Wednesday, June 28, 2006

81 "senior moments" may equal AD

Great. I'm only 37 and I already GET senior moments. Better break out the Depends.
Senior moment? Maybe it 'is' Alzheimer's Those small lapses could be something more after all, study finds A study found that in a disturbing number of cases, embarrassing "senior moments" such as forgetting a recent conversation or drawing a blank on someone's name may really be a sign of Alzheimer's after all. ....But the scientists found to their surprise that the brains of more than one-third of the participants were riddled with waxy protein clumps and other signs of degeneration that are hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease.....Participants in the study had amounts of brain deterioration similar to those found in Alzheimer's patients who were severely debilitated by the mind-robbing disease before their deaths. The researchers said that raises the question of why some afflicted people but not others can function normally....There's something about these people that allows them to have large amounts of pathology without obvious memory problems....His theory, supported by earlier research, is that high levels of education and feelings of social connectedness can help preserve brain function. Bennett said he believes that helps create a "neural reserve" that enables people to tolerate Alzheimer's-induced brain deterioration without showing signs of dementia. Some researchers believe that mentally stimulating tasks such as doing crossword puzzles, taking classes or reading can help prevent Alzheimer's. But Bennett said his new findings suggest that in some people, these tasks might also enable the brain to compensate for the disease.....the study bolsters the use-it-or-lose-it theory that says "if you don't keep yourself mentally challenged, your brain cells may die off," or be more subject to disease.
This really does apply to my father, because he really got "bad" after he retired from selling calls and started being a crossing guard. He went from being around people all day to standing on a corner with a sign--not exactly mentally stimulating. My mom and I started joking about how he wasn't using his brain so he was losing it. And how right we are.
Yes, I have senior moments. I'm terrible with names (always have been). I am also extremely mentally active--reading, writing, talking, thinking. I can only hope, right?

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