Eye Test May Identify Alzheimer’s Before Symptoms Appear

Researchers may have discovered a way to identify early Alzheimer’s using a device that examines eyes.

Seeing a Connection

A study out of the University of Minnesota has linked what can be happening in the brain through the use of an eye test. So far, there hasn’t been a way to detect the onslaught of Alzheimer’s before the physical and behavioral symptoms appear.

When Alzheimer’s strikes, the brain, and the eye’s retina undergo similar changes. Scientists understand that Alzheimer’s patients possess an amyloid plaque build-up in the brain. That build-up causes progressive cognitive and memory decline. Until now, there’s been no way to view when that build-up begins. That would be the extremely early stages of the disease.

Detecting the very early stages (before symptoms even appear) can be crucial in the advancement of Alzheimer’s treatment.

Eye Spy

The eye exam measures change in the reflection of light off of the retina. The patterns of light changed progressively as Alzheimer’s further sets in. The experiment was done with mice.

The retina and the brain are connected as part of the central nervous system. So, as changes in the retina occurred, the researchers noted similar changes happening in the brain. Using a specialized device, they could more readily view changes through the eyes.

Fighting Plaque

Dr. Robert Vince, director of the Center for Drug Design, noted, “This technology is a noninvasive way to identify Alzheimer’s disease before plaque is formed.” What this means is that we may be able to test medications on Alzheimer’s patients before it’s too late. By the time a patient displays symptoms and a doctor makes a diagnosis, the plaque has already built-up.

Using this retina-imaging device, researchers plan to begin human clinical trials. It’s a fascinating way to make an early diagnosis in a noninvasive and relatively inexpensive way. The hope is to bring us closer to developing a treatment—one that can stop the progression of the disease and its symptoms.

For other articles relating to up-to-date research, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other health conditions, check out www.GetThrive.com

 

Caring For A Parent With Dementia

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the number of people affected by dementia in the USA is on the rise, with over 6 million suffering with some form of the disease.  Dementia is a deterioration in mental capability, with 60-80 percent of these cases being Alzheimer’s and the second most common being vascular dementia, which can appear after a stroke.  Damage to the brain cells, which often happens with age, disrupts the cells interacting with each other and causes many debilitating symptoms.  What happens when a parent starts to show these signs and what can their child actively do to help them?

 

SIGNS OF DEMENTIA

  • Forgetfulness and memory issues can happen to all of us and may be due to many reasons. Vitamin deficiency, depression, stress or thyroid.  When a parent forgets recently learned information, important dates or repeats a question a few times, this maybe a sign of dementia.
  • Lack of concentration. An inability to complete a simple task due to a wandering mind.
  • Logic and decision. An incoherency in logical thought pattern and the lack of decisive decisions.
  • Confusion with time and place. Trouble understanding the present and the future.
  • Fear and suspicion.
  • Repeating and sometimes forgetting words to use.
  • Changes in mood and personality. People with Alzheimer’s can become easily confused, anxious, depressed and even aggressive.
  • Not wanting to socialize. The early onset of dementia can be recognized by the sufferer, causing them to retract from social interaction or hobbies.

 

Caring For A Parent With Dementia

 

Once recognizing the signs, make sure the parent sees a doctor as soon as possible, in order to try and minimize the brain cell damage and provide drugs or therapy to help with memory loss and symptoms of confusion.  The  Alzheimer’s Association is in the process of researching and diagnozing symptoms before they fully develop, in the hope they may stop the disease before brain damage and mental capacity declines.

 

 

WHERE SHOULD THE PARENT LIVE?

