Maria has created the first coloring book for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. And we’re excited about it. I’ve known Maria Shriver since the ’80s and even had an opportunity to fill-in for her during technical rehearsals on an NBC show called Main Street. She and Bryant Gumbel hosted it. She’s an incredibly intelligent, affable and warm person. So, I’m delighted to share this news with you.
[Photo Credit: Laurence L. Levin]
The project was inspired by Shriver’s quest to find ways to be close to her father, Sargent Shriver, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2003. He passed away in 2011.
“When I would go to visit my dad as his disease progressed, I had fewer and fewer things that I could do with him,” Shriver told NBC’s TODAY.
“I could take a walk with him, but a lot of times he didn’t want to walk. I played puzzles with him and sometimes drew on a piece of paper.”
Images in Maria Shriver’s book were developed through visits to the nursing home. They include upbeat, positive, fun, hopeful images for stress-relief.
It also includes tips for caregivers culled from conversations with doctors and families.
Dr. Richard Isaacson, director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital says the coloring book can help start a conversation and help families do an activity together.
Isaacson tells TODAY, “The person with Alzheimer’s may not be able to communicate his or her thoughts as well as they used to or may not remember what happened to the conversation 10 minutes ago, but they’re able to express themselves through art — through drawing.”
Dr. Isaacson continues, “Some patients with Alzheimer’s like to move and can’t sit still… coloring is a great way to refocus negative energy and do something more calm.”
Maria Shriver says this coloring book is a labor of love, “I’m really hopeful this is filling a void and a need and will change people’s lives,” she says, noting she would have liked to have shared it with her dad.
“I think it would have brought laughter. It would have enabled us to do something together.”
We think so too. Thank you, Maria Shriver.
Visit NBC TODAY for more on Maria Shriver’s story:
If, as some say, you can judge an entire society by the way it treats its most vulnerable, then I’d argue it is equally fair to measure a nation by the way its citizens fritter away their spare time.
Lately, Americans are frittering like mad in a couple of surprising ways: on outdoor courts playing a game called pickleball, and in coloring books.
Let’s begin with the coloring books, which are meant for adults. The craze began more than a year ago. Color me skeptical, even now, but the wild enthusiasm for this hobby shows no signs of fading. Several of the books sit atop our national best-seller lists. (Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden was the first of the blockbusters, but dozens have followed.) Who, exactly, is buying these — and why?
An admission: When I heard about this fad, my initial thought was unashamedly elitist. What kind of latte-fueled exurbanite would exchange nightly yoga classes for the joylessness of coloring? Maybe someone with no life to speak of? Okay, big mistake. Huge. Turns out that adult coloring books are a raging success across nearly every shade and stratum of the American landscape, from pastures to plains to the towers of Manhattan.
Take, as an example, Maria Dorfner, a native New Yorker who freelance produces at networks. “It calms and centers my mind,” Dorfner, an avid colorer, told me. “Adults need to learn to be more in the moment, like kids with crayons.”
Asked about a Psychology Today story that contended coloring cannot possibly constitute a spiritual experience, despite claims to the contrary by the hobby’s millions of evangelists, Dorfner says, “They’re just wrong about that.” Backing her up is a widely shared perception that coloring does indeed both soothe and heal the mind. (And let’s please agree that the illustrators of these exquisitely drawn books are artists; the color-inners are not.)
“Adults need to learn to be more in the moment, like kids with crayons,” one avid colorer says.
So, what we have here in our go-go digital age is an analog diversion for stressed-out grown-ups. One sits and colors and dreams, and the day’s tiny troubles appear to vanish.
At the other end of the spectrum is a (slightly) more physically demanding pastime, the game of pickleball. Imagine tennis played with wiffle balls and paddles on a diminutive court — Ping-Pong on a grander scale. The sport has rapidly attracted participants coast to coast, mainly among oldsters: The thrill of victory never flags, but the viability of older knees often does, alas.
This helps explain why pickleball, which has been around for a while, exploded in popularity only recently, as our aging population surged. The USA Pickleball Association reports it witnessed an 84 percent membership increase in the last two years alone and now boasts more than 400,000 active players. An Oregon documentarian is developing a movie about its rise.
Steve Brodsky, a 61-year-old Floridian, captured the excitement perfectly: “Pickleball is for older folks who’ve got the fire in the belly,” he told me. “Guys like me can feel, ‘Wow, I’ve still got it!’”
Hot on pickleball’s heels is a variation on that game called POP Tennis, a rebranded version of what we once knew as paddle tennis. Backed by a fresh infusion of cash from Hollywood agent Ken Lindner (Matt Lauer and Lester Holt are among his clients), the U.S. POP Tennis Association is currently rolling out a national tour. It’s aimed at picking up where pickleball leaves off. The appeal of POP Tennis, Lindner told me, is that “anyone can play, young or old. If you can walk, you can hit the ball immediately.”
What conclusions can be drawn from these trends? Well, whether we choose a pencil or a paddle, and whatever our age, Americans seldom let time go to waste. It’s in our character to be restless; it’s a trait that’s long served us well.
If you’re an Alzheimer’s caregiver and you pick up the book, please let me know if and how it’s helped. I’d love to hear and share your story. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject line: Caregiver Story: Color Your Mind book
Thank you Maria Shriver for helping Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers!
