Eye Test May Identify Alzheimer’s Before Symptoms Appear

Researchers may have discovered a way to identify early Alzheimer’s using a device that examines eyes.

Seeing a Connection

A study out of the University of Minnesota has linked what can be happening in the brain through the use of an eye test. So far, there hasn’t been a way to detect the onslaught of Alzheimer’s before the physical and behavioral symptoms appear.

When Alzheimer’s strikes, the brain, and the eye’s retina undergo similar changes. Scientists understand that Alzheimer’s patients possess an amyloid plaque build-up in the brain. That build-up causes progressive cognitive and memory decline. Until now, there’s been no way to view when that build-up begins. That would be the extremely early stages of the disease.

Detecting the very early stages (before symptoms even appear) can be crucial in the advancement of Alzheimer’s treatment.

Eye Spy

The eye exam measures change in the reflection of light off of the retina. The patterns of light changed progressively as Alzheimer’s further sets in. The experiment was done with mice.

The retina and the brain are connected as part of the central nervous system. So, as changes in the retina occurred, the researchers noted similar changes happening in the brain. Using a specialized device, they could more readily view changes through the eyes.

Fighting Plaque

Dr. Robert Vince, director of the Center for Drug Design, noted, “This technology is a noninvasive way to identify Alzheimer’s disease before plaque is formed.” What this means is that we may be able to test medications on Alzheimer’s patients before it’s too late. By the time a patient displays symptoms and a doctor makes a diagnosis, the plaque has already built-up.

Using this retina-imaging device, researchers plan to begin human clinical trials. It’s a fascinating way to make an early diagnosis in a noninvasive and relatively inexpensive way. The hope is to bring us closer to developing a treatment—one that can stop the progression of the disease and its symptoms.

For other articles relating to up-to-date research, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other health conditions, check out www.GetThrive.com


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?



  • 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.




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.




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.




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.




Louis Theroux Extreme Love Dementia

AHA Stroke Journal

 CBS News Lowering risk of dementia



8 Ways You Can Grow Healthy New Brain Cells!

We’re always hearing about how we’re killing our brain cells, but what about making changes and growing new, healthy ones?

Surprisingly Simple

Are you interested in improving your memory? How about your problem-solving skills? Are you wanting to feel more focused on the job, in conversations, and in your hobbies? It can be done, and it’s not difficult at all. If fact, it’s so simple, some of these tips may surprise you.

1) Get a good night’s sleep—consistently. Aim for between seven and nine hours per night. You know how you feel more alert after a solid slumber? Those are your new baby brain cells lovin’ life.

2) Get exercise. Anything that works up a sweat will do the trick. And that includes a healthy romp in the hay (wink-wink.) Studies show that cognitive function increases in those who stick to an exercise regimen.

3) Give up smoking, methamphetamines, cocaine, and sniffing any kind of solvents or chemicals. Do you really need a hyperlink to a source that promotes this? Stop killing those cells and someday, if you’re lucky, your brain will return to a healthy state.

4) Drink more water. Dehydration is a culprit known to cause brain-cell deterioration. Carry around a non-toxic decanter and refill throughout the day with fresh water.

5) Cut calories. Overeating lends to brain fog. Restricting calories by approximately 20 percent stimulates the growth of new brain cells.

6) Practice coping skills. Keep stress levels low whenever possible. Anxiety and panic raise cortisol levels, which in turn, can damage brain cells. A calm body breeds healthier cells all over.

7) Drink green tea. A substance in green tea generates new cells. That’s why the inclusion of green tea into our diet improves memory and cognition.

8) Stand at least two feet away from your microwave oven when it’s cooking anything. You risk degeneration of cells from microwaves, especially if your oven “leaks.”

Healthy Brain

Of course, eating fresh, whole foods will help to keep you properly nourished. If you’re consuming vitamins and minerals derived directly from food sources (and enhancing with supplements), you’re already on a terrific path towards keeping healthy cells happy. Incorporating the above tips should help get you in gear and your brain cells-a-multiplyin’ !

