Ways To Slow The Progression Of Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimers disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. Dementia is a progressive disorder of the brain characterized by a gradual loss of memory and cognitive functioning thinking, remembering, reasoning and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a persons daily life and activities. As the disease progresses, the person may lose the ability to perform the simplest daily tasks and respond to the environment.
Alzheimers Disease is frightening. The thought of getting this disease is alarming, especially if one has witnessed anyone suffering from Alzheimers dementia. Scientists have been working for decades to find an effective medical cure for this disease. But still, no single medical treatment has been found. That makes the situation even scarier, and one may wonder what they can do to prevent it. Fortunately, extensive research has led us to the point where we can slow its progression even if it has been diagnosed.
Alzheimers is a complex disease and we cant control risk factors related to age or genetics. But there are certain lifestyle factors that can help slow the disease progression.
Identification and regulation of your risk factors, along with some lifestyle modifications, can be effective in maximizing your brain health. Here are some important factors that can help slow Alzheimers and dementia progression and help preserve your cognitive abilities for longer.
Tips For Starting And Sticking With An Exercise Plan
If youve been inactive for a while, starting an exercise program can be intimidating. But remember: a little exercise is better than none. In fact, adding just modest amounts of physical activity to your weekly routine can have a profound effect on your health.
Choose activities you enjoy and start smalla 10-minute walk a few times a day, for exampleand allow yourself to gradually build up your momentum and self-confidence.
Exotic Fruit To The Rescue
For almost five years, Fangs team of researchers have been searching for a molecule in nature that can slow down or limit the development of Alzheimers, by strengthening the cleaning process in the cells.
The search has centered on colourful and exotic fruits. The reason for why the team has examined passion fruit, is the fact that the fruit is a large source of so-called phytochemicals. These are chemical compounds produced by plants to help them resist things like fungi and bacteria, that may also affect the workings of the human body.
Clinical studies involving humans should now be done in order to reveal whether or not it might be useful to develop passion fruit extract as preventive medicine against Alzheimers disease, Fang says in the press release.
The fresh passion fruit used in the study was collected from Chiang Mai in Thailand. It was cut and air-dried, and then ground into a fine powder.
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Exercise Benefits The Hippocampus
So, Prof. Zhang and colleagues monitored the effect of a progressive, moderate to high intensity program of aerobic exercise on memory, executive function, brain volume, and cortical levels of beta-amyloid.
They also monitored total brain volume and the brain volume of the hippocampus as secondary outcomes. The hippocampus deals primarily with learning and memory, and Alzheimers usually severely affects the area.
The scientists divided the participants into two groups. One group did aerobic training, while the other engaged in stretching and toning control activities.
At the end of the trial, both groups had similar levels of cognitive ability, particularly in terms of memory and problem solving.
However, brain imaging revealed unique benefits for participants who already had buildups of beta-amyloid and who had exercised regularly.
Specifically, their hippocampus had decreased in size a lot less, compared with participants who had not exercised at all.
Its interesting that the brains of participants with amyloid responded more to aerobic exercise than the others, comments Prof. Zhang.
Although the interventions didnt stop the hippocampus from getting smaller, even slowing down the rate of atrophy through exercise could be an exciting revelation.
Signs Of Early Alzheimers Disease May Include:
- reduced judgment and decision-making skills
- asking the same questions repeatedly
- memory loss
- resistance to changes in routine
- wandering or getting lost in familiar places
- having trouble with money and bill payment
- frequently losing or misplacing things
- reduced drive and ambition
- making repetitive statements or motions
- difficulty reading, writing, and using numbers
- difficulty with logical thinking and thought organization
- difficulty learning or keeping new information
- difficulty completing tasks that involve multiple steps
- increased anxiety, agitation, and anger that might include outbursts of yelling or crying
- inappropriate behaviors such as undressing in public, aggression, or out-of-character vulgar language.
- wandering and getting lost frequently
- hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia
- symptoms that get worse in the late afternoon
People with severe Alzheimers lose their ability to communicate and care for themselves. At this stage, people with Alzheimers often spend most of their time in bed and need assistance with nearly all tasks.
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Reduce The Risk Of Developing Dementia
As we get older, our risk of developing dementia increases. But evidence shows there are things you can do to help reduce this risk. These include keeping active, eating healthily and staying mentally active and social.
Look after your heart
Certain lifestyle choices can affect the health of your heart. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can help to prevent high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, as not only do these increase the risk for heart attacks and strokes, they increase the chances of developing dementia later on in life.
As well as being bad for your heart and lungs and putting you at risk of cancer and stroke, smoking has been linked to an increased risk of dementia. Giving up smoking can significantly reduce your risk of developing dementia. It is also recommended to limit alcohol consumption to two standard drinks on each drinking occasion.
