Tag Archives: Alzheimer’s disease

Straight, No Chaser: Self-Assessment for Signs of Early Dementia or Alzheimer’s

Dementia Not Human

Each of us has elderly family members for whom we may be concerned about their memory or other possible signs of dementia. You don’t have to stand by powerless and let them dwindle away. Early detection of dementia gives the best chance for a higher quality during the rest of one’s life. Isn’t that how we’d all want our loved ones to spend their golden days? This Straight, No Chaser post adapts information provided by the Alzheimer’s Association. Any positive responses can suggest an issue warranting further investigation. The goal here is straightforward. If any concerns arises after completing this, you should print out the sheet, and take it to your physician, requesting an evaluation.
dementia loss
_____ 1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially in the early stages, is forgetting recently learned information. Other signs include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own. Typical age-related changes involve sometimes forget names or appointments, especially if you remember them later.
_____ 2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before. Typical age-related changes include making an occasional error when balancing a checkbook.
_____ 3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game. Typical age-related changes include occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show.
_____ 4. Confusion with time or place. People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there. Typical age-related changes include occasionally getting confused about the day of the week, especially if s/he figures it out later.
_____ 5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not recognize their own reflection. Typical age-related changes of vision changes are related to cataracts and do not indicate Alzheimer’s.
_____ 6. New problems with words in speaking or writing. People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a watch a “hand clock”). Typical age-related changes involve sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
_____ 7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time. It’s more typical to displace things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control.
_____ 8. Decreased or poor judgment. People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean. It’s less concerning for anyone of any age to make a bad decision once in a while.
_____ 9. Withdrawal from work or social activities. A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced. It’s more typical for anyone of any age to sometimes feel weary of work, family and social obligations.
_____ 10. Changes in mood and personality. The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone. It’s more typical for people as they age to develop very specific ways of doing things and to become irritable when a routine is disrupted.
It is worth restating: early diagnosis provides the best opportunities for treatment, support and future planning. For more information, call the Alzheimer’s Association at 800.272.3900 or your SterlingMedicalAdvice.comexpert consultants.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Dementia – When Brain Health Goes Bad

dementia-brain eraser

In case you didn’t pick up on it, the posts regarding brain health served two purposes. The first is to ensure you give yourself the best opportunity to live a healthy, happy mental life. The second is to stave off the point in your life when you develop dementia. In this and the next post on brain health, we focus on dementia, which occurs when the brain becomes a certain type of unhealthy. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for approximately 60-80% of cases.
Look at the below chart for a stunning illustration of the scope of dementia.

Dementia facts

As opposed to being a single disease, dementia describes a range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other mental skills. As such, it’s more helpful to describe functions lost instead of symptoms you may experience. Dementia is associated with a reduced ability to perform routine activities of daily living. It can be associated with significant impairment of other mental functions, including the following:

  • Memory
  • Communication and language.
  • Ability to focus and pay attention
  • Reasoning and judgment
  • Visual perception

Practically this could range from problems with remembering appointments or names, engaging in unnecessarily dangerous activities for no reason, or keeping track of items.

demenetia brain map

Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells. It’s the type of damage that could occur from a poor diet, age-related or other causes of poor blood circulation to the brain (e.g. a stroke). Depending on the involved area of the brain, various levels of loss of function may be seen. Based on the most common patterns and sites of brain damage, the mental deficits described above are those most likely to be seen. It is of note that the center of memory and learning (the hippocampus) is often the first area damaged, which corresponds to those deficits that define early dementia/Alzheimer’s.
My messages to you regarding dementia are pretty simple.

  • You don’t want it. Dementia is the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end. It is progressive. The symptoms will be more and more pronounced with time.
  • You need to address it. If you haven’t been forward thinking enough to engage in brain health, know the early signs, and get checked out as soon as possible. The good news is all dementia isn’t Alzheimer’s and could represent a treatable cause. Even when it doesn’t, steps to temporarily improve symptoms can be instituted.
  • Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
    Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
    Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
    Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
    Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Self-Assessment for Signs of Early Dementia or Alzheimer’s

Dementia Not Human

Each of us has elderly family members for whom we may be concerned about their memory or other possible signs of dementia. You don’t have to stand by powerless and let them dwindle away. Early detection of dementia gives the best chance for a higher quality during the rest of one’s life. Isn’t that how we’d all want our loved ones to spend their golden days? This Straight, No Chaser post adapts information provided by the Alzheimer’s Association. Any positive responses can suggest an issue warranting further investigation. The goal here is straightforward. If any concerns arises after completing this, you should print out the sheet, and take it to your physician, requesting an evaluation.
dementia loss
_____ 1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially in the early stages, is forgetting recently learned information. Other signs include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own. Typical age-related changes involve sometimes forgetting names or appointments, especially if you remember them later.
_____ 2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before. Typical age-related changes include making an occasional error when balancing a checkbook.
_____ 3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure. People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game. Typical age-related changes include occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show.
_____ 4. Confusion with time or place. People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there. Typical age-related changes include occasionally getting confused about the day of the week, especially if s/he figures it out later.
_____ 5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not recognize their own reflection. Typical age-related changes of vision changes are related to cataracts and do not indicate Alzheimer’s.
_____ 6. New problems with words in speaking or writing. People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a watch a “hand clock”). Typical age-related changes involve sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
_____ 7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time. It’s more typical to displace things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control.
_____ 8. Decreased or poor judgment. People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean. It’s less concerning for anyone of any age to make a bad decision once in a while.
_____ 9. Withdrawal from work or social activities. A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced. It’s more typical for anyone of any age to sometimes feel weary of work, family and social obligations.
_____ 10. Changes in mood and personality. The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone. It’s more typical for people as they age to develop very specific ways of doing things and to become irritable when a routine is disrupted.
It is worth restating: early diagnosis provides the best opportunities for treatment, support and future planning. For more information, call the Alzheimer’s Association at 800.272.3900 or your SterlingMedicalAdvice.com expert consultants.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Questions About Memory Loss and Forgetfulness

