Take A Different Route Every Day
The same thing that happens with things in your house happens with the routes you take to get to your job, school, the gym, the supermarket, etc. If you usually use the same mode of transportation, change it. If you go by car or by bike, take a different route. Our brains need to be surprised from time to time.
Also, by doing this you keep life from getting boring and routine.
Diet And Dementia Risk
Changes in the brain can occur years before the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s appear. These early brain changes suggest a possible window of opportunity to prevent or delay dementia symptoms. Scientists are looking at many possible ways to do this, including drugs, lifestyle changes and combinations of these interventions. Unlike other risk factors for Alzheimers that we cant change, such as age and genetics, people can control lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise and cognitive training.
How could what we eat affect our brains? Its possible that eating a certain diet affects biological mechanisms, such as oxidative stress and inflammation, that underlie Alzheimers. Or perhaps diet works indirectly by affecting other Alzheimers risk factors, such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. A new avenue of research focuses on the relationship between gut microbes tiny organisms in the digestive system and aging-related processes that lead to Alzheimers.
Mental And Social Engagement
Several studies suggest that maintaining social and mental activity throughout life may support brain health and decrease the risk of Alzheimers. There are theories that social and cognitive stimulation can help build cognitive reserve, where cognitive reserve refers to the brains ability to efficiently use networks of neuron-to-neuron connections. This enables individuals to effectively execute cognitive tasks, even as the brain changes over time. However, more research is needed to better understand biological processes which connect such engagement and stimulation to Alzheimers risk.
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Can Increasing Physical Activity Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Physical activity has many health benefits, such as reducing falls, maintaining mobility and independence, and reducing the risk of chronic conditions like depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Based on research to date, there’s not enough evidence to recommend exercise as a way to prevent Alzheimer’s dementia or mild cognitive impairment , a condition of mild memory problems that often leads to Alzheimer’s dementia.
Years of animal and human observational studies suggest the possible benefits of exercise for the brain. Some studies have shown that people who exercise have a lower risk of cognitive decline than those who don’t. Exercise has also been associated with fewer Alzheimer’s plaques and tangles in the brain and better performance on certain cognitive tests.
While clinical trials suggest that exercise may help delay or slow age-related cognitive decline, there is not enough evidence to conclude that it can prevent or slow MCI or Alzheimer’s dementia. One study compared high-intensity aerobic exercise, such as walking or running on a treadmill, to low-intensity stretching and balance exercises in 65 volunteers with MCI and prediabetes. After 6 months, researchers found that the aerobic group had better executive functionthe ability to plan and organizethan the stretching/balance group, but not better short-term memory.
Evaluating The Latest Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention Research
A recent review of research looked carefully at the evidence on ways to prevent or delay Alzheimer’s dementia or age-related cognitive decline. Led by a committee of experts from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine , the review found “encouraging but inconclusive” evidence for three types of interventions:
The evidence for other interventions, such as medications and diet, was not as strong. However, scientists are continuing to explore these and other possible preventions.
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Pillar #: Mental Stimulation
Its important to continue learning new things and challenging your brain throughout life. Whether youre looking to prevent the onset of dementia or delay its progression, when it comes to your brain the key is to use it or lose it. In the groundbreaking NIH ACTIVE study, older adults who received as few as 10 sessions of mental training not only improved their cognitive functioning in daily activities in the months after the training, but continued to show long-lasting improvements 10 years later.
Activities involving multiple tasks or requiring communication, interaction, and organization offer the greatest benefits. Set aside time each day to stimulate your brain:
Learn something new. Study a foreign language, practice a musical instrument, or learn to paint or sew. One of the best ways to take up a new hobby is to sign up for a class and then schedule regular times for practicing. The greater the novelty, complexity, and challenge, the greater the benefit.
Raise the bar for an existing activity. If youre not keen on learning something new, you can still challenge your brain by increasing your skills and knowledge of something you already do. For example, if you can play the piano and dont want to learn a new instrument, commit to learning a new piece of music or improving how well you play your favorite piece.
Follow the road less traveled. Take a new route or eat with your non-dominant hand. Vary your habits regularly to create new brain pathways.
Give Your Brain Sleep
A study by Maiken Nedergaard found that sleep is when your brain cleans up. During sleep, your brain clears amyloid-beta protein, which contributes to the plaque that is often found in the brains of people with dementia. Without adequate amounts of sleep, your brain may start to suffer from toxic buildup.
Action Strategy: Make a date with sleep. Figure out when your best sleep hours are in a 24-hour period and commit to being in bed for those times. Get yourself ready for sleep an hour before you meet your pillow. Promote high-quality sleep by:
- Turning off electronics
- Having a relaxing shower or bath
- Practicing meditation or light reading
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Concerned About Memory Loss Talk To Your Doctor
Despite the decline in dementia rates reported in this study, people should still be concerned about their cognitive health, says Oh. Dementia is age-related, and as the population ages, the sheer number of people with dementia is going to be overwhelming, she notes.
