Could Beta-Amyloid Plaque Not Be the Cause of Alzheimer’s?

Could Beta-Amyloid Plaque Not Be the Cause of Alzheimer's?

For the longest time, it was thought that beta-amyloid plaque buildup was the cause of Alzheimer’s. According to a new study from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, that may not be the case.  Instead, the study is saying that it does have an association of the disease, but may not be the cause.

Could Beta-Amyloid Plaque Not Be the Cause of Alzheimer's?

Could Beta-Amyloid Plaque Not Be the Cause of Alzheimer’s?


The study had 747 participants with different levels of cognitive health. They agreed to have neuropsychological assessments, PET, and MRIs.

305 participants were considered cognitively healthy, 289 had mild cognitive impairment, and 153 had Obj-SCD. This stands for “objectively-defined subtle cognitive difficulties.” Researchers define this as a measurement of experienced, subtle cognitive functioning problems that happen without any apparent brain damage.

Beta-amyloid did build up faster in those with Obj-SCD. They also had a thinning of brain matter in a region that has to do with memory.

Though while people with mild cognitive impairment had more beta-amyloids at the beginning of the study, the protein actually didn’t build up any faster than in those who are cognitively healthy.

What does this mean?

It means that changes in the brain could be happening before amyloid builds up in any significant way. It means that the focus of scientists should be on other treatment targets. Changing targets mean more studies can be done on less expensive biomarkers.

Read more here.

AARP is Taking on High Prescription Prices

AARP is Taking on High Prescription Prices

It’s no secret that the cost of prescription drugs is ridiculously high. It seems like pharmaceutical companies are too powerful to take on. AARP has had enough and is going to use its huge membership and the power it has to take on high prescription prices. The organization wants answers as to why Americans are paying so much compared to the rest of the world.

AARP is Taking on High Prescription Prices

AARP is Taking on High Prescription Prices


No one has enough savings for retirement, and they end up relying on social security to survive. According to the State Director of AARP-NH, Todd Fahey, the average Social Security benefit in NH, is around $1,350 a month. The average older adult takes at least four or five pills a day. It seems impossible to be able to afford those medications and have enough money to live.

The average prescription price has increased by around 57.88 percent between 2012 and 2017. Social Security only increased by 13.2 percent during that same time.

Many people end up rationing their medications to try to save money.

There’s been a massive shift in how insurance works, and most of the time, the price falls on the patient. Even generic drugs are rising in price too.

Doctors and pharmacies are doing their best to help patients by negotiating with drug companies, getting grants, or manufacturer rebates.

AARP has had enough and has started their own program, StopRxGreed.

“AARP has three main goals to our program. We want to be able to explore the importation of drugs from other countries, and we want transparency to know why there has been such a tremendous increase in the cost of the drugs that people need. We need to understand the reasoning that makes these companies feel justified in charging such prices. ” Todd Fahey

The program wants to start with allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription prices.

Read more here.

Rise of the “Gray Gamers” and How Video Games Improve the Brain

Rise of the "Gray Gamers" and How Video Games Improve the Brain

There are more older adults playing video games than ever. The rise of the “Gray Gamers,” as they’re known, are making video games part of their daily routine. What started out as a way to bond with grandchildren has opened up a whole new world for older adults. Video games can even improve the brain and make reaction speeds faster.

Rise of the "Gray Gamers" and How Video Games Improve the Brain

Rise of the “Gray Gamers”


Forty-four percent of adults fifty and older play video games at least once a month, and that number is growing. In 2016, there was only 38 percent. That means that the Gray Gamer population has grown from 40.2 million people to 50.6 million.

People between 50 and 59 are the biggest population of older gamers at 49 percent. It then slowly tapers downward from 60 and older.

Online gaming seems more popular than the traditional console gaming because most older gamers use their smartphones or other mobile devices.

Though there are many older gamers that buy games or accessories, overall spending on gaming has increased since 2016.

Gaming Improving the Brain


Playing video games improves older adults’ brains in a variety of ways. More than half of gamers say that playing video games relieves stress and anxiety. It’s a great way for those who can’t go out or struggle to move to have enjoyment every day.

Games also keep their minds engaged and sharp through different types of missions and reactions. A favorite genre of games for those fifty or older are puzzle/ logic and card/tile games. The least popular is education and sport-oriented games.

There are many types of games that promote physical and mental health as well.

Playing games online keeps seniors more social. Many online systems allow for chatting so that people can connect to friends all over the world.

