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What Can Help Prevent Dementia

Alzheimers Vs Dementia: Whats The Difference

Foods that can help prevent dementia

Both Alzheimers disease and dementia involve cognitive decline, but not all dementia patients have Alzheimers. Dementia is one of the main symptoms of Alzheimers. Alzheimers is the most common type of dementia.

Alzheimers disease is caused by misshapen protein structures in the brain . Over time, the malformations kill the brain cells theyre in, limiting cognitive function.

Because Alzheimers is defined by these microscopic changes in the brain, doctors cant say for certain whether a person has Alzheimers without performing an autopsy.

The early symptoms of Alzheimers disease include:

When a patient starts to develop noticeable symptoms, Alzheimers medications may help. However, making diet and lifestyle changes seems to be just as effective, if not more so.

Dietary Supplements May Have Little Effect

According to the experts we spoke with, there is little to no evidence that dietary supplements including fatty acids, vitamin B or vitamin E will reduce cognitive decline or dementia.

Supplements cannot replace a healthy diet, Dr. Mosconi said.

One major study of about 3,500 older adults, for instance, concluded that taking omega-3 supplements, which are often marketed as supporting brain health, did not slow cognitive decline.

When it comes to supplements like fish oil, Dr. Willett said, you dont need to load up like a seal. Instead, Dr. Petersen, of the Mayo Clinic, said, remember this pithy adage: If it comes from a plant, eat it. If its made in a plant, dont eat it.

Dementia Is Not Necessarily Preventable But Science Has Established That Lifestyle Changes Can Significantly Lower Risk Here Are 12 Factors That Could Help Delay Or Prevent 40% Of Dementia Cases

Researchers project the number of people living with dementia, a neurodegenerative syndrome which currently afflicts 50 million people worldwide, will more than triple by 2050, soaring to 152 million cases globally. But experts in a recent report say two in five dementia cases could potentially be delayed or prevented by certain lifestyle choices and government policies.

The report builds on the previous nine risk factors identified by the Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention and care, and adds three additional risk factors air pollution, traumatic brain injury and excessive consumption of alcohol.

Eric Larson, an author of the study and senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle, said just as people cant control their genetics, people in their 40s cant retroactively change their socioeconomic circumstances in early life but people of all ages can, to varying extents, make lifestyle choices like habitual exercising to improve their health.

In my own practice, Ive been telling patients it would be a good idea to exercise regularly, Larson said. When they found out that you could preserve your brain and reduce your risk of dementia, it was actually a powerful motivator for many people to become a regular exerciser.

Being Patient takes a closer look at how each risk factor is linked to dementia.

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Pillar #: Vascular Health

Theres more and more evidence to indicate that whats good for your heart is also good for your brain. Maintaining your cardiovascular health can be crucial in protecting your brain and lowering your risk for different types of dementia, including Alzheimers disease and vascular dementia. And of course, addressing heart-health issues can also help you to lower your risk for a future heart attack or stroke.

Evidence Linking Major Depressive Disorder And Cognitive Decline

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While the sequence and exact role of these pathogenic events remain to be determined, the findings to date suggest that timely identification and treatment of MDD, which is a highly prevalent disorder impacting every age and population, may substantially influence cognitive functioning in late life. RCTs examining this question show that effective treatment of MDD may result in improvements across several cognitive domains, including attention, psychomotor speed, and executive function. Most RCTs reporting beneficial effects have utilized selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors,,, whereas negative findings have been reported in observational studies, and studies utilizing tricyclic antidepressants. The identification and treatment of MDD may be more effective when targeted at high-risk subjects for example, untreated depression has been shown to increase risk for negative cognitive outcomes following stressful life experiences.

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Heart Risk Factors That Can Be Controlled

  • Blood pressure untreated high blood pressure is associated with an increased risk of developing dementia. Effective long-term treatment can reduce dementia risk
  • Body weight obesity in midlife is associated with an increased risk of developing cognitive impairment and dementia
  • Cholesterol A history of high cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of developing dementia
  • Diabetes type 2 diabetes in midlife and later is associated with an increased risk of developing cognitive impairment and dementia
  • Smoking smoking is a risk factor for dementia and some studies have shown that a history of passive smoking may also increase dementia risk.

Understand Dementia Risk Factors Based On The Cause

Alzheimers disease is associated with sticky protein deposits on the surface of the brain. Vascular dementia results from atherosclerosis plaque buildup and narrowing of the arteries that compromise blood flow to the brain. We now understand that many people actually have a mix of both types of dementia, so its important to think about ways to treat or prevent both kinds.

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Mechanisms By Which Physical Activity/exercise May Aid Cognition

Postulated mechanisms for the beneficial effects of exercise on cognition include the enhancement of neurotrophin production and signaling, the induction of angiogenesis and blood flow in the brain,, the amelioration of inflammatory processes, and the induction of epigenetic modifications in brain regions relevant for cognition.

