Archive for May, 2013

I just returned from a speaking engagement in Tampa where I discussed “Treating progressive memory loss.”  The thing to note in the title is that the focus is on treating memory –there’s something you can do – rather than treating a disease – there’s confusion about what to do.  The treatment for Alzheimer’s disease needs to be proactive rather than reactive.  The focus of treatment is to plan for a good life (everyone’s long-term goal regardless of memory) as you age even if your memory declines.  There are two requirements of a good treatment plan.  First, build memory supports before you need them – use the One Minute Rule.  Second, build a life of engagement.  The popular advice is to learn something new or buy a brain fitness program.  Indeed, I recently read a neurologist’s suggested treatment plan for a […]


There is a strong belief among both the general population and medical practitioners that physical inactivity and poor diet are associated with cognitive decline as we age.  Physical conditioning and diet are closely associated with cardiovascular health that, in turn, is associated with heart disease and stroke.  Indeed, better physical condition as we age reduces some of the wear and tear of aging on the brain as evidenced by less atrophy and white matter disease with aging.  Another recent study adds to the evidence that what’s good for the heart is good for the brain.  The study (“Cardiovascular health through young adulthood and cognitive function in midlife, Annals of Neurology, 2013, 73: 170-179) followed cardiovascular health of participants over the course of 25 years starting age 18-30.  The assumption was that those who maintained greater levels of cardiovascular heath would […]


I keep hoping for more useful research on treatments and management techniques that may potentially benefit those with memory loss and their caregivers.  There are three recent studies that caught my attention as examples of movement in the right direction. First, “The effect of stimulation therapy and donepezil on cognitive function in Alzheimer’s disease” (BMC Neurology, 2012, 12, 59).  The study compared the effects of stimulation therapy, treatment with donepezil (Aricept), or to combined treatment during the first year after diagnosis with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.  Stimulation therapy consisted of multiple elements including physical activity (e.g., dancing, walking, fitness training), as well as cognitive and social activities (e.g., reading, listening to music, crossword puzzles, reminiscence) for at least 30 minutes each day 5 times per week.  Donepezil (or placebo) was started at 5 mg and increased after four weeks […]

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