Caring For A Parent With Dementia

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the number of people affected by dementia in the USA is on the rise, with over 6 million suffering with some form of the disease.  Dementia is a deterioration in mental capability, with 60-80 percent of these cases being Alzheimer’s and the second most common being vascular dementia, which can appear after a stroke.  Damage to the brain cells, which often happens with age, disrupts the cells interacting with each other and causes many debilitating symptoms.  What happens when a parent starts to show these signs and what can their child actively do to help them?

 

SIGNS OF DEMENTIA

  • Forgetfulness and memory issues can happen to all of us and may be due to many reasons. Vitamin deficiency, depression, stress or thyroid.  When a parent forgets recently learned information, important dates or repeats a question a few times, this maybe a sign of dementia.
  • Lack of concentration. An inability to complete a simple task due to a wandering mind.
  • Logic and decision. An incoherency in logical thought pattern and the lack of decisive decisions.
  • Confusion with time and place. Trouble understanding the present and the future.
  • Fear and suspicion.
  • Repeating and sometimes forgetting words to use.
  • Changes in mood and personality. People with Alzheimer’s can become easily confused, anxious, depressed and even aggressive.
  • Not wanting to socialize. The early onset of dementia can be recognized by the sufferer, causing them to retract from social interaction or hobbies.

 

Caring For A Parent With Dementia

 

Once recognizing the signs, make sure the parent sees a doctor as soon as possible, in order to try and minimize the brain cell damage and provide drugs or therapy to help with memory loss and symptoms of confusion.  The Alzheimer’s Association is in the process of researching and diagnozing symptoms before they fully develop, in the hope they may stop the disease before brain damage and mental capacity declines.

 

 

WHERE SHOULD THE PARENT LIVE?

Dementia can be challenging, not only for the sufferer, but their family too. If possible, relatives should discuss living options with the patient, before the disease progresses to the stage where they don’t understand what is being said to them.  Many dementia suffers stay at home for the first years of the disease, but it is essential that the following care is considered, depending on finances and development stage:

  • Home care. There are many options for home care from domestic work, nursing healthcare, and agencies that specialize in dementia care.
  • Respite care. If relatives are taking care of the family relation, it is important that they have periodic relief from being the sole care giver.  Most care agencies offer a respite service.
  • Assisted Living. Ideal for patients who require help preparing meals, bathing and dressing but do not need any special medical needs.  They live in their own apartment or share a residence, which gives a feeling of independence.
  • Dementia special care. Special dementia care units are often found in residential care homes.  With staff who are especially trained for the requirements of a dementia or Alzheimer’s sufferer.

 

 

HOME SAFETY TIPS

Staying at home maybe a feasible option for the first stage of dementia, but it is crucial to have certain safety measures in place, so the family member is protected and the caregiver has piece of mind.

Particular attention should be spent of securing certain areas of the home:

  • Consider taking knobs off the stove.  Appliances should have an automatic switch off feature and be away from any water sources.  Remove sharp knives.
  • Remove any hazardous chemicals and keep tools locked away.
  • Make sure chemicals are locked away.  Have safety bars installed so that the parent can lift themselves with ease.
  • Fire alarm/carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure all safety devices are inspected on a regular basis.
  • Keep the home well lit. Use natural light were possible avoiding florescent light which may aggravate dementia sufferers.

 

 

HELPING A PARENT WITH DEMENTIA

When a parent is in the early stages of dementia they are likely to feel scared, stressed and worried. Creating a regular routine will help them feel more secure in their home.  Encourage them and try not to be critical or frustrated with their behavior.  This is difficult at times, when the caregiver maybe tired and anxious too.  Giving small responsibilities in the early stages, for example polishing the furniture or laying the dinner table, will create self worth.  There are a number of devices to help a parent, especially in the onset of dementia.

