Vfcs Presentation 04232009 Rev

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Understanding the Aging Brain Dr. Susan Hardwicke

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Vfcs Presentation 04232009 Rev

  1. 1. Susan Hardwicke, PhD [email_address] www.vabion.com 804-308-1956 Understanding the Aging Brain
  2. 2. Purpose <ul><li>To define issues related to the aging brain </li></ul><ul><li>To provide information about the brain </li></ul><ul><li>To summarize recent findings relevant to brain aging </li></ul><ul><li>To suggest ways to implement research findings </li></ul><ul><li>To answer your questions </li></ul>I have personally applied strategies to help clients, as well as to recover from chemo brain.
  3. 3. “ Framing the Issues” <ul><li>Aging=accumulation of changes in an organism over time </li></ul><ul><li>Human aging: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Psychological change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social change </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Important to distinguish between: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Universal aging vs. probabilistic aging </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chronological aging vs. biological aging and social aging </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Proximal aging vs. distal aging </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Individual aging vs. population aging </li></ul>
  4. 4. Trends & Indicators <ul><li>Incidence of Alzheimer’s disease expected to skyrocket with “Baby Boom” generation </li></ul><ul><li>Incidence of Type II diabetes (>800,000 annually) on the rise, with incidence of early onset Alzheimer’s increasing </li></ul><ul><li>Obesity rates continue to climb </li></ul><ul><li>Health care costs for diseases associated with aging continue to increase sharply </li></ul><ul><li>Medical approach addresses treatment over prevention and reversal of symptoms </li></ul><ul><li>Medications increase risk of liver disease </li></ul>
  5. 5. Trends & Indicators -2 <ul><li>Increased spending by individuals on preventive strategies </li></ul><ul><li>Increased spending on alternative health strategies, practitioners </li></ul><ul><li>Alternative medicine focused on prevention </li></ul><ul><li>Increased membership rates in fitness organizations and exercise programs </li></ul><ul><li>Increased number of organizations with obesity- and food-related missions </li></ul>
  6. 6. “Future Shock” in Health <ul><li>Disease and aging virtually synonymous </li></ul><ul><li>Aging population taking 10-30 medications daily </li></ul><ul><li>Large segment of population in long-term care for chronic or catastrophic disease </li></ul><ul><li>Increased burden on healthy workers to support population segments with diseases and disorders </li></ul><ul><li>Governments and families forced to make choices between basic services/necessities and medical treatment </li></ul>How to avert “future shock”? Prevention & mitigation
  7. 7. Fears and Concerns <ul><li>Is AD inevitable? </li></ul><ul><li>Will I/my loved one lose memory? </li></ul><ul><li>Will I lose my mind? </li></ul><ul><li>Will my personality change? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Aging Brain: Why It’s Important Now <ul><li>Aging (65+) population growth (from 12% - 20% by 2030) </li></ul><ul><li>Increased incidence in Alzheimer’s Disease </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Current rate is 13% of 65+ age group </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Related to Type II diabetes, incidence may increase dramatically </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rising costs of care for aging population with cognitive decline, AD </li></ul><ul><li>Social costs of cognitive decline </li></ul><ul><li>Personal fears </li></ul>
  9. 9. 1. A person loses 10,000 brain cells every day. FACT or MYTH? 3. We use only a small part of our brains every day. <ul><li>IQ peaks at age 20, declines over time, and drops off considerably after age 65. </li></ul>2. A person’s brain function is determined by genes and very little can be done to change it.
  10. 10. <ul><li>Brain Research is Forcing a Change in Paradigm, Exploding Myths </li></ul>1. A person loses 10,000 brain cells every day. 2. A person’s brain is mostly determined by genes and there isn’t much that can be done to change it. 3. We use only a small part of our brains every day. MYTH - disproved MYTH – with some truth MYTH – more support for opposite MYTH - study was flawed <ul><li>IQ peaks at age 20, declines over time, and drops off considerably after age 65. </li></ul>
  11. 11. 20 Years of Brain Research <ul><li>New field of cognitive neuroscience helps understand the functions of different brain areas </li></ul><ul><li>Neurology and neuroscience expand knowledge of types of cells </li></ul><ul><li>Exploded myths about brain: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brain cells communicate with each other (cell signaling) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Brain can regenerate (neurogenesis) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Brain can rewire itself (neuroplasticity) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Brain/thoughts affect physiological functions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Supplements, pharmaceuticals, exercise play important role </li></ul>
  12. 12. Neurogenesis: The Formation of New Brain Cells Pluripotent stem cell Multipotent stem cell/Neural Stem Cell Undifferentiated neurons Neurons Glial cells
  13. 13. Anatomy of a Neuron Dendrites- receive electrical and chemical impulses from other cells Cell body- contains the nucleus of the cell’s DNA blueprint for division and replication, and RNA for protein synthesis Axon- long extension from the cell body that conducts electrical impulses, transports enzymes/chemicals
  14. 14. What is a Glial Cell? <ul><li>10x more numerous than neurons </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple types, roles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Astrocytes pcreate the blood-brain barrier that protects the CNS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication w/neurons to help regulate excitability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Modulate neurotransmitter transmission (e.g., glutamate) </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Glial Cells’ Protective Role <ul><li>Glial cells form the myelin sheath that protects and facilitates electrical transmission </li></ul>