How Can Dementia Be Prevented

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Dementia is not a definite disease. Its in general term that describes a broad range of symptoms connected with a decline in memory or other judgment skills harsh enough to decrease a persons capability to execute everyday activities.

Memory loss and other symptoms of dementia

While symptoms of dementia can differ greatly, at least two of the following center mental functions must be notably impaired to be measured dementia:

  • Memory
  • Ability to focus and pay attention
  • Reasoning and judgment
  • Visual perception

People with dementia may have troubles with short-term memory, keeping track of a purse or wallet, paying bills, planning and preparing meals, remembering appointments or traveling out of the neighborhood.


Dementia is caused by spoil to brain cells. This injure interferes with the capability of brain cells to communicate with each other. When brain cells cannot converse usually, thinking, behavior and feelings can be affected.

The brain has a lot of distinct regions, each of which is dependable for diverse functions . When cells in a particular region are damaged, that region cannot carry out its functions usually.

While mainly changes in the brain that cause dementia are enduring and degenerate over time, thinking and memory problems caused by the following conditions may improve when the condition is treated or addressed:

  • Depression
  • Vitamin deficiencies

Is dementia being prevented?

Specific points include:

Risk Factor

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Avoid Excess Alcohol Consumption

Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol can damage your brain and increase your risk of dementia. Long-term excessive alcohol consumption can cause brain damage and lead to a condition called alcohol-related dementia. It may also increase the risk of Alzheimers disease and other dementias.

National physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines for Australian adults

  • are active every day in as many ways as you can
  • think of movement as an opportunity, not an inconvenience
  • incorporate movement and activity into your normal daily routine
  • are active with a friend or family member
  • choose activities you enjoy
  • if you can, enjoy regular vigorous exercise for extra health and fitness.

How Loneliness And Social Isolation Can Lead To Increased Dementia Risk

Forming social connections can enhance a persons cognitive reserve. In other words, paying attention to others and interacting with them keeps our brains active and healthy, Livingston said.

Additionally, some studies find the opposite social isolation may increase peoples risk of dementia. One study shows that people who are single lifelong and those who are widowed are more likely to have dementia compared to married couples.

Heres what you can do:Livingston suggested seeing and talking to people, walking with others and chatting over tea, coffee or food activities you may find pleasure in doing with others. She reminded us of an important point amid the coronavirus shutdown, a public health crisis which has left many feeling socially isolated: Try to be physically distant but not socially distant.

Read more about past research on the link between social connection and dementia

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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.

Researchers Continue To Seek Answers

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The idea of Alzheimers as a metabolic disease that affects the brain, and Alzheimers markers such as glucose metabolism, have led scientists in various directions. Besides the Mediterranean diet and its variations, they are looking at other diets as well as individual foods and nutrients.

For example, the ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that prompts the production of ketones, chemicals that help brain cells work. Studies show that this diet may affect gut bacteria in distinctive ways in people with and without cognitive impairment, and may help brain cells better use energy, improving their overall function.

Researchers are seeking answers to these questions:

  • Which foods are critical to brain health and should be included in diet-based interventions?
  • Which groups of people are most likely to benefit from dietary interventions targeting prevention of dementia and cognitive decline?
  • Can dietary interventions introduced in midlife lead to better outcomes?

These clinical trials are recruiting participants to test dietary interventions:

To learn more or to find a trial near you, visit the Clinical Trials Finder.

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New Who Guidelines Recommend Specific Interventions For Reducing The Risk Of Cognitive Decline And Dementia

14 May 2019 People can reduce their risk of dementia by getting regular exercise, not smoking, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, controlling their weight, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, according to new guidelines issued by the World Health Organization today.

In the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia is expected to triple, said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. We need to do everything we can to reduce our risk of dementia. The scientific evidence gathered for these Guidelines confirm what we have suspected for some time, that what is good for our heart, is also good for our brain.

The Guidelines provide the knowledge base for health-care providers to advise patients on what they can do to help prevent cognitive decline and dementia. They will also be useful for governments, policy-makers and planning authorities to guide them in developing policy and designing programmes that encourage healthy lifestyles.

The reduction of risk factors for dementia is one of several areas of action included in WHOs Global action plan for the public health response to dementia. Other areas include: strengthening information systems for dementia diagnosis, treatment and care supporting carers of people with dementia and research and innovation.

iSupport is currently being used in eight countries, with more expected to follow.

Top 16 Foods That Lower Your Risk Of Dementia

One of the easiest ways to reduce your risk of Alzheimers and dementia is to change your diet. Sometimes called an Alzheimers diet, eating brain-healthy food can prevent the disease. In the earliest stages, it may even reverse cognitive decline.