Dementia can be challenging, not only for the sufferer, but their family too. If possible, relatives should discuss living options with the patient, before the disease progresses to the stage where they don’t understand what is being said to them.  Many dementia suffers stay at home for the first years of the disease, but it is essential that the following care is considered, depending on finances and development stage:

  • Home care. There are many options for home care from domestic work, nursing healthcare, and agencies that specialize in dementia care.
  • Respite care. If relatives are taking care of the family relation, it is important that they have periodic relief from being the sole care giver.  Most care agencies offer a respite service.
  • Assisted Living. Ideal for patients who require help preparing meals, bathing and dressing but do not need any special medical needs.  They live in their own apartment or share a residence, which gives a feeling of independence.
  • Dementia special care. Special dementia care units are often found in residential care homes.  With staff who are especially trained for the requirements of a dementia or Alzheimer’s sufferer.

 

 

HOME SAFETY TIPS

Staying at home maybe a feasible option for the first stage of dementia, but it is crucial to have certain safety measures in place, so the family member is protected and the caregiver has piece of mind.

Particular attention should be spent of securing certain areas of the home:

  • Consider taking knobs off the stove.  Appliances should have an automatic switch off feature and be away from any water sources.  Remove sharp knives.
  • Remove any hazardous chemicals and keep tools locked away.
  • Make sure chemicals are locked away.  Have safety bars installed so that the parent can lift themselves with ease.
  • Fire alarm/carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure all safety devices are inspected on a regular basis.
  • Keep the home well lit. Use natural light were possible avoiding florescent light which may aggravate dementia sufferers.

 

 

HELPING A PARENT WITH DEMENTIA

When a parent is in the early stages of dementia they are likely to feel scared, stressed and worried. Creating a regular routine will help them feel more secure in their home.  Encourage them and try not to be critical or frustrated with their behavior.  This is difficult at times, when the caregiver maybe tired and anxious too.  Giving small responsibilities in the early stages, for example polishing the furniture or laying the dinner table, will create self worth.  There are a number of devices to help a parent, especially in the onset of dementia.

  • Memory aids. Pictures used around the house to identify where things are kept.  An example of this would be a picture of mugs on a kitchen cupboard.
  • Hobbies. Going for small regular walks, food shopping, having family and friends visit are a few suggestions to keep active and engaged.
  • Diet and exercise is very important for dementia sufferers. The longer they have mobility and nutrition the better quality of life they will have.  A recent study from the AHA Stroke Journals states chances of suffering a stroke or getting dementia increases three times if an individual drinks soda everyday.
  • Schedule regular medical visits.
  • Join a support group.  It is important for the caregiver to have support too.  Depression in caregivers who look after dementia sufferers is very common so this is imperative.
  • Plan for the future. Know your options of living arrangements for when the disease progresses.
  • Simplify directions by sticking to one instruction, allowing time for response.
  • Avoid confrontation or disagreement. Dementia affects rationality and logic.
  • Paper work. Sorting parent’s financial affairs is important.  If possible, arrange power of attorney before the dementia has progressed.  Each state is different in terms of laws. Contact the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys for further information.

 

 

RESOURCES

Louis Theroux Extreme Love Dementia

AHA Stroke Journal

 CBS News Lowering risk of dementia

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/411292?redirect=true

 

Everything You Need to Know About Gene Therapy

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A person’s genetic makeup plays an important role in his/her health. As advancement occurs in the world of healthcare, more innovative treatment methods are being introduced. One of the most recent therapies is the Gene Therapy.

Many serious diseases have been linked to hereditary factors. Some of those include: Parkinson’s, Cystic Fibrosis, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s. Scientists are finding that gene therapy can make a significant difference in diseases where an inappropriate gene activity exists.

Understanding Gene Therapy

Gene therapy can be dated back to 1972. Originally, concerns and reservations surrounded this form of treatment. It was tough for gene therapy to make a mark in human treatment methods. However, in 2017, this therapy gained great traction.

Using this method, healthcare professionals are able to use genes as a means to treat or prevent a particular disease. First, a mutated gene is identified. (The mutated gene is considered to be the cause of the disease.) Then, the “bad” gene is destroyed and replaced by a healthy new gene. One that helps the body fight the disease.

Gene therapy is considered to be an all-in-all treatment mechanism. Scientists believe that gene therapy has the potential to fight a number of serious diseases. Along with that, it may bring a revolution in the world of healthcare.

