APA Blog

Category : Alzheimer’s

Sense of Smell, Memories and Emotions

Many people have had the experience of a familiar smell bringing up a memory or a feeling. That is just one of several ways our sense of smell is associated with mental health and emotions. Memories associated with a specific odor may be particularly strong. In writing about the relation of these odor-evoked memories to our mental health, psychologist Rachel Herz, Ph.D., concludes that “from numerous perspectives it is evident that the autobiographical memories and emotional associations that are triggered by odors are essential to our psychological and physiological health.”

How to Help When Dementia Leads to Agitation

Dementia is a rapidly growing public health problem affecting around 50 million people around the world, according to a recent World Health Organization (WHO) report.  It is a major cause of disability and dependency among adults, often causing significant caregiving and financial stress on families. People with dementia may develop agitation or psychosis which can be very challenging for caregivers. Agitation is a state of excessive physical movement or aggression associated with emotional distress.  

Pet Robots Helping Dementia Patients

We increasingly hear of robots taking over humans’ jobs, but could robots fill in for dogs in pet therapy? Pet robots are increasingly being used in assisted living facilities and day care centers to help patients with dementia.

Air Pollution and Mental Health

Air pollution is a major environmental risk to health: the link between air pollution and health conditions such as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases are well established. Outdoor air pollution in cities and rural areas is estimated to cause more than 4 million premature deaths a year worldwide, primarily due to heart disease, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and acute lower respiratory infections.Recent research is also making a connection between air pollution and mental health conditions. A 2017 study from researchers at the University of Washington, for example, found that people who live in areas with high levels of air pollution report higher levels of psychological distress.

African Americans Face a Greater Risk of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia and it affects about one-third of adults age 85 and older in the U.S., but some populations are disproportionally impacted. For instance, African Americans are about twice as likely as whites to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias.