“Delirium after cardiac surgery has been thought of as a brief, reversible condition, but new research is suggesting that [mental] recovery for some people may take much longer than thought, and that there are long-term cognitive consequences,” said study co-lead author Jane Saczynski, [Read more…] about Cardiac Surgery Can Impact Long-term Cognitive Functioning, Suggesting Need for Monitoring and Rehab
(Editor’s Note: I recently came across an excellent book and resource, The Alzheimer’s Action Plan: The Experts’ Guide to the Best Diagnosis and Treatment for Memory Problems, recently released in paperback. Dr. Murali Doraiswamy, one of the authors and leading Alzheimer’s expert, kindly helped us create a 2‑part article series to share with SharpBrains readers advice on a very important question, “How can we help the public at large to distinguish Alzheimer’s Disease from normal aging — so that an interest in early identification doesn’t translate into unneeded worries?” What follows is an excerpt from the book, pages 72–78, discussing the Pros and Cons of the most common assessments).
While no single test (other than a brain biopsy, which is a very invasive and risky procedure) can conclusively prove that a person has Alzheimer’s, many tests can give us a good idea. A list of all the tests that help us assess memory and thinking problems appears at the end of this chapter. Meanwhile, let’s take a good look at the whys and hows of a thorough memory assessment.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE AN EXTRA TEST CAN MAKE
To understand why getting tested (and retested as symptoms change and the disease progresses) is important, check out the experience of Katherine, who went to the doctor complaining of a memory slowdown. She took five of the most important neuropsychological tests, which assess brain function without actually physically looking at the brain. Then she underwent brain scans, a cardiovascular workup, and blood tests to see what else was going on that might be undermining her mental function. [Read more…] about The Best Memory Tests: Mini-Mental and Beyond (Alzheimer’s Action Plan)
(Please note that this is my personal take at the discussions that took place in Dubai as part of the Global Agenda Council on the Challenges of Gerontology put together by the World Economic Forum, and builds on the work of my colleagues, but it does not represent a formal document or statement of position. Simply put, we would like to engage your brain in defining the challenges and outlining/ executing the solutions).
Context: The Challenges of the Aging Society
The world is aging. This is occurring in two ways: through shifts in the age structure that will eventually lead to many more people reaching older ages than ever before, and through continued success in extending life. Less than 100 years ago, life expectancy was between 30 to 40 years. Today, close to 800 million citizens are 60 and over.
And aging in healthier ways. Aging has incorrectly been associated with decline and decay, when in fact many people live healthy into older ages. There has been a synchronous extension in life expectancy and quality of life — the average 65-year-old today is much healthier, physically and mentally, than the average 50-year-old of 100–150 years ago — when most existing institutions were envisioned and created.
Healthy life can be further extended with existing knowledge. The fact is the onset and progression of fatal and disabling diseases, disorders, and disability can be postponed using well-researched basic measures of public health, environmental and behavioural changes, and medical technology interventions. The same methods may be used to improve or maintain mental and physical functioning.
Our healthcare and retirement systems are on bankruptcy track — their premises are outdated. Existing institutions, policies and attitudes do not reflect the points outlined above, having been developed for a society that no longer exists. We need to get on the right track: [Read more…] about The Future of the Aging Society: Burden or Human Capital?