Sure Red Wine Has Benefits, but Wait, White Wine and Champagne are Healthy Too?

Red wine has gotten a wonderful reputation health-wise, which rivals its savory flavors and soothing effects. But its sibling, white wine, and rich uncle, champagne, have been slightly overlooked since red wine has taken the spotlight. As it turns out, the white variation and the bubbly offer health advantages as well.

LDL cholesterol levels lower with consumption of red wine. This is good because lower LDL, less of it found in arteries to form plaque. Plaque hardens arteries, blood pressure rises, and the risk of heart attack increases.

Another beneficial element derived from the red grape is polyphenols. These antioxidants help reduce formation of unwanted blood clots and keep blood flowing through vessels smoothly. Resveratrol, found in red grape skins, also helps moderate blood pressure and can lower total cholesterol.

White wine may not have as many benefits as red because the skins are removed before processing. However, the white grape still contains nutrients and antioxidants. White wine hasn’t been studied as much as its rosy sibling even though it’s full of the same plant flavonoids, which protect cells. Researchers at the University of Barcelona claim that white wine may be higher in antioxidants and also offers stronger anti-aging effects.

Researchers reported that both red and white wine improved cholesterol levels if the drinker was exercising two or more times per week. Also both reds and whites may be able to help diabetics regulate their blood sugar. They each seem to improve glucose control.

Another group out of the University at Buffalo School of medicine found that white wine improves lung health. In 2010, researchers from the University of Wisconsin discovered that white wine protected cells from breast cancer as well as red wine did. With all of this good news about reds and whites, we must presume that champagne must offer healthy benefit, too!

Champagne is a sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wines are champagne. Champagne is a geographic region of France. There are six specific types of grapes from that area and the wine is made through a specific production process called “methode champenoise.” The guidelines for making the bubbly are very strict, one being that the grapes must be handpicked and another that the stems are not removed during filtering.

One advantage researchers discovered during testing champagne-consumers was that there was a significant boost to spatial memory after having a glass. They added that those with dementia had a better ability to recognize their surroundings (and their home) after indulging in a bit of champagne. In fact, the researchers suggest drinking three glasses a week for maximum benefit. As with any alcoholic beverage moderation is key.



Meditation Can Enhance Your Professional Life

There is no arguing that meditation practice garners positive effects. Most people are happy to express how their personal life and health have benefitted. But what many don’t know is that meditation can actually enhance your professional life as well!


Meditation Actualization

There isn’t an exact figure on how many people across the globe meditate. A consensus revealed that more than 18 million American adults practiced (that was back in 2012.) Today, certainly more people in the U.S. have considered meditation, especially since the National Institutes of Health suggests that stress affects over 75 million people each day.

Some experts estimate, considering countries that subscribe to Eastern traditional practices, there may be over 250 million people in the world who participate in daily meditation.


Your Life on Meditation

It’s no secret that the practice of meditation can benefit your life in many different ways and areas. And that’s not to say that you have to meditate everyday, or for a particular period of time each time. Proof of its advantages has been experienced by those who meditate 10-20 minutes every few days or so. (Additionally, those who practice longer each session, more frequently, and for many, many years reap even more benefits.)

Here are the most recognized results of even a casual meditation program:


  • Stress reduction
  • Improved sleep patterns
  • Boosted immune system
  • Increased patience and empathy
  • Clearer thinking
  • Better decision-making ability
  • Boosted creativity


A Professional-Life Enhancement

If your job and career matter to you, it makes sense that you want to perform at your peak. There are several key factors, which can enhance your productivity in the workplace (even if you work from home.) These aspects are important for professional success and can be made easier through the practice of meditation.


1) Fewer sick days. Meditating helps boost your immune system because it reduces stress. Studies have shown a decrease in the amygdala from meditation practice. (The amygdala is the fight or flight part of the brain.)

Change in that section of the brain is linked to a reduction in stress levels. Stress can create headaches, inflammation throughout the body, changes in gut microbiota, and fatigue. Reduction of the effects will keep you healthier and working more days, productively.