How Does Gene Therapy Work?

There are two ways in which gene therapy works. Initially, there’s the gene augmentation therapy. This is a process in which a mutated gene that is causing the disease is treated. Using this method, the mutated gene is replaced by a functioning one. Such type of therapy is ideal for diseases that can be reversed and ones that do not impact the body in significant ways. Cystic Fibrosis would be an example of this.

The second kind of therapy is the Gene Inhibition Therapy. This type is used to treat infectious or inherited diseases. In this method, the main objective is to suppress the malfunctioning gene. The goal is to eventually eliminate the function of the gene that is encouraging the growth of cells that are related to the disease. Cancer is a common example of such a disease.

Gene therapy is also used when there is a need to kill specific cells related to the growth of an illness. This is done a couple of ways. One is by causing the new DNA inserted to act like a suicide agent. Thus, it destroys all the harmful cells. Or, a new DNA is introduced that makes the body’s immune system target the cells that are causing the disease to grow.

Types of Gene Therapy

Gene therapy can be of two types. It just depends on the disease that is being treated and the kind of cells involved.

Somatic Gene Therapy: Such a therapy does not affect the body’s cells that play a role in producing sperm or eggs. Hence, this protects the future generation from the effects of the therapy.

Germline Gene Therapy: In such a type of therapy, the cells that play a role in the production of sperm and eggs are also included. Therefore, this means that the effects are also passed onto the children.

Bottom Line

Gene therapy is a phenomenal introduction in the treatment of many serious diseases. So much research is being conducted and innovations are taking place. Gene therapy is expected to bring new hope to both the patients and the healthcare professionals. What do you think?

 
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CBD Oil for Pain Relief and Decreased Inflammation

Homeopathy and use of essential oils, including CBD oil, can boost your immune system. The concept is to use small doses of natural substances to stimulate your body’s responses.

Often, homeopathy is often questioned as a valid preventative or healing treatment. Mostly however, in today’s western society, everyone is used to a “quick fix.” Alternately, just because results aren’t immediate, doesn’t mean the method’s not working. Millions of people derive great results from homeopathy and use of essential oils.

Oil’s Well That Ends Well!

Using essential oils thwart imbalances in our body. As a result, we’re able to heal through an organic process. Much of western medicine treats symptoms, but not the root problem. Homeopathy seeks to rebalance. 

Specific oils work similarly on specific ailments. You can use oils in these different ways:

-dab onto an area in pain

-place on reflexology points on your feet

-add into your bath

-place into a diffuser for aromatic air

-ingest by placing several drops under the tongue/ or mix in a cup of water.

 

Some better-known essential oils are rosemary, clove, oregano, and lemon grass. All in all, there are hundreds of varieties. However, there is another one that may surprise you. In addition, it’s gaining popularity for its unwavering healing effects—CBD Rich Hemp Oil.


The ABC’s of CBD

Cannabidiol Extract (CBD) is a chemical compound in marijuana, but without the THC. THC is psychoactive. CBD oil doesn’t get you high. Most noteworthy is that CBD oil heals without nasty side effects.

Cannabidiol essential oil has an incredibly long list of health benefits. Furthermore, you can avoid unwanted side effects that often come with “medicine”. The primary positive yields from using CBD oil are  decreased pain and inflammation.

Approximately 17 states across the U.S. have approved this essential oil as a valid, medicinal treatment. The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published a 2013 study that showed CBD oil’s benefits are linked to:

 

  • Reduce nausea and vomiting
  • Reduce risk of seizures
  • Battle psychotic disorders
  • Reduce inflammation and battles against inflammatory diseases
  • Lower risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia onset
  • Decrease growth of cancer cells
  • Reduce anxiety and depression

Hemp Helps!

CBD oil is obtained from hemp. Hemp is a part of the marijuana plant that has no TCH content. Many countries still ban CBD oil because of its misunderstood reputation as being like “Cannibus oil,” which it is not. Cannibus oil has its own merits. Some of them are:  helping with glaucoma, pain control, and improving appetite.

