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— We received such positive feedback from last month’s blog post, so I’m sharing a few additional questions I’ve recently received from patients and their families. Should you have a question of your own, please comment below so others can benefit from the discussion. Q: I am 45 years old and want to know if there is a vitamin that could protect me from getting Alzheimer’s/dementia when I grow older? Agnes, Wauconda A: There is evidence that vitamin D deficiency is …

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— With key U.S. Senate and congressional races heating up for the November elections, AARP will be at the state fair in Springfield, Aug. 11-21, engaging thousands of people in urging candidates to explain their plans to keep Social Security strong for current and future generations. “People who have worked hard and paid into Social Security deserve to know how candidates will ensure the benefits they’ve earned will keep up with inflation and continue to provide a secure source of income …

Salmon with Strawberries and Spinach

— The link between what you eat and how you feel is real, which is great news for people with arthritis. Research suggests that anti-inflammatory diets (low in sugars, carbohydrates and gluten and high in omega-3 fatty acids, olive oils and fiber) can help reduce joint pain and stiffness. Besides a healthful boost, this type of diet almost always leads to some surprising and rapid weight loss, taking pressure off bones and joints. Don’t be intimidated by the mistaken idea that …

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— I am often asked about ways to reduce the risk of developing certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. The following are a few recent questions that have been posed online and through social media, along with my responses, so you, too, can understand the significance of healthy lifestyle choices and early testing to maintain brain health.   Q: Are there specific mental activities that you recommend to older adults who want to prevent brain disorders such …

Chris Damon conducts a workshop in Grayslake on caring for patients with dementia. Photo by Rob Hart

— By Lisa Bertagnoli Three times in her life, Chris Damon has served as a caregiver to loved ones. “I know what a challenge it is,” said Damon, 66, executive director of CareSmart Illinois, a Wadsworth-based nonprofit that provides support to older adults, adults with physical and cognitive challenges, and their caregivers. “With so many caregivers, their parents are discharged, and they don’t know what to do,” Damon said. “They’ve never been involved, and many hospitals haven’t wanted to involve family …

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— By Demetrius M. Maraganore, MD   The women in our lives are irreplaceable, and it is important that they take every precaution to stay healthy. Last year, the Alzheimer’s Association named women as the “epicenter” of the Alzheimer’s disease crisis. An estimated 3.2 million American women are living with the disease today. Women face a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s – one in five women are at risk of developing the disease, while for men the risk is 1 in …

George Goodwin in action, during this year's Active Senior Expo at Chicago Gaelic Park in Oak Forest.

— For the second consecutive year, a volunteer from Illinois has received the highest recognition from AARP Driver Safety, which runs the nation’s largest safe-driving course. George Goodwin, who hails from Downers Grove, a suburb just west of Chicago, received the prestigious Michael Seaton National Volunteer of the Year Award, named after the founder of the AARP Driver Safety program in 1979. Goodwin was selected from AARP Driver Safety’s volunteer force of over 4,200 dedicated individuals throughout all 50 states, the …

Civic engagement from BRC

— As part of the Independent Map Amendment campaign, AARP Illinois is backing a proposed constitutional amendment that would make the process of drawing legislative districts nonpartisan and transparent. “With the state mired in a budget crisis, it’s critical that citizens have the ability to elect their representatives, rather than the other way around,” said Bob Gallo, AARP state director. “Under the current process, politicians are gerrymandering districts to choose constituents who will keep them in office.” In 2014, 82 of …

Always together

— By Demetrius M. Maraganore, MD We’ve spent several months on this blog discussing brain health as it relates to preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Since April marks National Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month, I’d like to “branch out” and emphasize that preserving brain health can minimize your risk for multiple neurodegenerative diseases. There are approximately one million Americans living with Parkinson’s disease (PD), and at least another one million who are caring for someone with PD. I’ve spent much of my career treating and …

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— Some seniors remember celebrating when the Chicago Blackhawks—the most unlikely of the National Hockey League contenders in 1938—captured the Stanley Cup: It was April 12. Many more seniors recall the hoopla on April 12, 1983, when Harold Washington became Chicago’s first black mayor. This year, April 12 marks another historic milestone, but hardly one to celebrate. It’s Equal Pay Day, marking the day when the average woman’s income—in addition to her 2015 wages—finally matches the amount the average man earned …