2) Better relationships with co-workers. A study out of Harvard University explained that those who meditated showed a thickening (a growth) in particular parts of the brain. One of them was the temporo parietal junction—an area associated with empathy and compassion. Trust and collaboration are essential for successful working relationships. It appears that meditation can help our people skills.


3) Improved decision-making. Another area of the brain that recharges from meditation is the left hippocampus. Emotional regulation is guided in that center of the brain, which can help us to make choices made from experience and cognition rather than just emotion. Learning ability is also boosted, which can help with future decision-making as well.


4) Creativity is boosted. Meditation allows the brain to rest—to switch off—but then switch back on again. Once it’s invigorated, it has the ability to think more freely. Without constriction, creativity is invited to flow. Improvement in attention to detail is another bonus.


5) Working memory is enhanced. In the same Harvard study as mentioned previously, it was found that those who meditated had more grey matter in the frontal cortex of the brain. That area is associated with memory and cognition and can help you to be on the ball in a moment’s notice.


Meditation as a Part of Your Life

Again, there is no formula or specific amount of meditation time required to reap its benefits. Different teachers, studies, or pundits may suggest various practices, but, truly, it is a personal endeavor. However, now understanding that meditating can enhance your professional life, you may be more inclined to offer it more attention.

Regardless, meditation can be practiced anywhere, anytime, and for any length. If you desire to participate, whatever time you have or you make will be advantageous to your personal and professional life. Best of wishes in your endeavor to improve your physical, mental, and emotional health!














Try This Exercise and Slow Down Aging

Just about any type of physical movement has the potential to slow down the aging process. A new study, however, has pinpointed one exercise, in particular, that can reverse signs of aging in the brain. Get ready to get your groove on because DANCING has now been recognized as the most effective activity for delaying dementia and other symptoms associated with an aging brain.

Exercise as Brain Nourishment

Telomeres are tiny, protective, end-caps on our DNA strands. As we age (and our cells age), telomeres shrink, shorten, and eventually fray; this is when our physical and mental health declines. Additionally, poor lifestyle circumstances like smoking, obesity, insomnia, chronic stress, and lack of exercise can speed up the disintegration of telomeres.

Conversely, physical activity positively affects our cells and their structure. In fact, research has shown that elite athletes have longer telomeres than other people their own age who do not exercise. Also, older women who participate in moderate exercise or habitually walk daily were found to have longer telomeres.

The longer the telomere, the more protection your DNA has during the process of cell division and replication. So basically, exercise can help keep your DNA healthy and be at less risk for damage. Otherwise, over time, especially without physical activity, your brain cells will not reproduce the way they once did, and neurological health can suffer.

Time to Put on Your Dancing Shoes

A study was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. The research pointed to the importance of physical activity, especially among the elderly. In fact, the scientists found that if you haven’t already been regularly exercising by age 40, now would be the best time to start.

Those adults within the range of 40 and 65 were the key demographic to beginning and maintaining daily exercise. Doing so, showed a reversal of shrinking telomeres in later stages of life. Just think: Physical movement (especially dancing) can help reverse the aging process!


Dancing to Remember

The recent research was conducted by several renowned professors, two of whom shared a Nobel Prize “for the discovery of the molecular nature of telomeres.” These folks understand the nature of aging, especially when it comes to brain activity and health. For the study, the subjects participated either in dance or a controlled sports group, (which consisted of weight, endurance, and flexibility training.)

Both groups benefited from their selected activity. The group that danced, however, showed greater improvement in memory, balance, and the ability to learn. The hippocampus area of the brain actually increased. In general, that part of the brain is significantly susceptible to decline with age. Again, both dancers and the sports group benefitted, but the dancing routine proved to be more beneficial than cycling, running, or other repetitive activities.

One of the aspects that helped with boosting memory was learning choreography. The dancers needed to memorize certain movements. Even if it was simple, it made a difference. With each new step, arm movement, and rhythm, the brain functioned at a higher level. Balance also showed to be significantly improved.