Yet, CBD oil is different. It’s a worthy, legal, nutrient-rich, essential oil that is safe for use, even by children.

Healing Oils

  • Do you want to relieve stress, pain, and indigestion? Probably, you may find that Rosemary oil may be the answer your looking for. One study found that the use of sachets containing lavender and rosemary oils helped reduce anxiety during test-taking.

 

  • Do you need to relieve a toothache? Doctor a wound? So, you may consider trying Clove oil. Many people commonly use it as a numbing agent.

 

  • Do you want to fend off certain types of bacteria or fungi? Seems like you might consider keeping some Lavender and Tea Tree Oils in your medicine cabinet. Parents and doctors recommend Tee tree oil  to ward off or treat lice.

 

  • Are you sore after working out? Do you need help with pain relief in joints and sore muscles? Maybe you can consider using  Lemongrass oil in your drinks, cooking, and baking.

 

  • Are you looking for an oil that is an antiviral, antifungal, and anti-parasitic?Many of Oregano Oil‘s properties are amazing in these areas. In addition, yeast infections can be treated with oregano essential oil.

 

Folks around the world (for thousands of years) have been using essential oils to soothe, prevent, treat, and heal. Naturally growing herbs, including hemp, can be medicinal and an organic way of approaching the treatment of ailments. Hopefully your curiosity has been piqued. It’s worth the investment in your health.!

Sources:

www.supplementpolice.com/cbd-oil/

https://elixinolcbd.com/blogs/buyers-guide/16641895-3-uses-of-non-psychoactive-cbd-hemp-oil

https://elixinolcbd.com/blogs/buyers-guide/16641895-3-uses-of-non-psychoactive-cbd-hemp-oil

 

 

 

Don’t Forget About Dementia!

Don’t Forget About Dementia!

You may forget before you know it. According to a new report, researchers say numbers of those with dementia and Alzheimer’s have increased exponentially and will continue to do so.

Memory Will Cost Money

Experts claim that within three short years, the global cost of treating dementia will exceed $1 trillion. Currently, over 50% of dementia patients live in developing countries. The outlook, however, is that in less than 50 years, 50% of all those with the disease will live in Asia.

Are We Thinking Clearly?

Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s; there isn’t even proper treatment existing for those with the disease. Globally there are over 40 million diagnosed today, and without scientific (and financial and governmental backing) solution or cure, we are likely to see those numbers double every two decades.

Promoting funds towards research for prevention and cure is our best bet at this point.

 

Connection Between Using a GPS and Alzheimer’s?

It may seem like a stretch, but there is an association between using a GPS and Alzheimer’s brain function. A recent study has shown decreased neural activity in the hippocampal region of the brain when using the electronic navigation system. The hippocampus is one of the main areas affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

Is There a Cause and Effect?

Using any type of electronic device cannot be called cause for developing Alzheimer’s. However, research has shown that cognitive exercise can help slow the shrinkage of the hippocampus. Mental exercise, the type used naturally to navigate a system from memory or maps would be considered a form of cognitive stimulation.

Smartphones On—Brain Turns Off

A study out of the University College London focused on brain scans of the participants’ hippocampus. Twenty-four volunteers were asked to navigate a simulated version of the Soho District in central London. What they discovered was fascinating.

When the participants used the GPS, portions of their brains literally turned off. The brain region used for memory and navigation was not stimulated in the least. However, when they navigated without assistance, the scans showed spikes in neural activity in both the hippocampus and the pre-frontal cortex.

The lead researcher and psychologist Hugo Spiers remarked, “Our results fit with models in which the hippocampus simulates journeys on future possible paths while the prefrontal cortex helps us to plan which ones will get us to our destination.”

The navigation activity challenged parts of the brain for memory and navigation (hippocampus), as well as planning and decision-making (prefrontal cortex.)

A previous study showed similar results—that as humans interact with their surroundings, the brain is stimulated to form a “back-up plan.” When the brain is navigating, it relies on memory and then decision making. With a GPS, our brain doesn’t have to do the work.