Maria Dorfner is the founder NewsMD Communications and Healthy Within Network. This is her blog. Contact: email@example.com
I read an article about “experts” wondering how much exercise you need to keep your brain sharp. The experts answer it is unknown.
Not true! I once again felt like a kid raising my hand again in school, only to be told, “Let someone else answer, Maria.” Finally, when no one else does, I get to answer.
A new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine by Joseph Northey, University of Canberra in Australia is the first to identify the key role played by resistance training, such as weights or core strength activity, in boosting brain function.
And 45 minutes is how much you need to keep your brain sharp. I can’t say this is the first study because Super Body, Super Brain is all about how resistance training combined with aerobics is what fosters neurogenesis (new brain cell growth).
They say until now, research focused on aerobic exercises like swimming, cycling, fast walking or jogging, as being good for the brain.
They now believe, however, that resistance training benefits the brain in different ways, stimulating additional areas of growth.
Study confirms it’s 45 minutes of resistance training for people in fifties or over.
The 45 minute mark of any activity is when you feel most alert and decisive.
Other brain benefits include slowing down cognitive decline.
Joseph Northey, who led the research at the University of Canberra, says doctors should be proactively prescribing exercise as a form of preventative medicine.
“Even exercising on one or two days of the week seemed to be effective, but the most important thing we found was the intensity of the exercise,” he said.
“It should be moderate, but aiming to get some vigorous intensity in there as well.”
In the April 2017 meta-analysis, University of Canberra researchers analyzed results of 39 previous studies on exercise and cognitive function in adults age 50 and older.
Although the studies look at different types of exercise, they all came to similar conclusions when compared side-by-side:
Getting up and moving at a moderate intensity for at least 45 minutes at a time was linked to improved cognition (memory and overall brain function included) — and the more days a week that person squeezed in those 45-minute sessions, the greater cognitive benefits they reaped!
Researchers also found aerobic exercise helps with learning, reasoning, reading, thinking. Resistance training helps with organizing, planning and memory.
They recommend mixing aerobic exercise and resistance training for best results.
Your 45 minutes can include walking, cleaning, bike riding, gardening, swimming, golf, tennis, dancing, bowling, shopping or anything else that gets you moving.
People work out for their body, but having a sharp mind is even more attractive.
It looks like my friend’s books are ahead of their time.
Michael Gonzalez-Wallace, author of Super Body, Super Brain already stated resistance training causes neurogenesis (new brain cells grow) and backed it up with scientific research. Dr. Gregory Lombardo from Columbia University, who serves on the board of Super Body, Super Brain with me, recommends it to patients.
I highly recommend reading:
Super Body, Super Brain by Michael Gonzalez-Wallace
Tesla reportedly curled his toes 100 times on each foot before sleep, believing that stimulated brain cells. Funny, I do that to warm up my Flintstone feet.
Charles Dickens carried a navigational compass with him at all times to ensure that he was always facing north while he slept. He believed that this practice improved his creativity and writing (and perhaps his ability to always know what direction he was facing at any given time). [source: Ashlee Christian, FreelancersUnion]Salvador Dalí thought sleep was for the birds, or you know for all the other organisms that actually need to sleep for more than one second at a time. He would nap in a chair with a key in his hand above a plate, and the second he fell asleep the key would fall, hit the plate, and wake him up. Similar to the Uberman cycle, it is a form of hypnagogic sleep that Dalí felt enhanced his creativity. [source: Ashlee Christian, FreelancersUnion]
Thank you Ashlee Christian for adding two women to the list. I’ll find more and add to the end. Actually, my siblings are going to have a laugh at this one.
Charles Dickens carried a navigational compass with him at all times to ensure that he was always facing north while he slept. He believed that this practice improved his creativity and writing (and perhaps his ability to always know what direction he was facing at any given time).Salvador Dalí thought sleep was for the birds, or you know for all the other organisms that actually need to sleep for more than one second at a time.He would nap in a chair with a key in his hand above a plate, and the second he fell asleep the key would fall, hit the plate, and wake him up. Similar to the Uberman cycle, it is a form of hypnagogic sleep that Dalí felt enhanced his creativity.
It’s important to know how much sleep you need to be at your best and most productive. For me, it’s 10 hours. People think I don’t sleep at all, when it’s actually the opposite.
I get ten hours, but it may be at odd times. For instance, if I’m working at a network from midnight to 8 a.m. I sleep from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and get on a bus at 8 p.m. to arrive 10 p.m.
If I’m dayside, I adjust time. If I’m on my own, as long as I get 10 hrs. in there somewhere, I’m good. If sleep is interrupted, multiple power naps come in handy, but they’re never a replacement for a good night’s sleep.
A lot of writers in history like Fran Kafka wrote from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. and slept around that schedule. Basically, if you work from home you can find when you’re most productive and be up then, but you have to make sure you work in 9 hours of sleep around it.
Today is National Nap Day.
These days are created to raise awareness, which begs the question about a lot of stupid ones out there. I digress. It’s today because you lost an hour of sleep yesterday when the clocks jumped forward, so you may feel sluggish today. Hence, National Nap Day to let you know it’s okay to close your door and take a nap today.
