Tag Archives: alzheimers

Encouraging Insight From The Alzheimer’s Advocacy Forum

huy-phan-100866

This week 1,300 Alzheimer’s advocates converged on Washington D.C. in a sea of purple to meet with lawmakers and discuss the urgency of the issues surrounding this disease. The atmosphere was one of hopeful determination.

As I reflect on the events of the past few days, I am more determined than ever to turn the tragedy of my personal loss into the triumph of a cure! This is what I have learned. Continue reading

Deepak Chopra: How Mindfulness Increases Your Brain Size

It has recently been found that those who participate in contemplative practices increase the size of their brain, especially the part that controls empathy. Pretty amazing, huh?

In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak explores the idea of contemplative neuroscience, which is a way of studying the brain that takes into consideration how consciousness and self-awareness affect the expression of genes and the evolution of the brain.

What is the future of this type of neuroscience? Why is it important to understand these developments in our approach to brain science?

For one, more that 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s, a disease that affects memory, mood, language and reasoning – all, of course, functions of the brain. Though causes and prevention measures are not definitive at this point, mindfulness practices like meditation have been shown to reduce stress and improve mood and sleep patterns in those already suffering from cognitive impairment. Since we already know that meditation can help improve brain and immune function, further investigations in the realm of contemplative neuroscience can only bring us closer to a prescription for life long brain health and happiness.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and take a look at Deepak Chopra’s book, Super Brain, co-authored by neuroscience professor Rudy Tanzi!

Mallika Chopra: Coping with Loss

For our third hangout in the “Aspire to Inspire” series, Mallika Chopra hosts a discussion on “Coping with Loss.” She will be joined by Todd Hartley, CEO of WireBuzz who lost both of his grandparents at the same time; Chelsea Roff, who has been featured on CNN and the Hallmark channel with her story of coping with a mother who has alcohol induced dementia; and Laurel Lewis who practices as a hospice nurse and also runs Death & Dying Dinner events in Southern California. (You may remember Laurel from 30 Days of Intent!)

Join us for this poignant conversation right here or on The Chopra Well YouTube channel!

Deepak Chopra: The Mystery of Memory

How do we recall a memory and where does it disappear to once we’ve remembered it? Do we exist in our brains or are they tools of our consciousness? In this week’s episode of “The Rabbit Hole” on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra explores the mysterious world of our memories and where they live in our brain.

So, do you remember what you had for dinner last night? How about the house you lived in as a child? Or the way you felt the first time you heard your favorite song? If these memories exist as waves of potential, there for us to recall at any moment, then our entire past, present, and future may be more simultaneously interwoven then we thought.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and check out Deepak Chopra’s recent book Super Brain for more on memory and the brain!

Managing Grandparents: How to Be a Parent When You’re Still Someone’s Child

In this week’s episode of “Perfectly Imperfect Parents” on The Chopra Well, our hosts discuss the challenges some parents face dealing with their own parents and occasionally clashing over child-rearing techniques. We interviewed host Dani Klein Modisett about her experience managing the generations and the bumps along the way.

The Chopra Well: When you became a parent, did you have a clear sense of certain things you wanted to emulate and certain things you wanted to avoid from your parents’ parenting?

Dani Modisett: Okay, let’s jump right in! Not sure the word “emulate” came to mind, but I definitely had some different ideas about parenting. My mother was a working mother; she was “leaning in” before it became a movement. It cost me a lot in terms of self-esteem, of never feeling I was interesting enough for her to hang out with. Obviously, this was not her intention, but it was an unintended consequence, and probably contributed a lot to me becoming a performer. My parents were good about making it to shows, so I made sure to keep those coming.

As far as being a parent myself, I vowed that I would be there with my children, even when it wasn’t all that fun or fancy. Just life. I feel very lucky that I have been able to do this. Except between 5-6:30 pm most days when one of them is kicking the other yelling, “Penishead!” Then I think Marissa Mayer (Yahoo CEO) is really on to something with the importance of working outside the home

CW: What sort of relationship do your children have with their grandparents? How does it compare to the relationship you had with your grandparents growing up?

DM: I didn’t know my grandparents well at all. My maternal grandfather had Alzheimer’s so I had very little exposure to him, and then I think my maternal grandmother also lost her mind in the end. Although hers was more from isolation. I mostly remember her apartment with chocolate covered coconut patties in a mirrored cabinet that I used to sneak, and that her furniture was covered in plastic. On my father’s side, his mother was very sweet, a tiny woman who baked delicious cookies, spoke slowly peering out from behind coke-bottle glasses, and always seemed serene. Apparently she was nuts too, though, and used to walk around Philadelphia in a nightgown. (This does not bode well for my future, I know).