Isn’t Less Challenge to the Brain Better?

It might feel easier, but it’s not to the benefit of our brain health to let it sit inactive. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to grow and thrive. Decreased plasticity of the hippocampus happens naturally over time. It actually shrinks. But, continued research is showing that exercise and cognitive stimulation slows the shrinking process. In fact, working the mind has, in many cases, shown to reverse hippocampal atrophy.

Alzheimer’s and the Brain

One of the first areas of the brain to be affected by Alzheimer’s is the hippocampus. The hippocampus is comprised of two seahorse-shaped portions that lie on each side of the brain. It is responsible for helping us form new memories (short-term memories), as well as the gateway for allowing those to get stored in our long-term memory. So, it’s also a part of the brain that helps us retrieve those older memories.

With Alzheimer’s, brain scans will show a shrunken hippocampus. (Other forms of dementia affect the hippocampus as well.) This is why the impairment of memory is often the first notable symptom of the disease. In connecting the GPS navigation study to the challenges of Alzheimer’s, it’s clearer to see why certain patients also experience disorientation with their surroundings.

There is ample research to support that mental exercise boosts brain activity and health. Also, peruse GetThrive for related topic on mental health.

Sources:

http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2017/03/21/GPS-navigation-turns-off-part-of-the-brain/4881490118414/?utm_source=fp&utm_campaign=ts&utm_medium=18

https://www.verywell.com/what-is-the-hippocampus-p2-98810

http://www.nature.com/scientificamerican/journal/v25/n5s/full/scientificamericansciencestories1216-36.html

 

Is Medical Marijuana Bad for Your Memory?

Medical marijuana is widely used to treat countless ailments, disabilities, and accompanying symptoms. For all the good it may present, can medical marijuana affect your memory and ability to reason?

The Pot of Gold

Whether you’re a medical marijuana advocate or even the extreme opposite, there’s no denying that marijuana has some beneficial medicinal applications. Many tout its assistance with pain relief—and even as a possible application to slow the spread of Alzheimer’s. But, a recent study warns of marijuana’s potential to mess with our memory.

Marijuana is comprised of many active chemicals. Pot researchers point to two specifics, CBD and THC, as worthy potential health care properties.

Cannabidiol (CBD) impacts the brain. This active chemical may be part of why scientists have found that marijuana can help decrease seizure activity, especially in those with epilepsy. Perhaps this is why Parkinson’s patients also report having their tremors soothed.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has pain-relieving properties. Patients with multiple sclerosis report feeling physical relief after smoking marijuana. Cancer sufferers and those with HIV/AIDS find marijuana to be an appetite stimulant as well as nausea deterrent.

NOTE: Overusing or abusing marijuana can have several negative effects. Medical use is different than recreational use. In either scenario, smoking too much pot is not a healthy choice.

Back to the Benefits

Currently, over half of our United States (including the District of Columbia) have laws legalizing pot in some form—mostly for medical use.

Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), especially in military veterans, has been eased with medical marijuana use. In the state of New Mexico, PTSD is the #1 reason licenses for marijuana use are prescribed.

A study published by researchers from the University of Nottingham found that chemicals in marijuana are linked to a calming effect on the immune system. More specifically, one benefit is improved gut function. The natural drug’s chemicals interact with cells, strengthening intestinal permeability. This type of study suggests that medical marijuana may help with symptoms of Crohn’s, IBS, and colitis.

Many of those suffering from Lupus report that medical marijuana helps them deal with their painful and challenging symptoms.

And since the 1970’s, we’ve learned that smoking pot lowers intraocular pressure. Glaucoma patients feel relief; their pain decreases, but brilliantly, the effects may also slow progression of the disease, which inevitably otherwise would lead to blindness.

Memory at Risk?

A recent study claims that a medical marijuana user’s memory could be affected. The researchers’ hypothesis was based on pot’s interference with blood flow to the brain.

