— AARP is here to help you take on today – and every day. From sharing practical resources, to holding fun activities and events, AARP is providing opportunities to connect and help build an even stronger Illinois for all ages to live, work and play. We hope you’ll join us!

— By Dr. Smita Patel The importance of exercise is a message we hear from health professionals throughout our lives, and we are inundated with fitness messages in the media. Now you can add improved brain health to the long list of benefits from exercising. Research shows that aerobic exercise – such as walking briskly for 30-40 minutes, 3-4 days per week – reduces risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In good weather, you can swap gym memberships, trainers and getting in the …

— Proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, are a class of drugs that treat acid reflux and peptic ulcers. The three most commonly prescribed PPIs are omeprazole, pantoprazole and esomeprazole. In recent years, some studies reported that PPIs increase risk for dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. We hear patients asking questions about this issue, so I’d like to clarify what we currently know about this risk. Some large-scale observational studies have found that people taking PPIs long-term were more likely to develop dementia …

— One in five women will get Alzheimer’s disease in their lifetime. For men, it’s one in ten. Understanding this difference in gender and Alzheimer’s disease is the subject of much research and debate. Some theories include the loss of protective estrogen after menopause and the simple fact that women, in general, live longer lives than men. (Age is the primary risk factor for Alzheimer’s.) A recent study from the University of Illinois Center for Research on Women and Gender found that among men …

— Springfield, Ill. – AARP Illinois issued the following statement Friday thanking the state House of Representatives for voting 65-38 for HB 4900, a proposal to require generic drug companies to justify drastic increases in price to the state Attorney General. “The House vote for HB 4900 is a step forward for Illinois’ older consumers, for business and for taxpayers,” said Bob Gallo, AARP’s Illinois state director. “We thank the members of the House of Representatives for their strong support for …

— Guest author Emmaline Rasmussen, MS, RD, E-RYT, is a nutrition specialist and clinical research dietitian at NorthShore University HealthSystem. It’s that time of year again when many of us re-think our diets ahead of warmer weather, swim suits, and shorts, so we’d like to take this opportunity to talk about the Mediterranean diet and what it can do for your health. Not only does a healthy Mediterranean-style diet improve your heart health (old news) but it also plays a vital …

— By Dr. Smita Patel, NorthShore Center for Brain Health We often get questions related to testing for “the Alzheimer’s gene”, and I’d like to talk a little about genes, genetic testing and Alzheimer’s. There are a handful of known mutated genes that can be passed from parent to child that cause early onset, “dominantly inherited” Alzheimer’s disease. People may wonder if this gene runs in their family, and if they should be genetically tested for it. But, the families who …

— By Susannah Spiess, MD No one ever claimed it’s a walk in the park, but a colonoscopy is not even close to the dreadful experience it is so often made out to be. Each year 50,000 people in the United States die from colorectal (or colon) cancer. It’s the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. The sad fact is that if everyone older than 50 was screened for the disease, more than 60 percent of the deaths …

— The rapid rise in technology has provided us with modern discoveries, rekindled connections and new opportunities to collaborate and create. But has our country’s increased technology use also contributed to a rise in neck and back injuries? Here are some tips to alleviate bone and joint stresses at home and in the office. What is ‘tech neck’?   Tech neck refers to the upper back, shoulder and neck pain people feel after extended periods of looking down at handheld devices. …

— By Dr. Smita Patel Research suggests that maintaining cardiovascular health positively affects brain health, and a new study sheds more light on this relationship. The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study was a large research study assessing more than 15,000 people in the United States that began in 1985 and continued through 2007. It was designed to collect data on heart health for the purpose of guiding future health initiatives and policies. Recently, researchers took a new look at the data, …

— It’s that time of year when exercise is top of everyone’s mind. New Year’s health resolutions continue to swirl, a new fitness trend catches on every day, and the 2018 Winter Olympic Games are in full swing. The benefits of regular fitness are widely known, but less discussed are the dangers of excessive exercise Overtraining is a common concern for athletes at every level and every age. Being aware of the signs of overtraining can help you get the most …