  • Memory aids. Pictures used around the house to identify where things are kept.  An example of this would be a picture of mugs on a kitchen cupboard.
  • Hobbies. Going for small regular walks, food shopping, having family and friends visit are a few suggestions to keep active and engaged.
  • Diet and exercise is very important for dementia sufferers. The longer they have mobility and nutrition the better quality of life they will have.  A recent study from the AHA Stroke Journals states chances of suffering a stroke or getting dementia increases three times if an individual drinks soda everyday.
  • Schedule regular medical visits.
  • Join a support group.  It is important for the caregiver to have support too.  Depression in caregivers who look after dementia sufferers is very common so this is imperative.
  • Plan for the future. Know your options of living arrangements for when the disease progresses.
  • Simplify directions by sticking to one instruction, allowing time for response.
  • Avoid confrontation or disagreement. Dementia affects rationality and logic.
  • Paper work. Sorting parent’s financial affairs is important.  If possible, arrange power of attorney before the dementia has progressed.  Each state is different in terms of laws. Contact the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys for further information.

 

 

RESOURCES

Louis Theroux Extreme Love Dementia

AHA Stroke Journal

 CBS News Lowering risk of dementia

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/411292?redirect=true

 

Choosing Assisted Living For A Parent With Dementia

Numerous people have been fortunate to have loving parents who cared for their wellbeing, whilst growing up.  What happens when this role is reversed and the parent needs looking after?  Over 15 million people in the U.S care for their elderly parents each year, with half of that number having a parent who experiences some form of dementia.  What signs are an indication that it is time to seriously consider placing a parent in an assisted living environment?

 

  • The healthcare becomes too much for the caregiver to manage.
  • Home safety has become an issue with hazardous scenarios like: falling, leaving a stove on, and wandering away from the home and getting lost.
  • Planning the move ahead of time would be an ideal situation but for many this is not a reality.  If there is an opportunity to speak with a parent about the potential move to an assisted living home, this would help with the transition.  If the parent suffers from dementia, breaking the news about the move may be emotionally challenging as the parent may not fully understand.

Choosing Assisted Living For A Parent With Dementia

Consider the following steps in helping tell the news:

 

  1. If the parent is in the early stages of dementia and still comprehends, discuss after you have conducted all the assisted living research and be honest.
  2. The parent may listen more if the news comes from a professional like a doctor, nurse, or social worker.

 

HOW WILL THEY FEEL

For most of their lives, parents have been independent, so being told they are moving to an assisted living home may cause the following:

  • Feelings of abandonment
  • Upset
  • Fear
  • Lack of control

 

In order to calm their fears, research several care facilities.  Asking or researching the following questions, will ease stress and undeserved guilt to the caregiver:

 

  • Does the home have a special dementia unit?
  • Is it fully staffed seven days a week?
  • Are there medical personal on hand, and if so, how often are they there?
  • Are they Medicare certified and are all staff licensed?
  • Has the home had any lawsuits filed against it (google search)?
  • How large will their personal living space be is there a green area outside?
  • Are personal belongings and or furniture allowed for a home-like feel?
  • Is there an open door policy?
  • Are there planned activities and outings?
  • Will there be a set daily routine and what does it consist of?
  • What safety precautions are in place for dementia sufferers?
  • Is the location close enough for family and friends to visit?
  • Speak with an onsite financial advisor to discuss payment options.

 

ADJUSTMENT

It will take the parent time to adjust to their new environment, and during this period, the caregiver should consider the following steps:

  • Visit occasionally and for short amounts of time until the parent is settled in their new home.
  • Build a relationship with the staff.
  • Parents with dementia will often ask to go home, which can be very upsetting for both parties. Do not try to reason and explain the situation as this can cause agitation and upset for the parent. Try to reassure, comfort and if need be agree and distract.
  • Not only will the parent have to adjust, so will the care giver.

 

The decision to move a parent to an assisted living home is one of the hardest choices a person will make.  Do not feel guilty, instead be positive that an assisted living home may open more opportunities for them to socialize, be kept safe and provide medical assistance if required.  Read further on this subject and more at: http://getthrive.com/

 

RESOURCES

 

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/going-hospital-tips-dementia-caregivershttps://www.alz.org/care/

http://naswil.org/news/chapter-news/featured/alzheimers-disease-related-dementias-social-works-role-in-helping-individuals-and-families/

https://www.dementiacarecentral.com/financial-assistance/

 

Can Going Back to School Delay Dementia?