The research stressed that it didn’t matter what genre of music, what types of steps, or even if you felt silly or inadequate—the bottom line was that dancing proved to delay the shortening of telomeres and can delay (or even reverse) the aging process. Looks like it’s time to boogie down!






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





Can Probiotics and Fermented Foods Relieve Anxiety?

If you suffer from anxiety, you’re one the 40 million adults in the U.S. afflicted with the disorder. Prescription medication along with cognitive behavior therapy may help, but what about changing up your diet? Many studies are linking the intake of fermented foods and probiotics with successfully relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Gut and Brain Linkage

As GetThrive.com has shared in previous articles, our digestive system absolutely has an impact on our brain. Over 100 trillion microorganisms live in our intestinal tract and affects brain elements such as memory and mood, to name just a couple. Improving balance in the gut microbiome has shown to “change how people experience emotions”—for the better!

How to Get “Better”

Anxiety and depression do not come on suddenly, nor do they disappear overnight. However, making alterations such as adding probiotics (as supplements) have demonstrated reduced feelings of angst and stress. Probiotics are live bacteria. They provide digestive aid and gut health. It’s also no secret that probiotics assist in taking care of the immune system as well as neurological function. Probiotics rock.

One study focused on the combination of two specific probiotics: Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum. The cocktail of the duo was developed purposefully with improving mental health as a goal.  Results from various studies utilizing these probiotics revealed an approximate 50% decrease in depression amongst its participants. Additionally, there proved to be a large reduction in anxiety-promoting hormones and overall stress.

A very recent study explored using fermented foods as a tool to re-establish proper gut flora—the concept meant to address the link between digestive balance and social anxiety. The author, Dr. Matthew Hilmire and his associates were interested in the effects of probiotics (derived from fermented foods) on personal behavior, feelings, and levels of stress.

Professors and psychologists involved in the study at the College of William & Mary were intrigued by how the gut can influence the mind. Participants who ate sauerkraut, for example, experienced fewer bouts of fear and worry than before they began eating fermented foods. Moods pervasively elevated in participants involved in the fermented food study.

If we examine the correlation of serotonin and other feel-good hormones in our gut to how we feel, it makes sense that re-balancing gut flora would make us “feel” better.

How to Shop and What To Take or Eat

Probiotic supplements can be purchased at health food stores and online. A few things to check out before buying are: the bacteria strains; expiration dates; how they will make it all the way down into your intestines; and, do they offer a refund?

Experts will have their favorite/most-essential strains list, but from what we’ve researched, here are 3 of the most common: L. Acidphilus, B. Bifidum, and B. Longhum. It’s still unclear how many billion CF units are most beneficial. Just make sure to get a pure product, preferentially manufactured in the U.S.

Make sure your product has not expired, especially since probiotic bacteria is live. That being said, read the label to see how your pill, capsule, or caplet will be delivered to your intestines. Stomach acids are strong and could kill your probiotic before it even makes it way to your lower digestive tract.

A company that offers a refund is telling you that they stand by their product.

Natural sources of probiotics are fermented foods. Some of these include:

  • Kombucha- a sparkling fermented tea that comes in several flavors. Beware of sugar content. A ginger version is especially nice on the tummy. You can buy kombucha at many markets or you can even make it at home.
  • Kefir – a dairy drink that tastes a little like yogurt. It’s made from rubbery pieces of kefir grain that’s fermented.
  • Kimchi – Korean in origin. It’s fermented cucumbers, cabbage, or other veggies mixed with a variety of seasonings.
  • Sauerkraut – a sour tasting fermented cabbage side-dish. The veggie is pickled, salted, and becomes fermented by airborne bacteria.
  • Pickles – A cucumber that has been soaked in a brine or vinegar and left to ferment for some time.

Regardless if you experience anxiety, depression, or mood swings, your body and mind can always benefit from a probiotic boost. Choose your supplement and/or your fermented food, and get happy!