If you’re like most of the people surveyed in a poll conducted by AARP, you’re concerned about getting Alzheimer’s disease.
If so, then you’re probably ready for some good news about keeping your brain sharp as you age.
A study in New England Journal of Medicine reveals that people are less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease and dementia today than they were 20 years ago. The authors of the study credit this positive trend to improvements in lifestyle as well as ongoing education.
This is quite a breakthrough, as numbers of people getting this memory-robbing illness are predicted to rise by The Alzheimer’s Association from the current 5.4 million to as many as 20 million cases by 2050. Maybe their predictions were made before the most recent article was published, or perhaps it could still be accurate if people don’t take the advice on living an Alzheimer’s prevention lifestyle to heart.
Of perhaps greatest interest to me as president and medical director of The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation is the statement by the study’s co-author Dr. Kenneth Langa, who said: “Our findings suggest that, even if we don’t find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease (meaning a magic bullet drug), there are lifestyle factors we can address to decrease our risk.”
This notion is backed by two recent studies. The first, done at Albany University, suggests that Alzheimer’s is a type of brain diabetes with bad blood sugar metabolism being the culprit. Moreover, a Swedish study revealed that women who have serious midlife stress such as divorce, death in the family, or work problems, have a 21 percent higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
This new research is very important to me as for the past two decades my work has revolved around elucidating what we call the “4 Pillars of Alzheimer’s Prevention.” Indeed, way back in 1993, our foundation first discussed life style as a way to prevent Alzheimer’s. I also revealed them in my best-selling book, Brain Longevity, published in 1997.
The Four Pillars are:
1. Diet: A plant-based Mediterranean diet has indeed been shown to balance blood sugar and reduce Alzheimer’s risk.
2. Stress management especially via yoga meditation is also is crucial to risk reduction. As noted above, stress increases the risk for Alzheimer’s.
3. Physical and mental exercise is also critically important to maintain a sharp brain.
4. Finally, the development of psychological and spiritual well being has been shown to reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s.
The Yin and Yang of Alzheimer’s Prevention. NEXT