We frequently hear about some promising new potential drug breakthrough, yet there is at this time no medical cure and it’s not likely that there will be one anytime soon. Thus, the interest in exercise, diet, vitamin and herbal remedies and brain challenges.
As people age, even the healthiest among us tend to need more maintenance. While young people can skip sleep and still function well, older people may need more rest to regain their energy. While young people may seem to thrive on junk food and sporadic exercise, older people may find that their bodies are more demanding about receiving their required nutrients and exercise if they are to stay vital. Increasingly, oral health is making news in this area.
Although there’s a long way to go before Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia are well understood, studies have shown that keeping the body and brain active throughout life may offer some protection. Happily, it’s not all work. Hobbies can be healthy.
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.
Scientists from University of Michigan Medical School and Johns Hopkins University have now concluded that drugs like antipsychotics and antidepressants are not good options for people with dementia. They favor, instead, hands-on, non-drug approaches that caregivers can use to cope with the behavioral issues that often occur in people with dementia. According to an article on Science Daily, “non-drug approaches should be the first choice for treating dementia patients' common symptoms such as irritability, agitation, depression, anxiety, sleep problems, aggression, apathy and delusions.” This research was recently published in the British Medical Journal.
Stress has long been considered a major risk for developing Alzheimer’s, but there hasn’t been any real understanding as to why this is so. Now, researchers at the Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease at the University of Florida think that they’ve come closer to discovering the connection.
Since mild hearing loss is considered part of normal aging it's rarely treated until the loss is at a later stage. However, now that hearing loss is known to affect our risk of developing dementia, this casual approach needs to be reconsidered.
When we think of Alzheimer’s symptoms we think of memory loss, yet this is not necessarily the case with younger onset Alzheimer's. Younger onset Alzheimer’s may present symptoms such as poor judgement and skewed thinking patterns before memory loss becomes evident.