A Simple Balance Test to Predict Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer's brain
According to a new study, a simple balance test may predict cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s.

The image depicts an atrophied Alzheimer’s brain.

This study was carried out in 16 university hospital departments of neurology, geriatrics or psychiatry in ten cities with 686 outpatients suffering from Alzheimer’s.

This population is representative of the Alzheimer’s population seen by clinicians in daily practice. Patients were evaluated by a geriatrician every six months for up to two years, and their degree of cognitive impairment was measured using the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE).

At the same time, a "one-leg balance" (OLB) test was given, where a participant was asked to stand on one leg for as long as possible. The OLB test was reported as abnormal when the participant was unable to stand on one leg for 5 seconds or more.

Participants with an abnormal OLB at baseline or/and during the follow-up showed significantly more cognitive decline at 12, 18 and 24 months than the participants with a OLB test normal at baseline and normal during the follow-up.

The worst condition (having an abnormal OLB at baseline and during the follow-up= no improvement) was associated with a mean adjusted cognitive decline of 9.2 points.

The best condition (having a normal OLB at baseline and during the follow-up = no worsening) was associated with a mean adjusted cognitive decline of 3.8 points.

Senior Investigator Yves Rolland states, "Our results suggested that an abnormal OLB is a marker of more advanced dementia (worst baseline characteristic) and an independent predictor of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s. Our results reinforce in an Alzheimer’s population, the growing evidence suggesting a link between physical performances and cognitive decline. If these results are confirmed by other data, the OLB test could be adopted in clinical practice to identify Alzheimer’s patients at high risk of rapid cognitive decline."


1. Yves Rolland, et al. An Abnormal ‘One-leg Balance’ Test Predicts Cognitive Decline During Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 16:3.


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Chickens Lay Eggs in Bright Light

There are 12+ inches of snow in the front yard with 2-4 more coming! Erie’s Mayor declared an emergency for the city. Can you tell I have very fond memories of deep snow and powerful snow storms from childhood?

Last night I continued to feel sleep deprived which didn’t help the brain synapses. My step-father’s sister lived on a farm. I thought my Aunt Lu told me that the chickens would lay eggs better with more light since it’s so dark in the winter, so I turned on all the lights in the house. Pam had stepped out for a few minutes. Pam returned shortly and reminded me that Aunt Lu had died when I was in high school. I had some trouble finding where the kitchen was too. Today is better after some good sleep! Thank the Lord………one day at a time.

Amy and Gerald Throop were gracious enough to send me a complementary copy of their book, “Living with Lewy’s.” I’ll be posting a review of it on the blog. I still need to post the reviews for two other books. Just need to get around to it.

Living With Lewy’s

Empowering Today’s Dementia Caregiver

A Revolutionary New Survival Guide For All Caregivers
Especially for Caregivers of Patients with Dementia With Lewy Bodies, Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias

Foreword by

Dr. Carol F. Lippa, M.D., Professor of Neurology,

Drexel University College of Medicine,

Chair, Medical advisory Committee of the

Lewy Body Dementia Association

Written By Family Caregivers, For Family Caregivers

Amy J. Throop and Gerald S. Throop

If You’re One Of America’s 52 Million Caregivers, This Book Is For You!
Living With Lewy’s Answers A Thousand Questions For Caregivers. This book is easy to understand and organized so you can find answers quickly, day or night. It’s the companion book that you will refer to time and time again. This Is A Must Have Book For All Caregivers!

This book contains vital information about Dementia With Lewy Bodies, Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

ALL Caregivers Will Benefit From Information About:

*Support systems *Your personal health *Simple-safe care methods *Sleep improvement for caregiver and patient *Stress relieving techniques *Safe bath time *Continence management *Reducing falls *Diet, exercise and more

America’s 9 million dementia caregivers will discover:

•Life saving information about medications. •Up to date information from leading dementia specialists. •How to better understand each specific type of dementia. •How to seek professional help or a second diagnosis. •Care methods to cope with specific disabilities. •How to manage dangerous behaviors and much more.

Complete Financial Information About:

*Low or no cost respite *Tax breaks for caregivers
*Medicare Parts A, B and D – Prescription Drug Coverage
*Social Security Disability Insurance *Sick leave *Asset protection *Early retirement and much, much more.

Here is Hope’s response to the great folks who commented to her.

Warmly……….David Thomas

Odds and Ends

Yes……..the series puzzle from the other day threw me for a loop too! I spent too much time trying to figure it out. When I realized what the answer was, all I could think was “What a simple solution. It never occurred to me to look at the diagonal lines.” All along I was trying to fit the blocks together and couldn’t make any sense of how there would be a next one. But it did provide good brain work even though few of us got it right!

That trazodone drug is good stuff. I’ve now had 2 pleasant nights with good sleep along with good dreams. I’m impressed with it. Now I understand why so many of my former patients slept well with it. It makes me wonder why I never thought about having someone prescribe it for me in the past! And I’m not having any side effects. Now if I could just stop shaking, especially my head whenever I use the computer…..

I spent yesterday watching movies, football along with knitting and crocheting some pot scrubbers. A nice relaxing day.

I find myself thinking about all the readers of the blog. I wonder how many of you have dementia, how many are caregivers, how many are friends and how many others who aren’t in these categories. I think about you many many times. I read the comments……..the emails……..trying to put faces to the names which is impossible. I think about what your days are like. The good moments. The tough times and what the caregivers must be going through. The hardest part for me is whenever I read the Yahoo dementia group emails. The heartaches that you all go through. I find myself going into denial when people discuss their loved ones going into a nursing home or other facility. I just can’t go there in my head. And, unfortunately, I don’t respond to those emails. That’s a problem I’ll have to work on.

10 Tips for Keeping the Brain Sharp Into 2009 — Click here.

Recylced Plastic Bags: Crochet a Snowflake

January is Alzheimer’s Month in Canada.

Fact or Fiction

Chemist Louis Pasteur, the first to discover that germs caused disease, rarely shook hands.

True. Pasteur, regarded as one of the three main founders of microbiology, also created the first vaccine for rabies.

Have a great day………David Thomas

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Caregivers Make the Holidays Wonderful

I wish a very Happy Thanksgiving to all!

I found this article to be powerfully helpful! http://www.articlesbase.com/elderly-care-articles/dementia-and-alzheimers-caregivers-make-the-holidays-wonderful-656355.html



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