memory puzzle

Are you the type that has a bad memory? Is your memory good when you “want it to be?” Do you just have problems paying attention? Are you concerned about elderly family members suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease? This Straight, No Chaser may have some answers to your common questions. Feel free to ask any others you may have.
Am I forgetful, absent-minded or do I have a serious memory problem?
You tell me. It’s not memory loss if you never paid attention to begin with (there’s a joke about husbands and sporting events in here somewhere). It’s certainly the case that the more you focus on remembering whatever it is, the more likely it is that you will.
Ok then, what’s the difference between normal forgetfulness and serious memory loss?
To understand this distinction, think about functionality. We all forget things. It is a clear concern when the things being forgotten involve items needed for activities of daily living (your name, your address, your birthday, etc.).
Why do we forget? 
This is a very complicated question and the cause is often multifactorial, include one or several of aging, medical and emotional considerations.

memory-loss alcohol

So what about health-related causes of memory loss?
If this refers to non-aging causes, there are several. There’s a phenomenon called state-dependent learning that’s pretty fascinating. For example, if you learn something while intoxicated, you may not remember it while sober, and you may remember it again once intoxicated again. Alcoholism itself causes conditions (e.g. Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakoff’s psychosis – these aren’t esoteric; these are out there) in which memory loss is a component. Chronic alcohol use and other conditions that involve vitamin deficiencies (e.g. Vit D, Vit B12) also produce memory loss and deficiencies.
Is it true that stress can cause memory loss?
Yes, both stress and depression can cause memory loss, both emotionally and physiologically.

memoryloss ahead

Should I worry about Alzheimer’s?
No. Alzheimer’s happens whether you “worry” about it or not. What you should do is be concerned about memory loss and trying to prevent premature dementia. First, take steps to protect and build your memory. Second, if you are experiencing memory loss, discuss it with your physician. He or she will know what to do from there.
Ok, then how do I work on my memory?
An active brain is a healthy brain. Of course diet and exercise will keep all of you healthy, including your brain. There are untold numbers of memory games and problem-solving exercises you can perform to train and keep your brain sharp. Learn a new skill or dabble in a new language. In general, socializing and engaging your mind in activities is most of what you need. Alternatively, you can also protect against your bad memory (or inattentiveness). Make a habit of placing your keys, purse/wallet and other needed items in the same place, so when something’s lost, instead of remembering what you did, you can ask yourself “what was I supposed to do?” And yes, guys you can pay better attention to your wives.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Dementia – When Brain Health Goes Bad

dementia-brain eraser

In case you didn’t pick up on it, the posts regarding brain health served two purposes. The first is to ensure you give yourself the best opportunity to live a healthy, happy mental life. The second is to stave off the point in your life when you develop dementia. In this and the next post on brain health, we focus on dementia, which occurs when the brain becomes a certain type of unhealthy. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for approximately 60-80% of cases.
Look at the below chart for a stunning illustration of the scope of dementia.

Dementia facts

As opposed to being a single disease, dementia describes a range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other mental skills. As such, it’s more helpful to describe functions lost instead of symptoms you may experience. Dementia is associated with a reduced ability to perform routine activities of daily living. It can be associated with significant impairment of other mental functions, including the following:

  • Memory
  • Communication and language.
  • Ability to focus and pay attention
  • Reasoning and judgment
  • Visual perception

Practically this could range from problems with remembering appointments or names, engaging in unnecessarily dangerous activities for no reason, or keeping track of items.

demenetia brain map

Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells. It’s the type of damage that could occur from a poor diet, age-related or other causes of poor blood circulation to the brain (e.g. a stroke). Depending on the involved area of the brain, various levels of loss of function may be seen. Based on the most common patterns and sites of brain damage, the mental deficits described above are those most likely to be seen. It is of note that the center of memory and learning (the hippocampus) is often the first area damaged, which corresponds to those deficits that define early dementia/Alzheimer’s.
My messages to you regarding dementia are pretty simple.

  • You don’t want it. Dementia is the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end. It is progressive. The symptoms will be more and more pronounced with time.
  • You need to address it. If you haven’t been forward thinking enough to engage in brain health, know the early signs, and get checked out as soon as possible. The good news is all dementia isn’t Alzheimer’s and could represent a treatable cause. Even when it doesn’t, steps to temporarily improve symptoms can be instituted.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Brain Health – How Your Brain Works

brain health fitness

Everyone at Straight, No Chaser and www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com is into brainpower. This is the first of a series of posts on brain health and brainpower. The purpose of these posts is to give you enough information to optimize, maximize and extend your brain health. Hopefully you’ve learned all this before (no pun intended), and we’re just reorganizing it for you.
The brain really is a fascinating organ; indeed it’s the body’s most powerful (with apologies to the heart; don’t be broken by the news). Despite jokes to the contrary, it only weighs about three pounds in the average person (I’d imagine many of you are inserting your own jokes about your favorite friends here…).

