MEMORY LOSS AND DEMENTIA

The word “dementia” is an umbrella term used to describe a set of symptoms, including impairment in memory, reasoning, judgment, language and other thinking skills. Dementia begins gradually in most cases, worsens over time and significantly impairs a person’s abilities in work, social interactions and relationships.
Often, memory loss is one of the first or more recognizable signs of dementia. Other early signs may include:
-Asking the same questions repeatedly
-Forgetting common words when speaking
-Mixing words up — saying “bed” instead of “table,” for example
-Taking longer to complete familiar tasks, such as following a recipe
-Misplacing items in inappropriate places, such as putting a wallet in a kitchen drawer
-Getting lost while walking or driving around a familiar neighborhood
-Undergoing sudden changes in mood or behavior for no apparent reason
-Becoming less able to follow directions







Diseases that cause progressive damage to the brain — and consequently result in dementia — include:
-Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia
-Vascular dementia (multi-infarct dementia)
-Frontotemporal dementia
-Lewy body dementia

Each of these conditions has a somewhat different disease process (pathology). Memory impairment isn’t always the first sign of disease, and the type of memory problems may vary.

BILINGUALISM IS GOOD FOR THE BRAIN

Does being bilingual give young children a mental edge, or does it delay their learning?
It depends on who you ask.
Bilingual education is regarded by some in education policy circles as little more than a half-baked technique of teaching students whose native language is not English. Though it takes many forms, bilingual education programs usually involve teaching students in both their native languages and in English. How much each language is used, and in which academic contexts, varies by program.

But neuroscience researchers are increasingly coming to a consensus that bilingualism has many positive consequences for the brain. Several such researchers traveled to this month’s annual meeting of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C., to present their findings. Among them:
• Bilingual children are more effective at multi-tasking.
• Adults who speak more than one language do a better job prioritizing information in potentially confusing situations.
• Being bilingual helps ward off early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly.






SHARP YOUR MIND!…. READ THIS!

Eat these 4 foods to help sharpen your mental focus.
If you think cognitive decline isn’t something that starts to happen until after age 60, think again. A new study from the British Medical Journal showed that cognitive decline—a decrease in memory and reasoning capacity—can start to affect our brains as early as 45! Give yourself a mental boost now with these four foods.
1. Leafy Greens
A recent study in Neurology showed that people who ate two or more daily servings of vegetables, especially leafy greens, had the mental focus of people five years their junior. Have a big salad for lunch; serve some sautéed spinach at dinner.
2. Whole Grains
Studies show that eating a breakfast of whole grains helps sustain mental focus better than a morning meal of refined carbohydrates or no breakfast at all. Two to try: whole-grain cereal with milk or eggs with whole-wheat toast.
3. Coffee
It might come as no surprise that coffee can help your mind feel sharper (goodbye, morning brain fog!), but did you know that coffee affects men and women differently? Men actually feel more alert more quickly than women do after drinking a caffeinated beverage, according to research from the University of Barcelona. In the study, men reported feeling less drowsy after only 10 minutes and sustained the mental boost for a half hour.
4. Gum
It’s not technically a food, but a 2011 study found that people who chewed gum during a stressful task were more alert afterwards than when they did the task without gum.






REBOOST YOUR BRAIN WITH SUPERFOODS!

There is a proven link between what we put into our mouths and how well we think and feel. Our mood, ability to learn and memory are all affected by the type of foods we eat. Our brains rely on a steady supply of essential nutrients from our diet, blood sugar and oxygen to function properly. Eating a well-balanced diet abundant in these nutrients helps improve memory and boost brain power and may also reduce the risk of age-related diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The brain is made up of 70 per cent fat and requires essential fatty acids (omega-3s) from the food we eat to maintain healthy function and development. Omega-3 fats are primarily found in oily fish such as salmon, trout and mackerel, flaxseed oil and nuts and seeds.
Protein is another important nutrient essential for proper brain function. Good-quality, low-fat protein is needed to supply our brains with essential amino acids to make neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine (needed for good memory) and serotonin (involved in mood). Foods such as eggs, legumes, tofu, organic chicken and lean meat are good choices.
Antioxidants, which include vitamins C, A and beta-carotene, are important for boosting brain power and protecting brain cells against free radical damage. Fruits and vegetables, especially red- and orange-coloured varieties, are full of antioxidant goodness.
Complex carbohydrates found in wholegrain cereals and breads (oats, rye, brown rice, quinoa) are good sources of energy, fibre and B vitamins. These foods provide your brain with a slow and steady supply of energy-giving glucose, without causing a sharp spike in blood sugar levels.






