Helpful information from repuatable sources about caring for yourself or a loved one who has a debilitating condition.

Woman in Hat

Suyin’s bus was late. Even though it was noon on a very hot summer day, she decided to walk from the grocery store to her home. At 72—healthy and active—Suyin thought the heat would be no match for her! Yet, after walking just one block, she felt dizzy and weak.

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Exercise and physical activity fall into four basic categories—endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Most people tend to focus on one activity or type of exercise and think they're doing enough. Each type is different, though. Doing them all will give you more benefits. Mixing it up also helps to reduce boredom and cut your risk of injury.

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June 4, 2018

By: Christopher Jones, Director, National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Christopher Jones, a captain in the Commissioned Corps, tells of his struggle with addiction and his story of recovery to give hope to others.

Note: This is one of a series of stories by people whose lives have been affected by the use of opioids. Fighting the nation’s opioid crisis is one of HHS’s main priorities.

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March 29, 2018

People with dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease are known to have disrupted sleep. New NIH-funded research, published online Jan. 29, 2018, in JAMA Neurology, links a disrupted sleep-wake cycle to an earlier, preclinical disease phase, in which people have evidence of the disease but no symptoms. The study, by researchers at the Knight Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, suggests that a fragmented sleep-wake cycle might be explored as a biomarker for preclinical Alzheimer’s.

For the study, 189 people (average age, 66 years) wore watch-like sensors for 7 to 14 days to collect data about their rest and activity levels. These participants also kept a sleep diary. In addition, they had positron emission tomography (PET) brain scans, cerebrospinal fluid analysis, or both to look for any biological signs of Alzheimer’s, including abnormal levels of the proteins amyloid and tau.

The researchers found that cognitively normal participants who had biological changes related to Alzheimer’s were more likely than those without these changes to have fragmented sleep-wake cycles, with higher-than-normal periods of rest during the day and more periods of activity at night.

Of the participants, 139 showed no evidence of Alzheimer’s, but 50 had abnormal amyloid plaques seen on PET scans or other signs of the disease. These 50 participants had more disruption in their circadian rest-activity (sleep-wake) cycles than those without evidence of Alzheimer’s. There were no significant differences between people with and without the ApoE4 genetic risk factor.

Increasing age also was associated with circadian dysfunction, particularly in men, the researchers found. However, after adjusting for age and gender, they concluded that aging and preclinical Alzheimer’s disease pathology have separate negative effects on circadian rhythm.

The question of whether circadian dysfunction contributes to Alzheimer’s disease pathology or vice versa is still being explored. Previous studies have shown a link between poor sleep quality and beta-amyloid levels in the brain, and findings in this study also suggest circadian dysfunction could contribute to early Alzheimer’s changes in the brain. Given that Alzheimer’s disease starts years before symptoms appear, these differences in the sleep-wake cycle could merit further study as an early indicator of disease.

Reference: Musiek ES, et al. Circadian rest-activity pattern changes in aging and preclinical Alzheimer disease. JAMA Neurology. 2018 Jan 29. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2017.4719. [Epub ahead of print]

March 29, 2018
Lance Robertson, ACL Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging

We all know that good nutrition is the foundation of good health. Healthy eating can help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight, prevent the onset of chronic diseases, reduce inflammation, and speed recovery from injuries. On the other hand, poor nutrition is connected to a variety of health problems.

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April 2, 2018

By: Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams M.D., M.P.H., Surgeon General of the United States

Observing National Public Health Week, Surgeon General Adams called for forging new partnerships to improve the nation’s health and change our future together.

Every American deserves to live a long, healthy life, but we are falling short of that goal. Life expectancy in the U.S. has declined for the second year in a row. This decline marks the first time in half a century that American longevity has declined. This is a disturbing problem that faces us as we observe National Public Health Week, April 2-April 8.

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