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Normal Aging vs Alzheimer’s Memory Loss: 5 Tips from Harvard Health for Improving Memory

Posted by on Sunday, October 15th, 2017


memory loss in Alzheimer's disease


Saying that memory loss is normal when it comes to aging is somewhat like carrying around a loaded gun without the safety on.  Many people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are misdiagnosed due to this common misperception. 

Although, it’s true that the memory does falter as we age, to a certain extent, there is a major difference between normal aging memory loss, and that of a person in the beginning stages of AD.  Namely, normal aging memory loss involves forgetting memories that can later be retrieved.  In AD, the memories are lost permanently—with no chance of recall at a later point in time.  Normal aging of the brain affects memory by slowing down the processing speed.

According to a recent Harvard News report, “In terms of brain function, everyone has a decline over time in all areas, with the exception of vocabulary,” says Dr. Joel Salinas, a neurologist specializing in behavioral neurology and Neuropsychiatry at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

How Memory Works in the Brain

Several areas of the brain are involved in memory.  Initially the cerebral cortex takes in new information from our senses, next the amygdala “tags” the information as noteworthy to be stored, and finally, the hippocampus (an area initially affected by AD) stores the memories.  The frontal lobes of the brain are involved in the job of retrieving information in the form of memories. 

There are basically 3 memory processes that occur in the brain.  These 3 processes work to encode, record, and retrieve information in the form of memories.  So, initially the brain encodes or takes in new information, next, it stores it, and finally the brain accesses the stored information and retrieves the memories when called upon.

Improving Memory in the Normal Aging Brain

There are many factors that can adversely affect a person’s memory (in addition to memory loss from Alzheimer’s disease).  These include, sleep deprivation, depression, anxiety, and side effects of many types of medication.  If you, or a person you know has memory problems, it’s important to see a physician.  The factors that should be addressed include, screening for AD and other conditions such as, anxiety and depression, medication checks (to evaluate whether drug side effects are part of the problem) and a sleep pattern evaluation.      

Tips for Boosting Memory from Harvard Health

  1. Use repetition to repeat what you hear out loud, “With each repetition, your brain has another opportunity to encode the information,” explains Dr. Salinas. “The connections between brain cells are reinforced, much like blazing a trail in the woods. The more you walk the same trail, the easier it is to walk it the next time.”
  2. Write down information that is important to help jog the memory.
  3. Form associations with new information to something that is familiar—that you already know.  For example, when trying to remember a new person’s name, search your memory to recall other people you know well with the same name, and then try to form an association that stands out, such as: they both have dark hair, or they are both left handed.
  4. Put the information into a storyline if possible, “Our brain is good at sequences, and putting things into a story helps. The more ridiculous, the more memorable it is. For example, if your list is milk, eggs, and bread, the story could be that you are having milk with Elvis over an egg sandwich,” Dr. Salinas suggests.
  5. Separate large amounts of information into segments.  For example, when trying to memorize a long number or lines for a play or a speech, focus on memorizing one sentence or one number sequence at a time. “It’s hard to store a long number,” says Dr. Salinas, “but easier to store little bits through working memory.” If you’re trying to memorize a speech for a wedding toast, focus on getting only one sentence or idea down at a time, not the whole speech in one take,”Salinas adds.

Learn more about memory loss and Alzheimer’s Prevention by CLICKING HERE to view the new groundbreaking book, Alzheimer’s Treatment, Alzheimer’s Prevention Diet book, by Dr. Richard Isaacson, M.D., Harvard trained neurologist.  


What Do Blood Clots Have to Do with Alzheimer’s Prevention?

Posted by on Monday, October 2nd, 2017 


You may not know it, but preventing blood clots may be one important aspect of Alzheimer’s prevention.  A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body (usually in the legs, but sometimes in the upper body). A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a sudden blockage in the artery of the lung, usually due to a blood clot that travels from a deep leg vein to the lungs.

It’s common knowledge that cardiovascular disease increases the risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  But, heart attacks and strokes are associated with blood clots in the arteries (not in the veins).  So, how is a DVT associated with high risk for AD?  Read on to find out.

