Alzheimer’s Disease Researchers Identify PART, Primary Age-Related Tauopathy

February 2, 2015
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A scientific team announced late last year it has identified yet another type of neurological disease.  It’s called PART or primary age-related tauopathy.  While PART mimics Alzheimer’s, it follows a significantly different brain pathology. The Alzheimer’s brain shows the classic combination of tangles comprised of a protein called tau and plaques, which are the result […]

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What I’ve Learned About Alzheimer’s Disease

January 28, 2015
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The more I learn about Alzheimer’s disease, and other diseases of the brain, the more angry I become.  Some days, I feel ready to explode or implode — I can’t say which — but a “plode” would be involved. This post is really nothing more than a rant.  Thanks for indulging me. What I’ve learned […]

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Aging Relatives and Memory Loss: The Holiday Eye-Opener for Adult Children

January 20, 2015
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During the month of January, the phone lines are always busier than usual at the Alzheimer’s Association. The holidays are over and adult children have returned to their own homes after visiting aging parents and other relatives. During these visits, these middle-aged kids have often experienced an unwelcome eye-opener: Their elderly relatives are showing signs […]

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What Julianne Moore Didn’t Mention in her Golden Globes Acceptance Speech

January 13, 2015
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I was rooting for Julianne Moore to take home a Golden Globe on Sunday night and cheered when she did just that.  Moore stars in Still Alice, a film based on the best-selling book of the same name by Lisa Genova. The movie has gotten great reviews and I can’t wait to see it.  For […]

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Are We Forcing Those With Memory Loss to Relinquish Driving Too Soon?

December 16, 2014
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Last week I wrote about memory loss and driving.  When researching this topic, I learned there are no national policies or even guidelines in place regarding cognitive loss and driving.  However, a handful of states, including California, Oregon, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, have instituted mandatory reporting laws. In those states, when a physician determines a person […]

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Alzheimer’s Disease and When to Have the Driving Conversation

December 10, 2014
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Imagine how you would feel if you could no longer drive. The ability to get in your vehicle and go where you want, when you want is no longer available. Your freedom, autonomy and mobility are gone, and suddenly you must count on others for all your transportation needs. As an Alzheimer’s caregiver, I went […]

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Thankful for Mummy

November 26, 2014
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My mother died one year ago today.  In some ways it seems as though she left this world decades ago and at other times it feels like yesterday.  Death takes a long time to process, even if the person has been fading away for years. My relationship with Mom wasn’t an easy one.  We often […]

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The Human Brain: A Three-Pound Wonder

November 20, 2014
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The human brain.  It weighs just over three pounds and is made up of more than 100 billion neurons.  It’s often called the control center, engine or computer of the body. Whatever name you give it, the brain calls the shots. Until very recent years, the human brain was largely a mystery, but within the […]

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What to Buy for Christmas When Mom, Dad or Someone You Love Has Dementia

November 12, 2014
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Holiday Shopping for Someone With Dementia What if someone in your family has Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia?  What if he or she can no longer enjoy a book, clothes, gift card or the latest gadget?  What do you buy for the person with memory loss when the old standby gifts are no […]

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Glen Campbell’s Legacy: “I’ll Be Me”

November 10, 2014
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I love documentaries, and often pick one over a regular movie.  Even so, I wasn’t so sure about seeing “I’ll Be Me,” the Glen Campbell documentary showing in theaters now. The film chronicles Glen’s 2011 Alzheimer’s diagnosis and his “Goodbye Tour,” which lasted almost 18 months and featured 151 sold out shows.  In spite of […]

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Alzheimer’s Abuse Caught on Tape in Winter Haven, Florida Nursing Home

November 4, 2014
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Captured on video: Two nursing assistants at Palm Gardens Nursing Home in Winter Haven, Florida repeatedly hitting and abusing a 76-year-old man who is in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s disease.  The man, unable to communicate and requiring help with the most basic of functions is seen being slapped, kicked and taunted during three separate […]

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Atypical Types of Dementia: Hippocampal Sparing Alzheimer’s Disease

October 23, 2014
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Earlier this year I began reading about a variant type of dementia called hippocampal sparing Alzheimer’s disease, which results in symptoms far different than Alzheimer’s disease.  Those affected are mainly men and they often begin to show symptoms at a younger age. Hippocampal sparing AD usually advances quickly and it presents initially as bizarre behaviors.  […]

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Alzheimer’s Awareness and Support Goes Local. What’s Happening in Minnesota

October 13, 2014
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As our population ages and no cure or effective treatments for Alzheimer’s are in sight, it is apparent we have to do more to accommodate those living with the disease and their caregivers. The challenge is how to build awareness and understanding and then take action? What’s happening in my native Minnesota is a great example […]

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Aging Parents and Adult Children: When a Health Crisis Changes Everything

October 8, 2014
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Fall housekeeping in the upper Midwest doesn’t just mean cleaning out the gutters, raking leaves and getting ready for winter.  For some reason, when the weather starts cool, I always feel the need to also clean up my digital life as well. Organizing bookmarks was on my agenda yesterday.  Wading through the hundreds of sites […]