Good luck with that in open work environments. One sneeze and the whole team get sick. Seriously, who came up with open work environments? Collaborative? That’s 2 or 3 people in one office, not an open zoo hearing everyone’s conversations or chewing gum, smelling cologne, perfume or food –the list can go on about how these people pretend to work and secretly can’t wait to get the heck out of there.
I can walk into any company and know if it’s a healthy office or team. The irony is some of them profess to be about health when they’re the Canal Street of Madison Avenue. You can buy a fake watch, but as genius Steve Jobs learned, you can’t buy into anything fake when it comes to health. I don’t know how many hour Jobs slept a night, but he was known to call designers up at 3 a.m. My guess is he probably could have used someone with his best interests at heart advising him on healthy habits. It’s so dangerous to get yes men or women or those trying to sell something around you when you’re successful or worse, those giving you misinformation.
I promised earlier I would find more women. OPRAH! I already said I know she loves power naps, but I am curious how many hours of sleep she gets a night. She reports she is at her best at 5 and a half hours of sleep each night. Oh no. There you have it. That’s why she has had weight issues her whole life. Why hasn’t any expert told her this?? At that amount of sleep her body is releasing something called cortisol and it keeps the hunger gremlins turned ON, ON, ON all the time while causing inflammation in the body. Why didn’t Dr. Oz catch this? Rest is critical to the body. If she changed this ONE habit she will be amazed at the results.
The world needs people to rest. Less illness. People think when you have a million or a billion dollars you should sleep like a baby. NO! Not true. Remember when you were a kid and you couldn’t sleep the night before Christmas because you were too excited?! Well, having a billion dollars is initially like that. Then, stressors appear like competition, relationships, fake people suddenly inviting you to be a part of this or that event, dinner or organization just because you have money. You’ll wonder where these people were when you had no money. They are not your friends. When you realize the fakeness in all the fundraising and pay to play things out there you realize some things can not be bought. Everything real can not. True friendship. True love. True health. True happiness. Another thing happens when you have money. Friends without money can’t do everything you want to do because they don’t have money or free time. That’s where it’s lonely at the top come from. So, there is stress. If a wealthy person or a poor person do not sleep enough the results are the same. They will both experience a rise in cortisol, the fear hormone which causes inflammation inside your body. Too many yes men or women or ill informed people around you really can cause you to be sick. Make sure you have a healthy reference group in your circle.
Let’s look at some other sleeping habits. Marissa Mayer reports 4 to 6 hours. Again, not good. Lordy, Martha Stewart reports 4 hours.
President Obama reports sleeping from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. That’s only 6 hours a night.
It’s so important the President be well-rested. I bet whoever they put on the White House team for health writes prescriptions when someone can’t sleep instead of really caring and or knowing about health.
The world needs people who brag about getting a good night’s rest. The funny thing is it shows on their faces and bodies and ability to make good decisions. I forgot to mention that the release of cortisol in your body also ages you faster. I know so much about cortisol, but this blog is about NAPPING and the sleeping habits of Geniuses, so will save that for another time. Until then, hope you’ve learned something that makes you healthier. It’s never too late to change a habit for the better.
When your basic daily habits are healthy you should only need to see your physician once a year to get a compete physical, and for recommended screenings for your age group. That’s when your doctor says, “Everything looks great. Keep doing whatever it is you’re doing.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF PALLIATIVE CARE by Maria Dorfner
In 2000, I practically lived at the Cleveland Clinic. In fact, they wanted to put me up at a hotel, but I preferred to be closer to the patients I was writing stories about. One of those patients was dying from AIDS. He was in the Palliative Care Unit. I spent time speaking to him, his partner, his family and his caretakers.
I’d been a professional health journalist since 1993, after working in media as a researcher, producer and writer for 10 years. I love covering health, studied it since I was a kid and covered it on college newspapers. I couldn’t afford to go to medical school, but think journalism ranks up there as one of the most important callings in the world. We filmed a documentary on Palliative Care and it was an extremely touching story.
He was an in-patient, but his room was beautiful and he shared how comfortable he was knowing he had the best physicians around him and that family could visit any time. We talked so comfortably about everything not even minding the camera in the room. One day prior to it being released I got a call. The patient died. His partner was devastated. His partner thanked me for creating the most beautiful keepsake he had –the video. Through his tears, he asked if I would refrain from airing it. It was something he and the patient had talked about prior to his passing away –that they would only want it to air if they could watch it together. They knew the possibility existed that it would not happen.
I honored their wish.
The need for a healing touch continues even after a cure is no longer possible.
What is Palliative Medicine?
Palliative medicine is comprehensive medical care for patients with life threatening disease that focuses on control of cancer symptoms, management of complications, and quality of life. It cares for patients and their families and treats the cancer symptoms of body, mind and spirit. It is most successful when done with a multidisciplinary team approach to treating the cancer symptoms.
What are the goals of Palliative Medicine?
To provide excellent care of patients and their families dealing with advanced disease throughout the illness and during bereavement
To advocate effectively for patient comfort, dignity and choice
People with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), AIDS, heart failure, chronic lung disease or other serious illness experiencing symptoms or repeated hospitalizations
Patients or families dealing with the stress of a life threatening illness and cancer symptoms
What does a Palliative Medicine team do for my family and me?