BROCCOLI: SUPERFOOD FOR YOUR BRAIN!

Ah, the lowly broccoli plant. One of Nature’s “good foods,” packing in plenty of nutrients and very low in calories. It’s a nearly ideal weight-loss food, as it provides most of the essential amino acids as well as several important vitamins. It’s great for diabetics, as it poses essentially no glycemic challenge.
There’s only one problem. Broccoli tastes like, well, broccoli. If you don’t like broccoli, then you should reverse course.
Why? Because broccoli is exceptionally good for your brain. The top nutrient that stands out in this regard is Vitamin K. This vital amine is implicated in calcium regulation in the body. In particular, it appears to help with heart health (the heart needs calcium in a particular amount, and too much calcium is bad for the heart arteries) and in the prevention of osteoporosis. It’s been suggested that Vitamin K prevents calcification (hardening of the arteries) in the brain. In case you’re wondering, this seems to be a portion of Alzheimer’s etiology.

Okay, you’re convinced now, right? So how do you avoid pouring on the salt and fat to make broccoli edible? How about a broccoli casserole that only has 170 calories per serving? If you’re not afraid of the calories because you burn a bunch, consider trying out one of our family favorites, Broccoli Delight. As always, there are thousands of options available.
Other vegetables, high in nutrients that are good for the ol’ noggin, include broccoli rabe, romanesco, kale, Brussels sprouts, and spinach. Spinach egg noodles are surprisingly good for you as well; they have about 75% of the Vitamin K that broccoli provides, per serving.






CURE FOR ALZHEIMER’S CLOSER

A treatment to reverse Alzheimer’s Disease could be available in five years, it has been revealed.
Experiments on mice have indicated that a new vaccine not only halts the advance of the disease, but repairs damage already done.

It could also be given to patients whose families have a history of Alzheimer’s, to prevent them developing the disease.
The research by British, American and Canadian scientists, was being hailed last night as the most significant breakthrough yet. Harry Cayton, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘This really does make us optimistic.’
A growing number of elderly and even middle-aged people are being struck down by the degenerative brain disease, which has some 500,000 sufferers in Britain alone. It causes untold misery to families who are left to care for loved ones who may no longer recognize them.
The vaccine attacks the build-up of a protein called beta-amyloid, which forms a damaging waxy plaque on brain cells. The latest research, reported today in the scienctific journal Nature, suggests the drug not only removes the proteins but can restore mental functions.






What Foods are Best for Enhancing Memory?

It’s too simple to single out our particular food (or foods) as being “best” for memory. Memory is too complicated a process, and it requires a greater variety of nutrients than any single food can provide.
Since remembering involves a good bit of brain activity, and brain activity puts special emphasis on a healthy nervous system and healthy blood flow, all steps you can take to improve your blood flow, circulation, and nervous system function may end up contributing to better memory.
A first important step would be upgrading the overall fat quality in your meal plan. You’ll want to focus on plant foods like walnuts, flaxseeds, cold water fish like salmon, and oils like extra virgin olive oil, because the types of fat contained in these foods help keep your blood vessels and nerve wrappings healthy. (Among these fats is a group called omega-3 fat. It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of certain omega-3 fatty acids&mdashespecially the fatty acid called DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid—in brain and nervous system function). What you are not going to want are hydrogenated oils that contain trans fatty acids, fried foods, large amounts of beef fat, pork fat, or chicken fat, or other high-fat, processed foods.
You’re also going to want plenty of antioxidant nutrients like vitamins C, E, beta-carotene, colorful plant flavonoid and carotenoid pigments, and minerals like zinc and manganese. Vegetables and fruits that are richly colored are usually your best bet here. We do not know where you live and therefore which fruits and vegetables you have available so we would just say that it would be good to look for ones that are deep in color … such as deep green (like leafy greens such as mustard greens, kale, broccoli, etc.), deep orange (papaya, sweet potato, winter squash, etc.), dark blue (berries, eggplant, purple cabbage, etc.) and deep red (berries, cherries, tomatoes, peppers, etc).