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What is Aromatherapy and How Can it Help Alzheimer’s Disease?

Posted by on Friday, September 29th, 2017

 aromatherapy for Alzheimer's disease


Aromatherapy has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to help promote health and wellness, and protect from disease. But, what exactly is aromatherapy?  How can this age-old method of treatment help promote brain health and potentially stave off Alzhiemer’s disease?

Aromatherapy is essentially the result of inhaled elixirs from concentrated forms of plants and botanicals.   One of the most common forms of essential oils is Lavender oil, noted for its relaxation promotion properties.  These therapeutic essential oils can be used in a diffuser to send minute particles of the oils into the air for inhalation, others are used directly on the skin, and some can even be ingested.  But, do essential oils really promote health and wellness, or is it all a bunch of new age hype?  Read on to find out what the scientific/medical experts have to say…..


Getting More Fruit and Vegetables into the Alzheimer’s Diet

Posted by on Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

fruits and vegetables for the Alzheimer's diet


Eating a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables every day is one vital part of the Alzheimer’s diet.  Not only do fruits and vegetables provide plenty of antioxidants, thought to aid in staving off symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), they also provide ample minerals, vitamins and fiber.    But, a recent study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Americans fall short when it comes to eating enough of these healthy side dishes.

In fact, as many as 76% of adults did not meet the daily recommendations of fruit intake and 87% fell short of the daily vegetable intake recommendations.  Children who were surveyed were not an exception to the bad news when it came to adequate intake of fruit and vegetables.  The numbers came in at 60% who didn’t meet the recommendations for fruits and a whopping 93% of American children didn’t eat enough vegetables.  How many vegetables and fruits should you eat each day; is there a simple way to get more of these healthy foods into the Alzhiemer’s diet?

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To Salt or Not to Salt: Lowering Sodium Intake for Alzheimer’s Prevention (Part II)

Posted by on Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

 salt restriction for alzheimer's prevention

A heart healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean Diet is highly recommended for Alzheimer’s prevention.  Maintaining a healthy blood pressure and overall cardiac health are vital aspects of Alzheimer’s prevention; so keeping your sodium intake within recommended levels is important.  

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To Salt or Not to Salt: How Much Salt is Recommended for Alzheimer’s Prevention?

Posted by on Friday, September 1st, 2017

low salt diet for Alzheimer's prevention

It’s common scientific knowledge today that what’s good for the heart is good for the brain.  So, it stands to reason that a heart healthy diet is recommended for Alzheimer’s prevention.  But what about added table salt?  Most doctors and dieticians would recommend a low sodium diet for optimal heart health due to salt’s propensity to wreak havoc with the cardiovascular system.  In fact, too much sodium consumption can increase blood pressure and cause the body to hold onto fluid. This extra fluid can cause swelling in the extremities as well as more complicated health problems, such as congestive heart failure.  High blood pressure (hypertension) is a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular problems.

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New Study Says “Glymphatics” may Influence Alzheimer’s Disease While We Sleep

Posted by on Thursday, August 31st, 2017

sleeping for Alzheimer's disease  prevention

Glymphatics is a recent groundbreaking discovery that may be very useful in Alzheimer’s disease prevention and treatment.  But, just what exactly is glymphatics, and how might it impact Alzheimer’s disease (AD) treatment?  

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Innovative Study on Brain Cell Death May Lead to New Alzheimer’s Treatment

Posted by on Monday, August 28th, 2017

research for Alzheimer's treatment

An innovative study has targeted a new way that brain cells die from Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).  This is the first EVER evidence of a new biological pathway linked to AD severity & loss of brain tissue-all hallmark symptoms of AD.  The pathway is called necroptosis, and it causes nerve loss.   This new research is thought to lead to innovative methods of Alzheimer’s treatment in the future. 

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Why Strawberries Should be Part of a Healthy Alzheimer’s Diet

Posted by on Friday, August 4th, 2017

strawberries for the Alzheimer's diet

Some foods, such as strawberries should be part of a healthy Alzheimer’s diet every day, why?  Because new studies reveal that a compound found in strawberries could help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  This natural compound that is present in strawberries and some vegetables may prevent AD, as well as other neurodegenerative diseases-says a new research study.