Brain Health

The brain has three major components:

  • The cerebrum is the area taking up most of the area in your skull. It controls thinking, problem solving, remembering, feeling and movement.
  • The cerebellum controls coordination and balance from its position in the back of the head, below the cerebrum.
  • The brain stem is also beneath the cerebrum but is in front of the cerebellum. The brain stem connects the brain to the spinal cord. It controls breathing, blood pressure, digestion and heart – functions you normally don’t have to “think” about (automatic functions).

You may be surprised to know about a quarter of your total blood supply nourishes your brain with each heartbeat. Your network of brain cells consists of billions of cells, and they extract approximately 20% of the oxygen and nutrients being carried by the blood. This amount can increase up to 50% depending on the brain’s level of activity. This is an immediate illustration of why brain health is so vital.

 CerebralCortex

Have you ever wondered why the brain has that wrinkled outer appearance? That area is called the cortex. The cortex roughly resembles a map corresponding to various functions. This area interprets sensations from within your body, and sights, sounds and smells from the outside world. It also helps you form and store memories, generate thoughts, make plans and solve problems. The cortex also controls voluntary movements.

left-right-brain-content 

Another common question about the brain relates to the differences between the left and right sides and what that has to do with people who are left-handed or right-handed. Here’s what is clear about the different halves of the brain.

  • The left half controls movement of the right side of the body, and the right half controls the left side of the body. Thus if you’re right-handed, you’re likely left-brain dominant.
  • In most people, the language area is mainly on the left.

 brain health neurons

All things considered, the adult brain has approximately 100 billion nerve cells, called neurons. Neurons are where the real work of your brain occurs. Via various branches, there are more than 100 trillion connections. This amazing and powerful network is called the neuron forest. This network of neurons is how we know to generate thoughts, feelings and memories. The individual “way stations” where chemicals (neurotransmitters) sent by neurons via electrical charges connect are called synapses. There are dozens of different types of neurotransmitters facilitating different levels of communication within the brain.

 brain health unhealthy brain

Functionally, this level of specificity is important to know at a general level because it sets the table for these additional considerations to be discussed in additional posts:

  • Good brain health keeps your brain working optimally.
  • Certain diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s) destroy neurons and otherwise disrupt both the way electrical charges travel within cells and the activity of neurotransmitters.

This is a simplistic representation of how your brain organizes all the thoughts, activities, memories, skills and knowledge of self we have. Make the commitment to protect your brain. After all, it’s who you are.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Questions About Memory Loss and Forgetfulness

memory puzzle

Are you the type that has a bad memory? Is your memory good when you “want it to be?” Do you just have problems paying attention? Are you concerned about elderly family members suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease? This Straight, No Chaser may have some answers to your common questions. Feel free to ask any others you may have.
Am I forgetful, absent-minded or do I have a serious memory problem?
You tell me. It’s not memory loss if you never paid attention to begin with (there’s a joke about husbands and sporting events in here somewhere). It’s certainly the case that the more you focus on remembering whatever it is, the more likely it is that you will.
Ok then, what’s the difference between normal forgetfulness and serious memory loss?
To understand this distinction, think about functionality. We all forget things. It is a clear concern when the things being forgotten involve items needed for activities of daily living (your name, your address, your birthday, etc.).
Why do we forget? 
This is a very complicated question and the cause is often multifactorial, include one or several of aging, medical and emotional considerations.

memory-loss alcohol

So what about health-related causes of memory loss?
If this refers to non-aging causes, there are several. There a phenomenon called state-dependent learning that’s pretty fascinating. For example, if you learn something while intoxicated, you may not remember it while sober, and you may remember it again once intoxicated again. Alcoholism itself causes conditions (e.g. Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakoff’s psychosis – these aren’t esoteric; these are out there) in which memory loss is a component. Chronic alcohol use and other conditions that involve vitamin deficiencies (e.g. Vit D, Vit B12) also produce memory loss and deficiencies.
Is it true that stress can cause memory loss?
Yes, both stress and depression can cause memory loss, both emotionally and physiologically.

memoryloss ahead

Should I worry about Alzheimer’s?
No. Alzheimer’s happens whether you “worry” about it or not. What you should do is be concerned about memory loss and trying to prevent premature dementia. First, take steps to protect and build your memory. Second, if you are experiencing memory loss, discuss it with your physician. He or she will know what to do from there.
Ok, then how do I work on my memory?
An active brain is a healthy brain. Of course diet and exercise will keep all of you healthy, including your brain. There are untold numbers of memory games and problem-solving exercises you can perform to train and keep your brain sharp. Learn a new skill or dabble in a new language. In general, socializing and engaging your mind in activities is most of what you need. Alternatively, you can also protect against your bad memory (or inattentiveness). Make a habit of placing your keys, purse/wallet and other needed items in the same place, so when something’s lost, instead of remembering what you did, you can ask yourself “what was I supposed to do?” And yes, guys you can pay better attention to your wives.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Dementia – When Brain Health Goes Bad

dementia-brain eraser

In case you didn’t pick up on it, the posts regarding brain health served two purposes. The first is to ensure you give yourself the best opportunity to live a healthy, happy mental life. The second is to stave off the point in your life when you develop dementia. In this and the next post on brain health, we focus on dementia, which occurs when the brain becomes a certain type of unhealthy. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for approximately 60-80% of cases.
Look at the below chart for a stunning illustration of the scope of dementia.

