Alzheimer's Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment



How to Tell if You or Someone You Love is
Developing Memory Loss



Is it Alzheimers?

Your husband just asked where you got
that silly book of poems on the coffee table.

Five minutes ago, he asked where you got
that silly book of poems on the coffee table.

Five days ago, he gave you that book of poems
for your wedding anniversary.

Alzheimer's Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment MCI
If you missed an exit on the way home yesterday, or goofed making change at the supermarket, or put your socks on inside out this morning, don't worry. You're normal.

But people suffering from Alzheimer's Disease (AD) may forget how to get home, or how to count change, or how to dress, and may not be fully aware of these mistakes. They will deny having made them. A person who makes a mistake because of poor concentration will usually realize the mistake and be able to correct it.

By the age of 65, one in every ten people may have developed AD; at 85, five out of ten may be expected to have AD. In fact, age is the most important risk factor for AD.


The most common form of dementia, it's a very serious illness, and because it involves progressive deterioration of brain cells, so far, it has no cure.

The earliest symptoms of AD may be forgetfulness and loss of concentration. People with Alzheimer's may have trouble recalling addresses or phone numbers, major events, or the name of the president. But the symptoms worsen. They include language deterioration, impaired ability to process visual information, poor judgment, confusion, restlessness, and mood swings. Eventually, AD destroys cognition, personality, and normal physical functions.

Risks of Alzheimer's DiseaseMerely diagnosing AD is difficult; usually all other possibilities, such as brain tumor or severe depression, must be ruled out first. This is because the disease appears in the brain as abnormal clumps (amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (neurofibrillary tangles) composed of misplaced proteins, which can't be determined before death. Three genes have been discovered that cause early onset (familial) AD; other genetic mutations are associated with age-related (sporadic) AD.

Recent research funded by the National Institutes of Health has also determined that a brain afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease produces decreased levels of acetylcholine, a chemical necessary for the transmission of neural impulses.

One simple test that has proven very efficient in identifying AD (and dementia in general) is the clock drawing. The patient is given a circle that represents the face of a clock and is asked to mark the hours, from 1 to 12, and then to show a specific time. Individuals with AD find this exercise very difficult and will usually mark at least some of the numbers, as well as the time, incorrectly.

Maybe it's Mild Cognitive Impairment.

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) refers to a specific type of recent memory loss. People with MCI function fairly well; they can perform ordinary daily activities without assistance, such as managing their finances and shopping at stores. But they quickly forget new information (conversations, events, or appointments), frequently repeat statements, and often misplace things.

Brain imaging shows that shrinkage of the hippocampus is associated with this condition. Such shrinkage is normal with aging, but it appears to be accelerated with MCI. About 50% of people diagnosed with MCI may be expected to develop Alzheimer's within 5 years of the onset of symptoms.  

Sharper Memory Brain Fitness SoftwareBut you can protect yourself against Alzheimer's and MCI. A long-term study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked closely at the mental habits of 700 nuns and priests over the age of 65. Researchers found that those participants who engaged in various brain-stimulating activities were almost 50 percent less likely to experience AD. 

Dr. Robert Friedland, a neurologist at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, conducted a groundbreaking study indicating that people between the ages of 40 and 60 who were physically and mentally active (playing games, reading, pursuing hobbies, and exercising) were significantly less likely to have Alzheimer's when they reached their 70s, in contrast with people who spent more of their time passively (for example, watching television). 

So, use it or lose it.  

By increasing your mental and physical activity, you can improve the overall quality of your mental life for many years to come. In fact, working with the SharperPrograms can do far more than simply improve your memory and concentration. You may also significantly reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease later in life. 


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