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Could Non-Optimal Sleeping Patterns Predict Cognitive Decline and Change in Brain Structure?

       Sleep plays a critical role in our cognitive processing, maintenance of psychological health, emotional processing, consolidation of memories, and is when, waste products in the central nervous system are cleared. Previously we discussed correlations between neurodegenerative disorders and sleep problems, specifically about not getting enough sleep and how Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and

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Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia with Lewy Bodies: Could Molecule ATH-1017 Show Efficacy for Treatment of Each?

Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), Parkinson’s disease (PD), and Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) are all neurodegenerative diseases embodied under Lewy Body disorders and have significant overlap in their pathologies, symptoms, and prognoses. Although closely related, these diseases have unique enough criteria to differentiate between them. Parkinson’s disease and DLB have identical pathologies, but early cognitive

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Exercise Related Neuroinflammatory Factor: Isolated

Previously, we’ve discussed ways in which we can lower our risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, such as decreasing risk for cardiovascular disease and eating a healthy Mediterranean-like diet. In this blog, we will dive deeper into the benefits of exercise and a particular protein upregulated from exercise, as there appears to be some implications in neurologic

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Tau: How Different Isoforms Predict Different Stages of AD Progression

If you have read our blogs before, you are likely familiar with the two primary biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), protein tau which forms neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) and amyloid beta (Aꞵ) which forms amyloid plaques. Both of these contribute heavily to neuronal dysfunction, degeneration, and eventual memory impairment, but the relationship between them is complicated

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Insulin Resistance and Alzheimer’s: A Two Way Street (and How GLP-1 Receptor Agonists May Help Cross It)

       Previously, we described the relationship between insulin resistance and AD, and treatments pertaining to such (https://www.centerforcognitivehealth.com/insulin-and-ad/). However, the overarching principle of how insulin signaling ties into development of neurodegenerative conditions is only loosely understood, indicating the need for further research.        Insulin, produced by the pancreas, signals to maintain glucose

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TREM2, Microglia, and Alzheimer’s: The Final Puzzle Piece?

Alzheimer’s researchers have spent years focusing on the “amyloid hypothesis” proposing that toxic ꞵ-amyloid (Aꞵ) proteins, and the plaques they form outside neurons, were the primary cause of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, even therapies that successfully cleared Aꞵ in symptomatic individuals failed to slow or stop neurodegeneration, suggesting something else may be at play. Further

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Donanemab Research Links Amyloid and p-tau217

The FDA approval of Biogen’s aducanumab, now known as Aduhelm, set a low bar that other potential antibody treatments for Alzheimer’s disease are also hopeful to meet. Researchers from Eli Lilly recently reported that donanemab administered at plaque-dissolving strength correlated with diminishing levels of plasma p-tau217. When their data was plugged into a disease-progression model,

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The Case for the Amyloid Hypothesis

The amyloid hypothesis has inspired most of Alzheimer’s research for the last 20 years. It proposes that accumulation of a protein fragment known as beta-amyloid, and in particular the 42 amino acid subtype, is the underlying cause of the Alzheimer’s pathogenesis. It is a “sticky” compound that builds up within the brain 10-15 years before

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Why has Biogen’s aducanumab become so controversial?

The FDA’s approval of aducanumab has been shrouded by controversy, with experts quickly criticizing the FDA’s ruling, referencing two large studies showing little convincing evidence of efficacy. These feelings were mirrored by the FDA’s own advisory committee. Of the 11 members, 10 voted against the drug’s approval, citing insufficient evidence, and one member was undecided.

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Donanemab: A Promising Anti-Amyloid Therapy

     Due to inconsistent effects of anti-amyloid therapies, such as aducanamab, a recent shift from the “amyloid hypothesis” to the “tau hypothesis”, has occurred. The primary issue with most anti-amyloid therapies, is that the successful removal of amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques doesn’t significantly reduce the clinical symptoms, suggesting that significant damage to the underlying brain

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Lion’s Mane: A Mushroom to Remember

       This week we will be discussing the mushroom Lions Mane, or Hericium Erinaceus, and its health applications for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Currently, there are no drugs on the market that prevent, reverse, or halt AD progression. Although a few clinical trials in the pipeline show promise, scientists are also looking to alternative

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The Curious Case of Alzheimer’s-Related Primary Progressive Aphasia

This week we review a disease called Alzheimer-related primary progressive aphasia (PPA-AD). It is well known that a primary symptom of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is memory impairment, while the primary symptom of primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is an isolated language disturbance. Two thirds of PPA cases are caused by a tauopathy called Frontotempral degeneration (FTD)

