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much love.

A blood test for Alzheimer’s disease?

In this study we sought to find a set of circulating molecules in the blood of individuals who were cognitively normal that would allow us to predict who in the next several years will develop cognitive impairement or Alzheimer’s disease, and that is exactly what we found

Dr. Federoff at Georgetown University published research in the journal Nature Medicine that identified 10 molecules in the blood that could be used to predict with at least 90% accuracy whether people went on to develop mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s. It is the first study to show differences in biomarkers in the blood between those who went on to suffer the disease, and those who remained “cognitively normal”.

If you could get a test to see if Alzheimer’s was in your future would you? This leads to ethical implications of a test that could predict a disease that currently has no cure. What do you think about this? Would you get tested? much love.

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References:

The Current (episode March 12, 2014) http://www.cbc.ca/

 

Alzheimer’s and Vitamin E

Can vitamin E slow Alzheimer’s disease (AD) progression?

According to a new double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found that alpha tocopherol (2000IU/d vitamin E) reduced the rate of functional decline in 561 patients with mild to moderate AD.

In the vitamin E group, the delay in clinical progression of AD was translated to 19% per year compared with placebo or a delay of approximately 6.2 months over the follow-up period.

… do you include VitaminE rich foods in your diet? much love.

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Reference:

Neurology Now (January 14, 2014)

Dysken, M.W. (2014). Journal of the American Medical Association.

 

Coffee-drug for Parkinson’s and dementias?

We have been told the benefits of caffeine (see more info HERE).

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What researchers are finding is that caffeine, the world’s most widely used drug, does more than wake people up. Caffeine is linked to improvements in memory and appears to protect against the destruction of brain cells. One of the results find that people who drank two or more cups of coffee a day had a 40 percent lower risk of developing Parkinson’s.

Because of these findings, some companies have been designing drugs to replicate the benefits of caffeine. The challenge is to go beyond the buzz of caffeine to achieve a more powerful effect on the brain — without side effects like headaches, irritability and jitters. But this hasn’t been easy. For example, Merck ended development of such a treatment for Parkinson’s disease last year after late-stage testing suggested it didn’t work. Other developers have postponed plans.

There is no cure for Parkinson’s. Drug developers are focusing on the way caffeine targets sites in an area deep in the brain called the basal ganglia, which is affected by Parkinson’s and plays a key role in movement. The medicines specifically aims to target and block adenosine A2A receptors. The goal of drug-makers is to improve movement in Parkinson’s; existing treatments become less effective over time, and side effects harder to endure.

… what are your thoughts on a “coffee pill” for the brain? Do you consume caffeine? much love.

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more information and adapted from: bloom.bg/1gGePNm

This is your brain on coffee

For hundreds of years, coffee has been one of the two or three most popular beverages on earth.

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In a large scale epidemiological study (National Cancer Institute 2012), men who reported drinking two or three cups of coffee a day were 10 percent less likely to have died than those who didn’t drink coffee, while women drinking the same amount had 13 percent less risk of dying during the study.

Other studies have linked three or four 5-ounce cups of coffee a day with more specific advantages: a reduction in the risk of developing:

And, most importantly (?), animal experiments show that caffeine may reshape the biochemical environment inside our brains in ways that could stave off dementia. In a 2012 study, caffeinated mice regained their ability to form new memories 33 percent faster than uncaffeinated mice. This might be related to adenosine, which both provides energy AND can be destructive under stress; leading to inflammation, disruptive neuron function and neurodegeneration. And in a 2012 Florida study with humans, persons with little or no caffeine circulating in their bloodstreams were far more likely to  progress from MCI to full-blown Alzheimer’s than those whose blood indicated they’d had about three cups’ worth of caffeine.

However, we still have so much to learn about the effects of caffeine. “But a cup of coffee “has been popular for a long, long time,” Dr. Freund says, “and there’s probably good reasons for that.” much love.

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Adapted from: Reynolds, Gretchen. This is your brain on Coffee. NY Times, June 6 2013.

Tutorial: Forward bend

Forward bends can be done both sitting AND standing. Forward bends create length in the spine, relieve any compression, and can promote introspection.

But, tight hamstrings and physical patterns, such as rounded shoulders (hello, sitting in front of a computer for hours! check out some great info on “un-rounding” your shoulders HERE) can make forward bends challenging!

Forward bends also provide us an opportunity to break these patterns: a fresh perspective!

Senior Kripalu Yoga teacher Cristie Newhart shares these tips for getting the most out of your forward folds:

Alignment is key.

  • The action of forward bends, is to fold at the hip crease, bringing the top of the pelvis forward.
  • Also, think about lengthening the front of the body as you fold, keeping the neck and jaw relaxed, and engage the quadriceps so that the muscles around the knee are stabilized and protected.  Use the support of the abdominal muscles below the navel allow for greater flexibility in the lumbar spine. And, until the hamstrings are sufficiently open, Cristie says that it’s best to practice forward bends with a slight bend in the knees.

Props are your friends.

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  • Standing: Use blocks to help you lengthen your spine if your hands don’t reach the floor easily.
  • Seated: Place a folded blanked, cushion or bolster under your seat to tilt your pelvis forward. Grab a strap (belt, tie, towel!) to help reach your feet.
  • Use props to prevent over-rounding the back, release tense shoulders, and ease locked knees.

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Don’t force it.

  • Forward bends are not about how deep you can go but rather how deeply you can release. Less is more. 
  • Surrender to the present moment, notice the experience, and settle into the breath. As Cristie reminds us, “Honor the body where it’s at—let it unfold at its own pace.”

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So, fold inward and find introspection and release. Much love.

Reference:

kripalu.org/blog/thrive/2012/12/10/the-benefits-of-forward-bends?utm_source=Thrive&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=121012ForwardBend