Could this brain stimulation technique reverse memory decline?

New research suggests that transcranial magnetic stimulation could reverse age-related memory loss. In fact, the technique restored the memory of senior participants to the level of young adults.

It is a known fact that a person’s memory tends to decline with age. Between 15 and 20 percent of people over the age of 65 years have mild cognitive impairment (MCI) — a condition that is no cause for concern on its own but that raises the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Misplacing things once in a while or having trouble finding one’s words can be a natural partof the aging process. However, researchers may now have found a way to reverse this form of age-related memory loss.

Full story at Medical News Today

Key discovery to preventing blindness, stroke devastation

Research led by Nicolas Bazan, MD, PhD, Boyd Professor, Ernest C. and Yvette C. Villere Chair of Retinal Degeneration Research, and Director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at LSU Health New Orleans, has discovered gene interactions that determine whether cells live or die in such conditions as age-related macular degeneration and ischemic stroke. These common molecular mechanisms in vision and brain integrity can prevent blindness and also promote recovery from a stroke. The paper is published online in Cell Death & Differentiation, a Nature journal.

“Studying the eye and the brain might hold the key to creating therapeutic solutions for blindness, stroke and other seemingly unrelated conditions associated with the central nervous system,” notes Dr. Bazan. “The eye is a window to the brain.”

Dr. Bazan and his research team discovered Neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1), which is made from the essential fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Previous work showed that while it protected cells, the molecular principles underlying this protection were not known.

Full story of preventing blindness and strokes at Science Daily

Social support central for caregiver health in AIDS-affected South African communities

Psychosocial support should be a key element of health interventions for caregivers of children in HIV-affected communities, particularly for women who take on the majority of care-giving responsibilities.

These are the findings of Dr Marisa Casale, a Senior Researcher at the Health Economics and HIV and AIDS Research Division at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), South Africa.

For the past five years, Dr Casale has been conducting mixed methods research with caregivers of children in urban and rural South Africa, to assess the impact of social networks on health among these populations. This research is part of the larger Young Carers project, a collaboration between the South African government, NGOs and universities such as the University of Cape Town, the University of Oxford and Brown University. The project interviewed 6,000 children and 2,500 adult carers in three South African provinces, to identify the needs of AIDS-affected families.

Full story of care giving health for AIDS in South Africa at Science Daily

‘Mini-stroke’ may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder

A “mini-stroke” may increase your risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Transient ischemic attack (TIA), like stroke, is caused by restricted blood supply to the brain. A TIA is temporary and often lasts less than five minutes, without causing permanent brain damage.

“We found one in three TIA patients develop PTSD,” said Kathrin Utz, Ph.D., a study author and post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Neurology at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany.

“PTSD, which is perhaps better known as a problem found in survivors of war zones and natural disasters, can develop when a person experiences a frightening event that poses a serious threat.”

Full story of mini-strokes and post-traumatic stress disorder at Science Daily

Stroke: New understanding of emotional impact

The physical challenges associated with recovery from a stroke are well documented however the impact of a stroke on emotion is less well understood.

New research from the University of Aberdeen, published in the British Journal of Clinical Psychology has identified key areas in which stroke can impair emotion regulation and found that these difficulties continued 18 months after the stroke.

The findings of this study have implications for the long-term treatment and recovery of stroke patients and may help pave the way to help guide treatment interventions following stroke.

Every year there are approximately 152,000 strokes in the UK, which equates to one stroke every three and a half minutes*.

Full story of the new understanding of emotional impacts of strokes at Science Daily

Consistent blood pressure control may cut rate of second stroke in half

Stroke survivors who consistently control their blood pressure may reduce the likelihood of a second stroke by more than half, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

For the study, researchers analyzed the results from the Vitamin Intervention for Stroke Prevention (VISP) trial, which enrolled 3,680 ischemic stroke patients ages 35 and older in 1996-2003. Ischemic strokes are caused by a clot or other blockage in a blood vessel supplying the brain. Participants had been tested for several risk factors, including blood pressure levels at baseline, a month after the start of the study, at six months and every six months thereafter up to 24 months.

Full story of blood pressure control and strokes at Science Daily

Adult day-care services boost beneficial stress hormones in caregivers

Family caregivers show an increase in the beneficial stress hormone DHEA-S on days when they use an adult day care service for their relatives with dementia, according to researchers at Penn State and the University of Texas at Austin.

DHEA-S controls the harmful effects of cortisol and is associated with better long-term health.

“This is one of the first studies to show that DHEA-S can be modified by an intervention, which in our case, was the use of an adult day care service,” said Steven Zarit, Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State. “The study is also one of the first to demonstrate that interventions to lower stress on caregivers, such as the use of adult day care services, have an effect on the body’s biological responses to stress.

Full story of adult care and stress hormones at Science Daily

Seniors Moving to Homecare Based Services Face More Hospital Risk

Seniors want greater access to home- and community-based long-term care services. Medicaid policymakers have been happy to oblige with new programs to help people move out of expensive nursing homes and into cheaper community or home care. It seems like a “win-win” to fulfill seniors’ wishes while also saving Medicaid programs money, but a new study of such transitions in seven states finds that the practice resulted in a 40 percent greater risk of “potentially preventable” hospitalizations among seniors dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare.

“We are trying to move people into the community and I think that is a really great goal, but we aren’t necessarily providing the medical support services that are needed in the community,” said Andrea Wysocki, a postdoctoral scholar in the Brown University School of Public Health and lead author of the study published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. “One of the policy issues is how do we care for not only the long-term care needs when we move someone into home- and community-based settings but also how do we support their medical needs as well?”

Full story of homecare based services at Science Daily

HUD AND HHS PARTNER TO PROVIDE PERMANENT HOUSING TO LOW-INCOME PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

To prevent people with disabilities from homelessness the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced nearly $98 million in funding for 13 state housing agencies for rental assistance to low-income persons with disabilities, many of whom are transitioning out of institutional settings or are at high risk of homelessness.

HUD’s support of these state agencies is made possible through the Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (PRA Demo) which enables persons with disabilities who earn less than 30 percent of median income to live in integrated mainstream settings.

Full story of permanent housing for low income at HHS.gov

Nanny Cams in Nursing Homes — Protection or Invasion of Privacy?

Imagine that your mother is in a long-term care facility. On your weekend visits, she’s told you that the nurses and aides there are taking things from her, pinching her and refusing to change her diapers when she soils them.

You want to believe your mother, but you’ve been told that her nursing home is one of the best in the state. You also know that your mother has mild dementia and that when you gently raise the issue with others, the nursing supervisor seems to get really offended.

What can you do?

Well, in some states, you can record everything that happens in your mother’s room.

In Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas, you can legally put a nanny cam or “granny cam” — a motion-activated video camera — in your mother’s nursing-home room. Several other states have been considering following suit. Even state attorneys general in Ohio and New York have made surreptitious video recordings to collect evidence of abuse and neglect.

Full story of nanny cams in nursing homes at AARP