Leading an active lifestyle can help control your blood pressure and weight, as well as reducing the risk of type two diabetes and some forms of cancer. Some evidence also suggests that being physically active can help to reduce the risk of dementia, and getting active is proven to make us feel good, and can be a great way of socialising. Thirty minutes of gentle exercise such as brisk walking, five days a week is all you need to improve your health. If you have any health conditions that limit your ability to exercise make sure you talk to your doctor first.
Do activities you enjoy
Can Alzheimer’s Disease Be Prevented
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain condition that impacts memory, thinking, and behavior. It is a progressive and irreversible form of dementia that is the fifth leading cause of death for adults over 65. There is also no cure for the condition, which is why people often wonder if there is any way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
So far, research has not found a definitive way to prevent or even delay the disease. Researchers have, however, uncovered a few different strategies that hold promise in the prevention of the condition, although more studies are needed to learn more.
This article explores whether Alzheimer’s can be prevented, including some of the factors that researchers believe impact the onset of the condition.
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Treatment Advances For Alzheimers Disease
Theres no way to reverse or cure Alzheimers disease. However, scientists have made incredible progress in recent years.
New Alzheimers treatments may slow disease progression and reduce symptoms. They can help people stay independent and keep functional skills for longer than theyd be able to without treatment.
While many treatment options are still in development, current medical treatments include:
- Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors can help improve cognition and reduce behavioral symptoms. They prevent the breakdown of important brain chemicals used in memory and thinking. Donepezil is an enzyme-blocking acetylcholinesterase inhibitor known to reduce confusion in people with Alzheimers.
- Aducanumab. Aducanumab is a newly approved medication that targets the brain lesions associated with Alzheimers. These lesions are called amyloid plaques. Aducanumab was approved through the Food and Drug Administration Accelerated Approval Program in 2021 for early stage Alzheimers, and several similar medications are currently being tested.
- Memantine. This is a class of medication known as NMDA Antagonists. Memantine can delay increasing cognitive and behavioral symptoms caused by moderate to severe Alzheimers disease.
A decade from now, treatment options for Alzheimers disease might look completely different from today.
Treatment For Mild To Moderate Alzheimers
Treating the symptoms of Alzheimers can provide people with comfort, dignity, and independence for a longer period of time and can encourage and assist their caregivers as well. Galantamine, rivastigmine, and donepezil are cholinesterase inhibitors that are prescribed for mild to moderate Alzheimers symptoms. These drugs may help reduce or control some cognitive and behavioral symptoms.
Scientists do not yet fully understand how cholinesterase inhibitors work to treat Alzheimers disease, but research indicates that they prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a brain chemical believed to be important for memory and thinking. As Alzheimers progresses, the brain produces less and less acetylcholine, so these medicines may eventually lose their effect. Because cholinesterase inhibitors work in a similar way, switching from one to another may not produce significantly different results, but a person living with Alzheimers may respond better to one drug versus another.
Before prescribing aducanumab, doctors may require PET scans or an analysis of cerebrospinal fluid to evaluate whether amyloid deposits are present in the brain. This can help doctors make an accurate diagnosis of Alzheimers before prescribing the medication. Once a person is on aducanumab, their doctor or specialist may require routine MRIs to monitor for side effects such as brain swelling or bleeding in the brain.
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Interventions That May Slow Early Alzheimers
The primary areas of prevention that may slow memory loss in early stages of Alzheimers include:
- Changing modifiable risk factors such as losing weight and quitting smoking
- Cognitive activities
- Diet and nutrition
- Other lifestyle changes
- Physical exercise
- Prevention of other high-risk factors
How Does Brain Activity Help
Studies of animals show that keeping the mind active may:
- Reduce the amount of brain cell damage that happens with Alzheimer’s
- Support the growth of new nerve cells
- Prompt nerve cells to send messages to each other
When you keep your brain active with exercises or other tasks, you may help build up a reserve supply of brain cells and links between them. You might even grow new brain cells. This may be one reason scientists have seen a link between Alzheimer’s and lower levels of education. Experts think the extra mental activity from education may protect the brain by strengthening connections between its cells.
Neither education nor brain exercises are a sure way to prevent Alzheimer’s. But they may help delay symptoms and keep the mind working better for longer.
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Is Alzheimers Linked To Diet
According to research, Alzheimers disease is strongly linked to inflammation throughout the body. Consuming an inflammatory dietone thats full of fried foods, refined starches, sugars, saturated or trans fats, and red or processed meatsmay increase your chances of developing the disease as well as many other serious health conditions.
On the flip side, eating certain foods may decrease your risk of cognitive decline, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institute on Aging. One study found that eating a Mediterranean diet consisting of foods like salad dressing, nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, cruciferous vegetables, fruits, and dark and green leafy vegetables may decrease a persons risk of developing Alzheimers disease.