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A Global Perspective: The Financial Cost of Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias

September 29, 2014
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Yesterday, I wrote about the Third Annual Worldwide Alzheimer’s month.  Now, I’m sharing information about the significant financial devastation for both individuals and nations around the globe. To understand the massive economic consequences of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) has complied some sobering international figures.  This major report was published in […]

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Third Annual World Alzheimer’s Month

September 28, 2014
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World Alzheimer’s Month™, a global campaign aimed at bringing awareness and advocacy of the disease, is ending in two days.  For the month of September, Alzheimer’s organizations around the world have been raising money and awareness through memory walks, screenings, social activities and other events. In Dating Dementia, I often cite U.S. statistics, but the […]

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Short Tales From the Dog Park

September 24, 2014

Overheard at the dog park: “I thought Emma would calm down a little after I got her the kitten.” The attractive, professional-looking woman, standing next to a small pack of canines, was not referring to a child named Emma.  Instead, she was talking about her frisky, four-legged, Sheltie-mix named Emma.  That’s right, earlier this year, […]

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Teen Steps Up With His Invention to Help Those Living With Alzheimer’s

September 22, 2014
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Sometimes the mother of invention isn’t necessity, it’s a 15-year old boy scout. Kenneth Shinozuka wants to become a neuroscientist and find a cure for Alzheimer’s, a disease that has nearly incapacitated his grandfather.  Someday, he may well accomplish this goal, but right now Shinozuka is still in high school, and instead of a cure, […]

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Do I Long to Be a Grandmother? This Baby Boomer Says, ‘No, Thank You’

September 3, 2014
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Sunday, Sept. 7 is National Grandparents Day. I thought about this day of recognition when my best friend told me she and her husband will soon have another grandchild, their sixth. My friend is excited, and she can’t wait to learn if it is boy or girl and what name the parents will choose. When […]

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In Retrospect: Five Lessons I Learned From My Years as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

August 12, 2014
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Why is life so much clearer in retrospect? With the passage of time, it is easy to look back, see the big picture and think: “If I’d only known then, what I know now.” I often hear caregivers voice this sentiment. And, as a long-time Alzheimer’s caregiver myself (for my mother, father and other relatives […]

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Can a Person Ever Be Fully Prepared to Care For Someone with Alzheimer’s?

August 5, 2014
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Earlier this year, I attended a caregivers conference at the University of Minnesota.  The morning keynote speaker was absolutely terrific — an engaging, informed speaker who was also funny and self-deprecating. The speaker’s bio was also impressive.  He was a physician, a teacher, an author as well as a long-time caregiver for his mother who […]

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When Dementia Symptoms Are Not Alzheimer’s Disease

July 30, 2014
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Although it was years ago, I clearly remember the phone ringing on a hot California morning.  My mother was calling from Minnesota and she sounded a bit frantic.  Earlier that morning, she had taken my dad to the emergency room.  Dad was having a “spell” as she described it, exhibiting confusion, irregular heart rate, muscle […]

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The Mini-Cog, A Memory Assessment Tool

July 24, 2014
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Have you heard of the “Mini-Cog”?  I had read about it several years ago but a recent front page feature in the Star Tribune, our major daily newspaper in the Twin Cities, piqued my interest.  The story focused on Dr. Michael Rosenbloom, clinical director of the HealthPartners Center for  Memory and Aging, in St. Paul, […]

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Mayo Clinic Identifies New Brain Protein That May Cause Dementia Symptoms

July 22, 2014
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Mayo Clinic Has Clue to Dementia Symptoms Another day, another Alzheimer’s announcement.  This news was announced by a team from the Mayo Clinic at the recent Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Copenhagen.  Could it be a big discovery?  The Mayo team seemed to think the answer is yes.  They have a new clue about what […]

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Five New Trials Target Alzheimer’s Disease

July 17, 2014
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Last night I noticed a tweet from TIME magazine about some new research trials focusing on Alzheimer’s disease.  Intrigued, I visited their website to learn more.  You can read a very brief overview of each trial by going to the TIME website and reading, “5 Groundbreaking Trials are Testing Ways to Prevent Alzheimer’s.” The headline […]

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Childhood Memories of the Sixties Remixed. Saturday, June 28 is Paul Bunyan Day

June 24, 2014

The first time I met Paul Bunyan I wet my pants. In my defense, I was only four years old — a skinny, sickly kid who was scared of most everything.  That summer our family had traveled to Brainerd, Minnesota to spend the day at Paul Bunyan Land, a small amusement park that had recently […]

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Puppy Post: The True Meaning of Pooped

June 20, 2014

It was raining.  Raining so hard it was downright torrential.  Sometime in the predawn hours the downpour had progressed beyond cats and dogs, making a leap straight to deers and buffalos.  I know exactly when this happened because I was outside with Callie, my new puppy.  Callie, a ten-week old goldendoodle, is beyond adorable. Adorable […]