We strive to help people live as well as they can despite their illness and to cope with cancer symptoms. We focus on controlling any cancer symptoms that may be interfering in the quality of life, defining goals for any subsequent treatment, and maintaining the best physical and emotional well-being possible despite complex problems. The medical specialist functions as the quarterback of a team, including the patient and the family in what can be difficult decisions. Family conferences are routinely held to ensure that everyone involved is aware of and involved in the plan of care.
Who is on the team?
The patient and the family
The referring physician
The palliative medicine physician
Music and art therapist
Home health aides
What services are provided?
Cancer Symptom Control: There is no need for anyone to suffer from uncontrolled pain, nausea or dyspnea (shortness of breath). Medical science knows how to effectively control these cancer symptoms most of the time. Making sure this happens is one of the primary goals of this program.
Case Management: People with serious illness often have many doctors involved in their care making. It is difficult to determine who to contact when a problem occurs. In this program, each patient has a registered nurse case manager assigned. That person is then a link to all other caregivers and available after hours.
The Harry R. Horvitz Center: Most people can be managed in an outpatient setting, but in crisis, this 23-bed inpatient unit is available for comprehensive multidisciplinary care.
Inpatient Consultation Service: Comprehensive assessment and management of symptoms in other areas of the hospital is provided to ensure maximum comfort for all hospitalized patients. The attending physician must request this service.
Outpatient Clinic: Specialty follow-up and consultation are available in this clinic. Nurse case managers maintain contact with their patients in this setting also.
Home Care and Hospice: As people become more ill they may need assistance at home which can be provided by Cleveland Clinic Home Care Ventures. As end of life approaches, the Hospice of the Cleveland Clinic is available at home for the special multidisciplinary care so critical at this time of life. Inpatient hospice care in the community is also available. Continuity is maintained throughout with the staff of the Palliative Medicine Program.
What is special about the Harry R. Horvitz Center?
Dr. Declan Walsh first developed the program at the Cleveland Clinic in 1988. At that time nothing of its kind existed in the United States. It still remains one of the few fully integrated programs in this country. In 1991 it was recognized by the World Health Organization as “a unique model of a much needed service” and designated a WHO Demonstration Project. The program had the first endowed chairs in Palliative Medicine in the USA.
The 23-bed inpatient unit was built in memory of Harry R. Horvitz, lifelong resident of Cleveland, recognized by his friends and associates as a man of integrity and compassion. The unit consists of the following facilities:
13 private patient rooms
5 semi-private patient rooms
Glass enclosed solarium
Family dining room
Donor recognition area
The Harry R. Horvitz Center for Palliative Medicine also conducts important cancer research and educational programs in pain management, symptom control and nutrition. Donations made to the Harry R. Horvitz Center for Palliative Medicine are allocated for this vital research.
Advances made at the Cleveland Clinic have minimized unwanted side effects of treatment and enhanced quality of life for patients with advanced disease and painful cancer symptoms.
Cancer Answers & Appointments
Speak with a cancer nurse specialist for appointment assistance and for answers to your questions about cancer locally at 216.444.7923216.444.7923 or toll-free 1.1.866.223.8100 FREE866.223.8100866.223.8100 FREE.
Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (ET).
Resources for medical professionals
Outpatient appointment referrals: 216.444.7923216.444.7923 or 866.223.8100866.223.8100 FREE
This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
Psychiatric hospitalizations of Latino children and young adults in California are rising dramatically — at a much faster pace than among their white and black peers, according to state data.
While mental health hospitalizations of young people of all ethnicities have climbed in recent years, Latino rates stand out. Among those 21 and younger, they shot up 86 percent, to 17,813, between 2007 and 2014, according to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. That’s compared with a 21 percent increase among whites and 35 percent among African Americans.
No one knows for certain what’s driving the trend. Policymakers and Latino community leaders offer varying and sometimes contradictory explanations. Some say the numbers reflect a lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services for Latinos and a pervasive stigma that prevents many from seeking help before a crisis hits.
“Often, they wait until they are falling apart,” said Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, a professor at the University of California, Davis Medical School and director of the university’s Center for Reducing Health Disparities.
Others blame stress from the recent recession, family disintegration and an influx of traumatized children fleeing poverty and violence in Central America.
Still others suggest the trend might actually be positive, reflecting an increasing willingness among Latino parents to seek treatment for themselves and their children, at least when they are in crisis.
Among Latino adults, psychiatric hospitalizations rose 38 percent during the same period. Similar hospitalizations of black adults increased 21 percent, while hospitalizations of white adults remained flat.
Margarita Rocha, the executive director of the nonprofit Centro la Familia in Fresno, said mental health issues are starting to be discussed more publicly in the Latino community.
“That’s helping people to come forward,” she said.
Ken Berrick, CEO of the Seneca Family of Agencies, which serves children with emotional disturbances in a dozen counties, agreed. Because more Latinos are now getting mental health services, children are more likely to be identified as requiring hospitalization, he said.
“I know for a fact that access to service is better now,” said Berrick, whose operation has a crisis stabilization unit in Alameda County, Calif.
Kids’ psychiatric hospitalizations overall rose nearly 45 percent between 2007 and 2014, regardless of ethnicity, a pattern experts attribute to various factors including a shortage of intensive outpatient and in-home services, schools’ struggles to pay for mental health services through special education and a decline in group home placements.