Dementia facts

As opposed to being a single disease, dementia describes a range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other mental skills. As such, it’s more helpful to describe functions lost instead of symptoms you may experience. Dementia is associated with a reduced ability to perform routine activities of daily living. It can be associated with significant impairment of other mental functions, including the following:

  • Memory
  • Communication and language.
  • Ability to focus and pay attention
  • Reasoning and judgment
  • Visual perception

Practically this could range from problems with remembering appointments or names, engaging in unnecessarily dangerous activities for no reason, or keeping track of items.

demenetia brain map

Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells. It’s the type of damage that could occur from a poor diet, age-related or other causes of poor blood circulation to the brain (e.g. a stroke). Depending on the involved area of the brain, various levels of loss of function may be seen. Based on the most common patterns and sites of brain damage, the mental deficits described above are those most likely to be seen. It is of note that the center of memory and learning (the hippocampus) is often the first area damaged, which corresponds to those deficits that define early dementia/Alzheimer’s.
My messages to you regarding dementia are pretty simple.

  • You don’t want it. Dementia is the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end. It is progressive. The symptoms will be more and more pronounced with time.
  • You need to address it. If you haven’t been forward thinking enough to engage in brain health, know the early signs, and get checked out as soon as possible. The good news is all dementia isn’t Alzheimer’s and could represent a treatable cause. Even when it doesn’t, steps to temporarily improve symptoms can be instituted.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Self-Assessment for Signs of Early Dementia or Alzheimer’s

Dementia Not Human

Each of us has elderly family members for whom we may be concerned about their memory or other possible signs of dementia. You don’t have to stand by powerless and let them dwindle away. Early detection of dementia gives the best chance for a higher quality during the rest of one’s life. Isn’t that how we’d all want our loved ones to spend their golden days? This Straight, No Chaser post adapts information provided by the Alzheimer’s Association. Any positive responses can suggest an issue warranting further investigation. The goal here is straightforward. If any concerns arises after completing this, you should print out the sheet, and take it to your physician, requesting an evaluation.
dementia loss
_____ 1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially in the early stages, is forgetting recently learned information. Other signs include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own. Typical age-related changes involve sometimes forget names or appointments, especially if you remember them later.
_____ 2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before. Typical age-related changes include making an occasional error when balancing a checkbook.
_____ 3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game. Typical age-related changes include occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show.
_____ 4. Confusion with time or place. People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there. Typical age-related changes include occasionally getting confused about the day of the week, especially if s/he figures it out later.
_____ 5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not recognize their own reflection. Typical age-related changes of vision changes are related to cataracts and do not indicate Alzheimer’s.
_____ 6. New problems with words in speaking or writing. People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a watch a “hand clock”). Typical age-related changes involve sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
_____ 7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time. It’s more typical to displace things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control.
_____ 8. Decreased or poor judgment. People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean. It’s less concerning for anyone of any age to make a bad decision once in a while.
_____ 9. Withdrawal from work or social activities. A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced. It’s more typical for anyone of any age to sometimes feel weary of work, family and social obligations.
_____ 10. Changes in mood and personality. The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone. It’s more typical for people as they age to develop very specific ways of doing things and to become irritable when a routine is disrupted.
It is worth restating: early diagnosis provides the best opportunities for treatment, support and future planning. For more information, call the Alzheimer’s Association at 800.272.3900 or your SterlingMedicalAdvice.comexpert consultants.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Brain Health – Foods and Brain Healthy Habits

brainfood

I only get asked about this everyday, so let’s review keeping your brain healthy. Unfortunately too often some of you only ask at the point when early dementia or Alzheimer’s disease has begun to develop, but this is another example of an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure. Also, these requests often seem to be related to some internet promise of health based on some fad or miracle cure. Remember the Straight, No Chaser dictum: your health won’t be found in a bottle.
In a previous post about how your brain works, we pointed out that your brain consumes a tremendous proportion of the body’s oxygen supply. So to begin the conversation, just remember that a diet promoting good blood flow throughout the body promotes good blood flow to the brain. I wish I could convince you that a baseline level of brain health is just this simple: consume a diet low in fat and cholesterol. If you’re not clogging the arteries in the rest of your body, you won’t be clogging arteries in your brain. The same things you’re doing to avoid diabetes and hypertension will help you here.
As such let’s provide an overview to five basic principles to keep your brain healthy. If you adhere to these, you can save the money you’re spending on ginkgo biloba.

brain health protect

Reduce your fat and cholesterol intake
It’s as simple as already discussed. High intake of these foods promotes a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease later in life. Try these specific tips.

  • Use olive oil instead of other saturated fats.
  • Bake or grill your food instead of frying it.

brain health foods

Eat foods shown to protect and promote brain health
I want to make this simple. If you’re eating dark-skinned fruits and/or vegetables, you’re being good to your brain. These foods tend to have the highest levels of antioxidants fighting off damage to your brain cells. Here are some specific examples of brain healthy foods. Try working them into your diet.

  • Fruits – blackberries, blueberries, cherries, oranges, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, red grapes and strawberries
  • Vegetables – alfalfa and Brussels sprouts, beets, broccoli, corn, eggplant, kale, onion, red bell pepper and spinach
  • Nuts – almonds, pecans and walnuts are a good source of vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant
  • Fish – halibut, mackerel, salmon, trout and tuna (all contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are brain healthy)

Vitamins
The best way to obtain brain-healthy vitamins is through a brain-healthy diet. Foods strong in vitamins E, C, B12 and folate appear to be important in lowering your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. It should come as no surprise that the foods listed above meet that criteria. You may not know that obtaining vitamins through your food appears to deliver what you need better than taking pills.