My paternal grandfather was the original faux French Dude. He had a pencil mustache and wore an Ascot and used to tell people he was from France even though no one was sure when or if he ever lived there. He left my father and my Aunt Thelma (still kicking at 87) when they were very small in search of a more glamorous life. He found himself a second wife who I did know, Minerva. Minerva was the opposite of glamorous and the first funny woman I knew personally. A fireplug with dyed red hair and a wonderful sense of irony that she lived basically in servitude to her much more attractive husband. I think they babysat us once, but that may have just been a dream.

By contrast, my boys LOVE their grandmother. Part of that is the sad fact that they only have one and she lives 3,000 miles away. My husband’s mother died when he was in his early 20’s. When they see my mother then, it’s always a treat. Also, and we were just laughing about this on Saturday during her visit here from New York City, they just simply love her. They love playing games with her, and showing her their art work and sitting in her frail lap. It’s very sweet.

CW: Can you describe a time you and your parents (or your husband’s parents) clashed over how to raise your kids?

DM: Only one big one. Grandpa, my husband’s father, was raised in the midwest on ranch or a feedlot or a farm, I can never remember it exactly right. But the guy is no pansy. He also happens to be brilliant, with a Master’s and a PhD, so he’s an interesting character. I don’t think it’s telling tales out of school to say he’s not a warm and fuzzy kind of man.

Now, from the time he was three, Gabriel (my older son who is now 10) has loved the treacherous “slip n’ slide” contraption. One summer, several years ago, Grandpa was throwing him down the slide to give him some momentum and he threw him too hard and Gabriel got hurt and burst into tears. I happened to be outside to witness this, and I lost my mind. I admit it. Do not f*&k with the safety of my child, even if you’re Grandpa. I screamed, “Are you kidding, what is wrong with you? He’s a baby!!!” To which he replied, looking down at the grass, “Ah, he’s fine.” It was a very bad moment that can still bring tears to my eyes. Other than that, we actually get along fine. He’s very hands off, never tells me what to do, and I do feel he appreciates the time and care I take with the boys.

With my mother, we had one knock down, drag out fight where she accused me of not having enough shirts for Gabriel and again, I lost my mind. I threw open his drawers and pulled out the tens of shirts in there and laid them all on the bed screaming, “Really? Really? He doesn’t have clothes? Really? I don’t take care of my son?” Pretty sure I went on Wellbutrin for a while after that.

CW: What kind of grandmother do you imagine/hope you’ll be someday?

DM: I hope I stuff them with gooey chocolate cookies and laugh at their jokes and say wise things when they ask me questions and get to watch them dance and hear them laugh. But I’m an older mom, so just getting to meet them will be a gift.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and don’t miss next week’s episode of “Perfectly Imperfect Parents”!

Past Articles:

How to Teach Our Kids About the Perils of Lying

Teaching Our Kids About Body Image (And don’t forget the boys!)

Should Parents Allow Their Kids on Social Media?

photo by: conorwithonen

4 Tips to Offset Aging and Strengthen Your Brain

For many years the common understanding has been that, even if we don’t develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, our brains are bound to age and slowly deteriorate over time. It is an unfortunate fate that we all seem destined to experience eventually, and it doesn’t do much to foster positive feelings toward the aging process. But as it turns out, this narrative is only half the story.

In the latest episode of Super Brain on The Chopra Well, doctor Deepak Chopra and neuroscientist Rudy Tanzi discuss sleep, brain health, and Alzheimer’s disease. The verdict? Our minds and actions play a larger role in brain strength and the onset of disease than that earlier understanding suggested. Researchers still don’t know the exact causes of Alzheimer’s, though having a parent or sibling with the disease has been shown to increase one’s risk. But according to Deepak and Rudy in their new book, Super Brain, there is a lot we can do to keep our brains healthy as we age and perhaps even stave off neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s.

Tips from Super Brain and the Alzheimer’s Association:

1. Eat well. This includes quantity and quality. Avoid overeating, and stick to a healthy diet of whole, balanced nutrients. Everyone seems to have their own idea about what’s healthy and what constitutes the best diet. But at the very least, most seem to agree that dark, unprocessed fruits and vegetables are key.

2. Stay active. Regular, moderate exercise keeps blood flowing to your brain and lowers the risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, which also reduces factors associated to Alzheimer’s.