“Those kids have to be treated somewhere,” said Dawan Utecht, Fresno County’s mental health director, of the move to keep kids out of group homes.
“If they don’t get those services in a community setting, they’re going to go into crisis.”
The rise among Latino youths is remarkable in part because hospitalization rates for that population historically have been relatively low.
Latino children remain much less likely to receive mental health treatment through Medi-Cal, the state and federal coverage program for poor and disabled residents. Between 2010 and 2014, less than 4 percent of Latino children received specialty mental health services through the traditional Medi-Cal program. That’s compared with 7 percent of eligible black and white children, according to state data. The numbers don’t include those enrolled in managed care.
(Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders seek treatment at a rate even lower than Latinos. Although hospitalizations are also increasing rapidly among that population, the raw numbers remain relatively small.)
Leslie Preston, the behavioral health director of La Clínica de La Raza, in East Oakland, says that the shortage of bilingual, bicultural mental health workers limits Latino kids’ access to preventive care, which could lead to crises later on.
“Everybody’s trying to hire the Spanish-speaking clinicians,” she said. “There’s just not enough clinicians to meet that demand.”
Access to care can be even harder for recent immigrants. Spanish-speaking children who have been referred for a special education assessment, which can help them become eligible for mental health services, sometimes wait months or years before someone tests them, she said.
“The families don’t know the system,” she added. “They don’t know their rights.”
Other clinicians point to relatively low health insurance coverage among Latinos, particularly those without legal status, and a cultural resistance to acknowledging mental illness.
Dr. Alok Banga, medical director at Sierra Vista Hospital in Sacramento, said some immigrant parents he encounters don’t believe in mental illness and have not grasped the urgency of their children’s depression and past suicide attempts. Many are working two or three jobs, he said. Some are undocumented immigrants afraid of coming to the hospital or having any interaction with Child Protective Services.
But the biggest problem, from his perspective, is the shortage of child psychiatrists and outpatient services to serve this population.
“The default course for treatment falls on institutions: hospitals, jails and prisons,” he said.
Jeff Rackmil, director of the children’s system of care in Alameda County, said sheer population growth — particularly, an increase in Latino children insured under Medi-Cal — may also be part of the explanation for the rise in hospitalizations.
Yet the state’s Latino population aged 24 and under increased less than 8 percent between 2007 and 2014, which doesn’t nearly explain an 86 percent increase in hospitalizations.
Some California communities are working to bring more Latino children into care and to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.
At Life Academy of Health and Bioscience, a small, mostly Latino high school in East Oakland, students grow up amid pervasive violence and poverty. “We’re just told to hold things in,” said 17-year-old Hilda Chavez, a senior.
Students often don’t seek help because they fear discussing mental health problems will earn them a label of “crazy,” Chavez said.
Last year, the school, in conjunction with the Oakland-based La Clínica de La Raza, started a program to interest students in careers in mental health care. The program provides training in “first aid” instruction to help people in crisis, and places students in internships with mental health organizations.
Nubia Flores Miranda, 18, participated in the program last year and now is majoring in psychology at San Francisco State University. Miranda said she became interested in a career in mental health after she experienced depression and anxiety during her freshman year at Life Academy.
Seeing a school counselor “changed my life around,” she said.
But she saw that her peers were wary of seeking help from counselors at the school, most of whom were white and lived in wealthier, safer neighborhoods. Once, when a classmate started acting out at school, Miranda suggested she talk to someone.
“She told me she didn’t feel like she could trust the person — they wouldn’t understand where she was coming from,” she said.
The shortage of services is especially evident in the Central Valley, where many agricultural workers are Latino. Juan Garcia, an emeritus professor at California State University, Fresno, who founded a counseling center in the city, says the drought and economic downturn have exacerbated depression, anxiety, substance abuse and psychotic breaks among Latinos of all ages.
“The services to this population lag decades behind where they should be,” he said.
In Fresno County, psychiatric hospitalizations of Latino youth more than tripled, to 432, between 2007 and 2014. Hospitalizations of their white and black peers about doubled.
Liliana Quintero Robles, a marriage and family therapy intern in rural Kings County, also in the state’s Central Valley, said she sees children whose mental health issues go untreated for so long that they end up cutting themselves and abusing alcohol, marijuana, crystal meth and OxyContin.
“There’s some really, really deep-rooted suffering,” she said.
Out in the unincorporated agricultural community of Five Points, about 45 minutes from Fresno, almost all of the students at Westside Elementary School are low-income Latinos. When principal Baldo Hernandez started there in 1981, he’d see maybe one child a year with a mental health issue. These days, he sees 15 to 30, he said.
He blames dry wells and barren fields, at least in part.
“I’ve had parents crying at school, begging me to find them a home, begging me to find them a job,” he said.
In some parts of the Valley and other places, the closest hospitals that accept children in psychiatric crises are hours away. Children can be stuck in emergency room hallways for days, waiting for a hospital bed.
“It makes for a very traumatized experience for both families and children,” said Shannyn McDonald, the chief of the Stanislaus County behavioral health department’s children’s system of care.
Recently, the county expanded its promotora program, which enlists members of the Latino community to talk to their peers about mental health.
In the small town of Oakdale, a slim, energetic 51-year-old promotora named Rossy Gomar spends 60 to 70 hours a week serving as cheerleader, educator and sounding board for many of the Latino women and children in the town.
