United Church of Christ When: 2pm Contact: Dr. Greg […]


One headline reads “Dementia’s first signs appear long before old age, study finds.” (Bloomberg) Alternatively, another headline reads that “Cognitive decline can start at age 45.” (Medscape). These differing interpretations are the leads for two “alerts” I follow to try to keep up with current topics related to memory and aging. In both cases, the actual data are the same and come from a recent article published in The British Medical Journal. The headlines are based on a large, prospectively designed longitudinal study of more than 7,000 volunteers aged 45-70. Each participant (ranging in age from 45 – 70) underwent cognitive assessment three times during ten years. Overall scores on tests of memory and reasoning declined during the ten years. Only scores on tests of vocabulary remained stable. On face value these findings appear to be worrisome. However, on closer […]


Many are more fearful of a diagnosis Alzheimer’s than a diagnosis of cancer. However, cancer is much more fatal (cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States; Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth). This fear stems from a misunderstanding of Alzheimer’s disease and leads many to fear memory assessment. Alzheimer’s disease unfolds over the course of decades; it does not occur suddenly. There are seven stages of decline in Alzheimer’s disease but current diagnostic standards often don’t identify those with problems until stage 4. Not everyone with Alzheimer’s disease becomes demented and disabled. Not everyone who becomes demented has Alzheimer’s disease. Memory loss is the hallmark feature of Alzheimer’s disease but not everyone with memory loss will have Alzheimer’s disease or become demented. During the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss, there is so much […]


It’s that time of the year again. The top ten lists of the year are out to help us recall the year. It triggers both year and life review and stimulates our long term memory of where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. Seneca said it well. “It’s not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.” This of course comes with end of the year resolutions that often amount to trying to do better next year. I often remark during my talks that the most grievous memory error is “trying to remember.” Instead, plan on how you will remember. Good intentions often fall short when a well placed post-it note would serve us well. It’s the same for New Year’s resolutions. A resolution needs to be […]


What are the warning signs that the stress of caregiving may be beyond the normal and that you need help? 1. Easily lose patience 2. Easily anger 3. Experience a loss of energy 4. Lose sleep but not from providing care 5. Appetite changes 6. Provide care 24/7 7. Find no joy in any aspect of your life 8. Have frequent crying spells 9. Feel a constant sense of depression, anguish, and despair 10. Don’t think you can go on much longer. 11. Don’t know to whom to turn 12. Use drugs or alcohol to get by If you check most or all of these feelings, you are likely depressed in a clinical sense. There are many support groups, clinicians, and organizations that will provide help and guidance. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. If you have […]

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