Use it or lose it
There are several pieces of advice for helping prevent or delay age-related dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Don’t smoke
- Eat healthy, heart-friendly foods
- Challenge your brain
Keeping your brain active and fit can be especially fun and rewarding, as it usually involves learning something new. Examples of good brain-stretchers are:
- Learning a foreign language
- Learning to play an instrument
- Learning to dance, especially a complicated dance such as ballroom or folk dancing
- Playing games
I love to play games. Board games, card games, word games or video games. You can play with others, which also … Continue reading
There’s no such thing as a “mild” concussion
Last week I posted about first aid for concussions, which is important because head injuries in kids are a growing concern in the medical and public health communities.
Of particular importance is avoiding the potentially fatal “second impact syndrome”; if a young athlete suffers a “mild” concussion and then sustains another within a few weeks, “diffuse cerebral swelling, brain herniation, and death can occur.” Luckily, it’s rare.
But even minor concussions need to be recognized and treated, and it can be difficult because symptoms are often subtle and most parents … Continue reading
Rest, rest and more rest
Gone are the days of the middle school football coach telling a player to “Shake it off and get back in the game.”
Proper first aid and treatment of concussions has received a lot of attention in recent years, mostly due to the alarming increase in long-term neurological problems—memory loss and behavior changes—suffered by professional athletes and soldiers.
Concerned pediatricians and public health officials are pushing schools, youth sports organizations and parents to be more aware of head injuries in young athletes.
Childrens’ brains are still developing, after all, and are especially vulnerable to … Continue reading
Will there soon be a blood test?
My father-in-law recently passed away after suffering with Alzheimer’s for several years. I also have an aunt who is currently living with some form of dementia, probably vascular.
Few diseases strike more fear into those over the age of 50 than Alzheimer’s. Needless to say, both my husband and I worry when we find ourselves saying:
“Oh, what’s the word I want?”
or “Where did I put it?”
or “Why did I come in here?”
So when I read the prevailing health headlines this week about a blood test to predict Alzheimer’s, … Continue reading
Flight delayed? Learn CPR!
For the next six months, Dallas-Fort Worth airport is hosting a trial program to teach “hands-only” CPR to travelers. An automated kiosk, developed by the American Heart Association in partnership with American Airlines, guides passengers through a simplified CPR technique using video instructions and a manikin torso. If the program is successful, it will be expanded to other airports.
Hands-only CPR does not require rescue breaths and is as effective as regular CPR. It sounds like a useful way to pass some time, and I’d love to try it if I’m ever in one … Continue reading
What is a stroke?
A stroke occurs when blood (oxygen) cannot get to the brain tissue, and the brain cells die. A stroke can be caused by a clot (called an ischemic stroke) or a ruptured blood vessel (called a hemorrhagic stroke). About 9 out of 10 strokes are caused by a clot.
An ischemic stroke is similar to what happens with a heart attack, when blood to the heart is blocked by a clot and the heart tissue dies. Risk factors for heart attack – age, smoking, unhealthy lifestyle, family history – are the same for stroke.
… Continue reading
For more than five years, one of my best friends has been battling ovarian cancer. A fierce fighter (and fabulous friend!), she has endured surgeries and several rounds of chemotherapy to keep this grim disease at bay. Her oncologist monitors her condition with the blood test CA-125.
Early last summer, her CA-125 began creeping up into the “let’s watch it but not get too excited—yet” territory. She knew from past experience that she might be facing another round of chemo.
Then we began playing mahjongg. Or, more accurately, American mahjongg, which is a variant of the arcane Chinese game … Continue reading