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Archive for April, 2008

Alzheimer’s to Strike One in Eight Baby Boomers

(Source:  Alzheimer’s Association, “2008 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures”)

http://www.alzinfo.org/newsarticle/anmviewer.asp?a=278’>Alzheimer’s to Strike One in Eight Baby Boomers

 

Monday, April 21, 2008

 

About one in six female and one in 10 male baby boomers — or more than 10 million people overall — are expected to come down with Alzheimer’s disease in the coming decades, a new report claims. The survey, conducted by the Alzheimer’s Association, highlights the growing burden of Alzheimer’s on the nation’s health care system as the American population continues to grow older.

 

Overall, some one in eight boomers born between 1946 and 1964 are expected to suffer the memory loss, poor thinking and other symptoms of dementia as they hit their 60s, 70s and older. This year, the oldest baby boomers are turning 62, with millions more to follow in the years to come. The risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease doubles every five years after age 65.

 

Today, more than five million men and women in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s disease, with more than 400,000 new cases diagnosed each year. If no cure is found, there will be an estimated 450,000 new cases per year by 2010, and nearly a million a year by 2050.

 

The toll of Alzheimer’s reaches far beyond those directly affected by the disease. The report notes that seven in 10 people with Alzheimer’s live at home, where they are cared for by family members and others. This unpaid family time contributes some 8.4 billion hours of unpaid help to assist in care. Sons, daughters, brothers and sisters of those with Alzheimer’s must often travel considerable distances, at great cost, to assist in the care of loved ones with the disease. For nearly a third of family caregivers, services are required for five years or longer, requiring sacrifices to work and career, another hidden cost of the disease.

 

Although Medicare covers most hospital expenses, families caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s at home are often left on their own. As Alzheimer’s progresses, the demands of care grow exponentially. Many families must hire home health workers to assist with care, with home care costing more than $150 per eight-hour shift, and much higher in many parts of the country. Eventually, most people with Alzheimer’s must enter a nursing home or assisted-living facility, costing thousands of dollars per month.

 

The average hourly rate for home health aides in 2007 was $19 per hour. Adult day centres cost on average about $61 a day. Assisted living centres averaged about $3,000 per month, with specialized dementia centres adding an additional $1,100 to that cost. Nursing homes, the most costly, cost nearly $78,000 per year on average. In many areas of the country, costs can be considerably higher.

 

If you live to age 55, women are nearly twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as men. Part of women’s increased risk occurs because they tend to live longer than men overall. Age remains the greatest risk factor for the disease, with more and more people in their 70s, 80s and older succumbing to Alzheimer’s.

 

Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of severe memory loss in the elderly, accounting for some 60 to 80 percent of cases of dementia. In addition to the 10 million boomers expected to come down with Alzheimer’s disease in coming decades, another 4 million will suffer from vascular dementia, dementia with Lewd bodies, and other ailments affecting memory and judgment, researchers estimate.

 

The findings highlight the enormous cost, both in dollars and in emotional wear-and-tear that Alzheimer’s takes on young and old alike. Unless a cure is found, the burden of the disease in coming decades will grow more enormous.

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Midlife Spread Increases Risk of Dementia

(Source:  R. A. Whitmer, Ph.D., D. R. Gustafson, Ph.D., E. Barrett-Connor, M.D., et al: “Central Obesity and Increased Risk of Dementia More Than Three Decades Later.” Neurology, March 26, 2008)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Having a thick middle in your middle years may increase your risk for dementia, a new study shows. While earlier research has shown that being overweight in midlife may increase your risk for Alzheimer’s disease, this is the first large-scale study to show that belly fat, in particular, may be bad for the brain.

 

The study, published in the medical journal Neurology, involved more than 6,500 men and women living in northern California. All of the individuals had the abdominal fat in their midsections measured and recorded when they were in their early 40s, from 1964 to 1973. An average of 36 years later, when they were in their 70s, those with the largest stomachs were nearly three times more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or others forms of dementia than their slender peers.

 

“Considering that 50 percent of adults in this country have an unhealthy amount of abdominal fat, this is a disturbing finding,” said study author Rachel A. Whitmer, Ph.D., a Research Scientist of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif. “Research needs to be done to determine what the mechanisms are that link abdominal obesity and dementia.”

 

Having a large abdomen increased the risk of dementia regardless of whether the participants were of normal weight overall, overweight, or obese. The correlation between belly fat and memory problems also persisted regardless of existing health problems like diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease, the researchers found.

