Archive for May, 2012

I am often asked “What is the most important thing to do to help my brain?” The evidence seems clear to me. Physical exercise is the key. The results of several recent studies add to my confidence. A prospective study of 700 elders (average age = 80) showed that vigorous exercise lowered the risk of development of Alzheimer’s disease and slowed cognitive decline. The study was a part of the Rush Memory and Aging Project. The prospective study (participants were enrolled and followed forward) was the first to objectively measure the amount of exercise rather than rely on self-report of amount of exercise. Data were analyzed after 3.5 years. The exercise effect was evident even after statistically adjusting for social activity, cognitive stimulation, depression, health, and APOE status (a “risk” gene for Alzheimer’s disease). But beware that the benefits of […]


Dementia comes in many forms and many stages. The term is so often used without a formal definition. Many confuse Alzheimer’s disease with dementia. The terms are not interchangeable. Dementia is a permanent and irreversible brain disorder that robs a person of independence. There are no current treatments that can reverse a dementia. There are no “pseudodementias.” If one is confused because of thyroid disorder or deficiency of vitamin B 12 and replacement makes the confusion go away, the person was not demented. There are many possible causes of dementia. Dementia many arise from a stroke or a head injury. Dementia is often associated with Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body disease, and Parkinson’s disease. A less common (estimates are at about 50000 in the United States) and often more challenging form of dementia is called frontotemporal dementia. Frontotemporal dementia is a […]

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