 Advantages of School?

Going back to school may delay the onset of Dementia. Each year, more and more grown adults are going back to school. The benefits are many—mentally and socially—and returning to higher education may delay the onset on dementia.

The Young and the Restless

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, one-fourth of America’s college students are going back to school after age 30. For many, getting older means getting better, especially for those who are restless to improve. In addition, there’s so much information these days about how keeping our brains active may delay dementia. Whether it’s re-entering a classroom or self-directed instruction, it seems lifelong learning is one key to good, prolonged health.

Durga Kami of Nepal is 68 years old. He is a grandfather who’s wife died a few years back. He never finished his sophomore year and decided it was time to go back to school. Kami is the oldest 10th grader, but stands as a role model and inspires the young students.

The Benefits of Continuing Education

The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that “health” includes physical, mental, and social wellbeing. Older adults are encouraged to stay as active as possible to extend healthy life expectancy. This would incorporate learning as an aim to prevent cognitive decline.

Many European countries have launched programs, such as University of the Third Age (U3A). The design is to encourage continued lifetime learning whether it’s online-based or in a physical, continuing-education classroom. Research has shown that learning environments can help reduce mental decline due to aging, perhaps even the effects of dementia.

Cognitive Benefits

In addition to increased cognitive benefits, going back to school can improve mood disorders. Older adults are less inclined to be depressed in a social setting. Also, staying mentally active improves self-image. Those who received degrees later in life have boosted self-confidence and greater opportunity for employment. Some jobs that exist today did not 10, 20, or 30 years ago. Learning new skills (especially technology) opens a whole new world for many older-generation students.

Returning to a college classroom can be daunting. It may be intimidating. It also may require some juggling, especially if you’re a family caretaker. With commitment and courage, it can be done.

It may be too soon to determine concretely if continued learning delays dementia. As more “non-traditional” students age, research will offer more specific proof. In the meanwhile, we know that keeping the brain active helps us feel young and more satisfied. For other life-enhancing articles, check out www.GetThrive.com

 

 

 

 

 

Connection Between Using a GPS and Alzheimer’s?

It may seem like a stretch, but there is an association between using a GPS and Alzheimer’s brain function. A recent study has shown decreased neural activity in the hippocampal region of the brain when using the electronic navigation system. The hippocampus is one of the main areas affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

Is There a Cause and Effect?

Using any type of electronic device cannot be called cause for developing Alzheimer’s. However, research has shown that cognitive exercise can help slow the shrinkage of the hippocampus. Mental exercise, the type used naturally to navigate a system from memory or maps would be considered a form of cognitive stimulation.

Smartphones On—Brain Turns Off

A study out of the University College London focused on brain scans of the participants’ hippocampus. Twenty-four volunteers were asked to navigate a simulated version of the Soho District in central London. What they discovered was fascinating.

When the participants used the GPS, portions of their brains literally turned off. The brain region used for memory and navigation was not stimulated in the least. However, when they navigated without assistance, the scans showed spikes in neural activity in both the hippocampus and the pre-frontal cortex.

The lead researcher and psychologist Hugo Spiers remarked, “Our results fit with models in which the hippocampus simulates journeys on future possible paths while the prefrontal cortex helps us to plan which ones will get us to our destination.”

The navigation activity challenged parts of the brain for memory and navigation (hippocampus), as well as planning and decision-making (prefrontal cortex.)

A previous study showed similar results—that as humans interact with their surroundings, the brain is stimulated to form a “back-up plan.” When the brain is navigating, it relies on memory and then decision making. With a GPS, our brain doesn’t have to do the work.

Isn’t Less Challenge to the Brain Better?

