Some interesting Alzheimers research brings us a reason to see positive results in the future. It seems to back up a long held theory about staying mentally sharp and maintaining brain power. It has been called the "use it or lose it" concept.
While many medical studies are done with relatively small groups, this one involved a very large number of people. The records of nearly half a million people were studied and the conclusion drawn was that delaying retirement reduces the risk of developing Alzhiemers or other dementia related diseases. The thought being that working often keeps people mentally sharp, physically active and connected in more social settings.
This study was performed in France. That country keeps very detailed medical records on the self employed people who pay into a health system along the lines of Medicare. The study went so far as to rule out those who retired early to eliminate the possibility that the early exit may have been Alzheimer related. Those in the study averaged 74 years of age.
The results indicate that the risk of developing this mind robbing disease go down by 3.2 percent for each year of continued time in the work force.
Carole Dufouil is a scientist with the French agency INSERM. She states, "As countries around the world respond to the aging of their populations, our results highlight the importance of maintaining high levels of cognitive and social stimulation throughout work and retired life, and they emphasize the need for policies to help older individuals achieve cognitive and social engagement."
Heather Snyder is the director of medical and scientific operations for the Alzheimer's Association. She said the study doesn't necessarily mean that everyone needs to delay retirement. " It's more about staying cognitively active, staying socially active, continue to be engaged in whatever it is that's enjoyable to you".
Gary Small M.D. is the director of the UCLA Longevity Center and author of "The Alzheimers Prevention Program." He recently commented on a report from Denmark which concluded that older people are more likely to remain mentally sharp than those of a decade prior. "This study is great news because it shows that people have more control than they realize when it comes to retaining their mental abilities over time."
His team also collaborated with the Gallup researchers in a survey of over 18,000 adults. His findings show that three life style choices are linked to better self-perceived memory abilities.
* Healthy eating
* Regular Exercise
* Not smoking
The respondents who participated in just one of those healthy choices were 21 percent less likely to report memory issues than those who tried none of the three choices.
Our page about type 3 diabetes drives home the very direct pathway from the factors that bring about diabetes and heart disease to the progression toward dementia related conditions.
Omega 3 is known as a health booster in so many areas. Newer Alzheimers research is showing promise from this food choice.
Dr. Milan Fiala is a research professor at the University of California. In his study he tells us, "Prevention of mild cognitive impairment progression is one of the best hopes." His study showed a reduction in the levels of inflammation in the brains of those who added omega 3 to their diets.
Dr. Gerald Weissmann comments on these encouraging results. "We've known for a long time that omega-3 fatty acids and some antioxidants can be beneficial to people with a wide range of health problems, as well as protective for healthy people,"
He adds,"Now, we know that the effects of these supplements may extend to Alzheimer's disease as well."
Here is a link to Science Daily that adds more information about the value of omega 3 food choices in the efforts to defeat dementia related disease.
There is no known cure for the dreadful, debilitating condition. I went back and forth about writing this page. I didn't want to have any part in distributing false hopes. But as with our pages on heart disease and stroke, along with the other pages under the cardiovascular system button, the intention is to provide quality information to help our readers avoid the medical issues.
As we learn more about the connection between heart and brain health, we also see how early decisions bring about disease avoidance. There are still major breakthroughs needed and we certainly need to provide improved care for those who have already been stricken with brain diseases.
"Grain Brain" is included in our list of classic books, which can be found in the left margin of every page. In terms of Alzheimers research, this book is certainly a must read.
In our page about Alzheimers stages, I wrote about Glen Campbell and his family. If you get the chance to see "I'll Be Me", please do so. This documentary highlights the struggles faced by families affected by this disease.
But it also showed how remaining active and involved can help slow the progression of the disease.
I've already written in many pages about how valuable the Mediterranean diet is as a weapon in the fight against chronic disease. There is no shortage of Alzheimers research reporting the same health benefits of this dietary choice.
In addition to the suggestions of better diet, and mental stimulation either through continuing to work or doing mentally challenging games or hobbies, you might want to add these to the list.
Volunteering at Local Hospitals or Care Centers. My Mom is 81 and still volunteers every week at a hospital. She also is in a dance group and makes some great quilts in her spare time.
Brisk Walks. Another Alzheimer research report suggested that brisk walks of reasonable duration every week may stave off this disease.
Stress Management. Constant stress may actually shrink memory centers in the brain. Try to concentrate on things that relax you. Maybe walking, fishing, singing or even teaching from your wealth of life experience. Anything that will be a stress reliever for you.
Better diet ideas along with mental and physical preparation have been proven to be effective toward that end. In time, Alzheimers research will find the cure for all the dementia related diseases. I'll look forward to writing that page.