1. Anticholinergic drugs linked to dementia in seniors

    Common drugs in new dementia link

    It's a mistake millions of people make each day: They assume a drug, like anticholinergic drugs  is safe simply because it's common or available over the counter.

    The reality, of course, is that nothing could be further from the truth.

    Common meds pack more risks than most people realize -- and new research confirms some of the most common drugs of all can speed you down the path toward cognitive decline and dementia.

    And in some cases, you can literally feel the brain-robbing effects in as little as two months.

    They are called anticholinergics drugs, and odds are you've taken them from time to time yourself. They're used for allergies, sleep disorders, stomach problems, nausea, motion sickness, depression, anxiety, bladder control, seizures, muscle spasms, and more.

    Some of them are household names -- like Tylenol PM, Zantac, Dramamine, and Benadryl, just to name a few. Others are less common -- but that doesn't mean that they pose any less potential dangers.

    In the new study of anticholinergic drugs  , researchers found that taking a single drug with strong anticholinergic effects for just 60 days could double your risk of cognitive decline. Weaker drugs have a weaker risk, but not by much: Taking two or more weaker anticholinergic drugs may boost the odds of cognitive decline by 50 percent over 90 days, according to the study of 3,690 seniors.

    The problem here is that many people who take anticholinergic drugs don't realize it. Plenty of them have never even heard the word or know what it means, much less understand the risks -- risks that along with cognitive decline include dementia and even death.

    Now that you know the risks, it's time to go through your own medicine chest and see if there are any of these drugs in your life right now. I don't have the space here to list every possible anticholinergic drug, but you can find several good resources online.

    One fairly thorough list can be found here. Since this list doesn't use brand names, make sure you're familiar with the generic names of your medications before you look them up (it should be right on the label). And if you find you're taking any prescription drugs with anticholinergic effects, contact your doctor and ask about your other options.

    If he won't help, find someone who will. I recommend an experienced holistic physician.

    And for more on the risks of taking anticholinergics, Health Revelations subscribers should be on the lookout for their July issue. If you're not already a subscriber, it's not too late. If you sign up now you will get access to my entire archive of back issues. Click here to learn more.

  2. How physical activities can save your brain

    The right moves for beating dementia

    Want to beat dementia? Start moving.

    The couch potato lifestyle is responsible for 21 percent of all dementia cases, making it one of the leading preventable causes of the brain-robbing condition.

    If that's not enough to get you off the sofa and outside, take a look at the latest research, which confirms exactly what I've seen all along: Seniors who get even moderate levels of basic physical activities have a much lower risk of cognitive problems, including dementia, than couch potatoes.

    And that's even true of people who have some of the earliest warning signs of dementia within the brain itself.

    For the new study, researchers recruited 638 seniors who had the type of damage in the brain linked to dementia, but no actual outward signs of the disease, and tracked them for three years.

    Those who got even very modest levels of physical activities were 60 percent less likely to develop any form of cognitive impairment and 40 percent less likely to suffer from vascular dementia over those three years.

    The only condition where physical activities didn't show a direct benefit was full-blown Alzheimer's -- but I've seen other studies that have shown otherwise. One study published earlier this year found that the most sedentary seniors have 2.3 times the risk of Alzheimer's disease of those who are most active.

    In the new study, the levels of physical activities were also fairly moderate -- just 30 minutes of walking, biking, or gym classes three times a week. Maybe that's enough to keep some forms of dementia at bay, but not quite enough to protect against Alzheimer's.

    I'd say shoot for more -- between two and three hours a week or more of light to moderate activity, and not just to save your brain.

    A little movement can help protect the rest of your body, too, by slashing your risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and more. But let's stay focused on lowering that dementia risk today, because another new study shows what happens inside your brain when you get even a little bit of movement.

    Keep reading for more...

  3. 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.
  4. Green tea can keep you on your toes

    Drop for drop, it's hard to top green tea when it comes to health benefits. The drink has been shown to help fight cancer, boost the immune system, and even help you to live longer. And now, a new study shows that it can keep you active and on your feet -- especially if you're getting up there in years.
  5. How seniors get hooked on painkillers

    One minute, you're a healthy and active senior who wouldn't dream of popping an Advil, much less a powerful prescription painkiller. The next, you're a certified addict who can't get through the day without an opioid drug.
  6. Power your brain with videogames

    Here's a new way to bond with your grandson: Instead of telling him to turn off the videogames and get outside, tell him to move over so you can join him.
  7. A choice you don't have to make

    Millions of seniors facing heart problems are forced to choose between bad and worse -- they're told to pick between aspirin and warfarin.
  8. Healthy aging begins with a sip

    If anyone knows a thing or two about healthy aging, it's the Japanese. They live longer and better than anyone else on the planet, nearly five years longer than Americans on average. So what's the secret?
  9. Cognitive decline begins in middle age

    Senior moments aren't just for seniors anymore. Anyone can have a brain hiccup no matter how old or young they are -- but the latest research shows that the cognitive slide we usually associate with aging actually begins earlier than anyone would have thought.
  10. Tai chi can help prevent falls

    It's just about the slowest and easiest form of exercise on the planet -- but what tai chi lacks in flash, it more than makes up for in benefits. These simple Chinese stretching exercises have been shown to help seniors beat everything from pain to depression -- and now, new research shows that they can also help improve balance and prevent falls.
  11. Sex makes people happy

    A good meal, a little spending money, and a night of passion -- any one of those things would be enough to make most people happy... especially that last one.
  12. B vitamins beat dementia

    I know plenty of seniors who would pop pretty much any pill -- risks and costs be damned -- if it meant they'd never have to battle Alzheimer's disease.
  13. The natural way to beat inflammation

    Inflammation has gone from a condition you should worry about to a marketing buzzword used to sell everything from drugs to juice to cereal. Well, at least they got it half right: You should worry about inflammation, and do what you can to bring your own levels down.
  14. Aging signs -- or warning signs?

    Millions of seniors battle the three S's in their later years: the stoop, the shakes, and the shuffle. And most docs will respond with their own S: the shrug as they tell you it's just part of getting older. Bull.
  15. Zinc beats colds

    A simple mineral could help you beat the cold and get you back on your feet -- and back on the job -- quicker than ever. A new study finds that zinc -- the main ingredient in many natural cold lozenges -- is so good at beating back the sniffles that it's practically a cure.
  16. Bingo's best prize

    Simple as it sounds, a new study finds that maintaining a busy social life--especially through events like bingo night--can double the odds of good health and independence.
  17. Walking away from death

    Next time you go for a walk, you might want to move as if death himself is tailing you--because in a way, he is.
  18. Staying connected, staying healthy

    Having a strong social support circle is a key factor in overall health when it comes to aging.
  19. Keeping sharp in your golden years

    For seniors, good health means more than just watching what you eat. It means staying sharp. The latest research shows there are four things you can do to help keep that mental edge.
  20. Common drugs aren't necessarily safer

    A study finds that a common ingredient in many OTC meds can harm the brains of seniors.

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