It might feel easier, but it’s not to the benefit of our brain health to let it sit inactive. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to grow and thrive. Decreased plasticity of the hippocampus happens naturally over time. It actually shrinks. But, continued research is showing that exercise and cognitive stimulation slows the shrinking process. In fact, working the mind has, in many cases, shown to reverse hippocampal atrophy.

Alzheimer’s and the Brain

One of the first areas of the brain to be affected by Alzheimer’s is the hippocampus. The hippocampus is comprised of two seahorse-shaped portions that lie on each side of the brain. It is responsible for helping us form new memories (short-term memories), as well as the gateway for allowing those to get stored in our long-term memory. So, it’s also a part of the brain that helps us retrieve those older memories.

With Alzheimer’s, brain scans will show a shrunken hippocampus. (Other forms of dementia affect the hippocampus as well.) This is why the impairment of memory is often the first notable symptom of the disease. In connecting the GPS navigation study to the challenges of Alzheimer’s, it’s clearer to see why certain patients also experience disorientation with their surroundings.

There is ample research to support that mental exercise boosts brain activity and health. Also, peruse GetThrive for related topic on mental health.

Sources:

http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2017/03/21/GPS-navigation-turns-off-part-of-the-brain/4881490118414/?utm_source=fp&utm_campaign=ts&utm_medium=18

https://www.verywell.com/what-is-the-hippocampus-p2-98810

http://www.nature.com/scientificamerican/journal/v25/n5s/full/scientificamericansciencestories1216-36.html

 

Are Autoimmune Diseases Linked to Dementia?

Researchers set out to understand if there is any link to autoimmune disorders and eventual increased risk for dementia. With an estimated number of approximately 5-million Americans having dementia, it’s no wonder scientists are scrambling for causes, preventions, and cures. One recent study sheds light on some valuable connections regarding possible pre-cursors to the future onset of dementia.

Linking Increased Risks

The findings from a study on autoimmune diseases and dementia were published March 2017 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. Data was collected from almost 2 million adults who had been hospitalized, at least once, for an autoimmune disease. The analysis revealed that the risk of subsequent dementia was indeed increased.

Specifically, the risk was more elevated for those who suffered from lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. The study, based on medical data, cannot claim a definitive cause-and-effect element between autoimmune disorders and dementia. However, as described, there is an association between those with an autoimmune status and having a future increased risk of a vascular dementia diagnosis. Additionally, this information may assist health practitioners in realizing an individual’s possible coexistence of the two disorders.

What is the Common Link?

Both autoimmune disorders and dementia (including Alzheimer’s) have, to date, shown biomarkers for inflammation. Many factors contribute to inflammation in the body and the brain. An inflammatory response can be triggered by: diet, toxins, bacteria, viruses, stress, just to name a few catalysts.

Inflammation occurs when our body “naturally” aims to curb any perceived threat to our immune system. Current research reveals that a large number of inflammation markers exist in those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. In fact, the same exists for those with autoimmune disorders. Both inflammation and abnormal immune activity are significant in degenerative brain diseases.

How to Keep Inflammation at a Minimum

Our body’s immune system is geared to respond to protect itself. So, when something intrudes, it will attack. The challenge for today’s good health is that we have many intruders, some of which we don’t see coming, (or have the ability to curtail.) Some on this list are air and water pollution, pesticides, mold, and viruses.

Other inflammatory triggers, conversely, can be avoided or minimized. These would include: stress, poor diet, food allergies, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, and lack of nature. We do have some ability to make adjustments or lifestyle changes that may help ensure keeping inflammation levels low.

What’s on the Good List?

It may feel or sound repetitive, but it’s no coincidence that the same checklists of beneficial practices appear on most good-health lists. Here they are again as a reminder:

Eat a nutritious and balanced diet. Whole foods, nuts, vegetables, fruits, beans, and seeds are most beneficial. Buy organic when possible, or grow them yourself. Fish is fantastic for the omegas we need. Lean protein, like turkey or chicken are fine, free-range. Cage-free and/or organic eggs are healthy. Indulge in good fats such as avocados, coconut oil, flaxseed, etc.

