More improvements for the Clock Drawing Test

Last month I wrote a post about what the Clock Drawing Test is, how it is scored, what that means, and new research on a home-based version that is done on a touchscreen. It’s a great post, and I’m not just saying that because I wrote it 🙂 It already has had 150 views – and is my second most popular post (after my post about Coloring as a Purposeful Activity).

Well, today, another way that technology is improving the Clock Drawing Test has come across my radar. This time, researchers are developing a method that uses a digital pen when drawing the clock. While the earlier article I posted describes using a tablet or touchscreen to analyze how the test is drawn in real time (how long it takes between writing numbers and placing the hands, where they are drawn, and can even replay the drawing process so that doctors can look for further abnormalities), this new one, using the digital pen, essentially does similar things. The pen has a small camera on it that also looks at how long it takes between strokes and to complete the drawing, movements, and the process as a whole. The Anoto Live Pen is from a Swedish company, Anoto. Continue reading

Dementia is not only about memory

From the always helpful ThirdAge Services! I studied Gerontology with Carole at the University of North Texas. I was a fan of her back then and an even bigger fan now. If you are looking for advice or coordination in dementia care, she is an excellent Certified Dementia Consultant.

Most People think Alzheimer’s is only about Memory Loss; it Isn’t!

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Low prevalence of Alzheimer’s among Indians

This post comes to us curtsy of Stanford University’s Geriatrics department. It is about how the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is low in India and some reasons why this may be. One of the possible reasons discussed is relating to diet, and particularly to their use of Curcumin – one of the main ingredients in the spice Turmeric, which is used in many curry dishes (a spice known for anti-inflammatory effects). If you want to read more on this, check out my post on Curry helping the brain repair itself (også på dansk her).


According to recent studies conducted in Indians, the prevalence of dementia is lower compared to that of developed nations. These studies show that prevalence of dementia varies in different region of the country:

in urban regions it varied from 18 per 1000(1.8%) (Vas et al, 2001) to 33.6 per 1000 (3.36%) (Shaji, 2005)

in rural areas it was found to be 1.36% to 3.5%. The predominant type of dementia prevalent is dementia of Alzheimer’s type, and the next being vascular dementia.

The prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is very low in India, but the predilection to diabetes and coronary artery disease increases the risk of multi-infarct dementia.

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Science-backed information on habits for a healthy brain

This post comes via Reader’s Digest. Well, it is a Reader’s Digest article that I came across on an Alzheimer’s and Dementia group on Facebook 😉  It’s got some good info on healthy habits and diets for ALL of us.

Happy and healthy reading!

New Survey: Science-Backed Habits Reduce Dementia Risk, But Many Americans Are Misinformed

A new survey from Reader’s Digest and the Alzheimer’s Association reveals that many Americans don’t realize certain habits can lower risk of cognitive decline and don’t prioritize brain health compared with other aspects of well-being. Continue reading

Drug showing promise in treating the amyloid in Alzheimer’s

I came across this article on, a great source of information and advice for those 50+. Check them out, there’s lots to find on activity ideas, financial issues, working and volunteering, staying healthy, and on and on.

New Drug Shows Promise Slowing Alzheimer’s:  A neurologist describes what could be big progress in the battle against the disease

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Participate in a study on early detection of Alzheimer’s Disease

I came across this call for participants through the Stanford University Center on Longevity, and thought I would spread the word. They are currently recruiting participants, looking for healthy adults aged 65-83 with no history of cognitive impairment or mental illness. The goal is to investigate the genetic risk of developing dementia (through blood tests) and to investigate the safety and effectiveness of a medication (currently used to control diabetes) in preventing Alzheimer’s Disease.

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Who takes care of the caregiver?

This is a re-post from Jessica Kingsley Publishers. You can also read the article on their website by clicking here.

Shake up your view of your demanding and relentless work so that you can start to put yourself at the centre of your caregiving work. Cheryl Rezek, author of Mindfulness for Carers, has written an incredibly honest blog on why it’s important to say ‘no’, putting yourself first, and being mindful of your emotions as a carer.

Rezek-MindfulnessForCarers-C2W Continue reading

Science on the anti-inflammatory diet

The information on inflammation: science on the anti-inflammatory diet

This is a re-post from the blog Is It Healthful? It’s a blog by a personal trainer with degrees in Exercise Science and Physiotherapy, check it out to get some good scientific summaries of trends in health and wellness.

Bitumen on a sweaty, sultry summer’s day.  Doesn’t get much hotter, right? Wrong!  Right now the anti-inflammatory diet is hotter than Hades. Heck, it’s hotter than Hansel, who as you know, is so hot right know.  As the anti-inflammatory diet’s popularity reaches fever pitch, we ask ourselves is this just another fad diet, or is it the answer to all the our problems?

