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In the News June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month– Part I

Written by Lisa Jillanza

During the month of June, we recognize those living with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Here we dig deeper into Alzheimer’s, treatments, outlooks and more.


What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms eventually grow severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases.

Does everyone get Alzheimer’s when they get older?

Alzheimer’s is NOT a normal part of aging. Alzheimer's worsens over time. Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years

In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer's, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. On average, a person with Alzheimer's lives 4 to 8 years after diagnosis but can live as long as 20 years, depending on other factors.

Is Alzheimer’s curable? 

Alzheimer’s has no cure, but treatments demonstrate that removing beta-amyloid, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, from the brain reduces cognitive and functional decline in people living with early Alzheimer’s. Other treatments can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer's and their caregivers.  

What are the signs/symptoms of Alzheimer’s? 

The most common early symptom of Alzheimer's is difficulty remembering newly learned information. Most of us eventually notice 

(Continued in Part II…)

Healthy Living: Breaking Those Bad Habits

Written by Lisa Jillanza

From overeating to watching too much TV, there’s only one way to break a bad habit – make a plan!  Unfortunately, what may work for one person, may not work for another.  So here are some ways to break some of the most popular bad habits.  Hopefully it works for you!


Watching too much TV. – Studies show that people watch an average of 4 hours of television each day and these studies also show that excessive T.V. watching can be linked to developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  Here are some ways to avoid watching too much TV: only watch when there is something specific you want to see, do chores during commercials, make a list of things you need to accomplish before sitting down to watch TV, and create a TV-watching plan and stick to it. 

Drinking too much alcohol. – Tired of being hung over and sluggish? Then you should do everything you can to cut back on drinking too much alcohol.  To cut back try these tips: drink one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you have, drink only when you are having a meal, or try drinking something that looks like an alcoholic drink, like root beer or a drink with a slice of fruit in it. 

Smoking. – While this may be one of the hardest habits to break, it’s still possible as many, many people do it every year. The best plan is to talk things over with your doctor because they can offer the best cessation treatment for you.  But some other approaches that you may consider include hypnotherapy, exercise, or electronic cigarettes. 

Overeating. – No matter how hard you try to cut calories, it still seems like sometimes the cravings are still there.  Experts say that sometimes it is best to give into those cravings.  When people do give into their cravings occasionally, they have a better chance of losing weight and keeping it off, than those who ignore their cravings and avoid certain foods.  Experts also advise that if you can avoid nighttime eating that you will be well on your way to prevent overeating as well.

In the News Autism Awareness – Part II

Written by Lisa Jillanza

(Continued from Part I…)


A child or adult with autism spectrum disorder may have limited, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, including any of these signs:

  • Performs repetitive movements, such as rocking, spinning or hand flapping.
  • Performs activities that could cause self-harm, such as biting or head-banging.
  • Develops specific routines or rituals and becomes disturbed at the slightest change.
  • Has problems with coordination or has odd movement patterns, such as clumsiness or walking on toes, and has odd, stiff or exaggerated body language. 

When should I seek medical advice regarding my child and autism?

Signs of autism spectrum disorder often appear early in development when there are obvious delays in language skills and social interactions. Your doctor may recommend developmental tests to identify if your child has delays in cognitive, language and social skills, if your child:

  • Doesn't respond with a smile or happy expression by 6 months.
  • Doesn't mimic sounds or facial expressions by 9 months.
  • Doesn't babble or coo by 12 months.
  • Doesn't gesture — such as point or wave — by 14 months.
  • Doesn't say single words by 16 months.
  • Doesn't play "make-believe" or pretend by 18 months.
  • Doesn't say two-word phrases by 24 months.

Loses language skills or social skills at any age. 

In the News Autism Awareness – Part I

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Every April across the world, World Autism Awareness is celebrated to show support and raise awareness for those adults and children living with Autism.  Here we take a look at Autism and hope that you do your part in educating yourself and others about this disorder.


What is autism?

Autism spectrum disorder is a “condition related to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication.” The disorder also includes limited and repetitive patterns of behavior. The term "spectrum" in autism spectrum disorder refers to the wide range of symptoms and severity. 

Are people born with autism?

Autism spectrum disorder begins in early childhood and eventually causes problems functioning in society — socially, in school and at work, for example. Often children show symptoms of autism within the first year. A small number of children appear to develop normally in the first year, and then go through a period of regression between 18 and 24 months of age when they develop autism symptoms. 

Is autism curable?

While there is no cure for autism spectrum disorder, intensive, early treatment can make a big difference in the lives of many children. 

What are some signs of autism?

A child or adult with autism spectrum disorder may have problems with social interaction and communication skills, including any of these signs:

  • Fails to respond to his or her name or appears not to hear you at times.
  • Resists cuddling and holding, and seems to prefer playing alone, retreating into his or her own world.
  • Has poor eye contact and lacks facial expression.
  • Doesn't speak or has delayed speech or loses previous ability to say words or sentences.

(Continued in Part II…)

In the News Brain Injury Awareness Month – Part II

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Continued from Part I…


An acquired brain injury (ABI) is an “injury to the brain that is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma. Essentially, this type of brain injury is one that has occurred after birth. The injury results in a change to the brain’s neuronal activity, which affects the physical integrity, metabolic activity, or functional ability of nerve cells in the brain.” 

traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as an “alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force. Traumatic impact injuries can be defined as closed (or non-penetrating) or open (penetrating).”

Often referred to as an acquired brain injury, a non-traumatic brain injury causes” damage to the brain by internal factors, such as a lack of oxygen, exposure to toxins, pressure from a tumor, etc.”

Examples of traumatic brain injuries include falls, assaults, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, abusive head trauma, gunshot wounds, workplace injuries, child or domestic abuse, and military actions. 

Non-traumatic brain injuries include stroke, hemorrhage, blood clot, infectious disease, meningitis, seizure, electric shock, tumors, neurotoxic poisoning, lack of oxygen, drug overdose, and aneurysm. 

Just as no two people are exactly alike, no two brain injuries are exactly alike. For some, brain injury is the start of a lifelong disease process. Brain injury requires access to a full continuum of treatment and community-based supports provided by appropriately educated clinicians serving on an interdisciplinary treatment team.

The individual who sustains a brain injury and his or her family are the most important members of the treatment team. Their choices, goals, and backgrounds will be taken into consideration when it comes to the appropriate treatment.