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How PWAS Helped Discover 10 New Alzheimer’s Genes

For quite a while, one of the most common methods of isolating disease-risk-associated genes has been a Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) which involves genotyping a large number of people and associating various genetic loci, or locations, with the phenotypes, or visible traits, that commonly arise from variance at these loci. However, researchers recently developed

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Pollution and Plaques: How Your Environment Impacts Neurodegeneration

       It was previously thought that fine particulate matter, produced by car exhaust and wildfires among other things, makes its way into the brain where it damages neurons and glia directly or damages brain vasculature leading to vascular dementia. However, young people in Mexico City (a high pollution area) have also been shown

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Further Breakthroughs in AD Testing

       A couple months ago we posted a blog about a blood test for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) that changed the game of diagnosing AD. Unsurprisingly, the scientific community immediately began researching and attempting to improve the test and already they have made significant progress! This week we will break down what we have

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Aducanumab: Third Time’s the Charm?

        This week we review the current status of a previously tested investigational treatment for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) reflecting the clinical trial approval process. In March of 2019 two phase III clinical trials of Biogen’s Aducanumab, a monoclonal amyloid-clearing antibody, terminated due to lack of efficacy after an interim futility analysis. As

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Iron and Amyloid: Correlations to Entorhinal Cortex Degeneration

Research into the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) frequently starts small, with the discovery of risk factors that correlate with elevated deposition of AD biomarkers: amyloid (Aꞵ) plaques and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs). Recently, researchers observed one such phenomenon involving the build-up of iron in the brain and the localization of Aꞵ. Firstly, it

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Anti-Depressant Drugs and Alzheimer’s: A Surprising Relationship

       Most of our blogs emphasize treatments that directly affect the mechanisms that induce Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, recent research into the use of anti-depressant drugs and their relationship to AD has provided some interesting results. Namely, administration of escitalopram seems to reduce deposition of amyloid-ꞵ42, which could, in theory, slow the onset

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A New Investigational Approach to Clinical AD Treatment: ATH-1017

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has long eluded a cure, causing researchers to delve deeper into the biological underpinnings of the disorder for new, inventive, and multi-factorial strategies to reduce neurodegeneration before and after onset. One investigational treatment provided by Athira, called ATH-1017, recently began Phase II clinical trial enrollment with our clinic. If this blog peaks

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LATE and AD: Clinical Interactions

       Most neurological disorders are associated with a biomarker, a protein or biological by-product whose concentration correlates to the development of the disorder. AD’s biomarkers, as you may already know, are amyloid-beta (Aꞵ) precipitated as plaques and misfolded tau protein that forms neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs). Another common biomarker of neurological disorders is TAR

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What Are Coarse-Grained Plaques?

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) was identified in 1901 by Alois Alzheimer but despite being known for over a century, researchers are discovering new things about the disease today. For example, our regular readers should be familiar with the term “amyloid plaques” which are likely the most well researched biomarkers of AD. There are also sub-types of

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Cognitive Resilience: Developmental Vs. Genetic Factors

       A recent discovery of a genetically unique family has shown that developmental disorders may predispose or change the presentation of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia. The family studied consisted of 10 siblings, 8 of whom presented with developmental language problems and 1 with a sub-syndrome of frontotemporal dementia known as logopenic variant primary

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Insulin and Alzheimer’s Disease

Insulin is typically associated with regulating blood glucose levels and diabetes, but it also serves as a crucial signaling molecule throughout the body, including the central nervous system (CNS). In fact, there is evidence that insulin may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Dysregulation of insulin

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Learning Impairment in Preclinical AD

Memory impairment is often the hallmark symptom of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, research recently discovered a trend suggesting that decreased learning may preface memory loss in the preclinical phase of AD. Amyloid-positive patients in the preclinical stage of AD first experience a decline in learning ability while their memory is still comparable to amyloid-negative healthy

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New Discovery in Tau Pathology

      We frequently discuss what factors increase or reduce risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other memory-impairing disorders. However, with research constantly ongoing there is always more to learn. Recently, researchers discovered an important impact of misfolded tau protein in rat brains with AD that sheds some light on how tau increases risk,

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What is Hippocampal Sclerosis?

