HERBS FOR HEALTH MANAGEMENT

Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IMPACTS PSYCHOLOGICAL HARDINESS

Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.

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ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…

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This research finding meets an urgent need for simple, inexpensive, non-invasive and easily available diagnostic tools for Alzheimer’s. These new testing technologies could also support drug development for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and brain health in many ways.


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SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGHS OFFER PROMISE FOR TREATING ALZHEIMERS DISEASE

Changes in the brain proteins amyloid and tau and their formation into clumps known as plaques and tangles, respectively, are defining physical features of Alzheimer’s disease. The buildup of tau tangles is thought to correlate closely with cognitive decline. In these newly reported results, blood/plasma levels of p-tau 217, one of the forms of tau found in tangles, correlated closely with the buildup of amyloid; this test identifies them.


The Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky recognizes the benefits of these findings in diagnostic science for Alzheimer’s disease. Research scientists at Sanders-Brown have contributed to diagnostic research and treatment interventions through its long-running study on aging and brain health.


Currently, the brain changes that occur before Alzheimer’s dementia symptoms appear can only be reliably assessed by PET scans and from measuring amyloid and tau proteins in spinal fluid (CSF). These methods are expensive and invasive. Too often they are unavailable because they are not covered by insurance or are difficult to access, or both. This blood test will enable interpretation of Alzheimer’s progression in much larger, more diverse and more robust populations.

DR. THOMAS W. MILLER, PH.D, ABPP



Thomas W. Miller, Ph.D., ABPP, is a professor emeritus and senior research scientist, Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut; retired service chief from the VA Medical Center; and tenured professor in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference 2020 served as an excellent venue for advancing the understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia science. Current research developments, along with new and emerging technologies, were presented by and shared among global researchers. The conference, which met virtually for 2020, included plenary talks, scientific sessions and technical tours.


At this year’s conference, an international team of scientists reported the results of multiple studies on advances in blood tests for abnormal versions of the tau protein. One of these tests may be able to detect changes in the brain 20 years before dementia symptoms occur. In particular, the reports focused on a specific form of tau known as p-tau217, which seems to be most specific to Alzheimer’s and the earliest to show mea- surable changes.


The team of research scientists, led by Dr. Oskar Hansson, have identified a highly accurate, blood-based biomarker for the detection of Alzheimer’s disease. They measured levels of p-tau217 in the blood and validated the finding in multiple, diverse populations. The scientists found the diagnostic precision of blood p-tau217 was as high as established diagnostic methods, including positron emission tomography (PET) imaging and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers, which are inva- sive, costly and less available.