19815 Bay Branch Rd
Andalusia, Alabama 36420
(334) 222-2523
HELPLINE: 1-877-530-0002



Facebook    

 

SCAMHC is an approved Mental Health site for the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment program.  Find out the program details and see if you qualify by visiting: http://nhsc.hrsa.gov/

SCAMHC is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer and maintains a Drug-Free Workplace.

SCAMHC serves all individuals regardless of inability to pay. Discounts for essential services are offered based on family size and income. For more information, contact (334) 222-2523 or our 24/7 Helpline at 1-877-530-0002.

 

 


powered by centersite dot net
Alzheimers Disease and other Cognitive Disorders
Resources
Basic Information
Introduction & Causes of Cognitive DisordersDementiaAlzheimer's DiseaseOther Cognitive DisordersDementia Coping Skills & Behavior ManagementTraumatic Brain Injury (TBI)Conclusion and Resources
More InformationLatest News
Many Blacks, Hispanics Believe They'll Get Worse Care If Dementia StrikesAlzheimer's May Strike Women and Men in Different WaysHistory of Mental Illness Tied to Earlier Onset of Alzheimer's DiseaseAHA News: Black, Hispanic Families Hit Hardest by DementiaWhy Some 'Super Ager' Folks Keep Their Minds Dementia-FreeDementia Seen in Younger Adults Shows Even More Brain Damage Than Alzheimer'sToo Little Sleep Could Raise Your Dementia RiskSpecialist Care for Alzheimer's Is Tough to Find for Poorer, Rural AmericansTony Bennett's Struggle With Alzheimer's RevealedFluid-Filled Spaces in the Brain Linked to Worsening MemoryCOVID Vaccine Advised for Alzheimer's Patients, Their CaregiversAphasia Affects Brain Similar to Alzheimer's, But Without Memory LossCaregivers Feeling the Strain This Tough Holiday SeasonYears Before Diagnosis, People With Alzheimer's Lose Financial AcumenCould Dirty Air Help Speed Alzheimer's?Strong Sleeping Pills Tied to Falls, Fractures in Dementia PatientsAnxiety Might Speed Alzheimer's: StudyPre-Op 'Brain Games' Might Prevent Post-Op DeliriumDoes Hard Work Help Preserve the Brain?Staying Active as You Age Not a Guarantee Against DementiaSmog Tied to Raised Risk for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's DiseasePoor Brain Blood Flow Might Spur 'Tangles' of Alzheimer'sIs Apathy an Early Sign of Dementia?A-Fib Treatment Reduces Patients' Dementia RiskFall Risk Rises Even in Alzheimer's Early StagesPTSD May Be Tied to Greater Dementia RiskNew Research Links Another Gene to Alzheimer's RiskIs Rural Appalachia a Hotspot for Alzheimer's?Why Are Dementia Patients Getting Risky Psychiatric Drugs?Get Dizzy When Standing Up? It Could Be Risk Factor for DementiaCan Seniors Handle Results of Alzheimer's Risk Tests?More Education May Slow Start of Early-Onset Alzheimer'sUnder 50 and Overweight? Your Odds for Dementia Later May RiseBlood Test Heralds New Era in Alzheimer's Diagnosis9/11 First Responders Have Higher Odds for Alzheimer's: StudyCould the Flu Shot Lower Your Risk for Alzheimer's?Will Your Brain Stay Sharp Into Your 90s? Certain Factors Are KeyResearchers Zero in on Alzheimer's Disease Risk FactorsMany Americans With Dementia Live in Homes With GunsBrain's Iron Stores May Be Key to Alzheimer'sHormones May Explain Greater Prevalence of Alzheimer's in WomenMiddle-Age Obesity Linked to Higher Odds for DementiaCould Crohn's, Colitis Raise Dementia Risk?5 Healthy Steps to Lower Your Odds for Alzheimer'sCOVID-19 Brings New Challenges to Alzheimer's CaregivingAlzheimer's Gene Linked to Severe COVID-19 RiskHealthier Heart, Better Brain in Old AgeAHA News: Hearing Loss and the Connection to Alzheimer's Disease, DementiaBrain Plaques Signal Alzheimer's Even Before Other Symptoms Emerge: StudyCertain Gene Might Help Shield At-Risk People From Alzheimer's
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Aging & Geriatrics
Memory Problems
Elder Care

Why Some 'Super Ager' Folks Keep Their Minds Dementia-Free

HealthDay News
by By Amy Norton HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Feb 23rd 2021

new article illustration

TUESDAY, Feb. 23, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers may have uncovered a key reason some people remain sharp as a tack into their 80s and 90s: Their brains resist the buildup of certain proteins that mark Alzheimer's disease.