AVOID: processed foods, especially meats; sugar (corn syrup, fructose, and all “diet” chemical sugar substitutes.) You may have wheat or gluten sensitivity, which can cause inflammation as well. Alcohol is best in moderation.

– Sleep well, every night, whenever possible. Do you know that the brain actually “cleans itself” when we sleep? Brain waves from sleep trigger a cleaning flow. The glymphatic system is a brain “washing” system that helps reduce inflammation from toxins and other hormonal imbalances.

Exercise daily, sometimes more aerobically. After exercise, it’s been proven that neuroplasticity is increased for hours. The brain becomes stimulated and synapses and neurons go wild. Besides the brain gain, inflammation may be reduced from the stress-relief that exercise provides.

Play brain games. Have challenging, thought-provoking conversations. Read interesting non-fiction. Do crossword puzzles, jumbles, and sudoku. Make your mind work.

If these areas of health are important to you, it may be worth continuing your research and best-health practices. You may always refer to GetThrive for current reader-friendly health information for you and your loved ones.

Sources:
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, March 2017

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/health/dementia-rates-united-states.html?_r=0

http://jonlieffmd.com/blog/inflammation-and-dementia

http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2017/01/30/jech-2016-207809

Can Blood Be a Treatment for an Ailing Brain?

A recent study has opened a new dialogue about how blood interacts with the brain. Blood from human umbilical cords may not be the key to preventing or reversing dementia in people, but it worked for lab mice.

Three Brainy Mice

Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine experimented with giving human plasma to mice. Specifically, they gave very young blood, from umbilical cords. The mice that received the plasma were old.

The original study was conducted by infusing young mouse blood into older mice. The results showed interesting promise in the area of the brain. The older mice showed improvements in memory and learning.

So this time around, the scientists wanted to see if the same results would occur if they infused human blood. Indeed, the findings were just as successful. The elderly mice could build nests with more intricacy and navigate mazes more successfully.

The most improvement in the mental acuity of the aged mice was from infusions of umbilical cord blood. Plasma from human young adults had a very small effect. Blood from the elderly had absolutely no valuable effect on the brain of the elderly mice.

From Mice to Men?

It’s pretty remarkable that they’ve discovered a link from blood to brain. But before anyone thinks a cure to Alzheimer’s has been found, we will need to think again. There are several variables that scientists need to take into consideration.

First off, just because human umbilical blood transferred to elderly mice reaped successful results, does not necessarily mean that similar results would transpire infusing elderly humans. Secondly, the elderly mice in the study did not have dementia. They simply had an old brain. Who’s to say if the blood infusion would have worked if the mice had a disease or disorder?

Nonetheless, the study may open a new line of research for potential dementia-treatment drugs. Currently, the medications available for, let’s say, Alzheimer’s, can help a bit, but the disease still progresses. It will be amazing when a discovery is made that can halt the progression of dementia.

Signs of an Ailing Brain (Dementia)

  • loss of memory (especially short-term)
  • faulty reasoning
  • increased paranoia
  • inappropriate behavior
  • difficulty with abstract thinking

In the Meanwhile…

While those who are affected by dementia wait for a medication or a “fix-it” treatment, there are several actions to take that may help. Making a few lifestyle choices in a positive direction certainly cant hurt. Some examples are:

Eat Fresh – a diet rich in vegetables, legumes, nuts, and fish provide natural sources of omega-3s. Colorful fruits are wealthy with antioxidants. Avoid refined sugars, processed foods, and meat, which contribute to inflammation (even in your brain.)

Sleep Well – During a deep sleep of eight hours or more, it’s believed that the brain shifts memories from temporary to longer-term storage. Besides consolidating information, your brain actually absorbs new info while you sleep. Reading or practicing a new skill before bed enhances retention. Sleep well, and you’ll have better focus and remember more.

