Rosemary and Alzheimer’s Disease

Rosemary

Today there are five million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and by the year 2050, the number is projected to be 13.5 million. My blog, aboutalz.com, is devoted to the subject and one article in particular talks about the new medicines in development. As seniors, we laugh about “senior moments,” but is there anything we can do to stave off Alzheimer’s? In a little booklet called, “Folk Remedies That Really Work,” contributing writer and botanist James A. Duke, Ph.D., says that the spice rosemary is sometimes called the herb of remembrance.

Rosemary contains five compounds that seem to prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that’s deficient in patients with Alzheimer’s and important in memory and cognitive functions. Duke believes that rosemary works as well as the drug tacrine (Cognex). He says that tacrine works in only 25% of patients and it can cause liver damage.

Eating rosemary in dishes such as chicken and fish might reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, but there’s evidence that rosemary can be absorbed through the skin. So you can try putting rosemary springs into your bath, using rosemary shampoo, or rosemary lotion. Rosemary has a long history and even as far back as ancient Greece, students wore rosemary garlands while studying for exams because they believed that it improved their memory. Check out the spices in your supermarket and there may be (as there was in mine) a little sign telling you about rosemary and memory.

 

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Alzheimer’s Disease Blog — New!

I have started a brand new blog on Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Although I have had immense joy in writing this blog (and will continue to do so on a weekly basis — watch for me on Wednesday mornings), I have a special passion and interest in AD. So please visit me at http://aboutalz.com. I look forward to seeing you there.

Related blog posts on Alzheimer’s on this blog:

Singing Nuns

The Singing Nuns

Several media sources recently came out with results of a study of 38 Catholic nuns who donated their brains to science. In this nun study at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, researchers compared nuns with normal cognitive functioning at the end of their lives with those with cognitive impairment, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Here are the results:

  • 10 had Alzheimer’s
  • 10 had asymptomatic Alzheimer’s
  • 5 had mild cognitive impairment
  • 13 had no cognitive deficits or brain lesions

Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s is when there are AD typical plaques and tangles in their brains, but the person still has unimpaired mental faculties throughout their lives.

What was the difference amongst these nuns? Those that had excellent language skills when they were younger diminished their chances of AD later in life. The researchers were able to obtain essays of some of the subjects when they were in their late teens or early twenties when they joined the convent. Grammatical complexity was unimportant, but those that were “dense” in ideas were less likely to develop AD or even mild impairment. The researchers do not know why superior language ability appears to be protective against dementia and AD, but suspect it has something to do with forming more synapses early in life.

Lead author of the study was Dr. Juan C. Troncoso of Johns Hopkins University. In Wired Science, he states, “It’s the first time that we show in humans that such a complex cognitive activity like idea density or language is connected with a neurodegenerative disease. Now with this kind of paper, we have shown that we should focus not only on what we can see in the brain, but also on what we cannot see, the connection between cognition and pathology. Our suspicion is that this is just the tip of the iceberg — there’s so much that we still don’t know about neural disease and the genesis of dementia.”

Related blog post:  Fear of Alzheimer’s. Click here.
Know anyone with Alzheimer’s? Advanced Russian adaptagens might help  with focus and mood. Click here to learn more.

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Fear of Alzheimer’s Disease

6-05-31-AlzFearAllAgesHere’s an interesting chart that I found at this Web site: http://seniorjournal.com. Although most Americans fear cancer the most, the greatest fear of those 55 and over is Alzheimer’s.

This was a survey conducted by the MetLife Foundation. They found that although there’s fear, there’s very little preparation for this devastating disease. The greatest risk factor is age. While there are about one in 10 over 65 with the disease, the number jumps to closer to half of those over 85.

Doctors at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health say that obesity may be linked to an increased risk of dementia. Two-thirds of dementia cases in those over 65 are actually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. If you’re obese, the risk rises by 42% and if you’re underweight, the risk rises by 36%. So maintaining a normal weight is your best bet for preventing dementia.

Need to shed a few pounds? Try these moist, delicious cookies with lots of fiber. Check it out at http://budurl.com/uar6.

6-05-31-AlzFearChart

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