In fact, a recent mouse model study conducted by researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA, examined aging results after administration of a compound called “fisetin” (a flavanol antioxidant present in many fruits and vegetables including strawberries).  The study concluded that a reduction of cognitive decline and inflammation of the brain resulted from fisetin supplementation.  

Fisetin is present in various fruits and vegetables including onions, grapes, cucumbers, apples, persimmons and strawberries. Studies show that this natural compound not only acts as a coloring agent for fruits and vegetables, it also has a high level of antioxidant (flavanol) properties.  Flavanols help to prevent the damage to cells caused by free radicals.  Inflammation may also be reduced from fisetin.

Pamela Maher, senior study author at the Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory at Salk, recently reported results of the study in The Journals of Gerontology. Included in the report was the results of fisetin, in clinical studies, on brain cells, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which could protect the brain against the negative effects aging. 

The Study

The mice study involved a group of prematurely aging mice given fisetin does with their food for 7 months.  The control group had the same food, without the fisetin supplement.  Each group of mice was then given a variety of memory tests.  Other responses were monitored in the mice, including protein levels (associated with inflammation, brain function and the stress response).

“At 10 months, the differences between these two groups were striking. Mice not treated with fisetin had difficulties with all the cognitive tests as well as elevated markers of stress and inflammation. Brain cells called astrocytes and microglia, which are normally anti-inflammatory, were now driving rampant inflammation. Mice treated with fisetin, on the other hand, were not noticeably different in behavior, cognitive ability or inflammatory markers at 10 months than a group of untreated 3-month-old mice with the same condition,” lead researcher Dr. Pamela Maher told

“Mice are not people, of course. But there are enough similarities that we think fisetin warrants a closer look, not only for potentially treating sporadic AD but also for reducing some of the cognitive effects associated with aging, generally…Based on our ongoing work, we think fisetin might be helpful as a preventative for many age-associated neurodegenerative diseases, not just AD, and we’d like to encourage more rigorous study of it,” Dr. Maher added.

Tips on Preserving Strawberries

Now that the strawberry season is upon us, learning how to successfully preserve the delicious red berries for as long as possible.  Here are three quick tips for preserving strawberries year round:

  • Keep the stems on until you are ready to eat them
  • Don’t wash the strawberries until you are ready to eat them (water makes them mushy)
  • Examine the berries for any moldy berries and toss them out right away, one bad berry can quickly spoil the rest.
  • Store berries in the refrigerator if you are going to wait a few days to eat them.

How to Freeze Strawberries

If you have more berries than you can eat, consider freezing them.  Although frozen produce do not retain 100% of their nutrients, some nutrients can be retained.  The berries will become soft and juice from freezing and thawing, so consider using the berries in smoothies or even shortcake. Steps for freezing the berries:

  • Rinse berries in cold water
  • Place the berries on a towel to dry
  • Hull berries and remove any damaged parts
  • Tops are edible, if you are using them in smoothies it’s okay to leave the tops on (they have vitamins and minerals as well as ellegic acid)
  • Place strawberries on a sheet pan and cover in parchment paper, freeze them and then vacuum seal the next day. 

Learn more about the Alzheimer’s diet by CLICKING HERE to view the groundbreaking book, The Alzheimer’s Treatment and Prevention Diet book, written by Harvard trained neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson.





Clinical Studies say Turmeric May Help with Alzheimer’s Prevention

Posted by on Sunday, July 30th, 2017

turmeric for Alzeimer's prevention

Turmeric (curcumin, or curcuma longa) is an Indian spice that is thought to help promote Alzheimer’s prevention.  It was discovered when scientists realized that the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is much lower in India than it is in Western cultures. In fact, several studies found that the prevalence of AD in India was as 4.4 times lower in adults (aged 70 to 79) than in the United States.   So, researchers began to look at the diet people in India were eating.  They found that people who ate curry (with curcumin as the primary spice) more often performed better on standard memory tests and cognitive functioning tests than those who did not have curry in their diet regularly.

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