The hippocampus, which is the area of the brain damaged by Alzheimer’s disease, plays an important role in forming long-term memories as well as in spatial navigation. Now, new evidence shows that exercise helps keep the hippocampus healthy.
Increasingly, stress is considered a risk factor for dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s. Stress is also a risk factor for stroke and heart attack as well as a trigger for many diseases from arthritis to psoriasis. Obviously, limiting stress in our lives is a good idea. But how? Simply living what we call modern life seems to make stress the norm.
Dear Carol: Both of my parents had Alzheimer’s and have since died. I continually read advice on avoiding Alzheimer’s with diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes and I find this insulting. It seems to imply that people like my parents caused their own disease. We all know that Alzheimer’s can’t be cured and probably can’t be avoided. If we’re going to get it we’re going to get it. By telling people that if they use their brains more, eat blueberries or take care of their hearts they won’t get Alzheimer’s just increases the stigma. - Steve
Part of a healthy lifestyle, one that may prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other diseases, involves consuming a nourishing diet. According to a recent study, one way to obtain these nutrients is through the MIND diet. This berry-heavy diet, which was created by nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris, PhD and colleagues at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL, is a tweaked combination of the Mediterranean and the DASH diets. The acronym MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.
For years the Alzheimer's Association has made good use of the catch phrase "what's good for the heart is good for the brain." As additional research is conducted in both areas, that simple phrase is proving to be solid thinking. The startling admission of notable researchers who attended the 2014 Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Copenhagen that a healthy lifestyle is, at this point, the best hope we have to prevent or delay Alzheimer’s symptoms underscores this concept .
The type of heat exhaustion or mild dehydration that a middle aged caregiver may feel during a heat wave is uncomfortable, but the same occurrence could be deadly for an elder. Because of the seriousness of overheating, some older people take a prescription drug that helps increase blood flow to the skin which in turn helps them cool off.
As Alzheimer’s spreads throughout the brain, logic departs. The ability to understand one’s world disappears, understandably being replaced by fear and suspicion. These emotions are often blamed by caregivers when the person that they love refuses to take needed medications.
How vital is fitness to aging? Very.. A recent study of participants in the 2015 National Senior Games, also known as the Senior Olympics, revealed that the typical participant had a fitness age of more than 20 years younger than his or her chronological age. According to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, fitness age is determined by a measure of cardiovascular endurance and is a better predictor of longevity than chronological age.
Many of us have become aware that prescription medications such as Ativan, Xanax and Klonopin may have serious side effects including memory issues. These drugs, which are generally prescribed for anxiety, can possibly increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease since they are in a class known as anticholinergic drugs. They work by blocking a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine in the nervous system.
Many of us become aware of vision changes in our early to mid-40s, when we find, as my mother used to say, that “the print in the newspaper keeps getting smaller.” What’s happening, of course, is presbyopia. As the eye ages, the lens of the eye gradually loses its ability to focus on close objects, thus the prevalence of reading glasses in our mid-years.