Monthly Archives: June 2009

Eat, Sing, Love

What can you do to keep a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s with you in the present?

Become part of their past.

Step into their world, 40, 50, 60 years back in order to participate in their lives.  Studies have shown that preparing their favorite meals and participating in the presentation of these meals is a great way to encourage your loved one to eat while keeping a memory alive.  Also try music therapy, playing songs from their generation, to engage their memory.  The sense of hearing persists through different stages of Alzheimer’s disease, memories of tunes from their times endure the disease.  Lastly, Michael Cheang, an assistant professor of family and consumer services at the University of Hawaii, reminds loved ones that touch is another sense which is particularly valuable when verbal and visual communication lose their effectiveness.  As Cheang states, “It’s a basic human element. We all love to be touched, hugged, to feel secure.”   So eat, pray and love, cooking their favorite meals, singing their favorite songs and showing love through contact.

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Brain Games!

All it takes is one glance at a tabloid magazine to see how youth-obsessed our culture is.  Botox, liposuction, anti-wrinkle creams, Crest Whitestrips, tanning salons, slim quick diets–many will stop at nothing to look ten years younger.  While we try chasing youthful looks, why don’t we also try to maintain a youthful mind?   Though botox treatments may cost thousands of dollars, brain games to maintain your mind are less than $0.40 a day while some are FREE.  Try out these three brain training programs to keep your mind young and running!

  • Lumos Labs $10/month luminosity.com
  • HAPPYneuron $10/month happy-neuron.com
  • FREE : braingames1.aarp.org

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Keeping Your Brain Young

Alzheimer’s disease undoubtedly drenches many American families in worry, loss, and a sense of desperation. With ominous statistics published every year, a question lurking in the back of everyone’s mind is: What can I do to prevent Alzheimer’s in my life? While the cause and treatment of Alzheimer’s are still unknown, there are seven simple steps you can take to keep your brain young.

1) Aerobic Exercise is the Way to Go!

  • As we age, the connections between the neurons in our brain begin to fall apart, impeding our ability to think.  Aerobic exercises increase capillary development in the brain, enabling more blood (and oxygen) to reach the brain.  Many doctors recommend a combination of aerobic exercise and weight training to sharpen your brain at any age!

2) Better Food, Better Brain

  • What’s the big deal with antioxidants?  They neutralize harmful free radicals which break down the neurons (the cells central to our ability to think) in our brain.  Eating a colorful plate and avoiding foods which put you at risk for other diseases, like high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, will rev up your ability to think and respond faster.

3) Exercise Your Mind–Literally

  • You wouldn’t be able to get six-pack abs without sit-ups, Pilates, or some hard time at the gym, would you?  The same rule applies for your brain: exercise the noggin to keep your brain young!  Exercising your mind is as easy as learning something new.  Tease your brain with a puzzle, an electronic brain game, or engaging yourself in a hobby to put your brain in learning mode. 

4) Take a Breather

  • Everything is good in moderation, right?  The same applies for stress.  Chronic stress overwhelms the hippocampus, the part of the brain where memories are formed.  Stay calm and keep cool through exercise, yoga, meditation, or your own relaxing exercise to save your memory center!

5) Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

  • Researchers at Harvard Medical School have found that those who get a good night’s sleep are able to synthesize complex information better than those who don’t catch their Zzz’s.  Who knew that a night of rest improves your ability to think creatively?!

6) Laughter Really is the Best Medicine

  • Humor stimulates our brains to produce dopamine, the famous “feel-good” chemical that we crave like chocolate bars.  Studies have found that this stimulation may indeed make us smarter!  

7) Wisdom with Every Day

  • With every day, we become better synthesizers and integrators of information.  Your brain is your very own google engine, able to search and access the millions of events, social scenarios, and facts you’ve recorded throughout your life, as you age.  Another day older, another day wiser!

Keep your brain young with these simple steps, courtesy of William Speed Weed and Reader’s Digest.

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Presence of a Protein May Enable Alzheimer’s Prevention and Treatment

Every 70 seconds in the United States, a patient is diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer’s, a disease for which there is presently no cure. But, the harrowing reality which victims of Alzheimer’s face today, may take a drastic turn for the better! Researchers at McGill University in Canada may have unlocked the key to Alzheimer’s treatment and prevention. Researchers have found that the tau protein, a key brain protein found in the central nervous system of all humans, differs in patients with Alzheimer’s due to the presence of additional phosphates to an amino acid within the protein. Researchers note that a single additional phosphate may cause Alzheimer’s. With one of the causes or the sole cause of Alzheimer’s identified, researchers can now find ways to treat victims of the disease and even prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s.

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Black and White

Just like Michael Jackson sings, “It’s Black, It’s White / It’s Tough For You / To Get By / It’s Black, It’s White,” new studies indicate that Alzheimer’s Disease reduces life expectancy in both African Americans and Whites equally. A ten-year study led by Robert S. Wilson, Ph.D. and his colleagues at Rush University Medical Center, in Chicago found that, “Compared with people without cognitive impairment, risk of death was increased by about 50 percent among those with mild cognitive impairment and was nearly three-fold greater among those with Alzheimer’s disease.” Wilson’s team also found that these effects did not differ by race. This find is staggering considering that the other leading causes of death in the United States, like heart disease which differs by approximately 70 people per hundred thousand people, posing a greater risk to African Americans than Whites. For more information on the find, please check out: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/153161.php.

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“Who I Am” – a new song by Jon Pousette-Dart, Dawn Young and Jamie Kyle


This new song will be featured in the documentary short we are currently working on called, “The Isle of Capri.” I have been living with Alzheimer’s the past couple of decades first with my grandmother and than my mother. My personal experiences in dealing with my mother’s illness inspired my husband Jon and I to write this song.  Jon and Jamie’s voices blend beautifully in the performance!

Singer/Songwriter Jon Pousette-Dart will be working on the musical score for the upcoming  feature-length documentary. He composed the score for my previous film “Beneath The Surface: A Water Polo Documentary.”

I hope you enjoy the song and please check back for further updates on the documentary.

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VIDEO: Interview with Dr. Goldstein

To go along with the earlier post about the interview that we did with Dr. Goldstein, we have this video excerpt to share with you. Enjoy and let us know what you think about stem cell research.

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