What role do brain lipids play in Parkinson’s disease?

New research looks to brain lipids to identify a new therapeutic target for Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition that affects about half a million people in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health.

One of the main characteristics of this condition is the buildup of alpha-synuclein, a type of protein that forms into toxic plaques, in the brain.

Earlier this year, a study that featured in the journal Neurobiology of Aging suggested that there may be a link between the levels of certain brain lipids, or fat molecules, and the development of Parkinson’s disease.

Full story at Medical News Today

How Can I Make the Transition to an Assisted Living Facility Easier?

FOR MANY OLDER ADULTS, the first and best option for living out their golden years is to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. But for some, there comes a time when this strategy becomes unmanageable and it’s time to transition into an assisted living community. Moving is always difficult and it can be made especially more so by all the complex emotions and logistical challenges that often accompany a move made later in life. But there are some ways to make transitioning into an assisted living facility a little easier.

Dr. Susann Varano, a geriatrician at Maplewood Senior Living, a Westport, Connecticut–based senior living residence company, says one of the key components to making a smooth transition to an assisted living community is to start searching for the right place as early as possible. Ideally, you should be planning for and considering your options for months, even years, before you actually need to make the move. She likens the ideal transition to how we plan for college.

“Some people start a college fund when the child is born, and they start thinking about college when they’re in middle school – they consider which high school to go to that will lead to a good college and ultimately lead to a good law school or medical school.” She asks why Americans seem so reluctant to give the same sort of care and attention to what probably should be viewed as an equally important life transition. “These are the final years of your life. Why shouldn’t they be the quality you deserve? You worked hard for your money, and this is your money. Give it the respect that it deserves and don’t be so afraid that just because you’re looking (at moving) means you’re going to go.”

Full story at US News

Eye scan may detect Alzheimer’s disease in seconds

Two new studies now suggest that a noninvasive eye scan could soon be used to catch Alzheimer’s disease early.

The world’s population is aging rapidly and the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is on the rise.

For this reason, the need for efficient dementia screening methods that can be applied to millions of people is dire.

Current diagnostic practices are either invasive or ineffective.

For instance, brain scans are costly, and spinal taps — or lumbar punctures — are invasive and potentially harmful.

Full story at Medical News Today

Businesses Increasingly Hiring People With Disabilities

CHICAGO — When Glynis Harvey and Mark Cagley opened Hidden Manna Cafe four years ago, the couple did not set out to hire people with disabilities.

But then a social service agency asked: Might the Matteson restaurant employ a woman with cerebral palsy? How about a man with mild blindness? A customer asked for an application for her sister, who has an intellectual disability.

Harvey and Cagley were good people to ask. They have twin sons, now 28, with autism, and so they understood how difficult it is for people with disabilities to find jobs. They also knew how hard they worked once given the chance.

Full story at Disability Scoop

A compound found in apples can slow down aging

New research has identified a natural compound found in many types of fruit, such as apples and strawberries, and vegetables that can slow down the aging process.’

One key factor in the aging process is known as “cellular senescence,” or the aging of the cell.

When a cell enters this stage, it is no longer able to divide.

When that eventually happens, the cell releases inflammatory signals that prompt the immune system to “clear out” that damaged cell.

Full story at Medical News Today

Can chiropractic care disrupt vision?

For those in the habit of getting their neck adjusted by a chiropractor, the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center has interesting information to know about: High velocity neck manipulation has been shown to result in stress on the eye and lead to spotty vision.

The risk is rare, but one that Yannis Paulus, M.D., a retina specialist at Kellogg, reports on in the American Journal of Ophthalmology Case Reports.

The energetic thrusts and rotations sometimes performed in high-velocity neck manipulation have been linked to damage to the blood vessels in the retina. Resulting abnormal bleeding inside the eye may also cause vision loss.

This was the case for a 59-year-old woman who experienced a “tadpole” shaped spot in her vision while driving home from a chiropractor visit — with her sight worsening the next day. She had just received cervical spine manipulation using the high-velocity technique to help with her headaches.

Full story at Science Daily

Breastfeeding may help protect mothers against stroke

Breastfeeding is not only good for babies, there is growing evidence it may also reduce the risk for stroke in post-menopausal women who reported breastfeeding at least one child, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death among women aged 65 and older, and is the third leading cause of death among Hispanic and black women aged 65 and older, according to the study.

“Some studies have reported that breastfeeding may reduce the rates of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in mothers. Recent findings point to the benefits of breastfeeding on heart disease and other specific cardiovascular risk factors,” said Lisette T. Jacobson, Ph.D., M.P.A., M.A., lead author of the study and assistant professor in the department of preventive medicine and public health at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita.

Full story at Science Daily

Aging and Disability Institute Webinar: Sustainability for All: A Multi-Partner Approach to Growing Evidence-Based Program

Decreased resources and changing priorities among funders are challenging community-based organizations to become more creative in how they sustain their evidence-based healthy aging programs. While significant attention has focused on integration with healthcare systems to provide this source of sustainability, what is needed is a more global and diverse approach—one that includes advocacy at multiple levels and involves program developers, community organizations, and newly empowered participants who have benefited from programs. In this webinar, the Evidence-Based Leadership Council, a national collaborative of program developers and community implementers, shares its experiences and successes with scaling and sustaining programs through partnerships, community outreach and strategic steps towards policy change.

Participants will:

  • Be able to identify three benefits to partnering with program developers in long-term sustainability efforts;
  • List three ways to engage newly empowered participants in future program efforts; and,
  • Identify three solutions to the challenges of partnering with community organizations.

Full story at acl.gov

CHANGE IS COMING FOR NONPROFIT HUMAN SERVICE PROVIDERS, BUT WILL IT MAKE OR BREAK THEM?

It is a time of reckoning for Connecticut’s private, nonprofit social services.

After two decades of flat or reduced funding from its chief client — state government — community-based agencies are struggling to retain both their programs and the low-paid staff who deliver care for thousands of poor, disabled and mentally-ill adults and children.

Depending on the vantage point, Connecticut’s nonprofit social services sector is viewed as either the best means to preserve the state’s safety net or as the cheapest route to drive down government spending.

Those in the first category — relatives and advocates for the state’s most vulnerable citizens — are waiting to see whether Connecticut will fulfill the program of comprehensive, neighborhood-based care that was envisioned nearly four decades ago when the movement away from institutionalized care began.

Full story at The Connecticut Mirror

Agitation in dementia: Are drugs the best treatment?

A common symptom among people with dementia is agitation, which can affect their and their carers’ well-being. Dementia experts conducted a new study and found the most effective means of addressing agitation.

In a paper that is now published in the journal International Psychogeriatrics, experts from several research institutions — including the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD — express their consensus on the best approaches to manage dementia-related behavioral and psychological symptoms.

More specifically, they speak of how to address states of agitation and psychosis in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Full story at Science Daily