Exercising the Brain along with Medication Helps Slow Alzheimer's Disease

October 29, 2004

The drug Aricept allows an increase of acetylcholne in the brain. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter important for learning and memory. Aricept and medication like it is an important part of treating Alzheimer's and the drug has been shown to decrease mental decline by 38% over a one year period compared to placebo. This new study shows that using Aricept along wih mental exercises slow the deterioration of the mind even better than Aricept alone in Alzheimer's patients with mild to moderate stages of the disease. The patients were given mental exercises individually once a week. These exercises included creating a story about a painting, choosing the appropriate meanings of words, detailed instructions for scrambling eggs, and interpreting sayings, they were also given a form of homework. This continued for two months.10 Months after the end of the period (one year total elapsed time), the patients with the mental athletics in addition to Aricept had a slower rate of decline than patients on Aricept only in communication skills, functioning, and emotional well-being. They also displayed less apathy and irritability and had a better quality of life. The study is published in the Octoer 2004 issue of the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

A number of nutrients have ability to sheild the healthy brain tissue from Alzheier's plaque, known as beta-amyloid. This would be a third tool in helping these patient. These nutrients are L-Carnosine, Resveratrol, Turmeric, Green Tea EGCG, Grape Seed Extract, and Homocysteine Regulating B-Complex Vitamins. Controlling high blood pressure and diabetes may also prove helpful.

Smoking Affects the Brain like Opium

Heroin, morphine and other opiod drugs trigger the release of brain chemicals called opiods that make you feel good and also are addictive. Smoking also causes the release of these same opiods. This is the first study to show that cigarrettes stimulate the release of opiods. Opiods help decrease pain, they create a feeling of euphoria and well-being, and create a sense of reward. The study shows that cigarrettes also trigger the release of a second feel good brain chemical called dopamine. This study was presented at the 2004 annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience October 23rd to 27th, in San Diego.

Testosterone May be a Womans Answer to Low Libido

Testosterone application to the skin may be a womans answer to low libido. This new study shws that postmenoausal women who used a testosterone skin patch had satisfying sex four times more often than they did before using the patch. Although testosterone is only thought of as a male hormone, before menopause women make testosterone in small amounts.This small amount of testosterone is needed for a womans healthy sex drive. The dosage of testosterone used in the study was 300mcg per day. Te level of arousal, increase in sexual desire, orgasm, pleasure, responsiveness and self-image were all greater in the testosterone goup than the placebo group. The Placebo group averaged having sex once every two months , and the testosterone group averaged improved and desirable sex twice a month. The study was presented at the October 16th to 20th, 2004 annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Philadelphia.

IGF-1 in the Presence of Glutathione Repairs Cartilage

Articular cartilage is the cartilage covering the ends of bones preventing them from rubbing together, and it is the cartilage in joints. IGF-1 helps build and maintain the health of articular cartilage. Eventually cartilage can become resistant to the healthy-rebuilding effects of IGF-1. In this study it was found that the neurotransmitter nitric oxice blocks the effect of IGF-1 in maintaing bone and joint cartilage health. This blockingefect becomes even worse if you lac\k glutathione, and having optimal levels of the antioxidant glutathione allows IGF-1 to resume building and maintaining articular cartilage. The study is published in the November 2004 issue of the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage.

Low Levels of IGF-1 Connected to Death and Severe Disability after a Stroke

85 Patients aged 67 to 99 years were admitted to a geriatric ward after suffering an acute stroke. 88 individuals with a similar mix of age and sex were also enrolled into the study for comparisons sake (a control group). The average level of IGF-1 was lower in the stroke victims than in the control group. Having lower levels of IGF-1 after a stroke was related to mostly death, but also to severe disability in the elderly stroke victims at 3 moths and 6 months after a stroke. Having lower levels of IGF-1 after a stroke predicts possible death or severe disability in elderly patients. The study is published in the September 2004 issue of the American Journal of Medicine.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

Studies are showing that IGF-1 helps keep the blood vessels in the brain helthy and resilient. IGF-1 in the brain also protects brain tissue from the oxidizing-inflammatory effects of homocysteine.