Category Archives: Mental Health

Coconut Oil Alzheimer’s Disease Cure?

Coconut oil cures Alzheimers? While we’d all love to believe that this hideous disease could be easily cured with a natural, cheap and yummy food … the eviedence is sorely lacking!

I think this article on Snopes sums it up well. There’s isn’t any credible evidence to support the claim. Stories of AD victims who’ve been “treated” with coconut oil and who have had remarkable improvements are just that; stories. AD symptons can ebb and flow. Symptoms get better and get worse on they’re own, while remaining on a steady downward path.

And remember, taking massive doses of natural supplements can have serious effects:

Many health organizations advise against the consumption of high amounts of coconut oil due to its high levels of saturated fat, including the United States Food and Drug Administration, World Health Organization, International College of Nutrition,[25] the United States Department of Health and Human Services,[26] American Dietetic Association, American Heart Association,[28] British National Health Service,[29] and Dietitians of Canada.

Thomas Brenna, a professor of nutritional sciences at Cornell University, stated that, “Most of the studies involving coconut oil were done with partially hydrogenated coconut oil, which researchers used because they needed to raise the cholesterol levels of their rabbits in order to collect certain data. Virgin coconut oil, which has not been chemically treated, is a different thing in terms of a health risk perspective. And maybe it isn’t so bad for you after all.”

Coconut oil contains a large proportion of lauric acida saturated fat that raises blood cholesterol levels by increasing the amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.[31] It is also found in significant amounts in laurel oil, palm kernel oil (not to be confused with palm oil), human and animal breast milk and sebaceous gland secretions. This may create a more favourable blood cholesterol profile, though it is unclear if coconut oil may promote atherosclerosis through other pathways. The effects of coconut oil on the peripheral nervous system in animal models is that it is acutely anti-inflammatory, although chronically neutral. Because much of the saturated fat of coconut oil is in the form of lauric acid, coconut oil may be a better alternative to partially hydrogenated vegetable oil when solid fats are required. In addition, virgin coconut oil is composed mainly of medium-chain triglycerides,[36] which may not carry the same risks as other saturated fats.

Advocacy against coconut and palm oils in the 1970s and 80s due to their perceived danger as a saturated fat caused companies to instead substitute trans fats, unaware of their health-damaging effects.

source: wikipedia

 

Alzheimer’s Disease: Caregiver Help

What do you do when you find out your mom or dad has Alzheimer’s Disease or another form of dementia? As the population’s life expectancy conitnues to improve we’re seeing a marked decrease in the quality of life when our bodies outlive our minds.

I’ve recently discoved Fit Minds and I’m looking into the products they offer that can help family members ( and the daughter’s of dementia patients in particular ) cope and better manage the care of they’re loved ones.

Do you have any experiences with this product? I’d love to hear from people who’ve use Fit Mind and publish some reviews.

Managing Meds for Patients with Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Sometimes it can seem like a cruel irony: the elderly, particularly those suffering from dementia, senility or Alzheimer’s disease, are often both most in need of medication and most likely to take those medications incorrectly. Mistakes with prescriptions can result in illness and even death, so proper med management for seniors with senility issues is of paramount importance.

Seniors constitute 12% of the population but consume around 35% of all medication. Medication-related problems (MRPs) among the general population are the fourth most costly medical expenditure- only cardiovascular disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s are more expensive. As seniors generally take more prescriptions than the general population, their MRP risk is even more pronounced (in fact, they’re twice as likely to suffer adverse reactions from medications). The key to preventing MPR infirmities within impaired seniors, and everyone else, is organization and knowledge.

Organization to Prevent Overdose (or Underdose)

There are a number of ways to keep organized and informed about the medications a senior struggling with a memory affliction.  Simply being organized can be incredibly helpful and, in some cases, prevent serious injury or death.

  • Pill organizers.  While always a good idea and useful to keep around, a majority of the pill organizers on the market are great for once-a-day medication consumption.  However, since many seniors take a number of medications, often from a number of different doctors and/or pharmacies, pill organizers might not be enough or simply be too basic. Most pill organizers have an AM/PM designation at best, though more elaborate organizers can be found at certain specialty retailers and online (at Amazon.com, for example).  It is best not to rely completely on these types of organizers, so one of the best recourses is to…
  • Make a detailed list. This is also always a good idea and often more important.  A list can be more helpful than an organizer for all the parties involved in the senior’s health. List what medications, supplements, and vitamins a patient is taking and what each medication and supplement is for, when they’re taking it and how often, what doctor prescribed it and what pharmacy filled it, maybe even possible interactions if you’re aware of them, refill dates if necessary, etc. A big piece of doing this successfully involves an effort to…
  • Maintain a relationship and open line of communication with all of a patient’s doctors and pharmacists and between them. Doctors and pharmacists are specially trained to be knowledgeable concerning any meds they prescribe or fill. This should make them the first line of defense against adverse interactions, mitigating uncomfortable side-effects, choosing the best form and dosage of meds, etc. The chances of a patient maintaining healthy medication habits are increased enormously when any doctor or pharmacist working with that patient is personally familiar with their meds, situation, diagnosis and anything else pertinent to their health.

