Category Archive: Aging

Sep 05

Mental Health Improves with Aging

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry suggests that mental health follows a very different path than physical and cognitive health in aging. Mental health in adulthood appears to progressively improve in a linear fashion from age 20 through age 100 (see figure 1 below). The findings were based on telephone interviews and in-home …

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Sep 03

Phosphatidylserine

Phosphatidylserine may help protect the body against stress and may improve memory and prevent Alzheimer’s dementia. For the last month I have been examining some of the literature on this topic and working with some people in my practice to see if phosphatidylserine seems to be a useful natural supplement. The research literature on phosphatidylserine …

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Nov 28

Preventing Cognitive Decline

Preventing Cognitive Decline

Preventing cognitive decline is possible, and the solution may not involve fancy new medications with unknown side effects. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association cites numerous studies that argue that the brain changes that have been the focus of so much attention (neurofibrillary tangles and plaques) are not the whole story. …

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Nov 21

Poor Health Predicts Bipolar Outcomes

poor health predicts bipolar outcomes

John has not been doing well. He used to be optimistic about all challenges and, although he had ups and downs, he managed to overcome these shifts in mood and maintain a focus on achieving his life goals. For the last year and a half he seems to be having difficulty focusing on those goals. …

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Aug 17

MIND Diet Prevents Memory Loss

MIND Diet Prevents Cognitive Decline and Memory Loss

Researchers at Rush University have developed a diet (the MIND diet) that appears to be associated with significantly reduced cognitive decline in aging. The diet was developed from three sources of information: the Mediterranean diet (as elsewhere on this blog), the DASH diet for the prevention of hypertension, and a review of the literature on …

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Jun 21

Sense of Purpose and Health

sense of purpose and health

Might your sense of purpose and motivation in life decrease your visits to the hospital? – a blog post by Eric Baron Many of us share a consistent notion of what it is to be healthy. We might think of living a longer life, spending less of that time holed up at home and surrounded …

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Mar 19

Exercise Keeps Us Young

Exercise Keeps Us Young

A recent New York Times article entitled “How Exercise Keeps Us Young” prompted me to write this post. Those of us who are thinking about getting older may find the whole topic discouraging. There seem to be very few cultural models of successful aging (other than not doing it). The New York Times article summarizes …

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May 29

Longevity and Having a Purpose in Life

Studies in older adults have suggested that having a sense of purpose in life can add years to longevity. Now researchers have taken a look at the question of whether these beneficial effects occur in younger people. The study looked at a group of 6163 people aged 20 to 75 and followed them for 14 …

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Feb 20

Brain Cell Formation in Older Brains

Cell formation. Readers of this blog may recall that we reported last year the discouraging findings from Dr. Pasco Rakic (professor of neuroanatomy at Yale University) that there is very little neurogenesis (creation of new neurons) in the brains of older primates (including humans). Now, an article by Kristy Spalding published a few months ago …

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Jan 04

Mood and Menopause

What is the relationship between the hormone changes that take place around the time of menopause and depression. It seems as though there are many women who report that their depression gets worse in the peri-menopausal period, but is this a pattern? And if so what does that mean in terms of the interaction between …

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Nov 30

Mediterranean Diet and Depression

Boost your brain power naturally! Try this simple intervention to reduce depression, stroke, heart disease and improve cognition. Does that statement make you a bit wary? A recent meta-analysis of 22 studies spanning two decades finds that the Mediterranean diet is associated with significant reductions in the risk of depression and stroke, and significant improvements …

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Oct 31

Changing Hormone Levels and Mood

I was on the phone yesterday having an urgent consultation with a woman we have worked for 15 years. She has had a pretty straight forward history of depression and anxiety that we’ve treated primarily with antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy. She’s had a good response to this treatment approach. The two things about her …

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Aug 20

Ginseng

If you are a ginseng believer, then ginseng is the one supplement that all of us should be taking. Russian scientist Israel Brekhman coined the term “adoptegens” to refer to agents that helped individuals deal with stress. The prime example of this, in his view, was ginseng. [If you are interested in an example of …

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Aug 13

Life Energy

Freud came up with the term libido to describe the sum of all the human instincts related to love. In his view, there was a limited amount of this libidinal energy and it was important to use it wisely. Invest it in the wrong activities and you could end up with nothing to show for …

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Jul 16

Later Retirement and Alzheimer’s Prevention

A study conducted by Carole Dufouil, a scientist at the French governmental agency INSERM reveals that if individuals stay in the workforce longer, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s is greatly reduced. In the study, 500,000 people in France were used as participants. The information gathered from these individuals included age of retirement and whether or not …

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Jul 12

Brain Power

Problems with memory are common for people with depression (and the rest of us, as we age, as well). Although the most important thing to do to improve brain function is to address mood extremes, there are often residual problems, and sometimes there are negative brain effects from the medications that help stabilize mood. A …

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Jun 24

The U Pattern of Depression

Over time researchers have observed that depression follows a U pattern. First depression symptoms are high in young adulthood. Like the dip of a U, depression symptoms decrease in midlife, and the rounding back up of the U signifies the return of greater depressive symptoms in later years. The results of some long-term longitudinal studies …

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