3. Avoid stress. High levels of stress damage brain cells and take a toll on the body, in general. Keep your brain healthy by managing stress quickly and efficiently. Some strategies for this include maintaining social relationships and activities (the ones you enjoy!), meditating, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep.

4. Stay mentally active. You are never too old to learn a new subject or master a new skill. By pursuing new knowledge and tackling difficult puzzles throughout your life you will continue building synaptic connections and strengthening your brain.

For more on brain health, read Rudy and Deepak’s new book, Super Brain!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and catch the latest episodes every day!

photo by: digitalbob8

Your Brain On Stress

Another reason to stress about getting stressed: Chronic stress triggers the formation of insoluble tau protein aggregates in the brain cells of mice. New research from the lead author of the study, Dr. Robert Rissman, the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, sees this as an explanation for the high correlation between chronic stress and an aging population whose brains are not plastic enough to cope with the inflammation of stress the way a younger brain can – this means Alzheimer’s Disease. Note that Alzheimer’s disease process begins decades earlier, so it is important for any adult to nip stress in the bud.

In exposing mice to comparable emotional chronic stress experienced by humans, Rissman found an altered solubility in tau proteins in neurons, which is a precursor to Alzheimer’s.  In addition, this disease pathology was first observed in the hippocampus where memories are organized and stored. When patients are evaluated for Alzheimer’s, “the hippocampus is typically the first region of the brain affected by tau pathology and the hardest-hit, with substantial cell death and shrinkage.”

The study clarifies the difference between acute and chronic stress. Acute stress does not do any lasting damage to brain cells and may actually keep cells “on their toes” and more flexible. However,  chronic stress because of its duration, day in day out, unleashes an inflammatory response which triggers brain cell pathology. Chronic stress erodes happiness and depletes energy.  I have personally experienced and observed chronic stress in caregivers, especially Alzheimer’s caregivers.

Don’t let this research stress you out. Instead, see it as a call to action. Along with exercise, a balanced meal plan and intellectual stimulation, stress management coping strategies should be part of a healthy living program – especially relevant in light of this new research in Alzheimer’s prevention: Always easier to prevent than to treat.

Here are 5 coping tips:

  • Move stress out of your body and the mind will follow. Put on your sneakers and walk out the door; turn on the music and dance; housework counts as long as you do it with alacrity.  Strength train your brain.
  •  Watch comedies which lower blood pressure, and make the carotid artery more flexible according to heart healthy medical studies. Also, comedies help you reframe your life into a sit-com helping you take your problems more lightly.
  •  Make sure to take some time for yourself every day which means shedding a task or two from the endless to-do list. You are not last on the list!
  •  Meditate or visualize while you breathe deeply according to your own natural rhythm. Meditation relaxes the mind and creates greater neuro-plasticity – and you can give yourself a positive message which you need to hear. Think it,  do it and become it!
  •  Find a creative outlet where you lose track of time and space – this is where you find joy and passion.
photo by: indi.ca

Act Like a Morning Person To Prevent Alzheimer’s

A new Alzheimer’s study makes a startling assertion that sleeping late might predispose a woman to Alzheimer’s. The study from the California Pacific Medical Center and published in the Annals of Neurology explains that women with weaker circadian rhythms and who are less physically active or become more physically active late in the day or evening are more likely to develop dementia or mild cognitive impairment than women who live in a natural rhythm. This means women who are more physically active earlier in the day have a better prognosis.

“We’ve known for some time that circadian rhythms, what people often refer to as the “body clock,” can have an impact on our brain and our ability to function normally,” says Greg Tranah, PhD., the lead author of the study. The road to prevention for many people who override their natural rhythm due to technology overload, an unstructured day, or who seem to have an owl’s disposition for late night activity might be to simply get into rhythm.

No one can yet say if people who are less active with sleep disturbances present a cause for dementia or is becoming less active and sleeping into the morning a sign of a brain who has the disease and so is a predictor? We do know that people who work night shifts are more prone to weight gain and type 2 diabetes. Getting into a natural balance which includes managing the stressors that come your way as they unleash an inflammatory response is an important strategy in disease prevention. It is always easier to prevent than to treat. And studies show that Alzheimer’s starts to change the brain decades earlier. If you are reading this article, you are not too young to live healthier and happier.