brain health activities

Exercise
If you’re keeping your heart strong and pumping blood efficiently throughout your body, your brain is getting its needed supply of oxygen and nutrients. Check this Straight, No Chaser on basic exercise tips.
Be social, Be a lifelong learner
Exercise your brain through social interactions with others, especially those that “stimulate your brain.” The diversity of experience keeps different parts of your brain active, alert, functioning and healthy. Learn a new skill or language. It’s almost as good as starting over!
Another Straight, No Chaser will focus on additional ways for you to engage your brain to keep it working and working well.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Questions About Memory Loss and Forgetfulness

memory puzzle

Are you the type that has a bad memory? Is your memory good when you “want it to be?” Do you just have problems paying attention? Are you concerned about elderly family members suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease? This Straight, No Chaser may have some answers to your common questions. Feel free to ask any others you may have.
Am I forgetful, absent-minded or do I have a serious memory problem?
You tell me. It’s not memory loss if you never paid attention to begin with (there’s a joke about husbands and sporting events in here somewhere). It’s certainly the case that the more you focus on remembering whatever it is, the more likely it is that you will.
Ok then, what’s the difference between normal forgetfulness and serious memory loss?
To understand this distinction, think about functionality. We all forget things. It is a clear concern when the things being forgotten involve items needed for activities of daily living (your name, your address, your birthday, etc.).
Why do we forget? 
This is a very complicated question and the cause is often multifactorial, include one or several of aging, medical and emotional considerations.

memory-loss alcohol

So what about health-related causes of memory loss?
If this refers to non-aging causes, there are several. There a phenomenon called state-dependent learning that’s pretty fascinating. For example, if you learn something while intoxicated, you may not remember it while sober, and you may remember it again once intoxicated again. Alcoholism itself causes conditions (e.g. Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakoff’s psychosis – these aren’t esoteric; these are out there) in which memory loss is a component. Chronic alcohol use and other conditions that involve vitamin deficiencies (e.g. Vit D, Vit B12) also produce memory loss and deficiencies.
Is it true that stress can cause memory loss?
Yes, both stress and depression can cause memory loss, both emotionally and physiologically.

memoryloss ahead

Should I worry about Alzheimer’s?
No. Alzheimer’s happens whether you “worry” about it or not. What you should do is be concerned about memory loss and trying to prevent premature dementia. First, take steps to protect and build your memory. Second, if you are experiencing memory loss, discuss it with your physician. He or she will know what to do from there.
Ok, then how do I work on my memory?
An active brain is a healthy brain. Of course diet and exercise will keep all of you healthy, including your brain. There are untold numbers of memory games and problem-solving exercises you can perform to train and keep your brain sharp. Learn a new skill or dabble in a new language. In general, socializing and engaging your mind in activities is most of what you need. Alternatively, you can also protect against your bad memory (or inattentiveness). Make a habit of placing your keys, purse/wallet and other needed items in the same place, so when something’s lost, instead of remembering what you did, you can ask yourself “what was I supposed to do?” And yes, guys you can pay better attention to your wives.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Self-Assessment for Signs of Early Dementia or Alzheimer’s

Dementia Not Human

Each of us has elderly family members for whom we may be concerned about their memory or other possible signs of dementia. You don’t have to stand by powerless and let them dwindle away. Early detection of dementia gives the best chance for a higher quality during the rest of one’s life. Isn’t that how we’d all want our loved ones to spend their golden days? This Straight, No Chaser post adapts information provided by the Alzheimer’s Association. Any positive responses can suggest an issue warranting further investigation. The goal here is straightforward. If any concerns arises after completing this, you should print out the sheet, and take it to your physician, requesting an evaluation.
dementia loss
_____ 1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially in the early stages, is forgetting recently learned information. Other signs include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own. Typical age-related changes involve sometimes forget names or appointments, especially if you remember them later.
_____ 2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before. Typical age-related changes include making an occasional error when balancing a checkbook.
_____ 3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game. Typical age-related changes include occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show.
_____ 4. Confusion with time or place. People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there. Typical age-related changes include occasionally getting confused about the day of the week, especially if s/he figures it out later.
_____ 5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not recognize their own reflection. Typical age-related changes of vision changes are related to cataracts and do not indicate Alzheimer’s.
_____ 6. New problems with words in speaking or writing. People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a watch a “hand clock”). Typical age-related changes involve sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
_____ 7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time. It’s more typical to displace things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control.
_____ 8. Decreased or poor judgment. People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean. It’s less concerning for anyone of any age to make a bad decision once in a while.
_____ 9. Withdrawal from work or social activities. A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced. It’s more typical for anyone of any age to sometimes feel weary of work, family and social obligations.
_____ 10. Changes in mood and personality. The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone. It’s more typical for people as they age to develop very specific ways of doing things and to become irritable when a routine is disrupted.
It is worth restating: early diagnosis provides the best opportunities for treatment, support and future planning. For more information, call the Alzheimer’s Association at 800.272.3900 or your SterlingMedicalAdvice.comexpert consultants.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Dementia – When Brain Health Goes Bad

dementia-brain eraser

In case you didn’t pick up on it, the posts regarding brain health served two purposes. The first is to ensure you give yourself the best opportunity to live a healthy, happy mental life. The second is to stave off the point in your life when you develop dementia. In this and the next post on brain health, we focus on dementia, which occurs when the brain becomes a certain type of unhealthy. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for approximately 60-80% of cases.
Look at the below chart for a stunning illustration of the scope of dementia.