What is the best diet for Alzheimers? The best diet for Alzheimers is Dr. Bredesens KetoFLEX diet. This diet encourages a mild version of the keto diet combined with metabolic flexibility. It also promotes 12-hour fasting periods every day, including at least 3 hours fasting before bedtime.

Research has also shown the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay diet reduces the risk of Alzheimers and dementia. This diet is a hybrid between the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension .

Can Alzheimers be reversed with diet? In the earliest stages of cognitive decline, adhering to an Alzheimers diet may reverse cognitive decline. Unfortunately, theres no surefire Alzheimers cure. However, we have personally observed patients whose cognitive decline was reversed after making lifestyle changes, including changing their diet.

Can dementia be reversed with diet? Advanced dementia cannot be reversed with diet. However, the KetoFLEX 12/3 diet shows promise in slowing cognitive decline and early stages of dementia. Avoid most carbohydrates and focus on healthy fats and non-starchy veggies.

  • Leafy green vegetables
    • Watercress
    • Bok choy

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    World Health Organization Guidelines

    These WHO Guidelines, published in May 2019, provide the knowledge base for health-care providers to advise people on what they can do to reduce their risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

    The reduction of risk factors for dementia is one of several areas of action included in WHOs Global action plan for the public health response to dementia.

    Whats Next With Dementia Prevention Research

    Can artificial intelligence prevent dementia?

    More research is needed to find ways to help prevent Alzheimers and related dementias. Future research may determine that specific interventions are needed to prevent or delay the disease in some people, but others may need a combination of treatments based on their individual risk factors. Understanding risk factors and choices you can make now is important for both your present and future health. In addition to this website, consider the resources listed below to learn more.

    You can also help researchers learn more about preventing dementia by participating in clinical trials and studies. Search the Clinical Trials Finder to find studies that need volunteers.

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    Can Brain Exercises Help Delay Memory Loss Or Dementia

    When people keep their minds active, their thinking skills are less likely to decline, medical research shows. So games, puzzles, and other types of brain training may help slow memory loss and other mental problems.

    One study involved more than 2,800 adults 65 and older. They went to up to 10 hour-long brain-training sessions for 5 to 6 weeks. The sessions focused on tactics for these skills:

    • Memory
    • Reasoning
    • Speed of processing information

    People who took the training showed improvement in these skills that lasted for at least 5 years. They also improved at everyday tasks, such as the ability to manage money and do housework.

    But what about prevention of Alzheimer’s and other dementias? Does brain training help?

    One study found that exercising the mind delayed declines in thinking skills. After people started having Alzheimer’s symptoms, though, mental decline sped up in those who kept their minds engaged. It’s possible that being mentally active bolstered the brain at first, so symptoms didn’t show up until later.

    The silver lining here? People who regularly challenge their minds may spend a shorter part of their lives in a state of decline, even if they do get Alzheimer’s.

    Treatment Of Major Depressive Disorder To Prevent Cognitive Decline

    Antidepressant and mood-stabilizing strategies have also been examined in patients who already have some degree of cognitive impairment. In a group of healthy subjects, 60 mg of citalopram given in divided doses of 30 mg reduced production by 38% compared with placebo. In a group of 45 patients with MCI treated with lithium versus placebo, treatment with lithium titrated to a blood level of 0.250.5 mEq/l for a year slowed down cognitive deterioration compared with placebo, as measured with the Alzheimers Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive subscale. Lithium also decreased the level of phosphorylated tau in patients with MCI. In a study examining the association between amyloid pathology and remission of depressive symptoms with electroconvulsive therapy , remitters showed significantly lower A40/A42 than nonremitters. In a group of patients with MDD receiving ECT, there were changes in levels of CSF A1-42, the isoform with highest amyloidogenic potential. RCTs examining dementia prevention as a result of ECT are lacking however, evidence points to an increase in hippocampal volume with ECT,, thus providing a pathophysiological basis for the potential role of severe MDD treatment in dementia prevention.,

    The role of pharmacological and nonpharmacological antidepressant strategies in preventing dementia onset and progression warrants further examination by future studies.

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    Lifestyle Changes That Can Help Prevent Dementia

  • Ashleigh Elizabeth SmithSenior Lecturer – Exercise Physiology, University of South Australia
  • Alexandra WadeResearch associate, University of South Australia
    • Scientists often reference the similarities between cardiovascular disease and dementia.
    • In fact, they share key risk factors that include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, being overweight and smoking.
    • It’s suggested that 40% of dementias can be prevented or delayed if we change our health habits.

    When we think of dementia, we often fear a loss of control. But the reassuring news is up to 40% of dementias can be prevented or delayed if we change our health habits.

    Nearly half a million Australians are living with dementia. Without a cure, this number is expected to reach 1.1 million by 2058.


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