Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tips for Catchin' Some ZZZs

As you may already know, Alzheimer's disease can cause severe troubles with going to and staying asleep throughout the night. As the disease progresses, these problems tend to worsen - causing many "night time" awakenings and troublesome behaviors.
The magazine care ADvantage, a publication of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, ran a great article in the Fall of 2007 that gave some wonderful tips on how to improve the sleep patterns of a person with dementia or Alzheimer's .

Here are some of the tips the article listed that could assist caregivers with nighttime "tiffs" and get you back to your pillow:

Consistency is key. Stick to a routine for eating meals, waking and bedtime. The more person is on schedule, the more likely the person will be used to heading to bed at the same time.

Shorten nap times. Even though Alzheimer's patients tend to need some sleep during the day, make sure to limit those "snooze times" to be shorter, infrequent and earlier in the day. This will ensure that the person is tired when bedtime rolls around. Also, make sure that a bed is only used for nighttime sleeping, not napping, so that the patient associates his/her bed with longer sleeping times.

Open the shades. Let the sun come in, in the morning, so that the bright light will normalize a person's sleep rhythms, and ultimately regulate the sleep-wake cycle.

No drinks before bedtime. Make sure to restrict intakes of liquids especially drinks that contain caffeine and sugar) late in the day, so the individual will be rested for nighttime sleep. Also, make sure to limit water and other drinks before bedtime in order to reduce waking for bathroom breaks.

To read all the tips in the article, click here and go to the 9th page (or page 7 inside the publication).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Alzheimer's disease on National News

World News with Charles Gibson (of the ABC broadcasting network) featured a short spot on last night's evening news about Alzheimer's disease and the benefits of exercising.

To watch the clip, please go to:

While searching for the clip from last night's news program, I found another interesting interview with David Hyde Pierce (you might remember him from the tv show Frasier) and Father Beck. David's father and grandfather both had Alzheimer's disease and he now volunteers with Alzheimer's Association. Check out the interview here:

Friday, March 14, 2008

Short Films on Alzheimer's

David Shenk, author of The Forgetting, in collaboration with the Alliance for Aging Research has developed 4 very short, powerful “pocket” films to increase understanding of Alzheimer's disease. They are called "pocket" films because of their brevity and portability; and are designed to be viewed anywhere at anytime.
The topics of the four films are:
1) What is Alzheimer’s disease
2) An Urgent Epidemic
3) The Race to the Cure
4) A message for Patients and their Families
Here is the first of the 4 films, "What is Alzheimer's disease?", which gives the basics on the disease with a powerful illustration of how the brain is affected. Simply select play in the box.

Here is the link to view all the films:
Please forward this link on to your families, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc.
Remember, knowledge is power! Please post your comments below if you thought this blog was helpful to you.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Hot off the press!

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!!

Click here and turn to page 29 and 30 to read the article Healthcare Journal of Baton Rouge featured in their latest magazine on our new Respite Center, Charlie's Place!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Food for thought.

Last week the Chicago Tribune featured an article by Drs. Kay Judge and Maxine Barish-Wreden about the correlation between diet and the way the brain ages.

The doctors reported that scientists are researching causes for brain deterioration, as in Alzheimer's disease, and are concentrating on the link between the deposition of amyloid beta protein in brain tissue and inflammation of brain cells. Studies have found that inflammation may accelerate the deposition of the amyloid protein in the brain. If this is found to be true, then the foods we eat play a very important role in Alzheimer's. And we may have a chance to do something about it, because research shows that the foods we eat can decrease inflammation of the brain cells.

What foods can decrease brain cell inflammation? In the article, the doctors listed the following foods as part of a brain-healthy diet:

  • 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. This includes apples and onions for their flavonoids, dark leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach for their carotenes, cooked tomatoes for lycopene (another carotene) and blueberries for their antioxidants.
  • Fish eaten twice a week, or omega-fatty acids taken as a daily supplement.
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Black or green tea
  • Whole grains
  • Beans, other legumes and nuts
  • Dark chocolate
Brain-healthy foods EXCLUDE:

  • Red meat
  • Excessive salt
  • Trans-fats
  • Saturated or animal fats
  • High-glycemic foods
  • Overly processed foods
To read the entire article click here.

Another study by the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center has also found that turmeric, a spice found in curry, is shown to increase the clearance of amyloid beta plaques in the brain. The spice is used as an anti-inflammatory agent in both Chinese and Indian medical systems for a wide-range of conditions.
Researchers found that cultures that consume large amounts of turmeric report low incidences of Alzheimer’s disease. For example, India, which uses this spice both in cooking and medicine, has one of the lowest incidences of Alzheimer's in the world! (The rate of Alzheimer's in India is less than 1/4 than the US.)

Click here to read an article on the benefits of turmeric.

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