Exercise – Aerobic exercise on a regular basis enhances retention of new (and old) information. MRI brain scans show that vigorous exercise expands the hippocampus, which is the area involved in learning and memory. Exercise also reduces stress (which can impede good recall.)

For more information on up-to-date research on health care, check out GetThrive.com

Sources:

http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2017/04/19/Umbilical-cord-blood-appears-to-reverse-memory-loss-in-mice-in-study/4951492630794/?utm_source=sec&utm_campaign=sl&utm_medium=1

https://getthrive.com/tricks-tips-boost-brain-power-memory/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/16/improve-memory-tricks_n_3922173.html

Is Pot Better For Pain Than Pills?

Medical marijuana has a wealth of benefits for people with pain. Although doctors prescribe opioid medication for extreme discomfort, a recent study showed that patients actually preferred cannabis. Does this mean pot works better?

Weed-ing out Some Facts

Cannabis (in plant form) and cannabis oil offer health merits such as helping with glaucoma, pain management, and improving appetite.

Cannabidiol Extract (CBD) is a chemical compound in marijuana, but without the THC. THC is psychoactive; CBD oil doesn’t get you high. Cannabidiol essential oil has an incredibly long list of health advantages without undesirable side effects.

Pain relief and decreased inflammation are the primary positive yields from CBD oil use. Approximately 17 states across the U.S. have approved this essential oil as a valid, medicinal treatment. The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published a 2013 study that showed CBD oil’s benefits are linked to:

  • Reduced nausea and vomiting
  • Reduced risk of seizures
  • Battling psychotic disorders
  • Reduced inflammation and battling against inflammatory diseases
  • Lower risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia onset
  • Reduced growth of cancer cells
  • Reduced anxiety and depression

Recent Research

The University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria recently conducted a study. The Canadian research found that patients prefer using cannabis over opioid pills to treat chronic pain and mental health issues.

Over 250 patients were surveyed regarding their use of cannabis for pain. Over 60 percent reported that they used cannabis instead of other prescribed medicines, which included opioids such as hydrocodone and oxycodone. One of the main reasons they preferred using cannabis was because they felt they had better symptom management.

They also reported that cannabis had fewer side effects than the prescription pills. Overall, the response from the participants using cannabis (instead of opioids) was that “they felt safer.”

Cannabis IS Safer

The sale of opioid-based pain prescriptions quadrupled from 1999 to 2014. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the leading cause of unintentional death amongst Americans is prescription pill and heroin overdose.

It’s also true that doctors have been careful not to overprescribe in the past couple of years. Originally, the pharmaceutical company claimed that opioid-based medicines were not addictive. Since the drug company lost a major lawsuit, and we see the epidemic-numbers of abuse and addiction, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency finally decided to step in. Thankfully, the market is shrinking, and this year, manufacturing of opioids will be reduced by 25%.

According to the U.S. DEA drug sheet, “no deaths from marijuana overdose have ever been recorded.”

Certainly, a person’s ability to make safe choices while on cannabis can be impaired. There have been deaths related to the behavioral effects from marijuana use. But as far as dying directly from an overdose of pot, it would be almost impossible. A 2006 report in American Scientist claimed that in order to cause a fatality, a person would need to smoke or eat 1,000 times the usual dose of cannabis.

This material does not condone nor deter any person from using cannabis or taking prescription opioids. It is a personal decision (made with your health care provider) what course of treatment is best when you are in dire pain. And of course, there are other paths of treatment as well. To read more about this and other topical health care articles, check out GetThrive.com.

Sources:

http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2017/02/27/Study-finds-patients-choosing-cannabis-over-opioids/7961488207322/?st_rec=3901489425129

https://getthrive.com/health-benefits-of-chemical-composition-of-marijuana/

https://getthrive.com/vote-alternate-forms-pain-management/

https://supplementpolice.com/cbd-oil/

http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/18/health/drug-overdose-deaths-2014/index.html

http://naturalsociety.com/dea-slash-opioid-production-2017-5885/

https://www.dea.gov/druginfo/drug_data_sheets/Marijuana.pdf

 

 

Spice up Your Brain Cells!

