Snoring and its link to heart disease

Annoying habit raises risk for hypertension, stroke, heart attacks


Men more than women are at risk for sleep problems that raise the risk for hypertension, stroke, heart attacks and other cardiovascular issues.

Men more than women are at risk for sleep problems that raise the risk for hypertension, stroke, heart attacks and other cardiovascular issues.

Heavy snoring can sound funny to your sleep partner and annoy them terribly, but it is no joke. It is often the sign of a condition called obstructive sleep apnea, which we now know raises the risk for diabetes, obesity, hypertension, strokes, heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.

People with obstructive sleep apnea stop breathing for 10-20 seconds while they sleep, and this can occur from a few to hundreds of time a night. Snoring doesn’t occur in every case of sleep apnea, and all people who snore don’t have sleep apnea, but anyone who is told they snore should consider obstructive sleep apnea as a possible cause. Continue reading

Encouraging News About the Incidence of Dementia

Many projections forecast a major increase in dementia in coming decades. With populations aging across the globe, many more elderly adults are expected to develop dementia.Better heart health reducing dementia

Current projections, for example, predict that cases of dementia will triple in the United States alone.

The results of several recent European studies, however, suggest a more optimistic future.

Large studies of aging individuals in Britain, Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands indicate that a smaller proportion of aging individuals will experience cognitive impairment and dementia than had been anticipated.

While no one doubts that the aging of the worldwide population will result in marked increases in the number of individuals with dementia, the future may not be as grim as projected – which is very encouraging. Continue reading

On the list of possible dementia busters: An educated mom, robust social life and delaying retirement

New article highlights effects of education, prevention and better health care on reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease

BlogDementia (2)The growing number of older adults in the U.S. and around the world guarantees that over the next few decades we will see a huge growth in people with dementia.

However, a perspective piece I recently co-authored for the New England Journal of Medicine highlights at least five recent studies suggesting that the risk of any individual getting dementia or Alzheimer’s disease today is lower than it was about 20 years ago. This is good news because it means the average 75-year-old today may be less likely than a 75-year-old in 1993 to suffer from this devastating condition.
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Preventing caregiver burnout

Take care of yourself for caregiver success: 10 tips

Caregivers all agree: Focusing on yourself when you’re caring for a loved one is difficult at best. But caring2blogcaring for yourself and doing what’s needed to stay happy and healthy are important to your success as a caregiver and in avoiding caregiver burnout.

Here are some tips to make sure you’re the best you can be, despite the emotional and physical challenges of caregiving:

  1. Take time to do small things that bring simple pleasures: Take a walk, listen to music, engage in a hobby or bake a favorite dessert — anything that makes you happy.
  2. Pamper yourself with a massage, pedicure, yoga class – whatever makes you feel relaxed and renewed.
  3. Take care of your body: Eat a well-balanced diet and be sure to get enough sleep. Take naps when you need to. Exercise as much as possible – but realize that even a short, brisk walk is helpful to your mind and body.
  4. Don’t lose your sense of humor. Call a friend who makes you laugh, read a feel-good book or rent a light-hearted movie. Continue reading

Military mentality, vulnerable veterans

A Veterans Day Q&A with U-M brain specialist – & Air Force lieutenant colonel – Michael Seyffert, M.D.

seyffert 2sm

Michael Seyffert, M.D., a neurologist and U-M psychiatrist-in-training, is also a flight surgeon in the Air National Guard.

Veterans’ issues get special focus during Veterans Day week, but Dr. Michael Seyffert focuses on the brains of our recently returned service men and women, and veterans from past conflicts, all year round.

He’s in the last year of psychiatry training at U-M, after more than a decade in practice as a neurologist and sleep specialist. That gives him a double perspective on the brain.

Meanwhile, his service as a lieutenant colonel and flight surgeon in the 127th Wing of the Air National Guard at Selfridge Air Force Base, and experience treating patients on the psychiatry service at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, helps him understand the demands of military service and the challenges veterans face. 

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Dementia: Reduce your risk by staying active


Sarah Shair, MA, research associate at the MADC

At a recent outreach event, I asked people to name something they could do to reduce their risk for developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The most common answer that I received was, “do crossword puzzles.”

While crossword puzzles and other brain games are great for your mind, another important and effective way to reduce your risk of dementia is with physical activity. Numerous research studies have linked regular physical activity to a reduced risk of experiencing cognitive decline and developing dementia.

How does it work?
Use it or lose it! As we age, our brains tend to shrink. Physical exercise, however, counteracts this process and actually enables our brains to grow new neurons. In fact, brain imaging studies comparing the brains of active versus inactive adults have found the brains of active adults are larger, especially in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is responsible for memory. Continue reading