Dementia facts

As opposed to being a single disease, dementia describes a range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other mental skills. As such, it’s more helpful to describe functions lost instead of symptoms you may experience. Dementia is associated with a reduced ability to perform routine activities of daily living. It can be associated with significant impairment of other mental functions, including the following:

  • Memory
  • Communication and language.
  • Ability to focus and pay attention
  • Reasoning and judgment
  • Visual perception

Practically this could range from problems with remembering appointments or names, engaging in unnecessarily dangerous activities for no reason, or keeping track of items.

demenetia brain map

Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells. It’s the type of damage that could occur from a poor diet, age-related or other causes of poor blood circulation to the brain (e.g. a stroke). Depending on the involved area of the brain, various levels of loss of function may be seen. Based on the most common patterns and sites of brain damage, the mental deficits described above are those most likely to be seen. It is of note that the center of memory and learning (the hippocampus) is often the first area damaged, which corresponds to those deficits that define early dementia/Alzheimer’s.
My messages to you regarding dementia are pretty simple.

  • You don’t want it. Dementia is the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end. It is progressive. The symptoms will be more and more pronounced with time.
  • You need to address it. If you haven’t been forward thinking enough to engage in brain health, know the early signs, and get checked out as soon as possible. The good news is all dementia isn’t Alzheimer’s and could represent a treatable cause. Even when it doesn’t, steps to temporarily improve symptoms can be instituted.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Brain Health – Foods and Brain Healthy Habits

brainfood

I only get asked about this everyday, so let’s review keeping your brain healthy. Unfortunately too often some of you only ask at the point when early dementia or Alzheimer’s disease has begun to develop, but this is another example of an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure. Also, these requests often seem to be related to some internet promise of health based on some fad or miracle cure. Remember the Straight, No Chaser dictum: your health won’t be found in a bottle.
In a previous post about how your brain works, we pointed out that your brain consumes a tremendous proportion of the body’s oxygen supply. So to begin the conversation, just remember that a diet promoting good blood flow throughout the body promotes good blood flow to the brain. I wish I could convince you that a baseline level of brain health is just this simple: consume a diet low in fat and cholesterol. If you’re not clogging the arteries in the rest of your body, you won’t be clogging arteries in your brain. The same things you’re doing to avoid diabetes and hypertension will help you here.
As such let’s provide an overview to five basic principles to keep your brain healthy. If you adhere to these, you can save the money you’re spending on ginkgo biloba.

brain health protect

Reduce your fat and cholesterol intake
It’s as simple as already discussed. High intake of these foods promotes a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease later in life. Try these specific tips.

  • Use olive oil instead of other saturated fats.
  • Bake or grill your food instead of frying it.

brain health foods

Eat foods shown to protect and promote brain health
I want to make this simple. If you’re eating dark-skinned fruits and/or vegetables, you’re being good to your brain. These foods tend to have the highest levels of antioxidants fighting off damage to your brain cells. Here are some specific examples of brain healthy foods. Try working them into your diet.

  • Fruits – blackberries, blueberries, cherries, oranges, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, red grapes and strawberries
  • Vegetables – alfalfa and Brussels sprouts, beets, broccoli, corn, eggplant, kale, onion, red bell pepper and spinach
  • Nuts – almonds, pecans and walnuts are a good source of vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant
  • Fish – halibut, mackerel, salmon, trout and tuna (all contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are brain healthy)

Vitamins
The best way to obtain brain-healthy vitamins is through a brain-healthy diet. Foods strong in vitamins E, C, B12 and folate appear to be important in lowering your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. It should come as no surprise that the foods listed above meet that criteria. You may not know that obtaining vitamins through your food appears to deliver what you need better than taking pills.

brain health activities

Exercise
If you’re keeping your heart strong and pumping blood efficiently throughout your body, your brain is getting its needed supply of oxygen and nutrients. Check this Straight, No Chaser on basic exercise tips.
Be social, Be a lifelong learner
Exercise your brain through social interactions with others, especially those that “stimulate your brain.” The diversity of experience keeps different parts of your brain active, alert, functioning and healthy. Learn a new skill or language. It’s almost as good as starting over!
Another Straight, No Chaser will focus on additional ways for you to engage your brain to keep it working and working well.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser In The News: A Significant Advance in Alzheimer's Research

alzheimers illustration

It isn’t an overstatement to note the search for a cure for Alzheimer’s is the white whale of medical researchers. Alzheimer’s currently affects approximately 5.3 million Americans, the population is aging, and it’s been over a decade since a new medication for dementia has been released onto the market. We have reported previous advancements in medical research (see below), and in the news is another major discovery, courtesy of researchers at the University of Southampton in England.

alzheimers brain_slices

The bottom line: the presence of products of inflammation in the brain and immune cells known as microglia are not a result of Alzheimer but appear to be causal agents. In other words, the presence of inflammation seems to accelerate brain damage and progression toward Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, researchers have demonstrated that giving substances that reduce the proliferation of microglia slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, while reducing memory loss and behavioral problems (albeit in laboratory animals).
How can you use this information? It’s premature to say, but it is safe to say that engaging in brain-healthy activity (see below) that reduce inflammation is undoubtedly in your best interest.

brain health activities

Feel free to review these additional Straight, No Chaser posts on Alzheimer’s.

Straight, No Chaser: Self-Assessment for Signs of Early Dementia or Alzheimer’s

Straight, No Chaser: In The News – Beating Alzheimer’s and Dementia?