   Today we will discuss Hippocampal Sclerosis (HS), which causes memory impairment similar to, and frequently confused as, Alzheimer’s disease (AD). HS is often misdiagnosed as AD because initial symptoms and rate of progression follow roughly the same pattern, but as the neurodegeneration continues the two disorders diverge. Memory impairment is severe in both HS

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Blood Tests May Be the Future of Diagnosing Alzheimer’s

Two primary biomarkers are produced in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). They are misfolded versions of proteins called amyloid-β (Aβ) and tau. Despite having known this for quite some time, there has long been a lack of effective and cost-efficient testing to determine the presence of these proteins for a definitive AD

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Virtual Activities for Social Isolation

Older adults and those with chronic health conditions are at higher risk of contracting Covid-19. Although social distancing precautions are very necessary to help flatten the curve and promote the health and safety of our communities, it can contribute to increased isolation and mental hardships.  Staying mentally and physically active during social distancing and isolation

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New Sanitizing Procedures for Covid-19

We Have Re-Opened! We are pleased to resume clinic and research operations at Center for Cognitive Health! Please take a moment to review our plans for sanitizing to ensure patient, subject, and staff safety during Covid-19. Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns. To protect patient and subject safety and support a

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COVID-19: What Can You Do?

The newest coronavirus strain, COVID-19, has reached pandemic status. Similar to SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) from 2013, COVD-19 induces respiratory complications. Those 65 years or older or immunocompromised are at highest risk for complications from the infection. Younger, healthy individuals, including infants, are often asymptomatic or result in minimal and mild symptoms. Due to

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Neurofeedback: Possibility for Alleviation of Cognitive Decline

    Our response to stimuli may be detrimental to our health and cognition, like being stressed while driving in traffic. Neurofeedback retrains our physiologic response to stressful situations, by measuring our brain waves and modifying them in a desirable manner. These waves have been classified into 4 types: Delta: Delta waves are what we

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Temporal Memory: How Genetics Might Impact Memory Based on Time of Day

    The biology of how memories are made and retrieved is well studied. A new component possibly impacting our memory based upon the time of day was recently discovered in mice. A protein, BMAL1, may impact our ability (or inability) to recall memories as its levels fluctuate throughout the day. Although all mammals possess

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Produce for Change: Can Fruits and Veggies Reduce Risk of AD?

    In our previous blogs we have touched upon a couple aspects of how diet can impact neurological function and risk for diseases like Alzheimer’s. As interdisciplinary studies are becoming increasingly more common, we are discovering even more ways that diet and exercise impact our overall health, genetics, and cognitive functioning. Today we will

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Neuroprotective Tap Water: Correlations in Lithium Concentration and Dementia

Within the last few years, an interesting correlation has been discovered between the concentration of lithium in municipal water sources and the incidents of dementia in areas with varying amounts of lithium. In fact, it seems that lithium might provide some form of neuroprotection such that the higher concentration present in tap water predicts a

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The Genetics of Alzheimer’s Disease

    The human genome is complex, unique to each individual, and is the primary driving force behind every biological function and dysfunction. This week’s blog will discuss the genetic underpinnings creating variable risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a well-researched topic but infrequently understood. With growing access to commercial genomic testing through companies like

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LMTM, Tau, and Alzheimer’s: A New Clinical Approach

Many followers of this blog, and those who have participated in our clinical trials, have heard the terms beta-amyloid (Aβ) plaques and tau neurofibrillary tangles time and time again. Both Aβ and tau are protein biomarkers associated with cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). For a long time, the scientific community has focused primarily on

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Photobiomodulation: Lighting Up the Brain

     There are, to date, few methods of non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) that show therapeutic potential for neurological dysfunction. The most commonly used forms of NIBS are transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which uses a magnet to generate electrical currents thereby increasing activity in the targeted system of the brain, and transcranial direct current stimulation

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Sex Differences in Alzheimer’s Risk and Pathology

    Many facets of our lives are profoundly impacted by our underlying genetic makeup from birth. One particularly impactful genetic difference involves the X and Y chromosomes which, aside from assigning one’s biological sex, also play a crucial role in regulation and expression of other genes. The interaction between sex chromosomes and the apolipoprotein

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The Protective Effects of Sleep for Neurodegeneration

        As we all know, sleep plays a critical role in brain functioning. One such function is memory, with sleep enhancing memory encoding and consolidation. Unsurprisingly, study participants deprived of sleep for 36 hours had significantly worse memory retention and poorer insight into their performance than participants who slept regularly, and administration

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Memory Disorders: A Review

        As we look back upon the events of the last decade, it seems fitting to also review thevarious types of memory, disorders that affect them, and what we have learned about them overthe years. We will address the neuroanatomy, symptomatology, and treatments of disordersaffecting episodic, working, procedural, and semantic memory functions.

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The French Paradox: Red Wine for a Healthy Mind?

