Daily Archives: July 25, 2016


It's Magic

Uh, wasn’t it just YESTERDAY that I wrote about wanting to believe in magic and doing this hocus-pocus Catholic novena?  How I just wanted work that I like?  (Ideally more of the same work I’d been doing at home, no people, just work).  Well holeeee shit I just got an email from the software company that makes this doctor software saying they have a new client in Boulder that they want to hook me up with!!!  KABAM!!!  And I’m not even done with the novena yet!!!  Yeah yeah yeah I am having a gratitude attack I am SO EXCITED!!!!  Just to be able to work, doing something I like.  What a privilege.  Thank you, Universe!!!!!

Filed under: Bipolar, Bipolar and Work, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Blogging, Hope, Humor, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader

Brain Training Cuts Dementia Risk a Decade Later

The findings, if they hold up, are pretty spectacular!

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/brain-training-cuts-dementia-risk-a-decade-later/# For the first time ever, researchers have managed to reduce people’s risk for dementia — not through a medicine, special diet, or exercise, but by having healthy older adults play a computer-based brain-training game.

The training nearly halved the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and other devastating forms of cognitive and memory loss in older adults a decade after they completed it, scientists reported on Sunday. If the surprising finding holds up, the intervention would be the first of any kind — including drugs, diet, and exercise — to do that.

“I think these results are highly, highly promising,” said George Rebok of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, an expert on cognitive aging who was not involved in the study. “It’s exciting that this intervention pays dividends so far down the line.”

The results, presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Toronto, come from the government-funded ACTIVE (Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly) study. Starting in 1998, ACTIVE’s 2,832 healthy older adults (average age at the start: 74) received one of three forms of cognitive training, or none, and were evaluated periodically in the years after.

In actual numbers, 14 percent of ACTIVE participants who received no training had dementia 10 years later, said psychologist Jerri Edwards of the University of South Florida, who led the study. Among those who completed up to 10 60-to-75-minute sessions of computer-based training in speed-of-processing — basically, how quickly and accurately they can pay attention to, process, and remember brief images on a computer screen — 12.1 percent developed dementia. Of those who completed all 10 initial training sessions plus four booster sessions a few years later, 8.2 percent developed dementia.

Such a “dose-response effect” — more intervention, more chance of avoiding dementia — is often a clue that the intervention is, indeed, making a difference.

Nevertheless, the finding of a significant benefit from such a modest intervention long ago had dementia experts scratching their heads.

“It’s hard to understand how such a brief intervention could have a long-lasting impact,” said Dr. Howard Fillit, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, which supports pharmaceutical research on the disease. “But you have to respect the data.”

Because the results have not been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal, however, they are considered tentative.

ACTIVE is a well-respected study that, until now, had found only modest effects from cognitive training which, in addition to speed-of-processing, included classroom training in memory or reasoning strategies. Each participant was randomly assigned to receive one of the three or none. The randomization reduced the chances that the different outcomes were the result of, say, more cognitively-spry people choosing to undergo computerized brain training.

There is growing evidence that remaining intellectually engaged (“lifelong learning”) and certain forms of cognitive training can reduce the risk of plain old cognitive decline. But the new ACTIVE findings “are evidence that [that] may hold true for dementia, as well,” said Maria Carrillo, chief science officer of the Alzheimer’s Association.

“Brain training” has been likened to snake oil. Federal regulators accused the makers of Lumosity, for instance, of fraud for suggesting its games could prevent memory loss and dementia; the company paid $2 million this year to settle the charges.

The ACTIVE trial had been somewhat disappointing until now. Participants who trained on one skill did better on that skill right after, as well as five years later, compared to those who had different training or none at all. But training in one skill did not improve the others, suggesting that overall brain function wasn’t getting better. And five years after training, there was no effect on their risk of dementia.

Even then, however, there were hints that speed-of-processing might be different, Rebok said, targeting underlying brain activity and physiology rather than skills, as a 2006 study suggested. In 2013, researchers found that speed-of-processing training might improve such “executive functions” as planning and reasoning. A study published last month reported that it improved brain connectivity and cognitive ability in a way that might slow the descent into dementia.

Improving processing speed “changes fundamental processes in the brain,” said Henry Mahncke, CEO of Posit Science Corporation. “It’s not that one particular link in the brain gets improved, but that the whole brain is rejuvenated,” he said.

The company licensed ACTIVE’s speed-of-processing module as the “Double Decision” exercise in its BrainIQ.com product ($96 a year).

A key question is, if speed-of-processing training can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, can more be better? The ACTIVE participants got, at most, 14 hours of it nearly 20 years ago. But “given that 10 to 14 sessions had these benefits, just think what we could do with more,” Edwards said. “We should be thrilled about this.”