  16. 16. Electrical Transmission <ul><li>Mitochondrion </li></ul><ul><li>Synapse </li></ul><ul><li>Electrical signal </li></ul>Courtesy of wikimedia.org
  17. 17. Neurotransmitters <ul><li>Chemical compounds (amines and amino acids) and polypeptides* manufactured in the neuron or human body </li></ul><ul><li>Excitatory and inhibitory </li></ul><ul><li>Regulate mood, activity, and storage of information </li></ul><ul><li>Stored in vesicles near axons </li></ul><ul><li>Role: transfer informational signals across the synapse, then return (through reuptake process) to original site </li></ul>>60 neurotransmitters!
  18. 18. Cell Cycle <ul><li>Normal cells </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contact inhibition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cell cycle control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cell differentiation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Programmed cell death: apoptosis </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cancer cells </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Uncontrolled growth (malfunction of programmed cell death) </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Aging: What Happens (Inevitable?) <ul><li>Cellular aging </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hayflick Limit on cell replication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Telomeres </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Imperfect replication of cells (DNA damage) - related to cellular energy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Organismal aging </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Declining ability to respond to stress </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased risk of disease </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. The Proximal and Distal Issues <ul><li>Proximal: “Use it or lose it” principal </li></ul><ul><li>Proximal: Sedentary lifestyles </li></ul><ul><li>Proximal: Increased alcohol consumption </li></ul><ul><li>Distal: Early disease, disorders untreated </li></ul><ul><li>Distal: Lifetime of neurotoxins </li></ul><ul><li>Distal: Surgeries, chemotherapy, injuries </li></ul>
  21. 21. Areas of Cognitive Decline - Probabilistic <ul><li>Memory </li></ul><ul><li>Language </li></ul><ul><li>Focus </li></ul><ul><li>Processing speed, not quality </li></ul><ul><li>Decision-making </li></ul><ul><li>Mood </li></ul>
  22. 22. Brain Health Model
  23. 23. Wellness Model Gender Lifestyle Medical history Activity/exercise Age Diet & supplementation Body Mass Index Family history Factors Screening Mental Exercise Physical Exercise & Lifestyle Diet & Supplementation Emotional/Spiritual Prevention & Mitigation Strategies
  24. 24. Rationale for Model <ul><li>Achieve clear sense of purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Take advantage of recent research and promote new brain cell growth (neurogenesis) </li></ul><ul><li>Improve the quality of new brain cells </li></ul><ul><li>Enhance intercellular communications </li></ul><ul><li>Enhance brain’s biochemistry </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforce or develop pathways in the brain </li></ul>
  25. 25. Start with Emotional/Spiritual <ul><li>Make a conscious decision to improve or maintain your health </li></ul><ul><li>Achieve a positive emotional state DAILY </li></ul><ul><li>Reflect on your core spiritual beliefs </li></ul><ul><li>Build your sense of purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Try mindfulness </li></ul><ul><li>Increase your enjoyment </li></ul><ul><li>of being alive every day </li></ul>
  26. 26. Diet and Supplements <ul><li>Remember: What you ingest is used to construct cells and in cell communications </li></ul><ul><li>Do not ingest toxins-- eliminate chemicals, additives, and artificial flavors and sweeteners </li></ul><ul><li>Decrease unhealthy fats and increase healthy fats </li></ul><ul><li>Increase protein </li></ul><ul><li>Add folic acid, probiotics, and other supplements that directly benefit the brain in particular, and energy in general </li></ul><ul><li>Obtain nutrients from dietary sources whenever possible! </li></ul>
  27. 27. Research-based Brain Nutrients Essential Fatty Acids Amino Acids Sugars Minerals Choline and B-vitamins
  28. 28. Research Shows Benefits of these Nutrients <ul><li>DHA (found in Omega-3 fatty acids) </li></ul><ul><li>Folic Acid (800 mcg daily) </li></ul><ul><li>Turmeric/circumin has tumor suppressant and anti-plaque benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Gingko biloba facilitates dendritic growth </li></ul><ul><li>Niacin- evidence based on dietary niacin </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate your medications for potential side effects on brain function, interactions with supplements </li></ul><ul><li>These research findings are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Consult your health care practitioner. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Physical Exercise <ul><li>EXERCISE STIMULATES THE FORMATION OF NEW BRAIN CELLS!! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cardio </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Weight training </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Unless you formerly worked out, start with walking (preferably outdoors) </li></ul>
  30. 30. Mental Exercise <ul><li>15 minutes a day, every day. Repeat the same type of game for several weeks to build pathways in the brain. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Concentration/memory puzzles and games </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sudoku </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trivial pursuit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online memory games </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cranium </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reduce or eliminate television </li></ul><ul><li>Fill moments of “dead time” by deliberate thinking or reading, not allowing your mind to wander. </li></ul><ul><li>Get enough sleep to help your brain reorganize </li></ul>
  31. 31. Additional Information <ul><li>Resources available via email </li></ul><ul><li>More nutritional information </li></ul><ul><li>BLOG: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>www.brain-hub.blogspot.com </li></ul></ul><ul><li>EMAIL: susan.hardwicke@vabion.com </li></ul>

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