Read more here

New Ultrasound Technology Could Help with Parkinson’s Symptoms

How Ageism Hurts Seniors' Health

A new study has shown that a minimally invasive procedure may be able to help with Parkinson’s symptoms. Using magnetic resonance-guided focus ultrasound (MRgFUS), researchers can focus sound energy beams. The energy beams can target parts of the brain.

New Ultrasound Technology Could Help with Parkinson's Symptoms

New Ultrasound Technology Could Help with Parkinson’s Symptoms


Until now, deep brain stimulation has been the most commonly used procedure to help with Parkinson’s symptoms. It has been somewhat successful. The problem is that it can cause bleeding and infections. A surgeon has to put a small electrode into the brain. The implant connects with a pacemaker-like device in a person’s chest.

With this new procedure, MRgFUS, there doesn’t need to be any incision and has fewer risks.

But how does this work?

The machine is placed on the opposite side of the body where tremors are. So if you have tremors on your right side, the device goes on your left. The machine will then relieve the tremors using focused sound energy.

While this technique is a form of therapy, it’s not readily available. It’s only done in a few places around the world. As this study on MRgFUS spreads throughout the world, patients will be able to advocate for the therapy to be more readily available.

Read more about the study and the machine here.

5 Ways You Can Tighten Your Skin

5 Ways You Can Tighten Your Skin

Your skin starts to loosen as you get older, usually starting around age thirty-five and forty. It loosens because you begin to lose collagen networks that help retain moisture. There are ways that you can tighten your skin without getting invasive procedures.

5 Ways You Can Tighten Your Skin

5 Ways You Can Tighten Your Skin


Other reasons your skin can loosen is menopause, UV light damage, artificial tanning, certain medications, skin products that have harsh chemicals, smoking, and alcohol.

1. Exercise

Not only does exercise keep you healthy, but it can keep skin tight too. Endurance exercise can lessen the effect of age-related skin changes. It does this by improving tissue metabolism by stimulating the release of a hormone that helps with skin health.

2. Firming Products

There are different types of gels, creams, patches, and other products for tight skin. Look for products that have retinoid compounds. They are antioxidants that boost collagen making.

Know that they aren’t a perfect solution. The product may not be able to penetrate deep enough into the skin.

3. Supplements

Nutritional supplements can have anti-aging and antisagging effects. Look for collagen hydrolysate and antioxidants like vitamins A, C, D, and E, selenium, and zinc.

Make sure not to take too many supplements, or you’ll get sick.

4. Massage

Massage improves blood flow and stimulates fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are cells that produce connective tissues like collagen and elastin. It can also increase mitochondrial production, which plays a huge role in tissue and cellular metabolism. There has been a link between mitochondrial dysfunction and skin aging.

You could use a massage device or get it done professionally.

5.  Nonsurgical Procedures

There are nonsurgical procedures that can help tighten skin, though they don’t help with severe issues. They don’t have any cutting or punctures and usually only cause slight swelling and redness.

These procedures once again focus on boosting collagen, but they can have access to different layers of skin, unlike products.

Read more here.

Board Games Can Help Keep Your Mind Sharp

Board Games Can Help Keep Your Mind Sharp

Have you been playing enough games lately? They aren’t just for kids and kids at heart. Different studies have shown that they can help keep your mind sharp.

Board Games Can Help Keep Your Mind Sharp

Board Games Can Help Keep Your Mind Sharp


Computers games have long been established as an excellent way for older adults to keep sharp, but now researchers are looking to unplug.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in the UK looked at 1,091 people who were born in 1936. They used a study from the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936, a study that evaluated the mental and cognitive abilities over a long period of time. The Lothian study measured people’s cognitive function at 11, 70,73, 76, and 79 using fourteen different tests.

As part of the new study done by Edinburgh, researchers asked people 70 or 76  how often they played board games, cards, chess, bingo, or crosswords.

The data showed that people who play more games in their 70s were more likely to have healthier cognitive functions in their later years. People who played board games had less relative cognitive decline from 11 to 70, and less decline between 70 and 79.

Future research will be done to see if some games are better than others.

Read more here.

8 Myths About Dehydration Busted

6 Surprising Reasons You're Thirsty

Dehydration is an easy way to land yourself in the hospital. The problem is, there are so many conflicting theories about it that it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s a myth. Here are eight common misconceptions about dehydration.

