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Help Prevent Dementia

Ann Robinson, guardian.co.uk, Modified: April 20, 2015 19:53 IST

It’s a condition that could strike any one of us, and there is still no cure. But evidence suggests that changing your lifestyle can help to reduce your risk. The longer we live, the more likely we are to develop dementia. Of all the myriad conditions that accompany old age, it is the one that tends to terrify us most. One in six people over 80 have the condition, with impaired cognitive function (usually memory loss) and at least one other significant problem with language, spatial awareness or function. Treatments exist, but they often have little or no effect and, despite reports last week that US researchers have found a possible cause, there is still no cure. So the holy grail is prevention. Earlier this month, a major study in the Lancet seemed to suggest that obesity protects people against dementia. Yet this contradicts previous studies that show that if you are obese, you are more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol, all of which contribute to the development and progression of dementia. So what does the current evidence really tell us about prevention? http://food.ndtv.com/health/what-can-you-do-to-prevent-dementia-756569

on Health .  com; I found

If you have a relative with Alzheimer’s, you know first-hand how terrible that disease can be, and so it is more than understandable you would prefer to avoid that fate for yourself. While no one knows what’s ahead, there are ways you can age-proof your brain. With a little bit of luck, then, you may be able to retain your mental abilities until death (or as long as humanly possible). After all, dementia is not a natural or inevitable part of aging.

Even if the scientific methods below are not 100 percent guaranteed, you will know, at the very least, that you are doing all you can to thwart one of the saddest plights in life. Even more, you will be living a darn healthy lifestyle.

If nothing else, please remember just this one thing — healthy is the better road to walk not because it is morally superior or less expensive or better for your country’s health care system (though it may be all of those things). No, a healthy life is a happier life for the most plain (and dare we say selfish) reason of all — it just feels good. Climbing stairs won’t make you feel as winded, you won’t get depressed as often, you will feel more comfortable moving and walking and dancing and enjoying yourself compared to if you live a less healthy lifestyle.

Not only does exercise reduce your risk of depression, the more you exercise the more you reduce your risk of developing dementia. Physically active people tend to maintain better cognition and memory than inactive people; according to Dr. Arthur Kramer, a professor and director of the Beckman Institute, as we age, our brain networks become less well connected but exercise increases connectivity. In fact, Kramer’s work suggests high exercise levels might reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s by 30 to 40 percent when compared to minimal exercisers.

Essentially, exercise not only improves vascular function throughout the body but also in the brain, while also increasing the size of the hippocampus. Since this part of the brain is key to memory formation, reversing the natural shrinking process that occurs over time by exercising, you might naturally improve your chances of aging gracefully. Various studies, including those mentioned here, point to weight-training as particularly helpful, especially for women.

Essentially, exercise not only improves vascular function throughout the body but also in the brain, while also increasing the size of the hippocampus. Since this part of the brain is key to memory formation, reversing the natural shrinking process that occurs over time by exercising, you might naturally improve your chances of aging gracefully. Various studies, including those mentioned here, point to weight-training as particularly helpful, especially for women.

And hey: Exercise is first on this list for a reason. If you do nothing else, get out there and move.

more at http://news.health.com/2015/05/01/3-easy-things-you-can-do-to-help-prevent-dementia/

 

 


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