The study focused on what scientists have dubbed "super agers" -- a select group of older folks who have the memory performance of people decades younger.

Compared with older people who had average brain power, super agers showed far less evidence of "tau tangles" in their brains, the researchers found.

Tau is a protein that, in healthy brain cells, helps stabilize the internal structure. But abnormal versions of tau -- ones that cling to other tau proteins -- can develop as well.

In people with Alzheimer's, the brain is marked by a large accumulation of those tau tangles, as well as "plaques," which are clumps of another protein called amyloid.

For years, amyloid plaques have gotten most of the attention as a potential target for Alzheimer's treatment, said researcher Tamar Gefen, who led the new study.

But a body of evidence tells a different story: It's the buildup of tau -- not amyloid -- that correlates with a decline in memory and thinking skills, said Gefen, an assistant professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago.

These latest findings on super agers, she said, are in line with that research.

It's not clear how many super agers are out there. One reason is that there's no single definition of the term, said Claire Sexton, director of scientific programs and initiatives at the Alzheimer's Association.

This study involved people aged 80 and older. But other research, Sexton said, has narrowed the focus to unusually sharp 90-somethings, or even centenarians.

The million-dollar question is: What does it take to be a member of this elite group?

It's likely super agers have genetics to thank, in part, according to Sexton.

But in all probability, she said, it's a mix of good genes, lifestyle factors and exposures over a lifetime, from physical activity, to social engagement, to mentally stimulating experiences.

In fact, previous research at Northwestern has shown those are common habits of super agers.

Gefen and her colleagues have also found brain differences between super agers and their peers with typical brain power: For example, super agers have more tissue volume in a brain region involved in processes like motivation and decision-making. Super agers also show a greater density of cells called Von Economo neurons, which are linked to social intelligence.

For the current study, Gefen's team analyzed brain tissue from seven super agers -- all women -- who had died in their 80s or 90s. The results were compared with brain studies from six elderly adults who'd had normal thinking skills before their deaths.

The super agers had all taken standard memory tests, and scored at or above the norm for people 20 to 30 years younger.

The researchers found that both super agers and their peers harbored similar amounts of amyloid plaque in the brain.

They differed, however, when it came to tangles: People with average memory and thinking skills had three times the amount of tau tangles in a memory-related brain region called the entorhinal cortex.

Sexton agreed the findings align with other evidence on the importance of tau.

"It's been understood for a while that tau tracks better with cognitive performance than amyloid does," she said.

These findings, Sexton said, suggest a role for tau in the "secrets" to super-aging.

That does not mean plaques are unimportant, however. Abnormal amyloid and tau may interact with each other, and with other factors, to fuel Alzheimer's brain changes, Sexton said.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, it's thought that as amyloid increases in the brain, it hits a tipping point that triggers abnormal tau to spread throughout the brain. And that's when memory and thinking skills head downhill.

Gefen agreed that it's probably a complex mix of factors -- nature and nurture -- that allows super agers to resist typical age-related declines in brain power.

It's unlikely to be a magic something that can be turned into a pill, she said.

More broadly, Gefen said far more work is needed to understand tau tangles, including why they zero in on memory cells.

That's not to say tau has been completely ignored: Tau-targeting therapies for Alzheimer's are under development, Sexton said.

For now, it seems clear that few people will become super agers. But, Sexton said, there are ways for everyone to support their brain health, including controlling heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure and diabetes, getting regular exercise, eating healthfully and staying mentally and socially engaged.

The findings were published Feb. 17 in the journal Cerebral Cortex.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more on super agers.

SOURCES: Tamar Gefen, PhD, assistant professor, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago; Claire Sexton, DPhil, director, scientific programs and initiatives, Alzheimer's Association, Chicago; Cerebral Cortex, Feb. 17, 2021, online