Tags: dementia | memory | fish | Alzheimers

Modifying Memory Risks

Thursday, 22 Oct 2015 05:00 PM

My UCLA research group recently found that modifiable risk factors also influence mild memory complaints that can precede the onset of Alzheimer’s dementia.

We collaborated with Gallup-Healthways, which used trained interviewers to conduct a survey of 18,614 respondents from across the U.S.

We found that the more healthy behaviors a person engaged in, the lower that person’s risk for memory complaints. One of the biggest challenges, however, is helping people get started.

My patient Ron was a middle-aged bank vice president who spent much of his time in front of a screen. Even at home, he was either working on his laptop or relaxing in front of the television.

He got plenty of mental stimulation from his job, but was in need of more physical exercise. When he wanted help with his memory, a regular exercise program was one of my initial suggestions.

Ron balked at the idea. He didn’t see how jogging or playing tennis would help his memory.

I told him about research connecting physical exercise with reduced Alzheimer’s risk, and suggested that if he started a walking routine, he might delay onset of cognitive problems as much as two years.

That got his attention because his father and uncle had both suffered from dementia. .

Once Ron started his morning walks, he looked forward to them. Not only did he enjoy the boost from the endorphins circulating in his brain, he also a great time talking with the friend he walked with.

The mood lift carried over to work, where Ron felt he was managing stress more effectively. The exercise also helped him shrink an inch from his waistline.

Better yet, his lower body weight inspired Ron to improve his diet, upping his daily servings of vegetables, and eating fish twice a week. He also opted for fresh fruit rather than cake for dessert.

A year after Ron began his healthy brain program, we repeated his cognitive testing and his results were consistent with his own subjective impression that his memory had improved.

He also had less anxiety about his risk for dementia — and being free of anxiety can further boost cognitive abilities.
 

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My UCLA research group recently found that modifiable risk factors also influence mild memory complaints that can precede the onset of Alzheimer’s dementia.
dementia, memory, fish, Alzheimers
356
2015-00-22
Thursday, 22 Oct 2015 05:00 PM
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