Scientists not associated with Posit or the new study said they would be more persuaded if it were clear how speed-of-processing training works its magic.

One possibility is a bootstrapping effect. Maybe people who received speed-of-processing training “did something different over the years,” said Laurie Ryan, who oversees Alzheimer’s research at the National Institute on Aging. “Maybe they changed their lifestyle in some way,” with the training giving them a little cognitive boost that they parlayed into more reading, more travel, more social engagement, and more of other activities that boost “cognitive reserve,” the brain’s cushion against dementia.

In fact, some ACTIVE participants told scientists that the cognitive boost they felt from the training inspired them to enroll in classes at a local college or keep driving, said Rebok, both of which can keep people socially and intellectually engaged.

Other studies presented at the Alzheimer’s meeting on Sunday provided more evidence for the power of cognitive reserve:

*A traditional “Western” diet of red meat, processed foods, white bread, sugar, and saturated fat has long been associated with cognitive decline, though only in observational studies. But older adults eating that way who had more education, mentally stimulating work, and social engagement did not suffer as much decline, scientists reported. The study followed participants for only three years, however, leaving open the possibility that unhealthy habits eventually catch up with the brain.

*Healthy older adults whose jobs required them to work with people rather than “data or things” also seemed to be protected. They were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s even when they had brain lesions called white matter hyperintensities, which have been linked to the disease.

My Journey to Vibrant – Day 1

 (Note: I have changed the title of my quest from “road” to “journey” as I think I will be travelling a few different paths to get where I need to be) Finally, it is here! After two weeks of putting … Continue reading

So it is a mental illness 

I reflect back to 1999 when I first heard those words, “You have bipolar disorder and it’s pretty serious.” ” What?  Me? Absolutely no way do I have a mental illness.  And by the way I am not taking those zombie drugs you want to give me either.”

And so the merry go round of affects of a diagnosed bipolar patient in denial had begun.  This would mean the ups and downs of crisis situations that would appear and then go away for awhile.  When times were normal and stable I could proclaim, “See I don’t have bipolar disorder.  Doctors can be wrong you know?”

Oh but hindsight is 20/20.  The years I lost because I was not well enough to function.  Usually lying in my bed asleep from a long lengthy battle with depression.  The successful career cut short because I could not pull myself out of bed to catch a plane.  And the spiral effect…the big downward spiral effect to hell.  Life would never be the same again.

These days when I stand in front of an audience and tell them why they need to get care for themselves or their loved ones comes from a place of lived wisdom. I know the outcomes can be very good if the illness is treated and managed.  I know it is possible because I live a “normal” life everyday.

Whatever you do don’t live in denial.  Denial will bury you alive.  Don’t let the stigma keep you from getting help.  Help is available and treatment works for 90% of those with mental illness.

The goal is to live a life of sustainable longevity with a healthy mind, body and spirit.  I am here to tell you this is possible. 

But whatever you do don’t ignore mental illness.  It will not magically disappear into the sunset.  It will more likely spin like a tornado and completely disrupt your life and the lives of those who love you.

If it is mental illness do yourself a favor and get help.  Don’t wait.  Your life is depending on it.

Waiting Around

I’m waiting for getting my oil changed and getting things going. Called one of my old freelance outlets with a news tip this morning and that made me feel good.  We’ll see if they do anything with it.

Got two more rejections Friday–which I felt like made me come out ahead in that I thought with the pattern of the week that I’d get four:).  We’ll see how  this week comes out.

I turned in a piece on “how my brain works” for my guest blogging gig talking about what it’s like to have bipolar disorder.  SO it was interesting  to  really think my way through how I operate every day.  It made me realize how well I’m doing now compared to how I used to do. So that was a good realization to come to.



Weekly Wrap-Up July 25, 2016

Mood Really mixed this week. I had my good days and bad days, but they didn’t seem to have much to do with mania or depression. It had more to do with being clear minded or confused. I had a hard time grasping some basic concepts. Obsession was another big deal. I’ve been spending the […]

The post Weekly Wrap-Up July 25, 2016 appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.

I Did More Stuff

Today I went out of the house to catch pokemon and get some keys made at a store. I apparently really needed to get out of the house because when hubby suggested it I jumped on that train. hehe.

Going into the store to get keys made was actually my idea and I took a picture of us outside for my Facebook.

I’m also showing an interest in all the things I have been DVRing for months.

I’m still not physically feeling great but I got to ignore it which was nice for a while.

Maybe I am coming out of my depression, maybe hubby was right. I so hope not, I hate telling him he’s right. I like being right lol.