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What is a gerontologist?

Aging is nothing new to societies; however, the term gerontology was first used in 1903. Contemporary gerontology, as a scientific field of study, began in the early to mid-1900s, with a notable boom after 1990. While those who work with aging adults may be familiar with the term gerontology, it is not widely known in the general public. I thought I would write a bit on what gerontology is and what a gerontologist does.

What is Gerontology?

The word gerontology comes from the Greek word geron, meaning “old man,” and the Greek word –logia, meaning “study of.” Gerontology is different from geriatrics, which is the branch of medicine that specializes in the treatment of older adults – the opposite of pediatrics.

Gerontology is the study of aging, focusing on the biological, psychological, cognitive, and sociological aspects of aging. Gerontologists view aging in terms of four distinct processes: chronological aging, biological aging, psychological aging, and social aging.  Continue reading

Surprising results from a study on weight and dementia

While obesity is correlated with a host of health problems (cardiovascular, damage to joints, increased risk for diabetes), this April, 2015 study published in The Lancet shows that it may protect against dementia.

Different results than we had previously thought to be true…. now the next step is to figure out why weight plays such a role in the development of dementia?

Compared with people of a healthy weight, underweight people (BMI <20) had a 34% higher risk of dementia. Furthermore, the incidence of dementia continued to fall for every increasing BMI category, with very obese people (BMI >40) having a 29% lower dementia risk than people of a healthy weight.

You can read more about this in an article by The Guardian, which states:

Many other studies have shown an association between obesity and an increased risk of dementia. These findings demonstrate the complexity of research into risk factors for dementia and it is important to note that BMI is a crude measure – not necessarily an indicator of health. It’s also not clear whether other factors could have affected these results.

Or from The Telegraph, which includes:

Dr Liz Coulthard, Consultant Senior Lecturer in Dementia Neurology, University of Bristol, added: “We do know that obesity carries many other risks including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and increased rates of some types of cancer. So maintaining a healthy weight is recommended.”

Research: Curry-spice can help the brain repair itself

A Danish friend sent me this article from Jyllands-Posten through Facebook. It is not new research (the article is from September, 2014), but I thought that there are probably many who have not heard about it yet. So, I wanted to post it here. Du kan også læse dette indlæg på dansk ved at klikke her.

After an injury as carer here in Denmark, I have had many back problems since 2007. I take turmeric and ginger for inflammation regularly, and find that it has helped me. An easy to start adding turmeric to your diet is sprinkle it on your eggs in the morning (you can use it generously, it has a very mild taste) or add it to soups and hot dishes you are making. Handling inflammation is not only good for the treatment of pain, but inflammation plays a major role in the development of chronic diseases and the development of dementia.

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New anti-amyloid drug to fight AD

I came across this article through the Cure Alzheimer’s fund website. While I am happy to spread the word on success in research on treating dementia, I also want to be sure people get the full story and not just the happy headlines 🙂

The jist of the research is that the pharmaceutical company Biogen, with headquarters in Cambridge, Massassachutes in USA, has designed a new drug based on processes that naturally occur in our bodies. This drug, Aducanumab, is a reproduction of our bodies own beta-amyloid autoantibodies, which are natural antibodies to amyloid beta, or Abeta, (amyloid beta creates the misfolded pepetides – which become the plaques – in Alzheimer’s disease).

The really amazing thing is that they find that the drug could potentially prevent the development of any Alzheimer’s symptoms if administered early enough in the disease process. The study showed that the amyloid plaques initiate Alzheimer’s disease by causing the neurofibrillary tangles to form and inflammation in the brain. So, the study suggests that if you can stop the amyloid beta from accumulating in the brain, you can slow down or stop Alzheimer’s disease.

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“Stop using stigma to raise money for us”

“We too should take a vacation from our caregivers… enjoy the company of other people with dementia…”

It would be my hope that my envisioned Vacation Village would not promote stigma, but would be a place where people with dementia can come and enjoy the company of their families and others while taking a little break from everyday life and enjoying nature.

I have tried to avoid stigmatizing dementia in my ideas for this vacation place – starting with avoiding a name that includes dementia, like Dementia Village or Dementia Vacation. The point, rather, is to make a vacation spot that anyone would enjoy, and is accommodating, so that both the caregivers and the person with dementia can enjoy their holiday.

This is an interesting post on the stigma of dementia and how it is misconstrued and misused in ways that truly don’t benefit people who are living with the syndrome (or their families and caregivers).

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