A lot of folks are hearing about how certain spices (besides adding flavor) flaunt healing qualities! But did you know that there are several natural compounds that actually protect our brain cells from degeneration? Check out how certain spices may help create new treatments for diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Cooking up New Methods

Dementia is an irreversible, pervasive affliction that currently affects over 25 million people globally. The condition is progressive, and our methods of treatment are: 1) dealing with symptoms, and 2) attempting ways to keep degeneration at bay for as long as possible.

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia.

There have been (and continue to be) studies examining how particular spices affect the brain. The hope is to discover significant compounds that may help prevent, delay, or even treat neurodegenerative diseases. Four main spices are often in the forefront of such studies. They are: cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, and saffron.

Cinnamon

A study conducted back in 2005, researched antioxidant levels in 26 different herbs and spices. In the Lauraceae family, cinnamon was found to have the highest antioxidant rate. The most positive elements in cinnamon have anti-inflammatory effects.

Inflammation has shown to accelerate the decline of brain function. If cinnamon can decrease the inflammation, then it’s possible that using the spice medicinally may decelerate the progression of neurodegenerative diseases.

With a condition like dementia, the brain cells are negatively affected by oxidative stress; they become damaged, mutated, and no longer allow the brain to work at its healthiest capacity. It’s also been discovered that cinnamon activates proteins that actually protect healthy brain cells from becoming mutated or being destroyed.

Studies show that cinnamon boosts cognitive function.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice that’s harvested and is health-rich in its root. It’s long been used in Ayurvedic medicine, whose origin is at least 5,000 years old. It’s also known as Curcumin.

Two of turmeric’s greatest healing strengths are inflammation reduction and cholesterol lowering. Researchers are exploring the use of curcumin in treatment of Alzheimer patients. Symptoms of the disease may be reduced with the introduction of turmeric. The spice is somehow able to restrict cholesterol formation, protecting the brain and its cells.

A tidbit about turmeric: In order for its positive effects to be absorbed and utilized, turmeric must be used in conjunction with fats or black pepper. If and when scientists include turmeric into a medicine for dementia patients, we surely see the inclusion of black pepper and/or fats in the mixture.

Ginger

Ginger, commonly referred to as a root, actually isn’t. Ginger is a rhizome, which is an underground part of the stem. It comes from a plant called Zingiber.

This spice is in the same plant family as turmeric. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why ginger is also an excellent anti-inflammatory. For thousands of years, holistic medicine has looked to ginger to help treat dementia and common memory loss.

A paper published by Chinese scientists in 2013 revealed the promising effects of ginger on laboratory rats with Alzheimer’s. After the rats were administered with a ginger “medicine”, their behavioral dysfunction actually reversed. The other observation was that the medicine prevented Alzheimer symptoms from reoccurring with continued use.

Saffron

Many know saffron as being used to brightly dye and flavor foods. It also has a distinctly pleasant aroma. And, it’s one of the most expensive spices in the world.

Saffron is, too, a powerful antioxidant. Tested in comparison to carrots and tomatoes, this spice won the race for richest antioxidant activity. A lot of research is currently being done in Iran and Spain on the medicinal value of saffron for those suffering from dementia. (Those countries produce 80% of the world’s saffron supply, so they can best afford to experiment with it.)

Like the other spices mentioned above, saffron joins them as a strong anti-inflammatory. This spice offers neuroprotective effects, which may be a formidable deterrent to the onset or progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms.

No matter which spice you choose, it appears you can’t go wrong with any of these four brain-health-protecting powerhouses. Any food that can help reduce inflammation anywhere in our body is going to be beneficial to our overall health. It’s encouraging to see how these and other spices may soon become incorporated as a valid and effective treatment for dementia-related diseases. For other health-related articles, see GetThrive.com.

Sources:

http://www.ijpvmjournal.net

https://draxe.com/health-benefits-cinnamon/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16190627

https://getthrive.com/facts-turmeric/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23374025