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FaceTime Dinner With My Canadian Friend Paula is Always Cool & Groovy

June 11, 2014
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I have a friend who lives in Canada.  Paula and I met years ago at a writer’s conference and became good friends, sharing a love of words, travel and adventure. Mainly, Paula and I keep in touch by email and Facebook.  However, last year, we started connecting every month or so using FaceTime, which allows […]

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Memories of the One-Room School House. Thanks, Sunday Morning

June 4, 2014

Sunday Morning, my favorite television news show, featured some great reporting this week.  There was a profile of author and nerd-champion John Green, a segment on the flying-female WASPS of World War II and a lengthy cover story about one-room schoolhouses. The segment on the lessons of one-room schoolhouses really caught my attention. I grew […]

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Is it Alzheimer’s? When Memory Loss Signs Are Not the Obvious, Classic Symptoms

May 20, 2014
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My mom, who died late last year from Alzheimer’s disease, began to show the first signs of memory loss about a decade ago.  During these very early stage of the disease, I didn’t fully comprehend what was happening. I already had some experience with Alzheimer’s, since my father had the disease during the final six […]

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My Mother’s Particular Brand of Humor Was Like a Seinfeld Episode (Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That)

May 15, 2014

What makes someone funny?  I think my parents were funny people.  While my dad was sly and understated, my mother was more overt with her humor.  Her gig was telling the same stories over-and-over-and-over or invoking odd family sayings, which my sisters (and, now my daughter) and I still repeat (often in unison) today. These […]

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Baby Boomer Memories. Let’s Play, “When I Was a Kid…”

May 13, 2014
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I’m a baby boomer who grew up in a rural farming town in the middle of Minnesota.  My family consisted of a mom and dad, two older sisters and a succession of black Labradors all named either Candy or Princess. Everyone has stories — both good and bad — about their childhood.  Here are a […]

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Alzheimer’s Caregivers Need Support and Understanding, Not Attitude

May 6, 2014

A few months ago, I attended a memory loss conference and encountered what I refer to as an “Alpha Alzheimer’s Caregiver.”  I’ll call her Deborah. Deborah is the type of women who who brims with confidence, seems to have all the answers and uses every opportunity to share her own personal experience and opinions.  Deborah […]

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Still Alice, a Moving Novel and Soon a Movie

May 1, 2014
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There are hundreds and hundreds of books on the topic of the Alzheimer’s disease, the brain and brain health.  But there are few novels that feature the disease as its central plot. One single novel stands out. Still Alice is the best-selling book written by first-time author Lisa Genova, a Harvard-educated neuroscientist.  Published in 2009, […]

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Divorce, Moving On and Ex-Spouse Day. BlogHer, Thanks for the Shout-Out!

April 29, 2014
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Yesterday was Ex-Spouse Day.  Who knew?  Not me, that is for certain.  Thankfully, I am on very good terms with my own FH (former husband) which is a big relief after enduring several years of a contentious separation and divorce. I guess the fact that I don’t think much about my divorce actually says quite […]

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The Sexes and Alzheimer’s Disease: Why Do More Women Develop the Disease?

April 24, 2014
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Recently, I turned on the radio in my car and heard the last few minutes of an MPR All Things Considered segment about Alzheimer’s disease.  A few days later I googled the subject matter and found this MPR link to the audio and an accompanying online story. Take a few minutes to read or listen […]

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Alzheimer’s Association Releases its 2014 Facts, Figures and Video

April 22, 2014
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The Alzheimer’s Association annually releases the latest facts and figures about the disease.  In case you have not seen it yet, I’m posting their 2014 video, which will take you less than two minutes to view.  As usual, the video is incredibly moving. In my view, the Alzheimer’s Association is the thought leader for bringing […]

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Alzheimer’s Disease and the Early-Onset Colombian Connection

April 14, 2014
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I’m a huge fan of the CBS news show Sunday Morning.  It’s 90 minutes of quality programming that I look forward to every week. This week’s Sunday Morning cover story was about Alzheimer’s disease.  Titled, How One Family May Raise Hope for Alzheimer’s Patients, it was reported by Mo Rocca, one of the my favorite […]

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Caregiver Quandry: What to Buy for Mother’s Day When Mom Has Alzheimer’s Disease?

April 9, 2014
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What to Buy When Mom Has Alzheimer’s? Mother’s Day, always the second Sunday in May in the U.S., falls on May 11th this year.  This means you have a little more than a month to pick out that perfect piece of jewelry or perhaps the ideal perfume.  It’s estimated Americans will spend upwards of $2.6 […]

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Could Identical Twins Help Unlock the Mystery of Alzheimer’s?

April 7, 2014
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There is the saying in the Alzheimer’s community, If you met one person with Alzheimer’s disease, then you have met one person with Alzheimer’s disease. In other words, the disease seems to follow no one path and affects everyone differently.  However, a recent comparison of identical twins may debunk this conventional thinking. Part of a […]

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