Known since 1992, the French diet is high in saturated fats, a risk for coronary heart disease (CHD), yet they have less than half the CHD-related deaths compared to the US, Sweden, and the UK. High intake of wine, thought to be 57% of alcohol consumption in France, may contribute to this disproportionately low frequency

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The Gut-Brain Axis: Part 3 of 3

We recently introduced the gut-brain axis as a bidirectional communication loop. Our bodies control, yet are in part controlled, by the living microorganisms within our gut. An irregularity at either end of the gut-brain axis often leads to poorer health, so are there ways to ensure a healthy microbiome? Welcome to part 3!—The final chapter

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The Gut-Brain Axis: Part 2 of 3

       As we discussed last week, our microbiome has profound impacts outside of the digestive system including the central nervous system (CNS). The interaction within the Gut-Brain Axis is reciprocal; our brain communicates with our gut microbes via the enteric nervous system (ENS) consisting of over 100 million neurons responsible for modulation of

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The Gut-Brain Axis: Part 1 of 3

         We each have a unique and complex network of microbes living within our guts known as a microbiome. It is comprised of a dynamic ecosystem of viruses, fungi, and predominately bacteria. As humans, we have been evolving and diversifying in concert with our microbiomes for at least 15 million years, indicating

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The Alzheimer Epidemic: Urgent Treatment Needed Now

It is normal for our brains to shrink as we age but abnormal to lose basic cognitive function or brain cells in large numbers.  Alzheimer’s disease kills our brain cells, known as neurons, leading to thinking and memory decline. Overtime, affected individuals will gradually lose their ability to live independently. Over 5 million Americans have

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The Village Landais Alzheimer – France’s New Care Facility

A 17-acre elderly care village named Landais Alzheimer is currently being built near the city of Dax nestled in southwestern France. It may appear to be a senior living community like any other, but it’s unique in that it’s a village developed entirely for men and women suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Henri Emmanuelli developed

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Physical Activity Helps Delay AD Progression

We have all been told how important it is for our health to lead an active lifestyle. Physical activity has many positive health benefits, but research is showing that it also has a protective effect on your brain! According to a longitudinal study published in the July online edition of JAMA Neurology, physical activity and

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Intermittent Fasting, Could It Help Protect Your Brain While Aging?

Why do people get Alzheimer’s disease (AD)? The cause of this disease is still widely unknown, but after many years of studying AD caloric intake, neuroscience professor Mark Mattson suggests that it may have to do with our modern eating habits. Mattson is particularly focused on the timing and frequency of our meals and how

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AFA’s New Online Memory Screen

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) have added a new tool to their website in the form of an Online Screening Test that can help determine whether or not a visit to your doctor may be beneficial to you. This test only takes a few minutes to complete. To begin the test, a prompt on

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Benefits of Turmeric (Curcumin)

Turmeric is a commonly used natural spice in South Asian cuisine such as curry. It is a common question whether or not turmeric and curcumin are the same thing. Turmeric is the plant itself, and curcumin is a compound found within turmeric. Turmeric is used in traditional South Asian medicine to relieve wounds, gallstones, cramps,

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Current Alzheimer’s Drugs and What They Do

With so many advertisements claiming that certain medications treat Alzheimer’s disease, how can we tell which one’s are legitimate? There are 4 FDA approved medications for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in the United States. These drugs are not cures for the disease, but rather, help better manage the symptoms that effect memory and

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Our Stories

Our Stories, by the Alzheimer’s Association, features the unique stories of 5 individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. These interactive stories help to notice changes in yourself or a loved one, and give tips on starting conversations about health concerns. It can be difficult to know what to do or say, but the stories of Cynthia, Mario,

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The Relationship Between Amyloid, Tau, and Cognition

A recent article published on ALZFORUM discussed research from the first longitudinal study that conducted repeated scans on older adults for both amyloid and tau over several years, and correlate those PET scan results with cognitive changes. Scans were analyzed from 60 men and women that took part in the Harvard Aging Brain Study who

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Early Changes In The Brain May Occur Decades Before The First Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s Disease Begin To Show.

Does Alzheimer’s disease pathology accumulate in our brains in our younger years without making us symptomatic? Typically, individuals don’t get evaluated for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) unless they begin to notice a change in their memory or start to have other concerning symptoms that cue them that something may be going

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Thelma’s Place, Winner of the Brodsky Innovation Grant!

Each year the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America awards a $25,000 grant to a nonprofit organization to help fund new programs or services within the community. To be considered for the Brodsky Innovation Grant the proposed program must seek to improve the lives of individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. It must also demonstrate

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What Is The AFA and What Do They Do?

