Monday, July 21, 2014

Latest research supports ways to prevent cognitive decline

Steve Minsky of Nutritional Concepts in Northbrook, Illinois, writes this good news about ways we can be proactive in preventing devastating dementia:


Steve: They said it! They said it! They finally said it! It only took decades and billions of wrongly allocated funds for them to say it! Here's a quote in last week's USA Today:
  
"While medications have consistently failed to prevent Alzheimer's or significantly slow its progression, commonsense health activities can make a profound difference, a growing body of research shows."
  
Take a moment to let that sink in.
  
A study presented at this month's Alzheimer's Association International Conference showed that the combination of eating well, exercising, keeping mentally and socially engaged can reduce someone's risk of memory decline.
  
Another USA Today quote: "The routine things, the things that are simple, have turned out to be protective," said Yonas Geda, a professor of neurology and psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic, who was not involved in the study. "It keeps going back to the old advice from grandma."
  
Unfortunately, Professor Geda, the routine, simple things are not that easy. If they were that easy, we would not be in the throes of an Alzheimer's epidemic. However, if we keep reading and hearing statements like Professor Geda's, we will start to believe it and want to do everything possible to stay mentally sharp!  
  
In the study, the group that paid extra attention to healthy eating, exercising, engagement and management of heart-health risk factors performed significantly better on tests of memory and other cognitive abilities than the control group. Researchers will follow both groups an additional seven years to see if the improvement continues.
  
Another study presented at the conference showed that exercise in midlife was protective against dementia decades later. Those in their 50s and 60s who simply took a walk after dinner three times a week were less likely to suffer memory problems in their 80s.
  
Yet another study published in last week's Lancet Neurology stated that pushing back symptoms by five to ten years with positive lifestyle choices is attainable and essentially would allow people to live the rest of their lives without real symptoms.

Finally, a first-of-its-kind study from Alzheimer's & Dementia indicated that subjects taking fish oil supplements had significantly with less brain shrinkage, thus conserving cognition.
  
What do you know? Preventive efforts are finally receiving more attention and financial backing for memory decline. Why? Because it is the only thing that has been shown to work! Accompanied by our greater ability to measure the progression of the disease in the brain through the use of biological markers, it easier to slow progression of the disease. Treating patients once the symptoms begin is simply a non-starter.
  
We recognize that genetic factors play a role in cognitive decline, but this plays right into the hands of lifestyle intervention. Research has consistently shown that positive lifestyle interventions can help silence negatively expressing genes if not too much damage has already been done. Eureka!


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