Dr. Joan Lawrence, a Clinical Psychologist and Neuropsychologist who works at Sylvania’s Assessment & Family Therapy Center of Northwest Ohio, discussed the impact of Alzheimer’s Disease, “We still don’t know what causes it (although we’re starting to get some pretty good ideas of what the underlying neuropathological processes are), we can’t cure it yet, and we don’t know for sure how to prevent it.”
Potentially-preventive behaviors — nutritional changes, mental and physical exercises and meditation — may help to avoid, or delay, Alzheimer’s onset.
Strategies, outlined by Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., of the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation (ARPF), may help with Alzheimer’s prevention, while also improving overall health. Dr. Khalsa’s article appeared in the March 2017 issue of the journal Cerebrum.
According to Dr. Khalsa, 75% of Americans do not consume enough fruits and vegetables and eat too much sugar, saturated fat, calories and salt. Research shows that moving from a traditional meat and fat diet to one that is more plant-based can slow memory loss.
The Mediterranean Diet, which is highly recommended, “is rich in vegetables, fruit, nuts, olive oil, and fish or seafood.” People who use the Mediterranean Diet can expect two physiological effects on the brain: (1) lower levels of Amyloid-beta plaques (a substance found in higher levels in those with Alzheimer’s) and (2) greater thickness (thicker is better) in sections of the brain that are important to memory.
ARPF also recommends taking a multivitamin, multi-mineral supplement that contains folic acid. Also suggested are, “omega-3 oils, phosphatidylserine, coenzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid, huperzine-A, and resveratrol.”
Physical and Mental Exercises
To protect yourself from Alzheimer’s disease, engage in both physical and mental exercise. In a Columbia University study, older men who walked on a treadmill four times a week for 30 minutes grew new cells in an area of the brain related to memory and cognition.
Dr. Lawrence indicates that, “Regular exercise like walking, swimming, biking, or dancing helps to keep both the muscles and brain fit and healthy; just make sure you enjoy doing it or you won’t stick with it.”
In regard to mental activity, Lawrence feels that, “Mental exercise like reading, crossword puzzles or Sudoku can help, and there is evidence that learning something new like another language, a different sport, or a new hobby can create new connections in the brain, and that’s always a good thing!”
Yoga and Meditation
Chronic stress turns out to be a significant risk factor for Alzheimer’s. Kirtan Kriya (KK), a 12-minute/yoga/meditation strategy, improves brain health significantly. KK involves saying/singing sounds while taking your fingers through specific movements as found at http://alzheimersprevention.org/research/12-minute-memory-exercise/
This latest research reveals that decreasing your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, or delaying its onset, may be within reach. Consider engaging in the these strategies to protect yourself.