Dementia

I’ve just seen and listened to Kate Swaffer, an extraordinary Australian first diagnosed with dementia at the age of 49.

Here is a link.

Kate’s message is simple and powerful. If you are given a diagnosis of dementia, don’t go home and give up.

People with dementia see the world in a different way – not better, not worse, just different.

Her message, especially if you have just been diagnosed, is that the more you do in your life, the better your life will be. Don’t hide away. Be active, take part, do things – lots of things.

We know that red and near infrared lights help – if they slow down the progression, then you win. No harm in trying.

Partners

Just as Parkinson’s is an insidious disease that creeps up and takes things away, the effect on the life of partners is just the same – insidious and inexorable.

Photo by Nani Chavez on Unsplash

For everyone with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or any other neurodegenerative disorder, there is almost always someone who walks alongside every step of the disease progression. It’s not the doc tor, or nurses or anyone from the local Parkinson’s disease association doing the twenty four hour shifts. It’s the partner.

Continue reading “Partners”

The sense of self

The article about dementia in today’s Melbourne Age is very good.

“I was very sad when I was diagnosed,” said Mr Bateman, who is cared for by Barbara, his wife of 35 years. “I nursed my mother with the condition and I was afraid of losing who I am.”

Continue reading “The sense of self”

Brain cells

When I went to medical school, the belief was that you got your full quota of brain cells at birth. It was downhill from there, and you entered old age with not many brain cells left.

What a joy it is to know that this belief is a load of rubbish.

Here is a great article, summarising recent research on the birth of new brain cells during our lives.

It is a reminder that you use your brain or you lose it, so lifelong learning stimulates the birth of new brain cells.

I can recommend learning a musical instrument – you can do it at any age. Making music on your own instrument really makes your brain work, whether you are a beginner or an old hand at it.

And use your Eliza, Cossack or Coronet each day. Red and near infrared light stimulates the birth of new brain cells.

Red lights preserve brain cells…and make more of ‘em

Prof John Mitrofanis gave an excellent presentation today to clinicians at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

He took the audience through the ten plus years of research into red lights and Parkinson’s in animal models.

Continue reading “Red lights preserve brain cells…and make more of ‘em”

Pulsing light and Alzheimer’s disease

I’ve been reading articles suggesting that Alzheimer’s disease is linked with a disruption of brain wave patterns, especially the gamma waves which are predominant in the brain when we are concentrating and focussed.

One group increased gamma wave activity in Alzheimer’s mice by pulsing light. In this research, it wasn’t the light that was of interest to the researchers, it was the pulse rate. They used 40Hz, in the gamma brainwave frequency range.

Here is a great report about that experiment and it’s implications.

stimulating neurons to produce gamma waves at a frequency of 40 Hz reduces the occurrence and severity of several Alzheimer’s-associated symptoms in a mouse model of the disease. 

It seems that pulsing the light does more than enable red light to penetrate more deeply into the brain. Pulsing at 40Hz seems to stimulate the brain’s immune and clean-up cells, the microglia to get cracking with brush and pan.

I have visions of microglial cells dancing to the 40 Hz rhythm as they clear up brain rubbish, including the proteins that accumulate in Alzheimer’s – amyloid and tau.

In 40Hz pulsed red light, the brain gets the benefits of the red light action inside the cells, and the benefits of brain-protection activities stimulated by brainwaves responding at 40Hz.

Fascinating stuff, isn’t it.

Meanwhile, if you are feeling worried that your Eliza or Cossack doesn’t pulse, don’t fret. The daily light dose is doing its work. More.