Higlights of Canadian research and policy news.

This news brought to you by the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program and brainXchange. 

Training for Person with Dementia and their Spouse Improves Communication


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Communication and socializing can become difficult for people with dementia; many conflicts between persons with dementia and their care partners are a result of misunderstandings or the lack of skills to communicate feelings or needs. These conflicts may be a source of stress and emotional distress for both parties; however, a recent study indicates that these skills can be developed and maintained with practice.

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Training for Person with Dementia and their Spouse Improves Communication

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Communication and socializing can become difficult for people with dementia; many conflicts between persons with dementia and their care partners are a result of misunderstandings or the lack of skills to communicate feelings or needs. These conflicts may be a source of stress and emotional distress for both parties; however, a recent study indicates that these skills can be developed and maintained with practice.

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Walking Improves Cognitive Function in Older Adults

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Vascular cognitive impairment refers to impaired brain function due to blood vessel damage in the brain, and is the second leading cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. “It is well established that regular aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular health and cerebrovascular health,” lead author Teresa Liu-Ambrose wrote, explaining that hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes, and high cholesterol can harm blood flow to the brain; the risk of developing these disorders can be decreased by engaging in moderate-intensity physical activity.

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Exercise May Prevent Alzheimer's Disease and Delay its Progression

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

While the idea that exercise can prevent, delay, and manage Alzheimer’s disease is widely accepted and researched, many public health messages do not use epidemiological evidence to back this claim up. University of British Columbia researchers from the Okanagan campus conducted a study that reviewed the current research in the field and explored how to incorporate this evidence into health promotion messages.

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Cannabis May Reverse Effects of Aging in the Brain

Monday, May 15, 2017

In humans as well as in mice, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) seems to be involved in physiological aging; cannabinoid receptors are less abundant and ECS activity is reduced with age. A recent European study explored the potential benefits of THC, one of the active ingredients in cannabis, on the brains of aging mice. They divided the mice into a THC treatment group and a control group and assessed their ability to perform a variety of learning tasks as the mice aged.

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Volunteering Reduces Risk of Dementia in Older Adults

Monday, May 15, 2017

Researchers from the University of Calgary conducted a study exploring the cognitive benefits of volunteering for seniors; volunteering, in this case, is a voluntary activity for which the individual is not paid; Dr. Yannick Griep explains that “the activity has to benefit others who are not your core family; for example, helping out a church, a school, a library, a homeless shelter, or some sort of charity organization.” The team hypothesized that volunteering would provide social, physical, and cognitive benefits to seniors.

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Brain Changes Detected Before Onset of Dementia Symptoms

Monday, May 15, 2017

A recent collaborative study from University of Toronto and the Baycrest Rotman Research Institute explored dementia diagnoses through brain imaging. The researchers were interested in seniors living without assistance that didn’t have any notable cognitive issues but whose memory test scores suggested that further testing for dementia was advisable.

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Hippocampal Aging and Cognitive Decline

Monday, May 8, 2017

The hippocampus is a brain structure that is important in consolidating memories, learning, and regulation of mood and behaviour; although the normal process of aging is associated with loss of hippocampal volume, there appear to be factors that speed the process including high levels of “oxidative stress and neuroinflammation, altered intracellular signaling and gene expression, [and] reduced neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity.” A team of researchers from British Columbia conducted a review of the current literature looking at the connection between these factors and the cognitive declin

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Preventing Strokes May Also Prevent Dementia

Monday, May 8, 2017

A team of researchers from Western University in London found an unexpectedly positive side effect of Ontario’s stroke prevention strategy, which includes community supports, use of appropriate medication, and promoting a healthy lifestyle: reducing stroke incidence resulted in a decrease in dementia rates as well. The data showed that as a result of the stroke strategy, incidence of new strokes decreased by 38% while diagnoses of dementia decreased by 15% in adults aged 80 and above over a span of about 10 years.

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Ontario Dementia Strategy Provides Supports for People with Dementia and their Families

Monday, May 8, 2017

Part of Ontario’s 2017 Budget is dedicated to making excellent care more easily accessible to people with dementia and their partners in care.

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