Brain Health, Teresa Fogerty @ Providence Explorers

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from: Longevity Explorers | Providence

Discussion Summary

At the April meeting, the Providence Longevity Explorers had an update on Brain Health and Alzheimer’s Research from the work and recent research of two members of the Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center at Rhode Island Hospital: Teresa Fogerty, the Community Outreach Coordinator, and Charles Denby, Clinical Research Program Coordinator.

 

Part 1: Teresa Fogarty:

Fogarty opened the program by handing out two-sided paddles—one side green, the other, red—to each of the members. Then she posed a set of true/false questions: Is it a senior moment or short term memory loss when you can’t remember what you ate early in the day? You forget a name, but remember it later. Is forgetting where you put your keys a normal part of aging? How about becoming less social after retirement? If a parent had Alzheimer’s, will I get it, too? Each member of the group indicated their belief with the red (false) or green (true) side of their paddle.

Each of the questions and the correct answers led to a lively discussion and more questions. There are many take-aways, but one of the most important may be that if you are concerned about symptoms, you should seek medical advice. Have an annual memory screening and advocate on your own behalf. The earlier you are diagnosed, the sooner you can start treatments to slow the disease.

Fogarty then focused on lifestyle factors that maintain or improve brain health, like aerobic exercise, a healthy diet, learning something new (a language, a musical instrument), being socially active, and controlling chronic conditions like blood pressure or diabetes. She also emphasized that supplements marketed as improving brain health have no proven value.

Research money has increased; finding enough people to participate in research trials remains a major problem. No new drugs for Alzheimers have been approved in the past fifteen years, though there are now drugs that slow the disease’s progression for some period of time for some people.

Fogarty optimistically suggested, however, that the “golden age of Alzheimer’s research is just around the corner.” She said that now puzzle pieces are on the table and researchers will put them together someday soon.

 

 

 

 

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