Gomar’s office in the Oakdale Family Support Network Resource Center is cluttered with open boxes of diapers and donated children’s toys and clothing.
“Look at my office,” she laughs. “We don’t fit.”
Gomar says many of the women she works with don’t recognize that they are depressed or abused. Children see their parents’ problems and don’t know where to turn for help.
“There are many young people who don’t have any hope,” she said.
But little by little, she has seen some good results.
One 17-year-old client is a student at Oakdale High School. The girl, whose name is being withheld to protect her privacy, said that earlier this year, problems at school and a break-up with her boyfriend had her struggling to get out of bed each morning. She began drinking, using drugs and thinking about suicide. She was scared to talk to her parents, she said, and kept everything inside.
One day, she walked into Gomar’s office and started crying.
“She told me ‘Everything is ok. We want you here,’” the girl said. “When I was talking with her, I felt so much better.”
A pill commonly used for cancer may prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease
The catch is you have to take it in your 30s
They say in the future millions of 30-somethings may be taking it
It would be the first ever drug to work like a statin does on the heart
Researchers say the pill didn’t work in past studies because it was given too late
Prof Chris Dobson, Master of St. John’s College, University of Cambridge told the Telegraph, “You wouldn’t give statins to someone who had just had a heart attack, and we doubt that giving a neurostatin to an Alzheimer’s patient who could no longer recognise a family member would be very helpful,” said Prof Chris Dobson, Master of St John’s College, University of Cambridge.
“But if it reduces the risk of the initial step in the process, then it has a serious prospect of being an effective preventive treatment.”
The drug targets the first step in the toxic chain reaction that leads to the death of brain cells and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Tests showed it delayed the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, both in a test tube and in nematode worms.
When the drug was given to worms genetically programmed to develop Alzheimer’s disease, it had no effect once symptoms had already appeared.
But when the drug was given before any symptoms became apparent, no evidence of the condition appeared.
• Human mini-brains to speed up Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s research
The drug works by preventing a process called “primary nucleation.”
That occurs when proteins in the body misfold and begin to clump together, eventually forming the sticky plaques that cause dementia.
“The body has a variety of natural defences to protect itself against neurodegeneration, but as we age, these defences become progressively impaired and can get overwhelmed,” said Prof Michele Vendruscolo of Cambridge’s Department of Chemistry, the paper’s senior author.
“By understanding how these natural defences work, we might be able to support them by designing drugs that behave in similar ways.
“This, in terms of an approach for Alzheimer’s disease, would be the equivalent of what statins do for heart conditions. So you would take them well in advance of developing the condition to reduce your risk.
“I think the spirit should be similar to the way statins are used, so they are given to people that are more at risk of disease and given fairly early.
“There is some evidence that amyloid-beta aggregation takes place in middle age, so we may start in people in their 30s.”
The research was published in Science.
Early brain changes
Subtle decline in thinking
Memory changes, confusion
Inability to bathe, dress or eat without help
Loss of ability to communicate and recognize loved ones
If you or are a Caregiver to someone with Alzheimer’s remember:
New Study Reveals WHERE Alzheimer’s Disease Begins in the Brain. It’s in the Locus Coeruleus where the red arrow is pointing in this illustration. The Lous Coeruleus is the First Brain Structure Affected By Alzheimer’s Disease. More about that here: http://ow.ly/Yp1uN
Meanwhile, here are some brain healthy foods to keep in mind for prevention.
Check out U.S. News & World Reports which rated the BEST nutritional plan for Alzheimer’s disease prevention
Maintain a healthy, balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Keep fit. The benefits of exercise on your brain’s health are extraordinary. A daily walk can be done anywhere.
TIME Magazine even featured an article called, “This Is Your Brain on Exercise.”
Enjoy brain challenges like puzzle activities, cards and board games.
In related news be sure to check out the New York teen, Kenneth Shinozuka who invented an in-sole sensor that can track Alzheimer’s patients when they wander.
Kenneth Shinozuka has invented a new wearable sensor called the SafeWanderer that can help keep Alzheimer’s patients safe. Inspired by his own grandfather’s battle with the disease, the 15-year-old came up with a device that can keep tabs on patients if they begin to wander off. The sensor works by reacting to pressure and can notify a caregiver through a smart phone app when a patient is on-the-go.
MARIA DORFNER is the founder of Healthy Within Network. This is her blog. It curates and shares best in health from around the world without conflicts of interest for consumers & media. Maria’s interest in health began in childhood. She won first place in science fairs and has always loved research, writing and creating. She covered the health beat in college and began professionally specializing in health after ten years of working in media. The letters of gratitude she received from viewers after her medical segments aired is what gave meaning and purpose to her vocation. Some people wrote to say seeing a segment saved their life. She began as an executive intern at NBC News in 1983. In 1989, she helped launch CNBC, NBC’s cable station. In 1993, she began specializing in health. She founded NewsMD Communications and developed 7 half-hour original health series and pitched them to CNBC. She senior produced and co-anchored them on CNBC for 3 years. She has since worked as director of research for Ailes Communications and as an associate producer, producer, field producer, medical/health writer, and on-air host. She has also written, produced and directed 21st Century Medicine, a documentary series covering future health, breakthroughs and pioneering medicine, airing on Discovery Health. She helped launch the Cleveland Clinic News Service (CCNS) on-site, and MedPage Today. Her award-winning original programs include Healthy Living, Healthcare Consumers, Lifestyles & Longevity, Healthcare Practitioners and Green Magazine. She has also produced for The Cutting Edge Medical Report and Healthy Women. She is the author of 3 books including Healthy Within available on Lulu Publishing. She is the founder of NewsMD Communications, LLC. Her alma mater, Pace University and Women in Corporate America awarded her an Outstanding Leadership Abilities award.