Brainy Beets, keep them in Mind!

Get more blood flowing to your brain — and more clever thoughts flowing from it — by drinking a little beet juice in the morning.
Like every other part of your body, your brain requires good blood flow in order to function quickly and effectively. And research shows that a morning shot of beet juice may help ensure good circulation to your cranium.
Why beet juice instead of apple or orange? Beets are a good source of nitrates, helpful little substances that get converted into nitrites by bacteria in our saliva. And nitrites do a world of good for blood vessels, helping them to relax and better assist blood flow and oxygen circulation. When researchers recently upped participants’ nitrate intake by having them drink 16 ounces of beet juice with breakfast, among other dietary changes, a brain scan done just a day later showed noticeably better blood flow to white matter in the frontal-lobe region of the brain, an area where blood flow often suffers over time.






How to fight Memory Loss

Concerned about memory loss? Take heart. Simple steps — from staying mentally active to including physical activity in your daily routine — may help sharpen your memory. Can’t find your car keys? Forget what’s on your grocery list? You’re not alone. Everyone forgets things occasionally. Still, memory loss is nothing to take lightly. Although there are no guarantees when it comes to preventing memory loss or dementia, memory tricks can be helpful. Consider four simple ways to sharpen your memory — and know when to seek help for memory loss.
-Stay mentally active. Just as physical activity helps keep your body in shape, mentally stimulating activities help keep your brain in shape — and perhaps keep memory loss at bay. Do crossword puzzles. Read a section of the newspaper that you normally skip. Take alternate routes when driving. Learn to play a musical instrument. Volunteer at a local school or community organization.
-Socialize regularly. Social interaction helps ward off depression and stress, both of which can contribute to memory loss. Look for opportunities to get together with loved ones, friends and others — especially if you live alone. When you’re invited to share a meal or attend an event, go!
-Get organized. You’re more likely to forget things if your home is cluttered and your notes are in disarray. Jot down tasks, appointments and other events in a special notebook, calendar or electronic planner. You might even repeat each entry out loud as you jot it down to help cement it in your memory. Keep to-do lists current, and check off items you’ve completed. Set aside a certain place for your wallet, keys and other essentials.
-Focus. Limit distractions, and don’t try to do too many things at once. If you focus on the information that you’re trying to remember, you’ll be more likely to recall it later. It might also help to connect what you’re trying to remember to a favorite song or another familiar concept.






Lifestyle choices can protect your Brain

Researchers across the world are racing towards a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. But as prevalence rates climb, their focus has broadened from treatment to prevention strategies. What they’ve discovered is that it may be possible to prevent or delay the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia’s through a combination of healthful habits. While Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 50 percent of dementia cases, vascular dementia accounts for up to 40 percent in older adults, and there is much you can do to prevent this type of dementia.
It’s never too early to start boosting your brain reserves, but whatever your age, there are steps you can take to keep your brain healthy.
The health of your brain, like the health of your body, depends on many factors.
While some factors, such as your genes, are out of your control, many powerful lifestyle factors are within your sphere of influence.
The six pillars of a brain-healthy lifestyle are:
-Regular exercise
-Healthy diet
-Mental stimulation
-Quality sleep
-Stress management
-An active social life