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Alzheimer’s Patients Can Return To Work After Trying This New Treatment

Alzheimer’s Patients Can Return To Work After Trying This New Treatment

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive, degenerative disease (meaning that is gradually get worse over time) that, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH) affects around 5 million people in the United States alone. AD, however, does not just affect the patients themselves, but the families who must care for them — and often institutionalize them as the disease gets worse and they become dangerous to themselves and others.  The emotional and social impact of this disease is significant: the Alzheimer’s Foundation estimates that it costs $60 billion in the United States alone, including the cost of lost work by caregivers and medical and insurance costs. And the price tag is only predicted to rise as the population ages.

A Word on Alzheimer’s

This condition was named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer who was the first doctor to write a description of this disease as far back as 1906. Back then very little was known about AD but when the doctor did an autopsy on the patient he was studying, he found that the patient’s brains had become enmeshed with what were later termed to be amyloid plaques and tangles.  It is the formation of these plaques and tangles that causes the signs and symptoms of this disease.

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The Alzheimer’s Association (AA) notes that this disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of all dementia cases, and is particularly a risk for patients who are 65 years of age or older. The disease begins with symptoms such as mild memory loss. However, as it advances, it brings with it more severe memory problems such as, difficulty talking, communicating and even performing activities of daily living (like eating, dressing, and going to the bathroom). Often, patients with moderate to severe forms of AD will have to be placed in a facility for the 24/7 care that they require.

Currently, there is no cure for AD. The FDA has approved four different drugs- Aricept, Exelon, Razadyne and Namenda- for treatment of the symptoms of this disease. However, they do not work for everyone and come with a variety of unwanted side effects that range from digestive problems (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation and loss of appetite) to mental problems like confusion.

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New Treatment Brings New Hope

Because of the side effects of the medications currently used for AD, research is underway to look into other treatments for this disease. One new study, published recently in the journal Aging, has brought some excitement to the medical community- and new hope to Alzheimer’s patients and the ones that love them.

The study is on the small side, looking at just 10 patients suffering from age-related loss of cognitive function. However, as lead researcher Dale Breeden notes, the results are “unprecedented”.  The patients in this study were treated with a holistic, 36-point program which included everything from medications and supplements to dietary restrictions, stimulation of the brain and exercises.  After completing this program, testing showed a reversal of their neurological degeneration and scientists note that “patients who had had to discontinue work [due to their condition] were able to return to work and those struggling to work were able to improve their performance.”  As an example, one man showing a shrinkage of the hippocampus went from the 17th percentile to the 75th percentile in hippocampal size after 10 months of treatment, according to MRIs performed before and after the study.

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This multidisciplinary approach to neurological health is not the only exciting thing about this study. Scientists involved in this project also noted that this treatment was done on patients who have one or two copies of the APOE4 gene, which is involved in around 65% of Alzheimer’s cases.  Currently, patients are not evaluated for this gene since doctors deem it unnecessary for this incurable disease, but researchers believe that in the future, APOE4 evaluation will be done in order to help identify patients at a genetic risk for AD and to help them get the early treatment they need to prevent this condition.

In short, Alzheimer’s disease is an incurable condition which has a devastating effect on patients, their families and society as a whole. Currently, the FDA-approved medications for AD treat symptoms without actually affecting a cure. That is why this study, though small, has given many hope for the future as researchers work towards a cure that will save patients and their families from the emotional and social impact of this disease.

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Brian Wu

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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