Friday, October 18, 2013

Alzheimer's and Your Brain, part I

For many people the word “Alzheimer’s” triggers fears similar to the word “Cancer.” In fact, some projections estimate that Alzheimer's will affect one in four Americans in the next 20 years, which is more than current prevalence statistics for obesity and diabetes. Nearly 5.4 million Americans (including one in every eight persons over the age of 65) are afflicted with some level of Alzheimer’s. Although there is yet no “cure” for this brain disease, studies point to the importance of prevention strategies. Recent studies have shown connections between stress and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Findings of research in Argentina, for example, indicated that stress is likely a trigger for initial symptoms of dementia. The study found that 72 percent of Alzheimer's patients had experienced severe emotional stress or grief during the two years preceding their diagnosis (compared with only 26 percent in the control group). Participants in the Alzheimer’s group identified most of the stressors as involving:

·         Bereavement; death of a spouse, partner, or child
·         Violent experiences, such as assault or robbery or car accidents
·         Financial problems, including shock related to retirement funds
·         Diagnosis of a family member’s severe illness

Part II of VI tomorrow

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