Monday, January 16, 2017

Conversation Starter

By Gina Roberts-Grey

NeurologyNow, June, July Issue 2016


Maria Shriver started talking about Alzheimer’s disease after her father, Sargent Shriver, was diagnosed.  Ten years later, she’s still talking and people are beginning to pay attention.

 In 2003 she began asking questions, getting answers, and sharing that information with others.  Within a year of her father’s diagnosis, she was bringing those skills to bear on Alzheimer’s disease.

The more she learned, the more she realized she wanted to start a national conversation, one she hoped would translate into more support for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families.

She started this trend by:

Public Discourse

Raising Awareness and Funds

Detecting A Pattern

A Call To Women

The Female Connection

Advocating Prevention

How to Help

 There’s much to be done to address the Alzheimer’s epidemic, says Shriver.  She offers some suggestions for the federal government in The Shriver Report, including providing an eldercare tax credit, eldercare leave, elder day care programs staffed by professionals trained in dealing with the disease, intergenerational day care centers, quality control of nursing homes and end-of-life facilities----and promoting eldercare savings programs to set aside money for future health care costs.

The government is responding to advocates like Shriver.  The Alzheimer’s Association hopes Congress will increase Alzheimer’s-related funding by $400 million in 2017.  And the proposed 2016 federal budget allocated an additional $350 million for Alzheimer’s disease research, a 60 percent boost that will bring total funding to $936 million.

Thursday, December 29, 2016


Prevention Magazine – September 2016

What engages more of your brain than music or math?  University of California, Berkeley, researchers have discovered that it’s storytelling.  Their studies show that listening to story podcasts activated sensations, emotions and memories not on just one side but across the entire brain, thereby upending right brain/left brain theory.

“Understanding a story requires access to all kinds of cognitive processes – social reasoning,  spatial reasoning, emotional responses, visual imagery, and more,” says study author Alex Huth.  The findings may one day help scientists “read” the brains of people who can’t speak due to stroke or disease.

The general stages of Alzheimer’s disease

Written by Mary Ellen Ellis and Valencia Higuera
Medically Reviewed by
Timothy J. Legg, PhD, CRNP on November 21, 2016

The typical progression of Alzheimer’s disease is:

Average time frame
mild, or early stage
2 to 4 years
moderate, or middle stage
2 to 10 years
severe, or late stage
1 to 3 years


Doctors also use Dr. Barry Resiberg’s seven major clinical stages from the “Global Deterioration Scale” to help with diagnosis. There is no universally agreed upon staging system, so healthcare providers may use the one that they are most familiar with.


Mild impairment or decline

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s are less clear during stage 3. While the entire stage lasts about seven years, the symptoms will slowly become clearer over a period of two to four years. Only people close to someone in this stage may notice the signs. Work quality will decline, and they may have trouble learning new skills.

Other examples of stage 3 signs include:

·         getting lost even when traveling a familiar route

·         finding it hard to remember the right words or names

·         being unable to remember what you just read

·         not remembering new names or people

·         misplacing or losing a valuable object

·         decreasing concentration during testing


Prevention Magazine Insert


Finding your memory a bit fuzzier than it used to be?

The first word to remember to sharpen your memory is flavonoids.  These are the amazing healing compounds found in fruits and vegetables.  Berries and some vegetables are particularly rich in a type of flavonoid called anthocyanins, which directly affect the area of the brain associated with learning and memory.


Berries and some vegetables (see list below) have been shown to naturally block an inflammatory enzyme called COX-2, which is the main promoter of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.  No wonder studies show that frequent consumption of these delicious berries and  vegetables delay cognitive aging by as many as 2.5 years.


Plants rich in anthocyanins are Vaccinium species, such as blueberry, cranberry, and bilberry; Rubus berries, including black raspberry, red raspberry, and blackberry; blackcurrant, cherry, eggplant (aubergine) peel, black rice, Concord grape, muscadine grape, red cabbage, and violet petals.

Eat This Way and Avoid Alzheimer’s

Prevention Magazine, July 2015


People who tried the new scientist-designed MIND diet lowered their risk of Alzheimer’s by 53%.  Eat this many weekly servings of the following nine foods.

Whole Grains (21)

Packed with fiber to fuel a productive brain.  Aim for 3 servings a day.

Berries (2)

Thanks to their flavonols, they’re the only fruit that can slow brain decline.

Beans (3)

Plenty of fiber, plus low-fat protein for growing brain cells.

Leafy Greens (6)

Full of antioxidants and carotenoids to protect gray matter.

Poultry (2)

Delivering dementia-preventing B vitamins and low-fat protein.

Nuts (5)

Rich in vitamin E, which has been shown to lower risk of Alzheimer’s.

Other Vegetables (7)

Packed with plant-based antioxidant power.

Fish (1)

Rich in brain-cell-fortifying omega-3 fatty acids.

Wine (7)

Alcohol reduces dementia risk. Stick to 1 glass a day.

·         And use olive oil for cooking and dressings, for its memory-protecting polyphenols.

Red meat:                                                           4 times a week or less

Fast food, fried food, and cheese:            less than once a week

Butter or margarine:                                      less than 5 times a week


Monday, October 3, 2016

Time for your fall checkup!
~ Kyla Kelim, Aging in Alabama, Elder Attorney

We are pretty good about checkups. On your calendar, no doubt, you have appointments for physical checkups, eye checkups, dental checkups, HVAC checkups and even vehicular checkups. The one thing you may not have is your Medicare checkup, available for the next 9 weeks only.

Open enrollment for Medicare recipients occurs from October 15 to December 7 annually. This is the only time you can check your coverage for the next calendar year and, if appropriate, change to another program. For Alabama Medicare recipients, this is also the only time you can change your coverage under Blue Cross' supplemental plans.

Free counseling is available through the State Health Insurance Program (SHIP), to help seniors navigate through this quagmire of regulations and confusing information. This can save you thousands so do yourself and your loved ones a favor and put this checkup on your calendar. Call 1-800-AGELINE to make an appointment today.

In this silly season leading up to the election, we are hard pressed to find reasons to celebrate our government. The SHIP program is one of those rare reasons, so call and schedule your checkup today!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hit the Beach

Your Body on the Ocean

Few things are more relaxing than a dose of sun, sand and sea air—and there is plenty of research to prove it.  Here’s how a day at the beach soothes your body and mind.

©     Lungs—Salty air has been shown to reduce lung inflammation, helping relieve asthma symptoms.  Many patients with lung diseases have also reported less coughing and sinus pressure when exposed to sea air.

©     Skin—Sea salt helps restore skin’s protective barrier, which seals in hydration longer, keeping skin smooth and softer.

©     Brain—A view of the ocean lowers stress, according to researchers who found that the more “blue space” you see, the calmer you feel.

©     Heart—If the water is a little chilly, take a dip anyway.  Plunging into cold ocean water improves circulation.

©     Joints—Swimming in the sea can ease pain of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, possibly due in part to the inflammation taming effects of soaking in salt water.