Other Issues to be Aware Of

  • High risk medications. When most people think of meds with a high risk of overdose those that come to mind include narcotic painkillers, sleeping pills, benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, Ativan), barbiturates, and so forth. However, those high risk meds are responsible for only 8% of accidental overdoses while more common meds taken by the elderly for conditions like heart disease or diabetes are far more likely to make their taker sick. In fact, anticoagulants or blood-thinners, oral diabetes medication, insulin, and anti-platelet prescriptions alone are responsible for about 70% of overdoses among the elderly.
  • Vaccinations. The under-vaccination of senior citizens is actually a very common problem. Often, the only vaccination commonly associated with seniors is the flu vaccine. It’s wise to keep the flu shot in mind, of course, but next time one is given talk to the providing doctor about adding a pneumonia shot. Influenza and pneumonia are responsible for more deaths among the elderly than car accidents. Like anyone else, seniors need to stay current on their tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis boosters and more than most everyone else those same seniors should be inoculated with the shingles vaccine. If the patient in question has never contracted chickenpox, a shingles vaccination against it is a must. In addition, ask a doctor if the senior in question should also seek out Hepatitis A and B, Meningitis, as well as Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccines.

Jim Fox is a freelance writer who studied medicine for his undergraduate degree.  He frequently writes about topics pertaining to the medical industry, including affordable RX drugs.  When not typing the day away, he is either perfecting his wine recipes or lacing up his ice skates and heading for the nearest frozen water.

Alzheimer’s Care: Why you should encourage old people to play memory games

The idea of getting Alzheimer’s Disease seems a terrible thought for anyone whose parents have already reached the age of 60. Even for young ones like us, the idea of completely forgetting your relatives or friends for the rest of your senior life is a total nightmare. While we try to keep our parents and ourselves healthy, science and medicine have not yet discovered the reason as to why Alzheimer’s disease suddenly appear in a human being. And since there’s no exact origin, there is no cure yet for this dreaded disease.

However, if you know anyone whose suffering from Alzheimer’s or if your grandparents or parents have the dreaded disease, there’s no need to despair. It’s been proven that senior citizens with Alzheimer’s can still live normal lives by living healthy. Not just physically though, but mentally too. In one of the hospitals where I used to work in, patients with Alzheimer’s are encouraged to play memory games. Now, you may think that this is useless, but it’s been proven that senior citizens who play memory games tend to have sharper mental capabilities compared to those who just sit around and do nothing. Also, it’s a fun way of getting together with your loved one, even if he/she has Alzheimer’s disease.

By the way, memory games are not just great for old people with Alzheimer’s disease. It is also important for senior citizens and even teenagers and kids to start playing with memory games in order to sharpen their hand-eye coordination and memory efficiency. If you have no idea what types of memory games that you would like to get for your old parents or grandparents, then here are a few memory games and puzzles that you might want to get for them.

1. Big Jigsaw Puzzles – Jigsaw puzzles are, by far, the easiest memory game that you can get for an old patient. However, it’s also important to consider the size of the jigsaw puzzle. Most old people can no longer see clearly, so giving them small bits of puzzle is a problem. There are tons of big jigsaw puzzles available and they come in all sorts of designs and themes. Pick one that the patient will enjoy and he/she will happily start putting the pieces back together when there’s nothing to do.

2. Board games – Board games like chess, Monopoly and others are great ways to help old people bring their old minds young again. In fact, I remembered a good friend of mine who loved challenging his old man in a game of chess. Whenever they have a disagreement, instead of fighting and arguing about the whole thing, they’d settle it with a friendly game of chess. His old dad is already 80 years old but his mind is as sharp as ever. With board games like these, old patients who have Alzheimer’s disease will not feel so bored or depressed when they need to stay inside the hospital or a senior care facility. The same holds true for senior patients who are living in their homes.

3. Rubik’s cube – The good old Rubik’s cube is another item that you may want to give to an old patient with Alzheimer’s. It’s a good way to exercise fast thinking and a perfect boredom breaker. However, choose one that does not break easily; there are lots of cubes that are poorly made and these items break easily. I always give most of the elderly patients a good Rubik’s cube when I see them not doing anything.

These items are just a few of the many memory games that you can choose for your elderly parents or grandparents. And if you want to go digital, there are memory game applications that you can install in your elderly parent’s smart phones.

About the Author:

Jessica Greenberg is a caregiver from San Diego, California. She believes in the importance of learning about various medical alert systems and good port protectors for anyone who wishes to start a career in care-giving.