mild cognitive impairment

  1. Mild cognitive impairment can worsen with Alzheimer’s drug

    This med can make cognitive problems WORSE

    It might've seemed funny years ago, when it happened to someone else. Maybe you even chuckled when you visited an aging parent or grandparent and found keys or a hat in the fridge next to the milk.

    But it's not funny when it happens to you.

    It's downright terrifying -- especially if you're convinced that those frustrating brain burps aren't just a sign of aging, but a warning of something far worse.

    The good news is that most "senior moments" are nothing to fear. Even mild cognitive impairment (MCI) often doesn't turn into dementia.

    In some cases, it even improves entirely on its own.

    The bad news?

    If your doc decides to "help," all bets are off -- because new research shows how he could actually make the condition WORSE!

    Many mainstream docs think the drug donepezil (a.k.a. Aricept) will slow or stop mild cognitive impairment and prevent dementia, despite the fact that it isn't even approved for that purpose.

    If it works for Alzheimer's, they think, it should help MCI even more, right?

    WRONG!

    The new study shows the exact opposite is true, in patients with a common genetic mutation called BChE-K.

    If you have this mutation, the drug can actually SPEED the decline, putting you in the express lane for the very condition you were hoping to avoid.

    It's not yet clear exactly how many MCI patients have BChE-K, but it's fairly common. Since few doctors test for it, however, most of the folks who have it don't know it.

    The researchers of the new study are urging docs to test for this mutation before offering donepezil to patients with MCI.

    All I can say is, why bother?

    It's not as though this were some miracle pill for everyone else. Even if you DON'T have the genetic mutation, donepezil does little to nothing for most cases of MCI.

    But while it won't help -- or won't help much -- it can certainly HURT.

    Even if you don't have the BChE-K gene, the drug can cause all the usual side effects like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, as well as a few extra risks that are especially dangerous to seniors: fatigue, dizziness, weakness, tremors, and more.

    It's just not worth it.

    If you've got mild cognitive impairment, don't panic, and don't just swallow any old pill your doc gives you until you've done some homework.

    Often the best way to slow the decline or even turn it around isn't with meds, but plain old good nutrition. A diet low in sugar and rich in healthy brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids along with essential B vitamins can often do more to protect your memory than anything in the pharmacy.

  2. Slow mild cognitive impairment with DHA

    Protect your brain from ZOMBIES!

    It's Halloween, and if your neighborhood is anything like mine you've probably got your share of ghosts, ghouls, and goblins on the prowl for candy today.

    You might even have a few zombies out looking for brains!

    Believe it or not, there are some REAL zombies out there -- brain-eating cells trying to wreck your gray matter, leaving you locked in a battle with dementia.

    But the latest research shows a quick and easy way to protect your brain from zombie cells: the omega-3 fatty acid known as DHA.

    The gold-standard study out of China tested DHA supplements against placebo capsules filled with corn oil in seniors battling mild cognitive impairment.

    One year later, the seniors given the DHA supplements saw improvements in two major measures.

    First, they had less of the dreaded "brain shrink" that marks the advance of dementia, especially in the all-important hippocampus.

    And second, they ran rings around the folks given corn oil on tests of intelligence.

    Over the course of a year, the seniors given the DHA had a 10 percent improvement over the placebo group on IQ tests, according to the study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

    Of course, testing for IQ is not quite the same as testing for memory and cognition. However, the study did use IQ subtests and found that the folks given the DHA scored improvements on both information and digit span.

    Information relies on long-term memory, while digit span is a solid measure of short-term memory.

    There are a number of ways DHA can help protect against cognitive decline, including better circulation so your brain gets the oxygen and nutrients in your blood more efficiently.

    Omega-3 fatty acids can also help your brain produce the enzymes needed to fight off the damage of oxidative stress. A 2013 study found that seniors with the highest EPA and DHA intake had lower levels of an oxidative stress marker linked to cognitive decline and memory loss.

    For even bigger benefits, add some B vitamins to the mix. In a study published earlier this year, omega-3 supplements and a B complex led to improvements on tests of both thinking and memory in seniors with mild cognitive impairment.

    I recommend omega-3 supplements to my own patients, with a minimum of 1,000 grams of DHA per day. Some folks might benefit from the 2,000 mg used in the new study, but you may need to take several capsules to reach that level (check the side panel carefully for the "serving size").

    Be sure to speak to a doctor first. While there is nothing unsafe about high-dose fish oil, it can thin the blood and interact with certain medications -- so, you'll need him to sign off on your plan.

  3. Beat mild cognitive impairment by eating less

    Mild cognitive impairment isn’t an inevitable decline toward dementia. You can slow it down or even stop it – and new research shows cutting calories can help.
  4. Mild cognitive impairment doubles death risk

    Even mild cognitive impairment can increase your risk of an early death, according to new research. Fortunately you can protect your brain, and slash your risk, with supplements
  5. How carbs lead to mild cognitive impairment

    A new study finds that people who eat the most carbs have four times the risk of mild cognitive impairment, which often leads to dementia.
  6. Overeating could ruin your brain

    Empty calories aren't just bad for your belly. They can be downright ruinous for your brain -- and the latest research shows again how people who eat the most have the highest risk of memory problems.
  7. Quick quiz can measure your Alzheimer's risk

    We waste a fortune on tests we don't need for conditions we don't have -- conditions we often shouldn't be worrying about in the first place.

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