Straight, No Chaser: Questions About Memory Loss and Forgetfulness

Straight, No Chaser In The News: Omega-3 Supplements Do Not Protect Against Dementia

Straight, No Chaser: Dementia – When Brain Health Goes Bad

Straight, No Chase: Brain Health – Foods and Brain Healthy Habits

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Straight, No Chaser: Self-Assessment for Signs of Early Dementia or Alzheimer’s

Dementia Not Human

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. Each of us has elderly family members for whom we may be concerned about their memory or other possible signs of dementia. You don’t have to stand by powerless and let them dwindle away. Early detection of dementia gives the best chance for a higher quality during the rest of one’s life. Isn’t that how we’d all want our loved ones to spend their golden days? This Straight, No Chaser post adapts information provided by the Alzheimer’s Association. Any positive responses can suggest an issue warranting further investigation. The goal here is straightforward. If any concerns arises after completing this, you should print out the sheet, and take it to your physician, requesting an evaluation.
dementia loss
_____ 1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially in the early stages, is forgetting recently learned information. Other signs include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own. Typical age-related changes involve sometimes forget names or appointments, especially if you remember them later.
_____ 2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before. Typical age-related changes include making an occasional error when balancing a checkbook.
_____ 3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game. Typical age-related changes include occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show.
_____ 4. Confusion with time or place. People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there. Typical age-related changes include occasionally getting confused about the day of the week, especially if s/he figures it out later.
_____ 5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not recognize their own reflection. Typical age-related changes of vision changes are related to cataracts and do not indicate Alzheimer’s.
_____ 6. New problems with words in speaking or writing. People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a watch a “hand clock”). Typical age-related changes involve sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
_____ 7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time. It’s more typical to displace things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control.
_____ 8. Decreased or poor judgment. People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean. It’s less concerning for anyone of any age to make a bad decision once in a while.
_____ 9. Withdrawal from work or social activities. A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced. It’s more typical for anyone of any age to sometimes feel weary of work, family and social obligations.
_____ 10. Changes in mood and personality. The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone. It’s more typical for people as they age to develop very specific ways of doing things and to become irritable when a routine is disrupted.
It is worth restating: early diagnosis provides the best opportunities for treatment, support and future planning. For more information, call the Alzheimer’s Association at 800.272.3900 or your SterlingMedicalAdvice.comexpert consultants.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Straight, No Chaser: Dementia – When Brain Health Goes Bad

dementia-brain eraser

In case you didn’t pick up on it, the posts regarding brain health served two purposes. The first is to ensure you give yourself the best opportunity to live a healthy, happy mental life. The second is to stave off the point in your life when you develop dementia. In this and the next post on brain health, we focus on dementia, which occurs when the brain becomes a certain type of unhealthy. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for approximately 60-80% of cases.
Look at the below chart for a stunning illustration of the scope of dementia.

Dementia facts

As opposed to being a single disease, dementia describes a range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other mental skills. As such, it’s more helpful to describe functions lost instead of symptoms you may experience. Dementia is associated with a reduced ability to perform routine activities of daily living. It can be associated with significant impairment of other mental functions, including the following:

  • Memory
  • Communication and language.
  • Ability to focus and pay attention
  • Reasoning and judgment
  • Visual perception

Practically this could range from problems with remembering appointments or names, engaging in unnecessarily dangerous activities for no reason, or keeping track of items.

demenetia brain map

Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells. It’s the type of damage that could occur from a poor diet, age-related or other causes of poor blood circulation to the brain (e.g. a stroke). Depending on the involved area of the brain, various levels of loss of function may be seen. Based on the most common patterns and sites of brain damage, the mental deficits described above are those most likely to be seen. It is of note that the center of memory and learning (the hippocampus) is often the first area damaged, which corresponds to those deficits that define early dementia/Alzheimer’s.
My messages to you regarding dementia are pretty simple.

  • You don’t want it. Dementia is the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end. It is progressive. The symptoms will be more and more pronounced with time.
  • You need to address it. If you haven’t been forward thinking enough to engage in brain health, know the early signs, and get checked out as soon as possible. The good news is all dementia isn’t Alzheimer’s and could represent a treatable cause. Even when it doesn’t, steps to temporarily improve symptoms can be instituted.

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright, Sterling Initiatives, LLC. 2013-2015

Straight, No Chase: Brain Health – Foods and Brain Healthy Habits

brainfood

I only get asked about this everyday, so let’s review keeping your brain healthy. Unfortunately too often some of you only ask at the point when early dementia or Alzheimer’s disease has begun to develop, but this is another example of an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure. Also, these requests often seem to be related to some internet promise of health based on some fad or miracle cure. Remember the Straight, No Chaser dictim: your health won’t be found in a bottle.
In a previous post about how your brain works, we pointed out that your brain consumes a tremendous proportion of the body’s oxygen supply. So to begin the conversation, just remember that a diet promoting good blood flow throughout the body promotes good blood flow to the brain. I wish I could convince you that a baseline level of brain health is just this simple: consume a diet low in fat and cholesterol. If you’re not clogging the arteries in the rest of your body, you won’t be clogging arteries in your brain. The same things you’re doing to avoid diabetes and hypertension will help you here.
As such let’s provide an overview to five basic principles to keep your brain healthy. If you adhere to these, you can save the money you’re spending on ginkgo biloba.

brain health protect

Reduce your fat and cholesterol intake
It’s as simple as already discussed. High intake of these foods promotes a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease later in life. Try these specific tips.

  • Use olive oil instead of other saturated fats.
  • Bake or grill your food instead of frying it.

brain health foods

Eat foods shown to protect and promote brain health
I want to make this simple. If you’re eating dark-skinned fruits and/or vegetables, you’re doing good by your brain. These foods tend to have the highest levels of antioxidants fighting off damage to your brain cells. Here are some specific examples of brain healthy foods. Try working them into your diet.