The Pie of excellent brain health includes: Nutrition, Physical Activity, Mental Stimulation, Socialization & Spirituality. I would add Sleep & Fresh Air. Click on image to enlarge it.
I explore nutrition because the first study, to use nutrient levels in the blood to analyze the effect of diet on memory and thinking skills, and brain volume says nutritional factors do influence brain health. It makes sense that we need to feed our mind well as much as our body. Good input. Good output. Feeding your brain well may ward off memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. The findings appeared in Neurology, a journal from the American Academy of Neurology.
The 6 nutrients linked to good memory and thinking skills are:
Scored better on thinking tests than those who had low blood levels of these nutrients.
Their brains also showed less shrinkage, a sign of brain health.
People with Alzheimer’s typically have smaller brains than those without the disease. What causes brain shrinkage? Trans fats. That’s the unhealthy type of fat. People with high levels of trans fats scored lower on thinking and memory tests. Where are unhealthy trans fats found?
So, keep your thinking and memory sharp by sticking with nutritious foods.
The study, part of the Oregon Brain Aging Study, involved 104 people, average age 87. Other than advanced age, they had few risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
“These results need to be confirmed, but obviously it is very exciting to think that people could potentially stop their brains from shrinking and keep them sharp by adjusting their diet,” said study author Gene Bowman of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.
I also highly recommend you visit my friend, John Assaraf’s website if you want to learn how to use your brain to achieve business success.
John Assaraf is one of the experts featured in the film and book The Secret, which he helped launch into a worldwide phenomenon. He has shared his expertise on achieving financial freedom and living an extraordinary life with millions of viewers on Larry King Live, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and dozens of other media venues worldwide. Visit John online at http://www.johnassaraf.com. I love all of John’s books. And he and his wife, Maria are wonderful people. Read more at Amazon’s John Assaraf Page
ScienceDaily (Feb. 24, 2012) — By training birds to ‘get rhythm’, scientists uncover evidence that our capacity to move in time with music may be connected with our ability to learn speech.
Even though typical dance-floor activity might suggest otherwise, humans generally demonstrate a remarkable capacity to synchronize their body movements in response to auditory stimuli. But is this ability to move in time to musical rhythm a uniquely human trait?
Some animals are capable of vocal learning, changing the sounds they make in response to those they hear from other members of their species. Scientists have hypothesized that such behavior may be associated with the capacity for so-called ‘rhythmic synchronization’.
“Motor control of vocal organs is naturally important in vocal learning,” says Yoshimasa Seki of the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Wako. “Once auditory-motor coordination in the vocal control system has been established, a similar auditory-motor transformation system for other body parts might be derived from that.”
Studies in vocal-learning species have largely focused on case studies of individual animals, but Seki and colleagues conducted larger-scale experiments and found that budgerigars (Fig. 1) may have an inherent capacity for rhythmic synchronization. The researchers tested their hypothesis by training eight budgerigars to peck a button in response to the rhythm of an external metronome, which could be adjusted to present the birds with audio-visual stimuli at varying intervals.
In all 46 experiments, the birds were able to consistently respond to rhythmic beats within a certain time-frame, demonstrating successful entrainment. However, the accuracy of their timing was dependent on the tempo. Only one out of seven birds was successfully able to match the onset of each beat when the stimuli were generated at 450 millisecond intervals, while all animals achieved this feat when that interval was lengthened to 1,500 or 1,800 milliseconds.
To confirm that actual synchronization was taking place, the researchers used computer simulations of other bird behavior scenarios, such as random pecking or responding directly to individual stimuli rather than the rhythm itself. However, none of these alternative models was sufficient to explain the observed activity. “Our results showed that budgerigars can show rhythmic movements synchronized with external stimuli, which means they potentially have this capability of auditory-motor entrainment as a species,” says Seki.
As such, this species may offer a useful model for future investigations of the neurological mechanisms that potentially connect vocal learning with rhythmic synchronization in both birds and humans. “Such studies should contribute to discussions of specific characteristics of the human speech system and its similarity to the vocal learning systems found in other animal species,” explains Seki.
The budgerigar (below), Melopsittacus undulates, is one of several vocal-learning species of parrot, well known for its capacity to mimic human language. (Credit: Copyright : 2011 Yoshimasa Seki)
Babies Are Born to Dance, New Research Shows (Mar. 16, 2010) — A study of infants finds they respond to the rhythm and tempo of music and find it more engaging than speech. The research suggest that babies may be born with a predisposition to move rhythmically … > read more
Newborn Infants Detect The Beat In Music (Jan. 27, 2009) — Researchers have demonstrated that two to three day old babies can detect the beat in music. This phenomenon – termed ‘beat induction’ – is likely to have contributed to music’s origin. It enables … > read more
Musical Aptitude Relates to Reading Ability (Oct. 17, 2011) — Auditory working memory and attention, for example the ability to hear and then remember instructions while completing a task, are a necessary part of musical ability. But musical ability is also … > read more
Neurogenesis or growing new brain cells while exercising makes sense because your brain is receiving more oxygen and blood. At 45-minutes your mind is at its sharpest.