 

Those who were overweight and had a large belly were three and one half times more likely to develop dementia than people with a normal weight and belly size. People who had a large belly but were not obese were about twice as likely to develop dementia that people of normal weight and belly size.

 

A large belly in mid-life has also been shown to increase the risk of diabetes, stroke and coronary heart disease, but this is the first time researchers have demonstrated that it also increases the risk of dementia.

 

In the study, women were more likely than men to have abdominal obesity, along with non-whites, smokers, people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, and those with less than a high school level education.

 

As with all observational studies, it is possible that the association of the abdominal obesity and dementia is not driven by the abdominal obesity, but rather by a complex set of health-related behaviours, for which abdominal obesity is but one part.

 

“Autopsies have shown that changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease may start in young to middle adulthood, and another study showed that high abdominal fat in elderly adults was tied to greater brain atrophy,” Dr. Whitmer said. “These findings imply that the dangerous effects of abdominal obesity on the brain may start long before the signs of dementia appear.”

 

Excess Pounds Pose Risks

The findings add to a growing body of scientific evidence that being overweight in your middle years may contribute to Alzheimer’s in old age. Other studies have shown that being overweight in your 40s increases the risk of memory problems in old age. This study raises heightened concerns about the risk of belly fat, in particular, as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Carrying excess weight has been closely linked with diseases that affect the blood vessels, including diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. And being “apple-shaped,” with excess belly fat, as opposed to “pear-shaped,” with large thighs, has particularly been linked with an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. There is growing evidence that such vascular ailments may be important risk factors for Alzheimer’s as well.

 

Fat in the midsection is thought to have particularly strong effects on the rest of the body. It is a common occurrence as people age, and studies show it is often associated with disturbances in fat or sugar metabolism, such as high cholesterol and diabetes.

 

“These results contribute to a recent but growing body of evidence that a centralized distribution of adiposity is particularly dangerous, even for those who are not overweight,” the authors write. “The brain may also be a target organ to the harmful effects of central obesity.”

 

Scientists also speculate that fat cells may produce harmful chemicals that promote inflammation in blood vessels throughout the body, including in the brain. People who are overweight may also tend to have diets low in “good” fats, such as those found in fish, and to get less exercise than those who are of normal weight.

 

Age remains the most important risk factor for Alzheimer’s: The older you are, the more likely you are to develop the disease. Smoking, high blood pressure, years of schooling, and genetic factors may also contribute to risk, other research has shown. More research is needed on the effects of body weight and other risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Does keeping your weight down in your middle years and beyond help you to remain mentally alert?  Perhaps, but there is no guaranteed.  People differ in the parts of their bodies that develop increased fat mass.   Those who tend to develop belly fat may have an increased risk of dementia due to a metabolic characteristic that does not require actual belly fat to result in dementia.  Of course, this is just speculation, but raising such possibilities calls attention to the difficulty in predicting how changes in life style may affect risk for disease.   

 

Nevertheless, with more and more Americans both young and old becoming obese, it is vital that people maintain healthy lifestyles that may also help maintain the brain.

(By alzinfo.org, The Alzheimer’s Information Site. Reviewed by William J. Netzer, Ph.D., Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation at The Rockefeller University.)

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Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you;

Be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.

By W. Clement Stone

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The four agreements

(Source :  By Author, Don Miguel Ruiz)

 

Dear All,

 

I am truly impressed, inspired and blessed to chance upon this book “THE FOUR AGREEMENTS” when I visited my friends recently.  From that day, everyday is a very special day to me.  Following is the excerpt I would like to share with all of you.  It is truly inspiring that offers great insights – transforming our lives to a new experience of true personal freedom, happiness and love.

 

Today I pray to the Creator of the Universe, helps me  to love everything you create unconditionally –  just the way  they are with no conditions and without judgement, clean my heart of any emotional poison, free my mind from any judgement so that I can live in complete peace and complete love.   

QUOTE:

“Be impeccable with your WORD

Speak with integrity.  Say only what you mean.  Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.  Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

 

DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY

 

Nothing others do is because of you.  What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dreams.  When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

 

DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS

 

Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.  Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama.  With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

 

ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST

 

Your best is going to change from moment to moment, it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick.  Under any circumstances, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse, and regret.”

 

 UNQUOTE

 

 

 

 

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“Have the courage to seek the truth.”


By David Cottrell

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Doubt, of whatever kind, can be ended by action alone.

By Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

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“The Master may be defined as: “Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.”

By Napoleon Hill

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