To shift your circadian rhythm if you are out of balance:
* Begin to go to bed fifteen minutes earlier every night until you normalize your bed time.
* Set your alarm clock to wake you up fifteen minutes earlier every day until you are in rhythm with sunlight.
* Consider leaving a window with the blinds partially tilted open to allow sunlight to filter into the room as opposed to those black out shades or heavy drapes which keep your bedroom dark.
* Shift your exercise regimen, assuming you have one, to the morning. If you don’t have fitness scheduled on your daily planner, start exercising. It is as simple as putting on your sneakers and walking out the door into the light. Exercising large muscle groups during the day will help you sleep better at night. In contrast, exercising at night will rev you up and keep you awake.
* Create a sleep ritual to help you wind down at night. Be careful of getting over-stimulated with TV shows, an exciting book, going on line or speaking to a dramatic friend. While you are at it, avoid a late dinner and caffeine in the late afternoon.

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / MrTopf

Deepak Chopra: Alzheimer’s Disease — How to Face Fear With Knowledge (Part 2)

By Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP and Rudolph Tanzi, Ph.D.,

The Joseph P and Rose F. Kennedy, Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Director of Genetics and Aging, Massachusetts General Hospital

In the first post we confronted the primary fact about Alzheimer’s disease – fear and terror – which is a psychological reality, not a piece of scientific data. Our minds are the window to reality. Any form of mental illness is frightening to the patient because their grip on reality has become tenuous, if not delusional. The same disorder is frightening to onlookers because the fragile bond that links us – our agreement that A is real but B is not – is threatened and often broken beyond repair.

 

                

Visualization is courtesy of TheVisualMD.com
To lose someone you love to Alzheimer’s feels worse than death to many families. Death is a decisive break, and afterwards the grieving process occupies its own domain.  The territory is painful, to the point that many grieving survivors would rather follow their loved ones into the unknown after death. But Alzheimer’s is a gray, ambiguous land where your loved one gradually fades away, with many false returns and defeated hopes.  Death is considered a mercy compared to the tormented stranger who torments those who suffer through the disease with them.

 

We said in the first post that knowledge is our best weapon in fighting fear. At least we can stand on rational ground.  And knowledge is advancing in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s.  As painfully slow as progress may seem – like the disease itself, there have been defeated hopes along the way – let me summarize the current state of affairs.

 

In Alzheimer’s disease, two abnormal buildups accumulate in the brain. One type of buildup is a sticky substance called beta-amyloid. It deposits in senile plaques, on brain blood vessels, and as smaller clumps in the synapses where it can disrupt communication between nerve cells impairing learning and memory. The other type is the neurofibrillary (nerve cell) tangles. These buildups disrupt the trafficking of proteins and neurotransmitters in nerve cells leading nerve cell death and neurodegeneration. Together, these abnormal buildups lead to Alzheimer’s type dementia and are targets of drug discovery aimed at treating and preventing this devastating disease.

 

Testing for and diagnosing Alzheimer’s involves psychological tests that assess cognition. Doctors can make a probable diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, but the only time a definite diagnosis can be made is at autopsy, when the pathologist confirms the widespread presence of plaques and tangles throughout the brain.

 

More recently specific types of brain imaging, including those capable of visualizing senile plaques and other beta-amyloid deposits are being used to detect Alzheimer’s changes in the brain. Biomarkers in the cerebrospinal fluid can also indicate the presence of plaques and tangles in the brain. The combination of brain imaging and biomarkers is dramatically enhancing our ability to diagnose Alzheimer’s and even detect it before any cognitive symptoms appear.

 

 

During the course of Alzheimer’s disease, several key proteins are deposited in the brain, including proteins called amyloid beta protein and tau protein. Amyloid beta protein (in senile plaques, blood vessel beta-amyloid, and small clumps of beta-amyloid in synapses) accumulates in the areas of the brain responsible for learning and for creating, retaining, and extracting memories. The plaques occupy more and more space over time causing brain inflammation. The smaller clumps of amyloid beta protein known as oligomers interfere with normal communication between brain cells, disrupting the neural network of the brain.

 

Most of the scientists who study Alzheimer’s believe that it’s the excessive accumulation of amyloid beta protein that induces the protein called tau to form nerve cell tangles that eventually choke and kill nerve cells. Beta amyloid protein is certainly a part of Alzheimer’s, but the presence of beta amyloid alone isn’t sufficient to cause the disease. Beta amyloid must trigger tangle formation to create dementia. So far, the genes that have been shown to affect risk for Alzheimer’s have in common that they increase the accumulation of beta-amyloid in the brain. More recently, the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Alzheimer’s Genome Project has identified dozens of new Alzheimer’s disease gene candidates, many of which likewise influence beta-amyloid levels in the brain.