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is an organization that provides support and education to those living with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as, their caregivers and families. The AFA also helps to fund research on improved treatments in the hope of finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. The AFA website offers a National Toll-Free Helpline. This

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Normal Aging vs. Early Alzheimer’s Disease

How can we tell the difference between normal age related memory symptoms and early Alzheimer’s disease symptoms? It is important to note that not everyone will experience the same symptoms. What may be normal for one person may not be normal for another. Generally speaking, normal age-related cognitive decline is subtle and mostly affects thinking

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Sleep and Alzheimer’s Disease

Sleep problems and disorders are relatively common among seniors. Many individuals with a neurodegenerative disease complain of experiencing  insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, or abnormal motor activity while they are sleeping. [3] Research shows that adults should be sleeping 7 or more hours per night on a regular basis, give or take an hour depending on

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Does Periodontal Bacteria Cause Alzheimer’s Disease?

We have been taught the importance of brushing our teeth since childhood, but could maintaining healthy oral hygiene protect us from getting Alzheimer’s disease? The human mouth is home to at least six billion bacteria! [2] A recent study published in Science Advances claims that the oral pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis can travel from the mouth

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Clinical Trial Myths vs Facts

Clinical trials tend to have a cloud of negative talk hovering over them. Participating in something that involves your health can be daunting and scary, and unfortunately, this fear has led to some misconceptions about participating in clinical research trials. Here are some of the common Myths/Facts surrounding clinical trial participation: Myth: Clinical trials are

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Tips and Resources For Caregivers

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 16.1 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, resulting in an estimated 18.4 billion hours of care. While being a caregiver is gratifying, it is also associated with physical, psychological, and financial burdens. It is common for caregivers to report a decline in their

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IDEAS Study Results

The Imaging Dementia-Evidence for Amyloid Scanning (IDEAS) Study was a 12 month, observational, open-label, longitudinal study done from February 2016 to December 2017. This study was done to assess the impact of amyloid PET scans on patient outcomes. An amyloid PET scan of the brain can identify underlying Alzheimer’s disease even in people with no

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Hobbies, Are They Really That Important?

Many of us are stretched for time and lead busy lifestyles. By the time we reach the end of our day, the idea of sitting in front of the TV seems very appealing. However, there could be a more proactive and beneficial use of our time! It may seem like we don’t have time for

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Acti-v8 Your Brain

Acti-v8 Your Brain is a program that is designed to help individuals sustain a healthy brain! All of the information that each of the 8 pillars in the program provide is scientifically validated and geared towards ultimate brain wellness! The 8 Pillars are as follows:  1) Eat Well  – Maintain a healthy diet with plenty

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Looking At The Use Of L-serine and Potential Health Benefits/Risks

Researchers are looking into a new theory that may lead to a different approach in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Recently on our Facebook page we shared an article about L-serine and the role that it may play on the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and ALS. (The article can be found here. ) Paul Cox PhD,

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FDA Cites 17 Companies For Illegally Marketing Dietary Supplements as Treatments For Dementia

For many ailments and conditions, over-the-counter products are readily available to help consumers find relief or treat various medical symptoms. When it comes to the relief and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, there are many false claims being advertised about products that can “cure” the disease. This form of deceptive advertising is misleading vulnerable consumers to

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Amyloid PET Identifies Those At Risk For Alzheimer’s Disease

Michael Mega, MD, PhD Director, Center for Cognitive Health         The definition of Alzheimer’s disease is changing. With the ability to visualize beta amyloid, the predominate protein that makes up the plaques in Alzheimer patient’s brains, physicians now can tell who is at risk for the disease. Prior to the advent of

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How to Lower Your Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease

Michael Mega, MD, PhD Director, Center for Cognitive Health Do you have a family history of Alzheimer’s disease? If you do there is much you can do now to reduce the chances of developing the disease even if you are carrying genes that increase your risk. Your lifestyle can turn on genes that fight disease

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Our Research

In the quest to conquer Alzheimer’s disease, new drugs that can be used long before the effects of the disease take hold are being tested. These drugs can target and diminish production of a specific protein found in the brain – Beta-amyloid – that’s thought to cause Alzheimer’s. “The field of Alzheimer’s care has changed

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Welcome!

On top of providing top notch care to patients with memory impairment and cognitive decline, we are committed to increasing awareness of Alzheimer’s disease causes, treatments, and current topics in research. Here you will find posts with articles related to Alzheimer’s disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and various brain health tips. Keep checking back for

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