Dementia’s Signs May Come Early – NYTimes.com

Dementia’s Signs May Come Early – NYTimes.com

Studies presented Wednesday at an Alzheimer’s Association conference in Boston showed that people with some types of cognitive concerns were more likely to have Alzheimer’s pathology in their brains, and to develop dementia later. Research presented by Dr. Amariglio, for example, found that people with more concerns about memory and organizing ability were more likely to have amyloid, a key Alzheimer’s-related protein, in their brains.

And, in a significant shift highlighted at the conference, leading Alzheimer’s researchers are identifying a new category called “subjective cognitive decline,” which is people’s own sense that their memory and thinking skills are slipping even before others have noticed.

This article reports on a new interest in Alzheimer’s research, the subjective reports of aging patients, known as “the worried well,” who sense their cognitive abilities changing before standard testing procedures reveal definite signs of dementia:

leading Alzheimer’s researchers are identifying a new category called “subjective cognitive decline,” which is people’s own sense that their memory and thinking skills are slipping even before others have noticed.

However, it’s important to note that:

Some memory decline reflects normal aging, they say, and some concerns reflect psychological angst. People who forget what they wanted in the kitchen or the names of relatively unfamiliar people are probably aging normally. People who forget important details of recent events, get lost in familiar places or lose track of book or television plots may not be, especially if they have more problems than others their age.

European studies find dementia rate down sharply | Nation & World | The Seattle Times

Finally, a bit of good news:

European studies find dementia rate down sharply | Nation & World | The Seattle Times

A new study has found dementia rates among people 65 and older in England and Wales have plummeted by 25 percent over the past two decades, to 6.2 percent from 8.3 percent, a trend researchers say is likely occurring across developed countries and that could have major social and economic implications for families and societies.Another recent study, in Denmark, found that people in their 90s who were given a standard test of mental ability in 2010 scored substantially better than people who reached their 90s a decade earlier.

 

Retiring later may stave off dementia | Nation & World | The Seattle Times

Retiring later may stave off dementia | Nation & World | The Seattle Times

Baby boomers, take note: For every year you put off retirement, your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia are cut by 3 percent.

The findings are the result of a massive French study, which looked at the records of 429,000 workers. The scientists presented their results Monday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Boston.

. . .

The findings underpin the often-repeated advice to prevent mental decline: “Use it or lose it.” Doctors have said that keeping the brain mentally challenged is one way to prevent dementia and related diseases.

 

Seattle Sawdust: Bits and Pieces from the Seattle Collection

Seattle Sawdust: Bits and Pieces from the Seattle Collection.

If you enjoy the Pacific Northwest, you have probably encountered many tales of Seattle’s storied past. It is, after all, known in some parts as the “Emerald City,” and is full of tales of its rough-and-tumble Skid Row, pioneer settlers from Scandinavia, and a whole host of intriguing characters. This particular website from the Seattle Public Library offers a cornucopia of ephemera related to the city’s history. As the site notes, “This collection presents some of Seattle’s historical ‘sawdust’–unique and interesting materials.” Many of these documents have not been widely accessible for many years, a situation this archive remedies. There are 25 items here, including “A Survey of Comic Books in the State of Washington: A Report Made to the Washington State Council for Children and Youth” and a fascinating document on regrading projects in Seattle titled “How Seattle Changed Its Face.” Visitors can search all of the texts and browse at their leisure; those interested in urban planning and the like will probably end up whiling away a few hours enjoying these unique items.

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2013. https://www.scout.wisc.edu/

Depression & Seniors: 5 Ways You Can Help | World of Psychology

Depression & Seniors: 5 Ways You Can Help | World of Psychology.

Depression can be easy to overlook in older people for a number of reasons, as this article explains.

If you know someone who might be depressed, don’t let that person brush off your concern. Here are some ways you might be able to help.

“Why Me?”

For several months now I have been working on my dissertation. I’m exploring a topic I love, and my committee members couldn’t be any more helpful and supportive. Nearly every day I’ve been learning new things that suggest projects for me to work on after I finish this degree. I had been moving joyously through the whole dissertation process.

But this week I hit a couple of those snafus that occasionally come our way and distract us from what we want—and need—to do. First, the Apple Mail program on my desktop computer suddenly stopped pulling in my email. It kept asking for, and rejecting, my password. I spent some time poking around the web site of my hosting service, then finally moved on to live chat tech support. Daniel, the support guy, spent a lot of time on the problem but couldn’t figure it out. He then asked his supervisor, who also had no luck. They ended up calling in the head email guru, who lived an hour away. They did finally fix the problem, but I lost several hours that I had intended to dedicate to working on that dissertation.

Second, one morning I came into my home office to find that Mac OS X was unable to write to the external hard drive that I use for daily backups. The helpful little box on the screen advised me to copy my data from that drive and reformat it. Since it’s an old drive, I figured replacement was a better bet then reformatting. Fortunately, I had a brand new 1.5 TB external drive that we had picked up recently on sale. But before I could use it, I had to check the company’s web site, find out how to format the drive for use with my Mac, then format the drive and copy the data onto it. I also had to edit my backup program to write to the new drive rather than the old one. So there went another couple of hours that should have been devoted to the dissertation.

As I was muttering and mumbling to myself while copying data files, a realization suddenly smacked me in the head: When things go badly, we often shake our fists at the sky and shout, “Why me?” But when things go well, we don’t ask, “Why me?” We simply accept the good, believing it to be our due. We take so many good things for granted, but we get all worked up over the bad ones.

From now on, I’ll try to remember to acknowledge the good things that happen instead of noticing only the bad. And I’ll try to be just as grateful for the good things as I am disgruntled about the bad—and grateful that, overall, the good far outweigh the bad.

© 2010 by Mary Daniels Brown