Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive and degenerative brain disorder that affects the ability of memory retention of the brain. The disease was first described in 1906 when a German physician named Alois Alzheimer had a patient who experienced profound memory loss not accompanied by other symptoms or known medical conditions.
Following a brain autopsy, he noticed significant shrinkage and abnormal deposits in around the nerve cells. Dr.Alzheimer would not have expected his work laid a solid groundwork for scientists today to carry out advanced clinical trials and brought hope to the lives of millions of people in the world.
Fortunately, there is unprecedented increase of evidence shows that dementia is not inevitable. This week, a study investigated by Harvard university researchers showed that some older adults in their 60’s or 70’s (labeled as “super-agers”) have cognitive function and memory retaining ability congruent to people in their 20’s, which might provide some clues to prevent the decline of brain function.
So, what can we do to delay the progression of such detrimental condition?
The TL;DR version:
If you are still reading by now, keep going! The hidden gems of health are closer than you thought!
1.) CHALLENGE YOUR BRAIN CONSISTENTLY
Pick up a new hobby that pushes your brain limit and changes your thinking pattern. Practicing Sudoku is not a lot more effective to prevent dementia than going out for some social interactions.
In fact, chatting and brainstorming with people probably light up your brain more than anything else. If you have been speaking only one language for your entire life, consider learning a new language to unlock the door to a new world beyond your imagination.
2.) STRENGTHEN YOUR COGNITIVE RESERVE
As we age, our brain shrinks and the neuron networks becoming weaker. With that said, the larger your cognitive reserve is, the longer it takes to slow down neuronal connections in the brain and thus preventing from memory loss problem.
Someone with a strong cognitive reserve would be a person with a conglomerulation of traits including high education, a highly intellectual occupation and high level of social engagement in old age.
In July this year, occupational scientists at the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centre in Wisconsin graded a list of jobs based on their intellectual engagement. They found that people who worked a complex job have a lesser association with the development of Alzheimer’s disease in their later years.
Among those best protected occupations include lawyers, social workers, teachers and primary physicians. On the other hand, shelf-stackers, machine operators and laborers were at higher risk.
3.) PAIN KILLER ASPIRIN (NSAIDS)
A recent Swedish study have shown that people who took low dose aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) for the prevention of cardiovascular disease have a better cognitive memory functions as compared to those who did not. Researchers are still investigating the mechanism behind the link between these drugs and the development of dementia.
“Aspirin acts to reduce the risk of lood clotting and therefore heart attack and stroke, and both of those things are associated with measurable ects on cognitive functions,” says Jane Armitage, professor of clinical trials at Oxford University who is leading the research. Results are expected in 2018
“But if low-dose aspirin is good for you, is higher-dose aspirin better? Not necessarily, experts warn. Aspirin and similar drugs can cause potentially dangerous side effects, like internal bleeding, especially at higher doses, so the risks may outweigh any benefits. Aspirin, at any dose, should only be taken regularly in consultation with a physician.”
4.) FISH/ OMEGA-3 FISH OIL
It has been speculated that fishes are beneficial for the promotion of general health especially to the brain. Some people even regard fish as “brain food”. When omega-3 is broken down by the body, some of its molecules may have an important role in the brain. Some are found to reduce the body’s immune response, while others are thought to be involved in protecting cells from a harmful process called oxidative stress. Research has indicated that the immune response and oxidative stress in the brain may contribute towards the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Although the exact mechanism of protective functions of the brain by fish consumption has not been established, some studies have proven the correlation between them. According to the Alzheimer Drug Dscovery Foundation, fish oil supplementation does not improve the cognitive function in most of the elderly people, it could benefit people with cognitive impairment that is less severe than dementia.
So do not hesitate to indulge in the guilty pleasure of Fish and Chips every once and then. A switch to the Mediterrannean diet is not a bad choice either!
5.) ABEEEET OF RED WINE!
Well the key here is MODERATION. Too much of alcohol may lead to other diseases that can well outweigh the benefit it provides. By moderation, it means consumption of no more than one drink for women and two drinks MAX for men. A drink is defined as 5 ounces of wine, a 12-ounce beer or 1.5 ounces of vodka or other spirits.
People who drank heavily, more than three to five drinks a day, appeared to have more memory impairment and a higher risk for dementia than moderate drinkers, though the data on heavy drinkers was limited.
Over all, moderate drinkers were 23 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or signs of serious memory problems than nondrinkers. Wine seemed to have more benefits than other alcoholic drinks in some reports, though many of the studies did not distinguish the types of alcohol ingested.