8 Myths About Dehydration Busted

8 Myths About Dehydration Busted


1. Being Thirsty Equals Being Dehydrated

The most common idea about dehydration is wrong. Dehydration is the natural loss of water through a variety of bodily functions.  The kidneys control the water balance in your body. If they sense you need more water, they tell your brain it’s time to drink. Think of being thirsty as a warning instead of a sign that you are already dehydrated.

2. You Need to Drink Eight Glasses of Water Daily

There is such a thing as drinking too much water. If your heart and kidneys are compromised, it can lead to congestive heart failure, pulmonary edema, or even water intoxication.

How do you figure out how much to drink?

The best thing to do is to talk to your primary care physician about it. But, if you can’t see them soon, you can use the eight glasses as a base. If you are smaller and don’t sweat a lot, less than eight will be good to keep your water balance. If you’re larger or sweat a lot, you may need more than eight.

3. Drink Water First Thing in the Morning

You do not need to start your day with water. If you are thirsty and want to drink water, that’s fine, but sleeping for eight hours doesn’t mean you wake up dehydrated.

It’s okay to reach for coffee first.

4. Coconut Water is the Best Recovery Drink

It’s been rumored that drinking coconut water is best for post-workout. Only, it contains fewer calories than other potassium-rich fluids. Plain water is fine, and coconuts can cause dangerously high potassium levels in those who have kidney problems.

5. You Can’t Over Hydrate

As mentioned before, water intoxication is a thing, and drinking too much can be lethal. It’s called hyponatremia, which is when you ingest too much water and cause a decreased concentration of sodium in the body. It leads to confusion, convulsions, and even death.

6. Electrolyte Filled Drinks are Best

While Gatorade commercials show how it saves athletes from dehydration all the time, it’s actually not as good as you think. For light activities, it’s not needed. Plus, all the sugar and high fructose corn syrup can be extremely harmful in large doses.

7. Caffeine Causes Dehydration

Coffee lovers celebrate! The idea of coffee being dehydrating is wrong. Though if you had a ton of caffeine, then dehydration can happen. That means lots of cups of coffee, not just one or two.

Energy supplements or drinks, on the other hand, can be dehydrating because of the amount of caffeine in them.

8. Urine is the Best Sign of Hydration

The color of your urine is a good indication of your hydration status, but there are other indicators. If you take multivitamins or are on a high-protein diet, the color could be dark. Instead of just color, look at volume. The more you put in your body, the more that should come out.

Read more here.

Creating Cancer Care Tailored to Seniors

How Ageism Hurts Seniors' Health

Cancer is an aggressive disease that requires aggressive treatment. The problem is that most seniors can’t handle that kind of treatment, often feeling worse than before. Now, doctors are recognizing this and creating cancer care tailored to seniors.

Creating Cancer Care Tailored to Seniors

Creating Cancer Care Tailored to Seniors


Doctors are starting to order geriatric assessments, which is a complete physical and medical history, an evaluation by a physical therapist, a psychological assessment, and a cognitive exam. They can even take in social lives, daily activities, and health goals.

The assessment allows doctors to have a better picture of the person and narrow down the choices of treatments. For some people, the procedure could be more deadly than the cancer itself, and it’s good for doctors to know this.

More than sixty percent of cancers happen in people older than sixty-five. Cancer is supposed to rise among seniors up to sixty-seven percent from 2010 to 2030.

A recently published study found that in one hundred and ninety-seven cancer patients, seventy and older got different treatment recommendations when getting an assessment versus not getting one. The patients who got an assessment got a less intense treatment option.

Geriatric Assessments Aren’t Being Used Enough


Though the assessment was created twenty years ago, it’s not widely used among oncologists. The Surgical Task Force at the International Society of Geriatric Oncology found that only around six percent of surgeons use this tool daily. Only around thirty-six percent partner with geriatricians too.

Many oncologists weren’t trained on how to perform these assessments and their value. People within the field are hoping to see a change happen, and the assessments are used all the time.

Find your local geriatrician and request a full assessment if you feel you need one.

Read more here.

Medical Devices Causing Bacterial Infections

Medical Devices Causing Bacterial Infections

Medical devices like cardiovascular stents, pacemakers, catheters, and implants have become commonplace to enhance patients’ lives. One thing that’s not mentioned is how these devices are vulnerable to infections, therefore, making the patients susceptible to infections.

Medical Devices Causing Bacterial Infections

Medical Devices Causing Bacterial Infections


With all the medical advancements made in the last few years, it’s surprising that bacteria is such a problem. The bacteria is already on the implants themselves or appear during surgery.