Society is obsessed with working out for their body, but it’s the brain that will lead you to take the right actions, make good decisions and naturally secrete endorphins and naturally alleviate anxiety, depression and inflammation.
Here are 10 ways you can keep your brain vibrant, sharp and constantly improving.
1. Learn what is the “It” in “Use It or Lose It”. A basic understanding will serve you well to appreciate your brain’s beauty as a living and constantly-developing dense forest with billions of neurons and synapses.
2. Take care of your nutrition. Did you know that the brain only weighs 2% of body mass but consumes over 20% of the oxygen and nutrients we intake? As a general rule, you don’t need expensive ultra-sophisticated nutritional supplements, just make sure you don’t stuff yourself with the “bad stuff”.
3. Remember that the brain is part of the body. Things that exercise your body can also help sharpen your brain: physical exercise enhances neurogenesis.
4. Practice positive, future-oriented thoughts until they become your default mindset and you look forward to every new day in a constructive way. Stress and anxiety, no matter whether induced by external events or by your own thoughts, actually kills neurons and prevent the creation of new ones. You can think of chronic stress as the opposite of exercise: it prevents the creation of new neurons.
5. Thrive on Learning and Mental Challenges. The point of having a brain is precisely to learn and to adapt to challenging new environments. Once new neurons appear in your brain, where they stay in your brain and how long they survive depends on how you use them. “Use It or Lose It” does not mean “do crossword puzzle number 1,234,567″. It means, “challenge your brain often with fundamentally new activities”.
6. We are (as far as we know) the only self-directed organisms in this planet. Aim high. Once you graduate from college, keep learning. The brain keeps developing, no matter your age, and it reflects what you do with it.
7. Explore, travel. Adapting to new locations forces you to pay more attention to your environment. Make new decisions, use your brain.
8. Don’t Outsource Your Brain. Not to media personalities, not to politicians, not to your smart neighbor. Make your own decisions, and mistakes. And learn from them. That way, you are training your brain, not your neighbor’s.
9. Develop and maintainstimulating friendships. We are “social animals”, and need social interaction. Which, by the way, is why ‘Baby Einstein’ has been shown not to be the panacea for children development.
10. Laugh. Often. Especially to cognitively complex humor, full of twists and surprises.
DRUMROLL PLEASE…# 11 COMES TO US FROM A READER NAMED, JOHN. I love the hobbies he mentions as they’re my own and they do serve to keep the mind sharp. John has a beautiful blog. I encourage you to take a look at it. The link for it is: http://realtruelove.wordpress.com/
11. Write, journal, blog (as well as draw, paint, play an instrument, learn photography). And read decent books (and poetry); give yourself some real food for thought. And when you read decent books, read slowly enough to explore–and even better, to journal–your own thoughts in relation to what you are reading. Developing and refining our own personal philosophy or “life map” is a huge part of using it and not losing it.
Now, remember that what counts is not reading this article-or any other-, but practicing a bit every day until small steps snowball into unstoppable, internalized habits…so, pick your next battle and try to start improving at least one of these 10 habits today. Revisit the habit above that really grabbed your attention, click on a link below to learn more, and make a decision to try something different today!
Super Body, Super Brain by Michael Gonzalez-Wallace
My Review of Super Body, Super Brain. I serve on the board.
SUPER BODY, SUPER BRAIN by Michael Gonzalez Wallace is my #1 pick for a fitness book. It’s based on the very latest, cutting-edge brain research. Michael’s program is unique in that it provides a whole brain workout that requires thinking and precision through specific left to right, and front to back movements.
This is the first time someone has created a program, which taps into how complex circuits in our brains connect to our muscles through voluntary and intentional movement. Huge implication for aging. For more than a century, medical science firmly believed that our brain could not repair itself and that we were born with all the brain cells we would ever have.
Over the last 20 years, research has shown neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells, actually does occur in the brain with the right training. Michael brilliantly harnesses this knowledge to provide expert training on how your brain connects to your body through motor and sensory pathways.
In SUPER BODY, SUPER BRAIN he provides compelling evidence that exercise is not only good for your heart, but also good for your brain. He aptly demonstrates an exciting daily fitness program that stimulates your brain cells during your workout. He shows you how to work out smarter, instead of longer.
As someone who has specialized in medical/health for over two decades, I strongly endorse Michael’s program. When you first learn of it, you’ll think it must be a gimmick. It’s not. As mentioned, it’s based on decades of scientific research. I use the program myself and have known Michael for years.
He’s the real deal; extremely passionate about the program because he knows it works and can help others improve their energy level and entire well being from the inside out. In today’s ever-competitive world, it’s not enough to have a Super Body. You absolutely need a Super Brain. Michael shows you how to build both at the same time.
The benefits of his unique program are long overdue within the entire health community. Super Body Super Brain by Michael Gonzalez Wallace is definitely the future of fitness. Everyone at any fitness level from beginner to pro will take something away from this book that improves his or her health.