A Serving a Day of Leafy Greens Can Help Slow Cognitive Decline

A 2018 report in the journal Neurology found that a diet containing approximately one serving of green leafy vegetables per day is associated with slower age-related cognitive decline, according to the National Institute of Health.

Researchers from Rush University in Chicago and the Tufts Human Nutrition Research Center in Boston followed 960 older adults enrolled in the Rush Memory and Aging Project.  The research team focused on the level of consumption of green leafy vegetables, like spinach, kale, collards, and lettuce, which have been suggested in previous research to have protective factors against cognitive decline (Kang et al., 2005; Morris et al., 2006), and looked at the association with performance on cognitive tests.

The average age of the participants was 81 years and all were dementia-free at the beginning of the study. Over an average of nearly 5 years, participants underwent an annual battery of tests that assessed cognition in five domains (episodic memory, working memory, semantic memory, visuospatial ability, and perceptual speed). Data from food frequency questionnaires administered at the beginning of the study were used to assess how frequently people ate some 144 items over the previous 12 months. Dietary intake levels of the nutrients of interest were estimated from responses to all food items. The three green leafy vegetable items and their serving sizes included in the questionnaire were: spinach (1/2 cup cooked), kale/collards/greens (1/2 cup cooked), and lettuce salad (1 cup raw).

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7 Surprising Benefits of Doing Jigsaw Puzzles for All Ages

There's a quiet movement going on in this country, and it doesn't involve apps, data or the latest fad. Following the lead of vinyl record albums, coloring books and traditional board games, jigsaw puzzles are seeing a resurgence in popularity. Perhaps, because it's an opportunity to unplug and give yourself and family an escape from the information overload that is buzzing through the very fabric of our lives 24/7.

Wrestling yourself away from screens, devices, even the television can be a nearly impossible task, but it's vital to our mental and even physical health. A jigsaw puzzle requires your full attention and therein lies the magic. Everyone from tweens and teens to millennials and over-worked parents to seniors are returning to this quiet pastime of childhood. Call it a retro revolution.

Here are some benefits of puzzling that might surprise you.

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Grant Awarded to Help Lehigh Valley Families with Dementia

On July 27, 2018 it was anounced that Project Lifesaver was to receive a $100,000 grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Project Lifesaver provides training and technology for local families as well as emergency personnel and law enforcement to locate an individual who may have wandered off. Read the full article here.

Mixed Dementia May Be the Most Common Cause of Dementia

mixed dementiaIt is common for people with dementia to have mixed dementia—a combination of two or more types of dementia. A number of combinations are possible. For example, some people have both Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

Some studies indicate that mixed dementia is the most common cause of dementia in the elderly. For example, autopsy studies looking at the brains of people who had dementia indicate that most people age 80 and older probably had mixed dementia caused by a combination of brain changes related to Alzheimer's disease, vascular disease-related processes, or another neurodegenerative condition. Some studies suggest that mixed vascular-degenerative dementia is the most common cause of dementia in older adults.

In a person with mixed dementia, it may not be clear exactly how many of a person's symptoms are due to Alzheimer's or another disease. In one study, researchers who examined older adults' brains after death found that 78 percent had two or more pathologies (disease characteristics in the brain) related to neurodegeneration or vascular damage. Alzheimer's was the most common pathology but rarely occurred alone.

Researchers are trying to better understand how underlying disease processes in mixed dementia influence each other. In the study described above, the researchers found that the degree to which Alzheimer's pathology contributed to cognitive decline varied greatly from person to person. In other words, the impact of any given brain pathology differed dramatically depending on which other pathologies were present.

For More Information About Mixed Dementia

NIA Alzheimer’s and related Dementias Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center
1-800-438-4380 (toll-free)
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www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers

The National Institute on Aging’s ADEAR Center offers information and free print publications about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias for families, caregivers, and health professionals. ADEAR Center staff answer telephone, email, and written requests and make referrals to local and national resources.

Tips for Talking about Alzheimer's with a Family Member

It’s a conversation no family wants to have, but one that can be vitally important — talking to a loved one about memory loss or cognitive decline.  alzheimers talk with family

Mary Foss said she knew it was time to broach this sensitive topic with her husband Darrell when she noticed he was having difficulty doing the home improvement projects he had enjoyed all his life.

“Darrell would spend hours building and fixing things around the house — it was his hobby,” Mary said. “But it got to point where he was having trouble doing even routine tasks. He would get frustrated and soon began doing less and less. I knew something was wrong, but dismissed it for a while.”

As Darrell’s retreat from activities he once loved grew, so did Mary’s concern. Eventually, Mary and the couple’s adult daughter, Michele, decided to share their concerns.

“We just told him that something is not right, and you need to see a doctor and figure out what it is,” Foss said. “I thought maybe he had a mini-stroke or a brain tumor. We were shocked when the diagnosis came back as mild cognitive impairment, possibly Alzheimer’s.”

The Fosses’ story is not uncommon. Talking about memory or cognition problems with a family member can be daunting for many families. Denial, fear and difficulty initiating conversations about this sensitive subject are common barriers.

“Alzheimer’s disease is challenging, but talking about it doesn’t have to be,” said Ruth Drew, director of Information and Support Services at the Alzheimer’s Association. “Family members are typically the first to notice when something is not quite right and it’s important to discuss these concerns and follow up with your doctor.”

During Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month the Alzheimer’s Association is offering these six tips to help families facilitate conversations about Alzheimer’s and other dementias:

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