Although diet can be protective against Alzheimers, it cannot reverse the disease, says
Kristian Morey, RD, LDN, a clinical dietitian with the Nutrition and Diabetes Education program at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland.
However, a recent Temple University School of Medicine study of mice showed that switching to a healthier diet reversed the cognitive impairment that was associated with their previous diet. While this cannot be considered a therapy or cure, it may demonstrate that dietary changes can improve some cognitive impairment, Morey says.
You Can Live With Dementia
If you want to know how to slow dementia, then please follow these tips.
As of now, there is no cure, but that doesnt mean there wont be one in the future. In the meantime, you can help your loved one stave off symptoms.
If you want to learn more about the signs of dementia or if you think an assisted living center might be right for you, please contact our experts today.
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Check For Clinical Trials
As we mentioned, before, research and development of dementia treatments expanded greatly, but many medications are not yet approved by the Federal Drug Administration.
Instead, youll have to research available clinical trials of medications currently under development. Human trials are one of the last steps before FDA approval, so see if you or your loved one can become part of a clinical trial.
Stay Mentally And Socially Active
Engaging in mental or social activities may help to build up your brains ability to cope with disease, relieve stress and improve your mood. This means doing these activities may help to delay, or even prevent, dementia from developing.
Find activities you enjoy that challenge your brain, and do them regularly. This could be puzzles or crosswords, but there are also many other activities you could do.
Anything that engages your mind, processes information and develops your thinking skills is good for the brain and reducing your risk. For example:
- any kind of adult education or learning
- arts and crafts
- playing a musical instrument or singing
- doing brainteasers, such as puzzles, crosswords or quizzes
- playing card games, chess or board games
- reading books, or becoming a member of a book club
- creative writing or keeping a diary
- learning a new language.
If you use a smartphone or tablet you might enjoy apps that can provide mental stimulation. These include puzzle, memory or board game apps.
Social activities are also good for the brain, making them a great way to reduce your risk of getting dementia. This includes interacting with other people online as well as in person. This means its important to try to keep in touch with the people who matter to you, such as friends and family.
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What Kinds Of Brain Exercises Should I Do
That may be vary from person to person. But the main idea seems to be keeping your brain active and challenged. You could start with something as simple as eating with the hand you usually donât use from time to time.
You can also:
- Learn something new, such as a second language or a musical instrument.
- Play board games with your kids or grandkids. Or get your friends together for a weekly game of cards. Mix it up by trying new games. The extra bonus of activities like these? Social connections also help your brain.
- Work on crossword, number, or other kinds of puzzles.
- Play online memory games or video games.
- Read, write, or sign up for local adult education classes.
Foods That Help Prevent Or Slow Down Dementia
Diet is an important factor that plays a role in preventing or delaying the onset of Dementia. However with growing age it is not easy to change dietary patterns, and healthy dietary habits are best adapted at a young age.
Experts have suggested a healthy diet especially a Mediterranean diet could help reduce the risk of developing the disease. Eating a nutrient-rich diet, particularly one that has lots of fruits and leafy vegetables, berries and dark skinned fruits, coffee and chocolates, extra virgin olive oil and cold pressed coconut oil will help maintain the health of both our heart and brain.
Can diet prevent or slow down Dementia? Can the food we eat really reduce our risk of developing dementia?
There is no evidence suggesting that diet can prevent dementia. However research does indicate that adopting a healthy lifestyle can help lowering the risk of developing dementia as one ages. It can also prevent cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes and heart attacks, further reducing the risk of getting vascular dementia.
If a person has dementia, can their diet or use of supplements influence as they experience of dementia or its progression?
Researcher has begun to focus on the specific combination of diet and its impact on cognitive function and risk of dementia. As one grows old, it becomes important to track levels of certain nutrients and vitamins to ensure healthy functioning of the brain and body. The following are some of these vitamins and nutrients:
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More Research Is Necessary
However, the authors emphasize that they do not yet know whether this reduced atrophy actually results in cognitive benefits.
Im excited about the results, but only to a certain degree, Prof. Zhang says. This is a proof-of-concept study, and we cant yet draw definitive conclusions.
If these findings can be replicated in a larger trial, then maybe one day doctors will be telling high risk patients to start an exercise plan. In fact, theres no harm in doing so now.
Prof. Rong Zhang
Understanding the molecular basis for Alzheimers disease is important, Prof. Zhang says. But the burning question in my field is, Can we translate our growing knowledge of molecular biology into an effective treatment? We need to keep looking for answers.
Currently, Prof. Zhang is leading a national clinical trial that will further investigate the link between exercise and dementia.
The trial will span 5 years and is looking at whether aerobic exercise training in combination with medications that lower blood pressure and cholesterol can protect cognition and keep brain volume intact.