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Exercise Can Preserve the BrainOne of the sad realities about Alzheimer’s disease is that there’s no way of preventing it – at least not yet.  We know some people are genetically or biologically at greater risk than others, but researchers want to find out how we can fight it off, or at least delay it.

The strongest evidence for a lifestyle choice associated with Alzheimer’s prevention is exercise.  A new study in the journal Neurology supports that, and also suggests that working out is more effective at protecting the brain than cognitive challenges such as games and puzzles.

Researchers studied a group of nearly 700 participants from Scotland, all born in 1936, who reported their leisure and physical activity levels at age 70.  They rated physical activity on a scale from “moving only in connection with necessary (household) chores” to “keep-fit/heavy exercise or competitive sport several times per week,” the study said.  Participants also rated how often they engaged in various social and intellectual activities.

Then, at age 73, the scientists used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure certain biomarkers in the brain among these participants.

Full story of exercise and Alzheimer’s at CNN Health

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Looking for signs of depression

October 23, 2012 | Mental Health | No Comments

Depression as Complicated GriefOctober is Depression Awareness Month – a time to recognize a condition that affects nearly 10 percent of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 

Each year, an estimated 8 million to 10 million people experience the loss of a loved one. In addition to death, people experience the loss of a job, a child leaving home, or other major life changes such as a divorce. 

Each of us experiences grief through a range of emotions such as sadness, confusion and anger, and the grief process is unique for each person. But sometimes intense feelings of hopelessness and guilt do not go away and are accompanied by physical symptoms like loss of appetite, sleeping problems, and trouble concentrating on daily tasks. 

When the emotions of grief persist for a prolonged period and affect all aspects of a person’s life, this is known as “complicated grief.” If untreated, complicated grief can lead to health conditions like depression, substance abuse, and heart disease. People who are at the highest risk for depression are those with a past history of the condition or those who lack a strong support system. 

Full story of complicated grief at The Cherokee Ledger-News

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