 

What tests are used for Alzheimer’s?

There is no single test for Alzheimer’s. A physician examining someone who may have the disease will consider many factors and conduct a number of tests  before making a diagnosis. The physician will probably ask questions about the person’s medical history and conduct a physical exam. A neurological exam will probably be given as well. Some of these tests are done to rule out another medical disorder (for example, a vitamin deficiency) that may be causing Alzheimer-like symptoms.

 

Cognitive tests for Alzheimer’s

A commonly used mental status test is the mini-mental state examination (MMSE). The MMSE is a brief test that only takes about 10 minutes to complete. In it, the health care professional asks a series of questions designed to test a range of everyday mental skills. These include:

 

  • Orientation. Up to 10 questions are asked to determine if the person knows where he or she is as well as the time of day, day of the week, month, season, and year.

 

  • Registration. The examiner names three objects and asks the person to repeat all three names.

 

  • Calculation and attention. The person is asked to make a series of calculations.

 

  • Recall. The person being tested is asked to recall the three objects named earlier.

 

  • Language. Testing is done for a series of skills, including naming, repetition, the ability to follow oral instructions, reading, and writing.

 

  • Visual perception. The person is asked to copy shapes.

 

The highest possible score for the MMSE is 30. Scores of 25 or more are considered normal. Scores between 10 and 19 indicate moderate dementia. People with mild Alzheimer’s tend to score from 19 to 24. However, scores need to be interpreted individually to account for a person’s age, education, and other factors. It’s possible for someone to receive a high score and still have significant cognitive deficits.

 

Imaging tests for Alzheimer’s

Neuroimaging (brain imaging) uses a variety of different techniques, including radiation and magnetic fields, to generate pictures of what’s happening inside the brain. Some methods show microscopic physical structures; others capture the activity of individual cells. By taking pictures of brain activity, doctors can get some idea of how much amyloid plaques have encroached on healthy brain tissue. The images can highlight where nerve cells are becoming weaker and starting to deteriorate, possibly leading to loss of function.

 

  • CT scans generate visual “slices” of the brain. They are used to make sure the person with Alzheimer’s symptoms doesn’t have a tumor or hasn’t had a stroke.

 

  • MRI scans can be used to check for tumors or strokes. They are also used to see if there is shrinkage in different areas of the brain where groups of nerve cells have died due to Alzheimer’s. Functional MRI can check whether the correct brain regions are being activated when carrying out a certain mental task.

 

  • PET scans show where nerve cells and their synapses are most active. They allow doctors to see whether any areas of the brain are not functioning correctly.

 

  • CT+PET scans combine the brain structure information provided by the CT scan with the brain function data shown by the PET scan. In Alzheimer’s, areas of nerve cell loss correspond with regions where the level of brain activity has decreased.

 

  • PIB+PET imaging uses a substance called Pittsburgh Compound B (PIB). PIB binds to amyloid protein and also glows when patients’ brains are scanned with PET. Using PIB during a brain scan may alert doctors to the presence of senile plaques and blood vessel amyloid before symptoms of Alzheimer’s appear. One in five elderly persons who don’t have cognitive impairment or memory problems still show brain deposits of beta-amyloid similar to levels found in people who have Alzheimer’s. However, in these infrequent cases, it is usually the lack of abundant tangles that most likely explains the absence of dementia despite abundant brain amyloid. This also tells us that excessive beta-amyloid is necessary to trigger Alzheimer’s, but it is not sufficient – tangles are needed to cause neurodegeneration and dementia.

 

Detecting Alzheimer’s early

Researchers are trying to find ways to do something they have never been able to do before: diagnose Alzheimer’s years before the first symptoms appear. By identifying those most at risk, we may learn which lifestyle changes or medications can slow down or even reverse the progression of the disease. It would also help recruit the most appropriate patients into clinical trials.

 

Biomarkers are biochemical features that can be used to measure the progress of a disease. Researchers can now detect the most toxic form of amyloid beta protein, called A-beta 42, in the cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord). Levels of this protein go down as the disease progresses, presumably because as A-beta 42 is released in the brain, it becomes sequestered by the growing numbers of senile plaques and other beta-amyloid deposits. Another useful cerebrospinal biomarker for Alzheimer’s is called phospho-tau. Phospho-tau makes up the tangles and is released by dying nerve cells. Recently, it has been found that phospho-tau can travel from nerve cell to nerve cell and spread tangle pathology.

