Posts Tagged ‘alzheimer’s’

Brain Training & Magnetic Fields Help Alzheimer’s Patients

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

A trial in the UK is using a combination of brain training and magnetic pulses to reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

“The treatment stimulates key regions of the brain involved in memory and learning, enhancing patients’ ability to make new memories.

“The scientists behind the technique say it can allow Alzheimer’s patients to live far more independently than they otherwise would and extends the time they can spend with their families before suffering the devastating mental decline associated with the disease.”

As reported in the Telegraph.


Brain Food: Nothing Fishy About This

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Baked or broiled fish makes for an excellent brain food.

A recent study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) found that people who consumed fish on a weekly basis had better memory retention were at a significantly lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in old age.

Scientists believe that the Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish help increase blood flow to the brain, reduce inflammation and reduce the build up of harmful plaque which typically precedes the onset of cognitive impairment. (These benefits don’t apply to fish that is fried, a cooking process that breaks down the healthy fats.)

Using MRI scans, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh studied the brain health of 260 seniors over a period of 10 years. The study provides the first direct link between fish consumption and brain health. Participants who consumed fish at least once a week were three to five times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s symptoms than those who had little or no fish in their diets. They also maintained higher levels of grey brain matter and were five times less likely to suffer memory loss compared with those who did not eat fish regularly.

Lead researcher Dr. Cyrus Raji said that larger brain volume is closely tied to brain health. “Consuming baked or broiled fish promotes stronger neurons in the brain’s grey matter by making them larger and healthier,” Dr. Raji explained. “This simple lifestyle choice increases the brain’s resistance to Alzheimer’s disease and lowers risk for the disorder.”

Brain Plasticity: Learning to Rethink Drugs

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

An article in MIT’s Technology Review “Making an Old Brain Young: Scientists are developing new ways to manipulate the brain’s normal plasticity” caught my eye this week. From the title I thought this would be a serious review of the medical advances expected from therapies that leverage brain plasticity.

Unfortunately, the article focused entirely on the possibility for developing drugs that exploit plasticity.

I’m not against drugs. Drugs are amazing. One very immediate example in my life: My daughter has congenital hypothyroidism — without synthetic thyroid hormone she would have been severely disabled. The medical world should be evaluating drugs that leverage plasticity. What concerned me about the article was the lack of any mention of reference to non-drug therapies. At the moment such therapies seem to be appearing or surfacing thick and fast and can be used right now, without waiting for the drugs to be developed, tested and approved: The Australian Alzheimer’s Association has endorsed brain training exercises as a non-pharmacalogical mechanism for delaying or preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms. The most effective therapies for stroke victims leverage plasticity through non-drug therapies (see Drake and Taub). Many learning specialists now work with brain exercises to mitigate or correct learning dysfunctions rather than accommodations. And other research has shown that the generation of new nerve cells in the dentate gyrus helps combat depression — something that can be assisted with exercise and brain exercise…

Surely, if our newfound knowledge of plasticity teaches us anything it teaches us that non-drug therapies can achieve some remarkable results.