In addition to an aging population, people are also living longer. So, even though the percentage of the population with dementia may decline, the overall number of individuals with the disease is likely to increase.
Regardless of declining rates, if youre experiencing any problems with memory, you should contact your doctor right away, she says.
Detect And Treat Diabetes
Diabetes, and its treatments, can impact the brain and cognitive function, making it another risk factor for Alzheimers disease. A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies showed that people with diabetes are at higher risk of Alzheimers . If drugs were available to improve cognitive deficits, could this slow decline?
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What Causes Alzheimers Disease
Several processes occur in Alzheimers disease, including amyloid plaque deposits, neurofibrillary tangles and neuronal death.
- Amyloid plaques are deposits outside the brain cells they prevent the brain from passing signals properly.
- Neurofibrillary tangles are deposits inside the brain cells they kill the cells by blocking off food and energy, causing dementia that worsens over time.
- Neuronal death causes shrinking in the outer layer of the brain which is vital to memory, language and judgement Alzheimers disease is characterised by this shrinkage.
In most cases, scientists are still unsure of what triggers the formation of plaques, tangles and other chemical changes associated with sporadic Alzheimer’s disease. Suspected causes include environmental factors, chemical imbalances or the bodys own immune system.
Alzheimers disease tends to target the outer part of the brain first, which is associated with learning and short-term memory. As the disease progresses deeper into the brain, other functions are affected and symptoms get worse.
For people with familial Alzheimers disease, mutations in 3 genes have been found to increase the production of amyloid plaques that damage the brain. There are other ‘risk-factor genes’ that may increase a person’s chance of getting Alzheimers disease earlier in life.
Detect And Treat Depression
While we dont yet know how to prevent depression, we do know that many people with depression do not get adequate treatment, and that untreated depression can significantly increase risk for Alzheimers disease.The links between depression and dementia are complex. Many cognitive functions such as attention, memory and planning can be affected in depression , and in older patients, it can be unclear whether a cognitive problem is a symptom of depression, dementia, or both. It is thought that untreated depression can significantly increase risk for Alzheimers disease for example the MIRAGE study found a significant association between depression and Alzheimers disease .
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Limit Your Brains Exposure To Alcohol
The American Addiction Centers reports that drinking alcohol can increase dementia risk. A study found that people who drink 5 or more bottles of beer in one sitting were 3 times more likely to have dementia by age 65.
Action Strategy: Binge drinking is hard on your brain. Drinking large amounts of alcohol can stop your neurons from re-growing. If you choose to drink, limit yourself to one glass of wine or other favorite drink. If you are concerned about your own drinking or a loved ones, seek professional help.
What To Do If You Suspect Alzheimers Disease
Getting checked by your healthcare provider can help determine if the symptoms you are experiencing are related to Alzheimers disease, or a more treatable conditions such as a vitamin deficiency or a side effect from medication. Early and accurate diagnosis also provides opportunities for you and your family to consider financial planning, develop advance directives, enroll in clinical trials, and anticipate care needs.
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What’s The Bottom Line On Alzheimer’s Prevention
Alzheimer’s disease is complex, and the best strategy to prevent or delay it may turn out to be a combination of measures. In the meantime, you can do many things that may keep your brain healthy and your body fit.
You also can help scientists learn more by volunteering to participate in research. Clinical trials and studies are looking for all kinds of peoplehealthy volunteers, cognitively normal participants with a family history of Alzheimer’s, people with MCI, and people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.
To find study sites near you, contact NIA’s Alzheimer’s and related Dementias Education and Referral Center at 1-800-438-4380 or . Or, visit the Alzheimers.gov Clinical Trials Finder to search for trials and studies.
What Can You Do
Although there is no effective treatment or proven prevention for Alzheimers and related dementias, in general, leading a healthy lifestyle may help address risk factors that have been associated with these diseases.
Researchers cannot say for certain whether making the above lifestyle changes will protect against dementia, but these changes are good for your health and are all part of making healthy choices as you age.
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Pillar #: Social Engagement
Human beings are highly social creatures. We dont thrive in isolation, and neither do our brains. Staying socially engaged may even protect against symptoms of Alzheimers disease and dementia in later life, so make developing and maintaining a strong network of friends a priority.
You dont need to be a social butterfly or the life of the party, but you do need to regularly connect face-to-face with someone who cares about you and makes you feel heard. While many of us become more isolated as we get older, its never too late to meet others and develop new friendships:
- Join a club or social group.
- Visit your local community center or senior center.
- Take group classes .
- Get to know your neighbors.
- Make a weekly date with friends.
- Get out .
The Science Of How Reading Prevents Alzheimers
There is growing evidence suggesting that participating in mentally stimulating activities protects the brain from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers. In one study, researchers took neuropathological examinations of the brains of 294 elderly, deceased patients. The results were obvious patients who participated in more cognitive activity throughout life exhibited signs of less neurological decline.