  • Fruits – blackberries, blueberries, cherries, oranges, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, red grapes and strawberries
  • Vegetables – alfalfa and Brussels sprouts, beets, broccoli, corn, eggplant, kale, onion, red bell pepper and spinach
  • Nuts – almonds, pecans and walnuts are a good source of vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant
  • Fish – halibut, mackerel, salmon, trout and tuna (all contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are brain healthy)

Vitamins
The best way to obtain brain-healthy vitamins is through a brain-healthy diet. Foods strong in vitamins E, C, B12 and folate appear to be important in lowering your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. It should come as no surprise that the foods listed above meet that criteria. You may not know that obtaining vitamins through your food appears to deliver what you need better than taking pills.

brain health activities

Exercise
If you’re keeping your heart strong and pumping blood efficiently throughout your body, your brain is getting its needed supply of oxygen and nutrients. Check this Straight, No Chaser on basic exercise tips.
Be social, Be a lifelong learner
Exercise your brain through social interactions with others, especially those that “stimulate your brain.” The diversity of experience keeps different parts of your brain active, alert, functioning and healthy. Learn a new skill or language. It’s almost as good as starting over!
Another Straight, No Chaser will focus on additional ways for you to engage your brain to keep it working and working well.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright, Sterling Initiatives, LLC. 2013-2015

Straight, No Chaser: Superfoods – The Battle of Antioxidants and Free Radicals

Antioxidants
People engage in a lot of fads and off the wall activity to pursue health instead of following tried and true principles of basic science. One thing that I wish didn’t fit that trend is use of supplemental antioxidants. Before talking about using antioxidants, this Straight, No Chaser will discuss why they’re necessary.
Free radicals are like the Tasmanian Devil. These molecules are byproducts of many activities that create cell damage. Think about cigarette smoke, trauma (even vigorous exercise), excessive heat and sunlight (and its radiation), to name a few examples. The process of creating and releasing these molecules is called oxidation. The key point is free radicals are unstable and too many of them lead to a process called oxidative stress. This process is implicated in the development of many illnesses, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cataracts and other eye diseases, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances that prevent or delay cell damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants may be natural or artificial (e.g. man-made). The healthy diets we’re always asking you to eat (e.g. those high in fruits and vegetables) contain lots of antioxidants; in fact this has a lot to do with why we believe they’re good for us. Superfoods are those especially rich sources of antioxidants, as illustrated above.
Of course, now you can get many forms of antioxidants in pills. That’s where things get a little less certain. Logically, you’d think that if some antioxidants are good, a lot would be better, and they would really be effective against free radicals. Furthermore, you’d think a convenient and efficient way of doing this would be putting a lot of antioxidants in a pill. Unfortunately, medical science (including over 100,000 people studied) has shown this not to be as simplistic as our logic would have us believe. I can’t say this any simpler. Antioxidant supplements have not been shown to be helpful in preventing disease. In fact, high-dose supplementation has been shown to have harmful effects, including increasing the risks of lung and prostate cancer. In short, our body doesn’t function in as linear a manner as we would like to think.
Here’s your take home message: We have yet proven that we’re able to cheat Mother Nature. You will not find your health in a bottle. Diet and exercise remain the champions of the battle of pursuing good health. Get your antioxidants the old fashioned way – in your fruits and veggies. Here’s a nice chart for your reference.
Top-Antioxidants
 
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2015 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC

Straight, No Chaser: Self-Assessment for Signs of Early Dementia or Alzheimer's

Dementia Not Human

Each of us has elderly family members for whom we may be concerned about their memory or other possible signs of dementia. You don’t have to stand by powerless and let them dwindle away. Early detection of dementia gives the best chance for a higher quality during the rest of one’s life. Isn’t that how we’d all want our loved ones to spend their golden days? This Straight, No Chaser post adapts information provided by the Alzheimer’s Association. Any positive responses can suggest an issue warranting further investigation. The goal here is straightforward. If any concerns arises after completing this, you should print out the sheet, and take it to your physician, requesting an evaluation.

dementia loss

_____ 1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially in the early stages, is forgetting recently learned information. Other signs include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own. Typical age-related changes involve sometimes forget names or appointments, especially if you remember them later.
_____ 2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before. Typical age-related changes include making an occasional error when balancing a checkbook.
_____ 3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure. People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game. Typical age-related changes include occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show.
_____ 4. Confusion with time or place. People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there. Typical age-related changes include occasionally getting confused about the day of the week, especially if s/he figures it out later.
_____ 5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not recognize their own reflection. Typical age-related changes of vision changes are related to cataracts and do not indicate Alzheimer’s.
_____ 6. New problems with words in speaking or writing. People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a watch a “hand clock”). Typical age-related changes involve sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
_____ 7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time. It’s more typical to displace things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control.
_____ 8. Decreased or poor judgment. People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean. It’s less concerning for anyone of any age to make a bad decision once in a while.
_____ 9. Withdrawal from work or social activities. A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced. It’s more typical for anyone of any age to sometimes feel weary of work, family and social obligations.
_____ 10. Changes in mood and personality. The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone. It’s more typical for people as they age to develop very specific ways of doing things and to become irritable when a routine is disrupted.
It is worth restating: early diagnosis provides the best opportunities for treatment, support and future planning. For more information, call the Alzheimer’s Association at 800.272.3900 or your SterlingMedicalAdvice.com expert consultants.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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