Yesterday, I talked about the connection between Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. Today, I ran across a very interesting article and the conclusion seems to be that good nutrition and exercise for your mind and body are the best “prevention” for Alzheimer’s disease.
But here is my struggle. There are basically two types of people who read this blog. People who have Alzheimer’s disease or some other type of dementia and their caregivers.
Bottom line is that you, dear reader, are impacted by Alzheimer’s disease in some way. If you are a caregiver, then, in addition to your caregiving responsibilities, you may be worried about getting the disease. Every time you forget where you parked the car, misplace your keys, forget a name or a phone number you get a little concerned that, “it’s happening to you.” So, I post about Alzheimer’s and dementia prevention knowing that, in some way, you are already impacted by the disease. And in some ways, you may be genetically and/or environmentally susceptible to the disease.
An interesting study was released last month: A portion of the article appears below. Click here to read in its entirety.
From autopsies, researchers have long known that some people die with sharp minds and perfect memories, even though their brains are riddled with the plaques and tangles of Alzheimer’s disease. The new research suggests that people who have a larger hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped part of the brain that is critical for memory, may as a result be protected against Alzheimer’s.
“This larger hippocampus may protect these people from the effects of Alzheimer’s disease-related brain changes,” said study author Deniz Erten-Lyons, M.D., with Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. “Hopefully this will lead us eventually to prevention strategies.”
For the study, presented April 15 at the American Academy of Neurology 60th Annual Meeting in Chicago, researchers evaluated the brains of 12 people who had sharp memories and thinking skills at the time of their death. Autopsies revealed that their brains contained large numbers of Alzheimer’s plaques, even though they remained mentally sharp and alert. Their brains were compared to those of 23 people who had the same amount of plaques in their brains, but had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease before death.
While nobody can control the size of their brains, experts advise that mentally stimulating activities like completing puzzles, traveling, learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, or doing crossword puzzles can help stimulate new connections between brain cells. These strengthened connections may help to preserve thinking and memory. Maintaining strong social ties and exercising into old age may also help to protect the brain, studies show.
By alzinfo.org, The Alzheimer’s Information Site. Reviewed by William J. Netzer, Ph.D., Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation at The Rockefeller University.
Source: Presented at the American Academy of Neurology 60th Anniversary Annual Meeting in Chicago, April 12 to 19, 2008.
In the final analysis, we see again that mental activity, brain games, physical activity and maintaining strong relationships can make a significant difference when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease.