Can your eyes predict the onset of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) years before cognitive symptoms appear? Findings in a recent study may hold promise for such early detection, say researchers at the University of California, San Diego.
AD starts altering and damaging the brain years — even decades — before symptoms appear, making early identification of risk paramount to slowing its progression. Continue reading
World experts in aging for the first time are recommending that everyone age 70 and older have routine brain health screenings.
At a recent conference of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics, in St. Louis, a consensus panel examined the importance of early recognition of impaired cognitive health. They concluded that annual memory and reasoning ability evaluation by a physician or health provider is an important step toward enhancing brain health for aging populations throughout the world.
A new report from the Institute of Medicine identifies the three key actions people can take to help maintain optimal cognitive function as they age. Physical activity, reducing and managing cardiovascular disease risk, and regularly reviewing medications and their side effects with their clinicians top the list of recommendations to maintain cognitive health.
“Changes in mental functions and capabilities are a part of aging and occur with everyone,” committee chair Dan G. Blazer, M.D. Ph.D., the J.P. Gibbons professor of psychiatry emeritus at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., said in a statement. “The extent and nature of these changes vary widely and are gradual, and aging can have both positive and negative effects on cognition. Wisdom and knowledge can increase with age, while memory and attention can decline.”
The study focused on the public health dimensions of cognitive aging as separate from neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. It described decline in cognition is a public health issue that goes beyond memory lapses and one that can have significant impacts on independent living and healthy aging. Continue reading
A study published in the Annals of Neurology indicates that cognitive decline may slow down when people speak two or more languages — even if they learned their second language in adulthood.
While it’s been known for some time that speaking more than one language benefits cognitive function, across the lifespan, scientists could not conclusively determine whether people improve their cognitive functions through learning new languages or whether those with better baseline cognitive functions are more likely to become bilingual.
“Our study is the first to examine whether learning a second language impacts cognitive performance later in life while controlling for childhood intelligence,” said lead author Dr. Thomas Bak, of the Centre for Cognitive Aging and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, in a statement. Continue reading