 

By combining tests for decreased levels of A-beta 42 and increased levels of phospho-tau, researchers have reported impressive accuracy in predicting which people with mild cognitive impairment will go on to develop Alzheimer’s. By recording levels over time, doctors may be able to determine if the disease is getting worse or remaining stable. Someday, the same biomarkers might be used to predict which cognitively normal individuals are already on their way to Alzheimer’s. This will help improve recruitment of the best subjects for clinical trials of new therapeutics for treating Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Early prediction: GenesIn the less-common form of the disease, familial early-onset Alzheimer’s (which occurs under the age of 65), inherited gene mutations are clearly implicated. The mutations occur in three genes (named APP, PSEN1, and PSEN2) and increase the accumulation of beta-amyloid in the brain.

 

In the more common, late-onset form of Alzheimer’s, genetic inheritance also plays a role by increasing susceptibility to the disease. Certain gene variants, like APOE4, affect the accumulation of beta-amyloid in the brain by influencing how it efficiently it is cleared out of the brain. More recently, the efforts of the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Alzheimer’s Genome Project and other international consortia have confirmed a dozen new late-onset Alzheimer’s gene candidates.  Some seem to affect the buildup of beta amyloid, while others influence the brain’s immune system and cholesterol metabolism.

 

 

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there are many things people can do to possibly reduce and delay symptoms of memory loss.

 

 

  • See a doctor. It’s natural for memory to slip as we age. But if you’ve noticed that you or a loved one have lost the ability to recall or even learn new things, then it’s worth discussing the problem with a doctor. He or she can help determine whether these lapses are a part of normal aging, another medical condition, or possibly the first signs of mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s.

 

Cognitive reserve

Why do some people have beta amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles and yet show no signs of dementia? The theory of cognitive reserve holds that these people have compensated for the gradual decline in cognitive function caused by accumulating amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. They’ve done this by building up enough reserves of synapses and nerve cell networks to make up for the loss of cells to disease.

 

Here’s how cognitive reserve can be built up:

 

  • Social network. Having a rich social life and keeping in touch with family and friends can stimulate the brain and may slow down cognitive decline.
  • Intellectual Stimulation Staying intellectually active by seeking new educational experiences like public lectures and seminars, going to museums all help to maintain or even increase the brain’s nerve cell network. Every new synapse you make when learning something new will reinforce the synapses you already have. This is because all of learning is based on making associations with what you have already learned in the past.

 

Manage weight and other health factors

A long-term study of 1,500 adults found that those who were obese when they were middle-aged were twice as likely to develop dementia later in life. Those who also had high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels had six times the risk of dementia. Clearly, there are benefits to keeping weight and cholesterol at healthy levels and managing high blood pressure.

 

Eat a brain-health diet

Foods containing high levels of antioxidants may protect brain cells. These foods include dark-skinned fruits (like blueberries) and vegetables, cruciferous vegetables (like kale, Brussels sprouts, and spinach), fatty cold-water fish (or flaxseeds for vegetarians), and nuts (like walnuts). It must be kept in mind, however, that there is no one-to-one link between any of these foods and the prevention of a disorder as specific as Alzheimer’s.  Another antioxidant, Vitamin E, has had some persuasive results in the aging process generally; it can’t hurt o take a supplement, as no negative effects have been noticed from large doses of Vitamin E.

 

Exercise

Exercising regularlymay be one of the best ways to forestall the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. One study used MRI scans to compare the brains of adults who ranged in fitness from sedentary to very athletic. They found the most distinct differences in the brains were in the areas associated with learning and memory: exercise decreased the amount of brain tissue lost in these areas. In mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease, exercise dramatically reduced brain pathology.

 

Exercise:

 

  • Improves concentration and attention
  • Reduces gray matter loss
  • Promotes growth of new nerve cells
  • Strengthens the connections between nerve cells
  • Enhances blood flow to the brain by increasing the size and density of brain capillaries
  • Reduces beta-amyloid levels.

Because society is aging in unprecedented numbers around the world, any piece of good news about Alzheimer’s will land on the front pages and on evening news. Research continues to be intensive and widely funded. But a realist must face the hard truth: this remains a devastating disorder that invades the most complicated organ of the body, the human brain, which may indeed be the most complex creation in the cosmos. No simple preventive is known’ no simple cure is likely. The best policy is to remain focused on wellness as a long-term lifestyle. For our part, we believe that the deeper we delve into consciousness and how it affects the body down to the genetic level, the clearer the whole picture of dementia will become.
For more information go to:

Follow Deepak on Twitter

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...