Fifteen percent of all in-hospital infections among surgical patients is due to medical devices.

Bacteria stick to the device’s smooth surface and multiple to produce a biofilm. A biofilm is a protective environment made of DNA, proteins, and polysaccharides. Doctors need to stop the biofilm developing because it makes bacteria stronger against the immune system and antibacterial agents.

Once the biofilm forms, the only way to get rid of it is to take out the implant. Not only does this take a lot of time, but can be risky for the patient.

This specific type of infection is especially strong against systemic antibiotherapy and natural immune defenses. Regular antibiotics result in a low concentration at the target site, making the drugs ineffective. Higher doses of antibiotics kill bacteria but make patients sick.

A possible solution is to use a clinical, drug-eluting coating that spread out therapeutic agents on the surface of metallic implants. Once the fluid between blood vessels and cells touch the implant, the biocompatible polymers will release drugs to targeted organs or tissues over a period of time.

Though it’s unknown if this will work for all kinds of implants, it has been proven that the coating doesn’t affect how the implant works or its strength.

Read more here.

5 Stretches for Seniors with Back Pain

5 Stretches for Seniors with Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most common types of pain seniors suffer from. It can be caused by arthritis, being overweight, bad posture, other internal problems, and even stress. There are some stretches that seniors with back pain can do without causing too much discomfort.

5 Stretches for Seniors with Back Pain

5 Stretches for Seniors with Back Pain


All these exercises should be done while sitting in a sturdy chair. Make sure to start each stretch with your feet firmly on the floor and knees at a ninety-degree angle.

1. Neck and Chest Stretch

This stretch works your scapulae and trapezius muscles in your neck and pectorals and in your erector spinae muscles.

Start with your feet planted on the floor and sitting straight. Put your hands at the base of your skull, fingers intertwined, thumbs running by your ears and down your neck. Ease your head back into your hands, putting your face toward the ceiling.

Inhale deeply, and as you breathe out, ease your left elbow, so it’s pointing towards the ground and right elbow toward the ceiling. Even if you only move an inch or two, that’s fine, just make sure you don’t hurt yourself.

Take two deep breaths and go back to your original position and then do the other side. Do this three times on each side, alternating sides.

2. Seated Gentle Backbend

This stretch works your spinal extensors, anterior neck muscles, and pectorals.

Bring your hands to your lower back, with fingers on your back and thumbs wrapped around your hips. Press your hands firmly into your hips/lower back and inhale.

As your breath out, gently arch your spine, leading with your head. Don’t force it too much, make sure you tilt your chin up with your face to the ceiling.

Hold this position for five full deep breaths and then slowly go back to the starting position. Do this three to five times.

3. Reach Back

This stretch will help with the range of motion in your shoulders and stretching your shoulders and chest.

Sit up straight and feet on the ground. Take a breath and breathe out as you reach behind you and interlace your hands. If you can’t connect your hands, you can grab opposite wrists or elbows.

Breathe in again and feel your spine growing longer as you sit up taller. Roll your shoulders up and backward, moving your shoulder blades down your back.

As you breathe out, gently straighten your arms, if your hands are clasped. If you are holding your elbows or wrists, gently pull in the opposite direction.

After three deep breaths, let go and go back to the beginning position. Do this three times.

4. Seated Cat-Cow

This stretch will work erector spinae, serratus anterior, iliac rib muscle, and external abdominal oblique, and rectus abdominous.

Put your hands on your knees with fingers pointing in toward each other and the heel of your hands on the outside of your legs. Breath in, and as you breathe out, press in your hands and arch your back, using your whole spine. Put your face toward the ceiling and push out your butt.

As you breathe in again, roll your shoulders forward and pull your belly button toward your spine. Drop your chin toward your chest and pushing toward your knees with your hands. When you breathe out, reverse the motion, pulling your chest through your arms and arching your spine again.

Do this slowly three to five times.

5. Gentle Twist

This stretch works your serratus anterior, erector spinae, rhomboids, and neck muscles.

Go towards the edge of the seat, but not too far that the chair tips over. Breath in and press down into your seat, sit up straight, and lift your arms up overhead.

As you breathe out, turn gently to the right, putting your left hand on the outside of your right knee and your right hand where feels comfortable. You want to feel the twist equally throughout your spine.

Stay in the twist as you breathe in, and you’ll feel yourself sit taller. As you breathe out, twist just a little deeper.

Take three to five deep breaths before gently releasing the twist and doing it on the other side.

Read more here.