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The Alzheimer’s Association has just published the 2017 facts and figures.  It’s a bit daunting.  Alzheimer’s Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the US. Not only that but we currently have no cure.  We do however have top researchers and scientists working furiously to find one.  So what do we do in the meantime?

Even though there is no cure there are risk factors that you can control.

Dr. Paul Nussbaum who is a neuropsychologist out of the University of Pittsburgh has done a lot of work in this area.  He strongly recommends the following specific tools towards maintaining and improving brain health.

  1. Nutrition:  Eat more “good” fats including Omega-3 fatty acids, more fruits and vegetables, and fewer “bad” fats and processed foods.

  2. Socialization:  Stay involved with life and develop a personal mission and hobbies along with building networks of family and friendships.

  3. Physical Activity: Be mobile and active.  Walk, play, run, garden, exercise, bike, hike.  These activities can help reduce the risk of dementia later on in life.

  4. Mental Stimulation:  Learn a second language, learn sign language, travel, play board games, and either play or listen to music.

  5. Spirituality:  Slow down, meditate, and learn relaxation procedures.  Identify what your stressors are and how they affect you and then identify ways to handle them.

Over my lifetime the public has been educated significantly on heart healthy behaviors to prevent heart disease.  For many of us they are not easy behaviors to initiate and maintain but the good news is that what is good for your heart is also good for your brain!  This means no newly introduced activities are required  but rather living a heart healthy lifestyle will also help your brain.  Sounds simple doesn’t it? Eat right.  Exercise. Get enough sleep. The bottom line is every time your heart beats your brain gets 25% of the blood/oxygen that is sent out from your heart.  That means anything that improves the circulation and the oxygenation of your tissues is beneficial to your two most vital organs your brain and your heart.  Exercise is the most important.  This also means that if you are sedentary your risk of dementia is even higher.

In his book “Brain Rules” John Medina states that “Your lifetime risk for general dementia is literally cut in half if you participate in physical activity.  Aerobic exercise seems to be the key.  With Alzheimer’s the effect is even greater: such exercise reduces your odds of getting the disease by 60%!”

That’s a huge risk eliminator.

Make a promise to yourself.  Increase your activity.  Improve your heart and brain health Prevent or at least delay the onset of this insidious disease.

Dementia Future – Is there any hope?
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