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Brain Health Breakthroughs: "Lifestyle factors hardly matter in Alzheimer’s disease?"

Posted By: hobie
Date: Thursday, 7-Sep-2017 18:11:05

.
=====

Volume 3, Issue #416

Lancet Study Claims Lifestyle Habits Don’t Account for Most Dementia Cases

If you’re like me, you want to keep your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease to a minimum.

Well, in my investigations into brain health studies by medical researchers, I have found plenty of evidence – backed by research – that you can substantially lower your odds for this memory-destroying condition.

You can’t eliminate your risk entirely, and – at the present level of science – most of us won’t be able to put off losing at least some memory and cognitive ability by the time we hit our late 80s. But at least we can avoid the problem in our 60s and 70s. A daily set of healthy habits can delay Alzheimer’s for years – even decades – and enable many people to escape it entirely and die of other causes.

That’s why I was shocked when I saw this. . .

What surprised me was a new study in one of the best medical journals -- Lancet -- maintaining that only about 35% of worldwide cases of Alzheimer’s are preventable. I had two reactions.

First, I’m glad to see that mainstream medicine has finally recognized that natural, preventive measures can fight a disease like Alzheimer’s.

But, at the same time, I’m disappointed that the medical world still mostly misses the boat on how natural methods are now proven to keep your brain and body whole. The reality is that we know enough about Alzheimer’s to prevent (or at least delay) a lot more than 35% of cases.

Issues that Lead to Alzheimer’s

The Lancet report describes a list of medical conditions and habits that make you more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease. If you control these conditions – things like obesity and high blood pressure – you can increase your protection against the neurodegeneration that results in Alzheimer's.1

Specifically, the report discusses these ways to reduce your risk –


  • Get extra education – More schooling conveys extra cognitive reserve (surplus brain power and capacity) that helps the brain stay healthier.

  • Keep your blood pressure down – Avoiding hypertension helps the brain retain a more efficient blood supply.

  • Control your weight and avoid (or control) diabetes – Being overweight and having diabetes are both linked to insulin problems that hamper the function of the brain’s neurons.

  • Protect your hearing and get a hearing aid if necessary – Suffering hearing loss without using a hearing aid can lead to a reorganization of the brain’s circuits that slows your memory.

  • Don’t smoke – Smoking leads to inflammation and blood supply problems that can harm the brain.

  • Deal with depression if it strikes – Depression has been linked to brain shrinkage and may affect the function of neurons.

  • Get some exercise – Physical inactivity has been associated with a bigger risk of Alzheimer's.

  • Don’t be socially isolated – Getting frequent social contact – hanging out with friends, doing volunteer work, etc. – has been shown to lower the risk of memory difficulties.

The Benefits Can be Enormous

All of that is good advice to help keep your brain working better as you get older. But I think the Lancet piece significantly underestimates the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

For instance, I have reported before about how researchers at UCLA have used comprehensive lifestyle changes to treat people with Alzheimer's and other cognitive problems. These efforts have produced impressive results.2 The UCLA program includes exercising, getting enough sleep, meditating, practicing yoga, cutting back on sugar and gluten, and not snacking at night.

Dr. Dale Bredesen of the Buck Institute in California has had enormous success with a comprehensive program to treat dementia by tackling a wide range of health factors. You can read his views in our book Awakening from Alzheimer’s.

Also, the Lancet folks mostly miss the growing evidence that inflammation harms the brain.3 They address it only indirectly – and partially -- by warning about diabetes. Researchers now recognize that you can reduce inflammation with exercise and stress control techniques (like yoga, exercise and meditation).4

So while this report claims that the Alzheimer's glass is only about a third full when it comes to prevention measures under our control, I see the glass as being much closer to full (although still not a hundred percent full). If you commit to a healthy lifestyle, your risk of Alzheimer’s may just be a drop in the bucket.

Best Regards,


Lee Euler

Publisher


References:

1 http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)31363-6/fulltext
2 http://naturalhealthinsiders.com/healthy-lifestyle-changes-reverse-alzheimers-disease-in-ucla-study/
3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27179961
4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28738336

=====





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