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.

DANGERS OF SLEEP APNEA

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. You may have sleep apnea if you snore loudly and you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep. Sleep apnea is considered a serious medical condition. Complications may include:
-High blood pressure or heart problems. Sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that occur during sleep apnea increase blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) is greater than if you don’t. The more severe your sleep apnea, the greater the risk of high blood pressure. However, obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of stroke, regardless of whether or not you have high blood pressure.
-Daytime fatigue. The repeated awakenings associated with sleep apnea make normal, restorative sleep impossible. People with sleep apnea often experience severe daytime drowsiness, fatigue and irritability. You may have difficulty concentrating and find yourself falling asleep at work, while watching TV or even when driving. You may also feel irritable, moody or depressed.
-Complications with medications and surgery. Obstructive sleep apnea is also a concern with certain medications and general anesthesia. People with sleep apnea may be more likely to experience complications following major surgery because they’re prone to breathing problems, especially when sedated and lying on their backs.
-Liver problems. People with sleep apnea are more likely to have abnormal results on liver function tests, and their livers are more likely to show signs of scarring.
-Sleep-deprived partners. Loud snoring can keep those around you from getting good rest and eventually disrupt your relationships. It’s not uncommon for a partner to go to another room, or even on another floor of the house, to be able to sleep. Many bed partners of people who snore are sleep-deprived as well.
People with sleep apnea may also complain of memory problems, morning headaches, mood swings or feelings of depression, a need to urinate frequently at night (nocturia), and a decreased interest in sex. Children with untreated sleep apnea may be hyperactive and may be diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).






To Dream, perhaps to Learn?

A Harvard study suggested that dreaming may reactivate and reorganize recently learned material, improving memory and boosting performance. The subjects were 99 healthy college students who agreed to avoid alcohol, caffeine, and drugs for at least 24 hours prior to the experiment. All the volunteers demonstrated normal sleep patterns before enrolling in the study.
Each of the subjects spent an hour learning how to navigate through a complex three-dimensional maze-like puzzle. After the training period, half of the students were allowed to nap for 90 minutes, while the others read or relaxed. Following a lunch break, all the volunteers tackled the virtual maze again. The only students whose performance substantially improved were the few who dreamed about the maze during their naps. Although the dreams didn’t actually depict solutions to the puzzle, the researchers believe they show how the dreaming brain can reorganize and consolidate memories, resulting in better performance on learned tasks. And all the amazing dreams occurred early in NREM sleep.






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.