The study scanned almost 1,000 brains of current and past marijuana users. They discovered that almost every area of the brain they scanned (of the pot users) was lower in blood flow and activity. And in the hippocampus region, blood flow was the lowest.

“The hippocampus is the gateway to memory, to get memories into long-term storage,” Dr. Amen, lead researcher, said.

This finding about blood flow is undeniable. However, is that lower function hampering a person’s memory?

From this study, it cannot be concluded. The participants in the study had other mitigating factors that could have presented them with memory challenges. It appears that a large portion of the participants had either a diagnosis of ADHD, physical or emotional brain trauma, or both.

As for now, the best result from this particular study is that it may inform doctors who treat patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. They’ll need to further evaluate whether medical marijuana worsens the ability to recall.

As with any treatment, the pros, cons, and side effects always need examination before application. What’s beneficial to one person may not be the best for another. When making choices about your or your family member’s healthcare, always check out every possible treatment with care and attention. Informing yourself can bring peace of mind and, hopefully, greater health. See www.GetThrive.com for more articles on best health options.

 

Turmeric – How to Fight off Cancer, Alzheimer’s and More

Turmeric has been used medicinally for centuries and has been shown to help ward off cancer, Alzheimer’s , and a number of other human diseases.

The Root Details

Turmeric is a spice (harvested from a root) and contains a compound called curcumin. It’s been long used in Ayurvedic medicine and is now more widely accepted as a natural anti-inflammatory. Most diseases are caused or aggravated by inflammation. Using turmeric can assist in reducing cancerous tumors as well as shrinking inflammation in the brain of Alzheimer patients.

Hundreds of years ago curcumin was used to ward off Small Pox. Today there is a lot of experimentation using turmeric to help with gas-relief and bloating, getting restful sleep, improving mood, and even pain relief for those with rheumatoid arthritis. You can take it in a supplement form, sprinkled as a spice, or created into a paste.

Adding a Little Spice

You can readily add it to most foods and drinks. It won’t vastly change the flavor, but it will definitely alter the color. This spice is a bright yellowish-orange and can stain, so take heed if you don’t want your sink, counters, or clothes dyed. (It will wash out, eventually.)

Another thing to keep in mind is that the body doesn’t fully absorb the curcumin in turmeric without help.

You should use turmeric in conjunction with fats or black pepper to increase it’s bioavailability.  Good fat choices would be coconut, almond, or olive oils, or avocados.

Or, you can invest in your health by taking a daily supplement. There are many brands on the market, but you’ll want to be sure you choose a reliable, quality product.


Food and Drink

Although turmeric is a spice, it doesn’t make foods taste very different or hot (as in spicy.) So, don’t be afraid to sprinkle a teaspoon on top of your fresh salad. Many people sauté their veggies in olive oil with a little garlic and turmeric. Cooks and chefs even add it to potatoes, eggs, rice, and quinoa.

Lots of folks toss a dash of turmeric into their favorite smoothie. Another popular way to add the spice into a drink is to make “Golden Milk.” Golden milk is an ancient medicinal remedy to aid in immunity boosting and getting a good night’s sleep. It’s made with a turmeric paste added into warm milk with about a half-teaspoon of coconut oil included at the end. Many toss in a pinch of vanilla, cinnamon, or ginger, making it a flavorful, relaxing beverage before bed.

 

Pains and Sprains

A turmeric paste can be applied to the body to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Some homeopaths suggest taking two tablespoons of turmeric, one tablespoon of lime juice, and a few drops of water. Stir until it makes a thick paste. Rub the mixture directly onto the affected area (no open wounds!) and then wrap with a cloth bandage. Leave on for a half hour. Your skin will be yellow, but the swelling should decrease.

Teeth whitening has also been touted as another health advantage using turmeric. Most importantly, however, studies are revealing the ability of turmeric to keep inflammation at bay. This is an essential element in disease reversal, making this spice one worth tossing into the mix. Perhaps you should consider adding turmeric to your collection today!

To read about more healthy options, check out www.GetThrive.com.