Alzheimer is a form of dementia and has been called "the plague of the twenty-first century". If you are interested in the science behind the disease, its natural history and what we are doing today to combat it, then check out Jay Ingram's latest book, The End of Memory. You don't have to be a biochemist to get some value from it.
With a father presently experiencing a form of dementia, I can see first hand how the symptoms play out. He has gone from a intelligent, witty, musical, hands on, social individual to a person that is no longer capable of walking, feeding himself, retrieving memories, making a choice or connecting his thoughts. Fortunately for everyone, his mood and behaviour are surprisingly accepting, mellow and content.
Is there something that we can do now to lower our odds of getting some form of dementia?
Here are some basic suggestions:
1. Exercise regularly and move more during the day
2. Eat healthy food - limit processed foods, increase real food
3. Challenge your brain - learn or try something new
4. Reduce negative stress-increase positive stress-meditate**
5. Get more sleep- turn off the electronic devices at night
6. Make healthy life choices - ex. avoid smoking, recreational drug use, excessive alcohol - wear a seat belt, a bike helmet
7. Have a regular medical check up
**My favourite topic called Brain on Ice gives some practical ways to train the brain to chill.
Mind your brain and the brain will help mind you in the years to come.