Thankfully, reading is a very cognitively challenging and stimulating activity. Around 33% of the brain is involved in analyzing visual information. According to professor and scientist Sabine Kastner, the left hemisphere of the brain is largely responsible for reading and comprehension. The object cortexof our brains, located in this region, recognizes shape characteristics of what we see. When reading, the object cortex creates word banks based on physical characteristics of letters, words, and sentences. Reading prevents Alzheimers by keeping these key areas of the brain active.
Neuro-pathways involved with fact retention, imagination, and factual processing are involved with reading, too, and help prevent cognitive decline.
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What You Should Do For Alzheimers Prevention
Even though we don’t have enough evidence that all healthy lifestyle choices prevent Alzheimer’s, we do know they can prevent other chronic problems. For example, limiting alcohol intake can help reduce the risk for certain cancers, such as breast cancer. Best advice: make as many healthy lifestyle choices as you can. “They’re all beneficial, and if they help you avoid Alzheimer’s, all the better,” says Dr. Marshall.
Know the symptoms of Alzheimer’s
Forgetting where you parked your car can be annoying. If it happens all the time, it can be disturbing, and you may worry that it’s a sign of a more serious condition. But don’t panic. There’s a difference between normal age-related memory slips, such as forgetting where the car keys are, and more serious signs of memory loss, such as forgetting what car keys are used for.
Early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include frequent memory loss, confusion about locations, taking longer to accomplish normal daily tasks, trouble handling money and paying bills, loss of spontaneity, and mood and personality changes. “If you have a decline in your memory or thinking that affects your ability to perform any of your daily routines, ask your doctor for a screening to evaluate you for Alzheimer’s and related conditions,” says Dr. Gad Marshall, a Harvard Medical School assistant professor of neurology.
Ways To Prevent Alzheimers Disease Naturally
While the research is promising, with the National Institute on Aging backing multiple clinical trials, studies so far have not conclusively shown that lifestyle changes or dietary supplements can prevent or slow Alzheimers.5 However, while further studies and trials are on, there are some things you can do to improve your health both mental and physical. This, in turn, could possibly improve your chances of warding off Alzheimers
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Watch Your Blood Pressure
Healthcare professionals agree that a healthy heart often leads to a healthy brain. Be sure you and your physician are keeping an eye on your blood pressure and are doing your best to keep it at a healthy level. Take any prescribed medications, eat well and add daily exercise to your regular routine.
Dementia: A Sharp Rise In Cases Expected How To Avoid Being One Of Them
As scientists predict dementia cases will triple over the next three decades, we asked an expert how to identify the early symptoms and what we can do to avoid it.
People generally think of dementia as an old persons condition, and while old age is a risk factor, it is by no means an inevitable consequence of ageing
A diagnosis of dementia is a frightening prospect.
Sufferers lose the ability to think, remember and reason so severely that it’s difficult to go about daily life. They struggle to control their emotions, to communicate and perform daily tasks. It’s debilitating and poorly understood.
In the next three decades, the number of people suffering from dementia is set to triple climbing from about 57 million today to more than 152 million people by 2050, according to results from a new study published in The Lancet.
Although it’s a grim prediction, many of the risk factors for dementia are what scientists describe as “modifiable” meaning, changes in behavior can affect your chances of developing dementia.
So, what can we do to stave off this crippling condition?
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How Is Alzheimers Disease Treated
Medical management can improve quality of life for individuals living with Alzheimers disease and for their caregivers. There is currently no known cure for Alzheimers disease. Treatment addresses several areas:
- Helping people maintain brain health.
- Managing behavioral symptoms.
- Slowing or delaying symptoms of the disease.
Support For Family And Friends
Currently, many people living with Alzheimers disease are cared for at home by family members. Caregiving can have positive aspects for the caregiver as well as the person being cared for. It may bring personal fulfillment to the caregiver, such as satisfaction from helping a family member or friend, and lead to the development of new skills and improved family relationships.
Although most people willingly provide care to their loved ones and friends, caring for a person with Alzheimers disease at home can be a difficult task and may become overwhelming at times. Each day brings new challenges as the caregiver copes with changing levels of ability and new patterns of behavior. As the disease gets worse, people living with Alzheimers disease often need more intensive care.
You can find more information about caring for yourself and access a helpful care planning form.
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A New Engaging Way To Assess Brain Health And Prevent Alzheimers Disease
Understanding how to prevent Alzheimers disease naturally requires a scalable, simple method to assess and monitor brain health. Altoida is developing a digital platform that will allow individuals to test their brain function regularly through a set of gamified augmented reality activities. Our platform is indicated as an adjunctive tool to aid in the evaluation of perceptual and memory function and will utilize digital biomarkers to provide robust measurements of the brain over 11 unique neurocognitive domains.
To learn more about how Altoida is working to develop a digital platform to assess brain health that can help understand how to prevent Alzheimers disease naturally, contact us today.